Salford gallery to host rare The Smiths art to mark ‘The Queen Is Dead’s 30th anniversary

The Lowry on Salford Quays is to be heavily Smiths-focused later this year

Salford art gallery The Lowry is to host an exhibition of photos as well as a separate soundscape exhibition relating to The Smiths later this year, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Manchester band’s third album ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

‘The Queen Is Dead’ was released in June 1986, and features an image of The Smiths taken outside Salford Lads Club on the inside gatefold cover of the vinyl. While the album was recorded in Farnham in Surrey, Morrissey is known to be particularly fond of the Queen Is Dead image, and the Salford site remains something of a pilgrimage site for fans of the Mancunians.

Stephen Wright – who took the Lads Club image – is to hold an exhibition at the Lowry, featuring the famous image alongside some other ‘seldom seen’ images in a show that opens on April 9.


The Guardian reveals that Morrissey sent Wright a personal thank you letter for the image, with Wright saying the photo has “pleasantly haunted” him ever since.

(Below: The Queen Is Dead front cover. Stephen Wright’s Salford Lads Club image featured as a gatefold image on the inside).


The gallery will also feature an exhibition set to The Smiths’ music, based around ‘other Smiths’.

The concept belongs to artist Oberman Knocks, who – with the approval of both Morrissey and Johnny Marr – will set interviews with people from Salford carried out by Jackie Kay (a poet at the University of Salford)with the surname Smith to the music of The Smiths. The idea is to show the ‘real’ Salford.

It was announced a few months ago, meanwhile, that the Salford Lads Club is to become a music venue.

Club spokesman Leslie Holmes said: “We have put in new fire escapes and a lift. We have improved access to the building with a grant. Now we can have 200 [people at the venue], and the sound gets better the more people you have in the room.”


“We could have small exclusive gigs. In the past we had a secret XFM gig with Liam Fray, of the Courteeners, and we have had Billy Bragg here. We had a limited number for the concert hall, and since we did the work with the Sport England grant we can accommodate more.”

Holmes added: “We think there will be a lot of interest from bands wanting to play here. We can apply for up to 10 temporary licences per year. We have one or two people interested already – promoters wanting to help us.”


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