Salford was at a crossroads when a cameraman flew over the city to produce a remarkable set of aerial photographs in July 1974.

Some Victorian terraces still stood in regimented rows, while others were being torn down in the biggest slum clearances Manchester had ever witnessed.

There was optimism – as well as brickdust – in the air.

Salford from the air with Old Trafford in the distance, July 1974

Salford from the air with Old Trafford in the distance, July 1974

Major projects like the Ringway runway extension, the Arndale shopping centre and the M602 motorway all went ahead in the 1970s.

But that meant little to families living among the demolition rubble as the new replaced the old on the city streets.

Nostalgia today looks at Salford from above and below in the 1970s with archive images that capture the community spirit and resolve of the time.

In spite of its ambitious rehousing programme, Salford was still reported to have the worst slums in Europe in the early 1970s.

Traditional industries were clinging on, while others had moved out or ground to a halt leaving whole areas in bleak disrepair.

Generations had worked at glass-blowing in Salford before its decline in the 1930s. Our evocative photo from October 1947 shows George Cowie of Dale Street, Lower Broughton, and Daniel Andrews of Lower Seedley Street, Salford, practising the craft.

Glass blowers Daniel Andrews, left, and George Cowie practise their craft in Salford, October 1947

In stark contrast, Salford was determined to move with the times when it purchased six giant-sized street vacuums in October 1964.

Looking remarkably like Noo-Noo, the vacuum cleaner in the TV series the Teletubbies, the American-built suction machines were powered by petrol engines.

We’re not sure what the council’s cleansing operatives made of the slick new models – but there wasn’t a road-brush or shovel in sight!

Salford street-cleaners line up with their new American super vacuums, October 1964

Salford street-cleaners line up with their new American super vacuums, October 1964

Space-age vacuums would never have negotiated the passageways between the back-to-back terraces still common in Salford in the 1970s.

The state of the Salford slums in October 1974 was captured in our image of five-year-old Jeffrey Slean going out to play after school, carefully watched by his mother Vera.

Demolition of the slums not only meant the rehousing of families – pets and animals had to be looked after too.

Jeffrey Slean (5) goes out to play in Salford under the watchful eye of his mother Mrs Vera Slean, October 1974

Dedicated Salford women Mrs Norma Parker, Mrs Diane Shepherd and her daughter Cristina (5) rescue kittens from demolition debris in Ordsall, July 1972

Dedicated Salford women Mrs Norma Parker, Mrs Diane Shepherd and her daughter Cristina (5) rescue kittens from demolition debris in Ordsall, July 1972

Two dedicated Salford women, Mrs Norma Parker and Mrs Diane Shepherd, rescued cats and dogs from the debris and found homes for them. Our photo shows the kind-hearted couple at work in Ordsall with five-year-old Cristina Shepherd.

The impending demolition of Archie Street in August 1971 brought a special visit from Coronation Street’s Stan and Hilda Ogden, played by Bernard Youens and Jean Alexander.

Producer Tony Warren used the Salford street as the model for the long-running Granada TV soap and based many of his characters on people from the area.

Stan and Hilda Ogden (Bernard Youens and Jean Alexander) at Archie Street, Salford – the model for Coronation Street - before its demolition in August 1971

Stan and Hilda Ogden (Bernard Youens and Jean Alexander) at Archie Street, Salford – the model for Coronation Street – before its demolition in August 1971

He was not the first to draw inspiration from Salford’s grimy terraces. The renowned artist L.S. Lowry, born in Stretford in 1887, immortalised them in his paintings of the industrial north.

The largest collection of Lowry’s paintings and drawings from the 1920s to 1960s is fittingly held by Salford City Council and displayed at The Lowry. There are around 400 works.

The artist is proudly photographed in front of one of his paintings at his one-man exhibition in Salford in October 1961.

The rows of terraced houses so well-known to Lowry are still prominent in the aerial view across the rooftops of Salford taken in July 1974.

In the distance are the floodlight towers of Old Trafford football ground. Trafford Park and No. 6 Dock are in the background on the right.

Artist L. S. Lowry in front of his work at the opening of his one-man exhibition, October 1961

Artist L. S. Lowry in front of his work at the opening of his one-man exhibition, October 1961

One of Salford’s most prominent Victorian buildings soared above the slums and tenements when it was completed in 1848.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist, pictured in March 1946, was built in the neo-Gothic style to the designs of architect Matthew Ellison Hadfield.

It borrowed heavily from other medieval Gothic churches. The tower was based on St Mary Magdalene, Newark, the nave on Howden Minster and the choir on Selby Abbey.

The imposing Roman Catholic cathedral of Salford, March 1946

The imposing Roman Catholic cathedral of Salford, March 1946

Vying with the cathedral spire for a place on the skyline were Salford’s first tower blocks. The eight-storey Clement Atlee House went up in May 1956 and the first 15-floor blocks were under construction in the early 1960s.

The city’s largest tower block development was at Kersal, where thousands of people were rehoused by the local authority.

Rows of terraced houses are prominent in this aerial view of Salford, July 1974

Rows of terraced houses are prominent in this aerial view of Salford, July 1974

Many more unmissable pictures and memories of the past can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant book Around Manchester in the 1970s – on sale at a reduced price for M.E.N. readers.

Clive’s two companion books, Around Manchester in the 1950s and 1960s, are on offer at a reduced price too!

Just check out the full-page advert in this supplement for more details or ring 01928 503777 to place your order.