An immersive sound walk experience is set to explore the fascinating story of Salford’s ‘hidden canal’.

Inspired by the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, five Salford and Greater Manchester artists will be paired with European sound artists from Leeuwarden (the Netherlands), Kaunas (Lithuania), Rejika (Croatia) and Faro (Portugal), to create a sound walk along the original canal route, that includes sections that have been long forgotten.

From Sat 18 May, anyone can download the new sound walk experience which will feature eight locations and insightful audio content produced by the artists delving into the canal’s industrial and forgotten heritage.

The Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal was immortalised in the song ‘Dirty Old Town’ written by Salford-born folk singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl and performed by both The Dubliners and The Pogues. Hollywood legend James Mason starred in the film Spring and Port Wine, based on a play by Bolton’s own Bill Naughton, which was also filmed at various locations along the canal.

The unique project is a collaboration between the Dutch Embassy, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Salford City Council, Salford Community and Voluntary Services (CVS), Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society (MBBCS), Canal & River Trust, Walk the Plank, Scarborough Group International and Get Living.

Canal & River Trust, the UK’s largest canal charity that looks after Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, together with Salford-based outdoor arts company Walk the Plank and MBBCS, have engaged Scarborough Group International, the custodians of Middlewood Locks and Get Living to deliver the new experience, one which hopes to connect people with the industrial heritage of this partly restored canal, and to celebrate its future in ‘a unique and interesting way.’

Ben Turner, Salford Producer at Walk the Plank, said: “We are delighted to announce the sound walk as a totally unique way to experience the fascinating heritage of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal.  Last week it was a pleasure to welcome four highly acclaimed sound artists from Europe, including the Netherlands – arguably the pioneer of waterways history – to work with our resident artists on the project.

“This has been made possible thanks to funding from the Dutch Embassy, GMCA, and Salford CVS and facilitated through Creative Embassies, a European exchange network fostering collaboration among young artists, musicians, and creatives.”

James Long, Engagement Manager at the Canal & River Trust charity, said, “Salford is a city shaped by its canals. Over 200 years ago these commercial thoroughfares connected Salford to the wider world, powering the city’s foundries and workshops. Today, these canals have transformed to offer green corridors in some of our most densely populated communities, offering a place for people to relax, walk, cycle, paddle or simply be inspired.

“Our nation’s historic waterways continue to inspire generations of artists, from paintings to poetry and sculpture to soundscapes. As custodians of this important cultural heritage our charity is delighted to support this new commission and hope it will encourage people to come rediscover the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal for themselves.”

You can find more information about the sound walk here.

Sat 18 May
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Sun 24 Mar 2024