Made pretty famous by a certain photo of The Smiths in 1985, Salford Lads’ Club marked 120 years in January, and as part of the celebrations the club has created a limited edition piece of memorabilia. A special new t-shirt has been produced to raise vital funds for the historic building, featuring the original title and motto from a commemorative card given to the first 100 boys who joined the Salford Lads Club in August 1903.
One of these cards is still on display in the club’s entrance hall, alongside a photograph of the official opening on 31 January 1904. The club was officially opened by General Baden Powell who later started the Scouts movement; he’s photographed with club founders James Grimble Groves and William Grimble Groves of Groves & Whitnall Brewery.
In the club’s archive, a report from the Daily Dispatch shows sketches from the event as an important moment for the city of Salford, and the report describes how crowds lined up along Regent Road. At the time, the club was the largest purpose-built lads club building in Greater Manchester, and is now the last surviving pre-World War 1 building still in use in the UK.
Project Manager Leslie Holmes shared more about the new t-shirt and the club’s 120-year heritage: “We’ve had an incredible start to our anniversary year – in 2023 we collaborated with Salford City FC to mark the moment with a new first team football shirt and jacket featuring our logo – this raised £10,000 for the club.
“We continue to attract brands like M&S who featured the club and the nearby streets as iconic locations in a recent campaign, and Manchester United followed this with a shoot featuring John Cooper Clarke. Then, in December, we hosted an intimate dinner for Chanel.
“All these events bring in funds to enable us to continue our unique offer in what is an increasingly difficult funding climate for small youth and culture charities like ours. We still have over 200 members taking part in activities at the club, and welcome hundreds of visitors each month.
“They travel from around the globe to learn more about our working-class history and how we impacted and continue to inspire Manchester’s vibrant music scene. To continue sharing our legacy, we still need support from local councils, from companies and individuals.”
The t-shirt will only be available during this anniversary year, and comes with a copy of the commemorative card – the first 100 cards will also be numbered, just like the original. They’re available to purchase now from the club itself or its online shop, priced at £25.
All funds raised from the sale of the commemorative Salford Lads’ Club t-shirt will continue to provide activities for local young people, including the annual camping trip which has taken place since 1904.
You can shop the t-shirt in person at Salford Lads Club, Coronation St, Salford M5 3SA.