Salford Lads Club, protected site

Salford Lads ClubSmiths club in conservation bid – Salford Lads Club set to be given conservation status.

I spent the fall semester of my junior year of college studying abroad at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Over the Christmas holiday, my homie Derek Phillips flew over and the two of us spent a couple of weeks bumming around the British isles. Right around New Years Eve we found ourselves in Manchester. On a mission without knowing dick about shit, we asked locals until we ended up in front of the mecca of Smiths fanaticism: the Salford Lads Club.

Famously used as the background of a group photo on the inner sleeve of The Queen Is Dead, we found the club in a sketchy neighborhood far away from anything even remotely touristy. Unless, of course, you’re a Smiths fanatic.

After wandering around aimlessly for hours and hours, we were finally pointed in the right direction by a friendly lady in a shop who asked us why Americans were always asking her how to find that club. What’s so fancy about it? We explained that a pop group called the Smiths had taken a famous photo in front of the building. “Ah, well, okay then.” Either no one had ever explained it to her before, or more likely, the explanation did not really justify why anybody would come all the way from America to see a dumpy, possibly defunct bar in the middle of a rundown section of an industrial town in northern England.

Looking back, I can understand her bewilderment. But I’m glad we made it there. And I’m glad the little soccer boys who took our photo didn’t end up running off with my camera. Maybe it was because we told them that all Americans carry guns on them at all times.

Take me back to dear old Blighty...

Please forgive the XL flannel and the Sox cap. It was, after all, 1991.

3 thoughts on “Salford Lads Club, protected site”

  1. Is that you on the right, Jake? I could have sworn it was Easy-E in a trenchcoat.

    And what’s the writing on the sidewalk say?

  2. Who knows what that says? You can’t really see it very clearly in the photo, but there was graffiti all over that fence and the door and even the brick. Not all of it was Smiths-related.

  3. Great photo and great story. I’ve lived in Greater Manchester for 17 years now and have NEVER had my photo taken there but I did once go past it on the bus.

    It isn’t a bar but a youth club. The Major something who ran it in the late 80s was heartily sick of people having their photos taken outside – he even opined to the local press that “The Smiths are rubbish”. They have embraced their heritage now and it is a jewel of Salford!

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