A WIRRAL sculptor has created a stunning new statue that celebrates Salford's pioneering history and famous sons and daughters.

Emma Rodgers, famous for her Cilla Black statue in Liverpool, has created a cast bronze horse and lamppost decorated with symbols from the city's past.

Salford was the first city to have horse drawn trams and horses also worked underground in coal mines and along the canal system.

The horse’s veins mirror the Bridgewater Canal which began in Worsley in 1761, and was a pivotal part of the Industrial Revolution. Train tracks run along the bridle symbolising the first public railway through Eccles and across Chat Moss in 1830 and books run through the mane as England’s first free public library opened in Salford in 1850.

Each book represents a piece of Salford’s history and remembers famous sons and daughters such as Emmeline Pankhurst and scientist James Prescott Joules who lived locally. A poppy has been added to honour the Salford Pals who died in World War One and there is a tribute to Vimto as the first factory was in Chapel Street.

“I wanted to bring together and celebrate these firsts in one piece, offering an opportunity to discover, explore and reflect on Salford’s fascinating and inspiring stories,” said Emma.

“The name Salford derives from an Old English word meaning willows by the ford and this is symbolised by the entwined trees at the top of the lamp post, as well as signifying that Chapel Street was the first street in England to be lit by gas in 1805.

Emma also added a dog cocking its leg against the lamp-post in tribute to Salford artist Harold Riley and his famous sketches of dogs.

Messages and sayings from famous Salfordians also adorn the sculpture, including poet John Cooper Clark, The Hollies' Graham Nash, New Order's Peter Hook and actor Albert Finney.

City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “Salford men and women pioneered social and scientific advances, made personal sacrifices in war, helped women win the right to vote, invented Vimto and created music, films and art which are renowned throughout the world.

“We wanted to capture and celebrate that rich history of Salford firsts – many of which happened in Chapel Street and add another exciting element to the bars, restaurants, businesses and homes which are breathing new life into the area.”

Funding for the sculpture came from developers X1 who transformed nearby former Salford Town Hall into apartments.

Emma's sculpture will be unveiled on Wednesday, September 8, on Bexley Square, off Chapel Street, Salford at 11am by Peter Hook and Ceremonial Mayor of Salford, Cllr John Mullen.