THE FORMER RED DRAGON
WRITTEN BY Hayley Flynn
READING TIME: 3 minutes
The pub where Marx and Engels spent much of their time.
The Crescent occupies part of a row of houses and opened as a licensed dining room in the 1860s. The first pub in Greater Manchester to be granted a 24 hour drinking license, home of free chip barms and the pub in which Marx and Engels are said to have met and certainly considered it their favourite back when the pub was named The Red Dragon.
When developers tried to turn the venue into student accommodation a few years back, the regular customers campaigned against it and successfully sold the building was granted listed status and is now protected.
The surroundings here are also interesting. Cross Lane to the rear is home to the Buck Hotel where Buffalo Bill spent an evening drinking before punching his taxi driver in the face and thus revoking his freedom of the city award before it was even granted.
If you wander a little further past the pub you’ll find yourself in Fire Station Square. This site was home to Salford Fire Station and the firemen’s houses that surround it. Aside from the striking architecture here, it’s also the location of Salford’s smallest listed building in the form of the red telephone box. There are two left in Salford, the other being in Worsley.
The red telephone box is the most successful K6 model and was home to an art installation during 2013 titled 'Conversations We Wish We'd Had'.
The K6 was designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott who completed Battersea Power Station; the redesign of Tate Modern; and, at the age of 21 (with no experience), he won a competition to design Liverpool Cathedral as part of a larger team of five.
Scott died in 1960 and the cathedral was finished some 18 years later. He is now buried with his wife at the entrance to the cathedral and in his honour, a K6 red telephone box stands at the site. In the centre of Fire Station Square is a monument of a sphinx, unveiled in 1922 this is a war memorial in honour of The Lancashire Fusiliers.
The Working Class Movement Library is also situated close by at Jubilee House. The original library was at the home of founders Edmund and Ruth Frow, on Kings Road in Old Trafford.
Expecting an imminent change in our social system “that the country will be governed by those who produce the wealth, that there will be a need and a longing to know what preceded these changes”, the couple merged their book collection in 1953 and it continued to grow until it took over their home, lining the walls of every room except the kitchen and bathroom and spilling out into the garage.
Further along The Crescent is the site of Salford Art School where local artist Ken Reid studied.
Named Best Writer and Best Artist by The British Society of Strip Illustrators in 1978, he created the character of Rodger the Dodger for The Beano (for a time, The Beano andDandy were actually printed just off Chapel Street by printing firm DC Thomson).
Ken was in the middle of illustrating a cartoon character by the name of Faceache when he suffered a fatal stroke. He is buried at Agecroft Cemetery where a plaque emblazoned with an image of his creation Fudge the Elf adorns the gravestone.
This article is taken from Skyliner From the Other City. An alternative guide to Sounds From the Other City.