Salford Lads’ Club: New Artwork by Anthony McCarthy

A new Anthony McCarthy work to add to our Visual Collections

We have recently acquired another work by local artist Anthony McCarthy to join  John Rylands Interior Reading Room And Lit Book in our visual collections. It depicts the exterior of Salford Lads’ Club in Ordsall.  Anthony told me it was inspired by his wife Angie who is a Smiths and Morrissey fan. “I wanted to create a scene of stillness on a late summer’s day – lots of line work, but a feeling. A picture of a lonely iconic building reminiscent of The Smiths music”.

Anthony McCarthy Salford Lads’ Club 2020
Visual Collections VFA.70
Mixed media art work on paper

Salford Lads’ Club was part of the wider movement of lads clubs set up by local companies and philanthropists between 1886 and 1910 in many industrialised cities, particularly in the North West of England. The aim was to provide positive alternatives to the teenage street gangs of the time with sports, arts, cultural, and educational activities. Salford Lads’ Club was one of the few to include a work bureau, finding employment for lads aged 13 and upwards. The club opened in August 1903 and was officially opened on January 30th 1904 by Robert Baden-Powell. [1]

Salford Lad’s Club

The club has become synonymous with pop culture. Harold Allan Clarke and Graham Nash of The Hollies were members as boys in the ‘50s. The Hollies rehearsed at the club frequently before they became famous and their membership cards still remain in the club’s archives. 

The Hollies 1965
From left to right: Eric Haydock, Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

One of The Smiths most famous photographs, for their 1986 album ‘The Queen Is Dead’, was taken in front of the building and it also features in two of their music videos. This has inspired Smiths fans from all over the world to visit the club.

And, although only attending the club a few times as a boy, Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order revisited to make a documentary in 2003 to celebrate its centenary.

Peter Hook, formerly of Joy Division & New Order
Credit: Paul Hudson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

The drawing can be located via Library Search They can also be viewed by making an appointment in the Reading Room.

[1] Information from  History – Salford Lads Club

Visual Collections Assistant John Rylands Institute & Library

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