Pubs of Manchester

All pubs within the city centre and beyond.
A history of Manchester's hundreds of lost pubs.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Kensington, Port Street

Kensington, Port Street (from Newton Street). (c) Neil Richardson [1].

Previously known as the Old Windmill and Sir Sidney Smith (an admiral in the French Wars), the Kensington was closed in 1986 for rebuilding and doesn't appear to have lasted much longer.  The pub's Port Street side can be seen in the 1970s and 1989, while its Newton Street entrance is photographed in the '70s.  As shown below, the building was pulled, leaving the Corriebest building from the 1989 photo standing alone (Crown & Anchor, Hilton Street in the background).

Former location of Kensington, Port Street. (c) Google 2010. View Larger Map.

1. The Old Pubs of Ancoats, Neil Richardson (1987).

Rovers Return, Shudehill

Rovers Return, Shudehill, 1877. (c) Greater Manchester County Records Office.

Ye Olde Rovers Return (inspiration for Coronation Street's Rovers Return?) was reported to be the oldest public house in the country, the building dating back to 1306, as seen on this drawing.  It was built as a manor house for the Wythin Grave family, and became a pub in the 18th century [1].  There's a load of photos of the Rovers Return at the archives seen here in 1873, here in 1882; here in 1905; advertised as the oldest beerhouse in Manchester here in 1910 with a proud looking young fella stood outside; here as a working men's café in 1938; here from a different angle in 1949; finally here as late as 1956 with a more modern market taking place in front of it, just before it was demolished in 1958.

In its last days it was known as the Rovers Return Trinket Shop, which was said to be haunted by the ghost of a young Jacobite soldier who was often seen gazing at a picture of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald in the shop [2].  There were also reported passages beneath the building running towards the Cathedral [1].

Rovers Return, Shudehill, 1920. (c) Burgess Beds.

The Rovers was next door but one to the Old Mosley, which itself was on the corner of Watling Street.  The large building to the right of the Rovers means the Rovers can't have been on the New Brown Street corner of Shudehill.  Therefore, bearing in mind that Withy Grove ends and Shudehill begins at Dantzic Street (and also New Brown Street in the past), then the location of the Rovers was where the Zavvi and Shudehill car park entrance is now (so therefore not far up from the Seven Stars).

Former location of Rovers Return, Shudehill. (c) Google 2010. View Larger Map.

A couple of paintings show the old place in much better nick. Wonder who the Benjamin is in the postcard, and whether he used to sup in the Rovers...

Rovers Return, Shudehill. (c) Steven Scholes.

Rovers Return, "Kind Regards, Hoping you are well, Benjamin". (c) delcampe.

1. Underground Manchester, Keith Warrender (2007).
2. They Still Serve: A Complete Guide to the Military Ghosts of Britain, Richard McKenzie (2008).

Fatted Calf, Cromford Court

Fatted Calf (as the Lacy Arms), Cromford Court, 1960. (c) Levy Boy.

The Fatted Calf was found in Cromford Court, one of the narrow passages off Corporation Street where the Arndale Centre was built over.  There are two evocative shots of the Fatted Calf at the archives, in 1910 and 1959.  This old pub has some history.  It's claimed that the National Union of Journalists was founded here.  William Newman Watts was the first NUJ general secretary until his death in 1918, based at the Manchester Evening News, and their first president was chief reporter for the Manchester Guardian.  Manchester had the largest NUJ branch in the early days, when all national newspapers had offices in the city [1].

Lacy Arms (inside the Star & Garter), 1960. (c) Levy Boy.

It also featured in the 1960 film, Hell Is A City, as the fictitous Lacy Arms, right down the so-called Higgits Passage.  The film featured inside shots of the Lacy Arms, but to further complicate matters, these were actually taken at the still-serving Star & Garter over on Fairfield Street near Piccadilly Station.  The Fatted Calf is one of many pubs lost beneath the monstrosity that is the Arndale Centre, an area that used to contain some of Manchester's most characterful streets, shops, cafes, clubs and pubs.


Yates's Albion Hotel, Market Street

Yates's Albion Hotel, Piccadilly. (c) [1].

The Yates's Albion Hotel is one of the many Manchester pubs now lost under the Arndale Centre, situated as it was on Market Street between High Street and New Brown Street.  However, it has the honour of being Manchester's first Yates's Wine Lodge.   These 1957 photos show the Yates's Wine Lodge signage on the roof of the Albion (originally from the Albion Hotel just up the road in Piccadilly), while this view in 1971 may have been down that side alley to the left.


Yates's / Merchants, Oldham Street (bottom)

Merchants, Oldham Street. (c) Alan Winfield with permission.

This Yates's became the Merchants, which had live music or comedy on most nights.  It also did Hot Toddys, maybe in homage to the blobs that were available in its days as Yates's.

Merchants, Oldham Street, 1991. (c) deltrems at flickr.

These days it the building is still Merchants Hotel but the bar is the rather dodgy Joe's Bar, a sports bar (formerly Bar Code).  Update: Joe's Bar now closed.

Merchants Hotel & Joe's Bar, Oldham Street. (c) Google 2010. View Larger Map.

Yates's, Oldham Street (middle)

Yates's, Oldham Street, 1990. (c) deltrems at flickr.

The smallest of Oldham Street's Yates's Wine Lodges, this one is now the jazz club, Matt & Phreds (opens 9pm; charges at weekends).  Like most of the pubs and bars on this side of the street, it has another entrance on Tib Street behind.  Back in the day the old Yates's butcher's and teetetal tavern occupied 77 to 83 Oldham Street, and this photo from the early 1900s is likely to be the Yates's in question, on the right.

Yates, Tib Street entrance, 1974. (c) NAH1952 at flickr.

This was where they did soup and bread for the dossers from nearby hostels [1].  Quite fitting that it ended up serving dossers years later - harder stuff this time, definitely not teetotal - in this grim Yates's Wine Lodge.  It was also PJ Bells and Kaleida in the 1990s and early '00s.

Matt & Phreds, Oldham Street / Tib Street. (c) touchmanchester and insitumanchester.

1. Ancoats Lad, Mick Burke & Frank Heaton (1996).

Friday, 29 January 2010

Yates's / Grapes / Yacht Club / Carrey's, Oldham Street (top)

Yates's, Oldham Street, 1991. (c) deltrems at flickr.

One of the three Yates's Wine Lodges that once graced Oldham Street, this was the largest, and is now the popular Frog & Bucket comedy club.  The four sets of double windows on both the Oldham Street and Great Ancoats Street sides used to offer views in and out of the two-floored pub.

Frog & Bucket, Oldham Street, 2009. (c) Frankie Roberto at flickr.

The Frog & Bucket actually started out on Newton Street in 1993, when the Britannia was reopened. A certain Peter Kay played at the "little Frog" before it moved to this larger venue.  The pub originally on this corner was the Grapes, appearing in the 1819 directory.  It became a Yates's Wine Lodge in the early 1900s as seen in this photo from the 1900s, but suffered a fire in the '60s, maybe '70s, not long after this picture was taken.  What was known as the Yacht Club was demolished and a new Grapes built, before it became a Yates's again [1].

Carrey's Wine Bar, Oldham Street. (c) Alan Winfield with permisson.

After its last stint as Yates's, it was Carrey's Wine Bar for a time in the mid '90s, as shown above.  An interesting photo below from the Ancoats Forever Facebook page shows the old Yates's [2].  I'm not sure what the crowds are for - perhaps waiting for opening time at the Crown & Kettle.
Yates's Wine Lodge, Oldham Street. (c) Ancoats Forever Facebook.

1. The Old Pubs of Ancoats, Neil Richardson (1987).

Downtown, York Street

Downtown was an underground bar built at the back of Piccadilly Bus Station shops on York Street (virtually under the Piccadilly Bus Station Chippy I would think).  It was very popular in the 1980s, despite being a little off the beaten track, and was very much a younger persons bar.  Downtown closed early '90s and I don't think has ever re-opened even in any new guises.  Currently no picture available unfortunately.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Welsh Harp, Lees (Laystall) Street

Welsh Harp, Lees (Laystall) Street. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image.

The Welsh Harp was around the corner from the still standing and open Jolly Angler, down Laystall (then Lees) Street from the recently gone White House.  It opened in the 1820s and closed in 1922 having been a Cronshaws then Groves & Whitnall house, after the giant brewery took over the smaller Cronshaws Alexandra Brewery of Hulme and all their beer- and public houses.  You can just about see the Welsh Harp here in 1898, halfway down Lees Street on the right.

Ancoats Hotel, Great Ancoats Street

Ancoats Hotel, Great Ancoats Street, 1950s. (c) Neil Richardson [1].

The Ancoats Hotel used to face the Cotton Tree on Great Ancoats Street, and was the next pub along from the Whitehouse as you travel along 'The Lane' towards New Cross.  It was previously known as the Houldsworth Arms, after the local mill owner, race horse owner and MP, Thomas Houldsworth [1], and ran by Robert George Stracey [2].  Around 1852 it became known as the Big Tub until it was rebuilt as the Ancoats Hotel in the 1930s. It was owned by the Manchester Brewery, Walker & Homfrays, Wilsons as seen here in the '70s, Greenhall Whitley and then finally as a freehouse in 1986.  It didn't last much longer, and neither did the whole row of buildings which were pulled down to leave the empty plots which remain today.

1. The Old Pubs of Ancoats, Neil Richardson (1987).
2. Manchester (Piccadilly) 1849, Alan Godfrey Maps (2009).

Green Dragon, Jersey Street

Green Dragon, Jersey Street. (c) Neil Richardson [1].

The Green Dragon was a Chesters house on Jersey Street at the junction with Pickford Street and Henry Street, as seen here in 1967.  Jersey Street ran through the heart of old Ancoats' Little Italy and the Green Dragon was a popular pub with the Italian men of Ancoats.  The vault door even had a sign on the door The Italian Room, and they used to play bowls outside on the street in summer [2].  The MM2 apartments, one of Ancoat's first regeneration developments, now straddle this site.

MM2 complex, Pickford Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

1. The Old Pubs of Ancoats, Neil Richardson (1987).
2. Manchester's Little Italy. Anthony Rea (1988).

Tommy Ducks, East Street

Tommy Ducks, East Street, 1991. (c) deltrems at flickr.

This famous old pub was situated on land on East Street in front of the Midland Hotel, a street which has not been lost to the Barbirolli Square complex.  The name Tommy Ducks apparently came about when the sign writer who was painting the name of the landlord, Tommy Duckworth, on the then Princes Tavern as it was once known, ran out of room on the sign.

Tommy Ducks, East Street. (c) Salford_66 at flickr.

Greenall Whitley house, Tommy Ducks is a Manchester institution and was famous for, amongst other things, its collection of knickers pinned to the ceiling, donated by the female customers!  A flash mob of women's libbers and lesbians once tried to take the offending garments but were thankfully thwarted.

There were a couple of glass-topped coffins used as tables, one of which was kidnapped by another pub for a while.  In its place they put a polystyrene replacement until the coffin was recaptured.  These two 1986 photos from the archive show its position in the shadow of the Midland Hotel on Lower Mosley Street, and the below on the from cover of An Endangered Species (35 pence from  Beer-Inn Print) [2] photos show Central Station (GMEX) behind Tommy Duck's.  We get a glimpse of the inside of the pub in these three great photos from the 1960s.

Tommy Ducks, before & after, 1993. (c) Debbie Hickey & Jacqui Norwood [2].

As one of the last remaining pubs in the area as all buildings around it were demolished as seen here in 1977, it was served with a temporary preservation order.  Arguments were raised between the developers and brewery who owned the land, and customers and locals who wanted the place retained for for its history.   Thankfully, some items were salvaged from the pub before it was lost, such as these fantastic goblets and beer glasses complete with the Tommy Ducks logo of two ducks.  Thanks to Gerald Distill - who picked up the glasses from the pub at least 20 years ago - for the photo of these fine artifacts.

Tommy Ducks glassware (part of a 5 + 1 set). (c) Gerald Distill.

The dispute lasted for many months with the order being renewed on a regular basis.  However, so the story is told, the preservation order expired on 12th February 1993 at midnight and with no one being able to renew it until 9am the following morning, the developers and brewery, in cahoots, seized the opportunity and tore Tommy Ducks down at 3am.  Indeed the story goes on that a barmaid who worked in there, left her coat in there overnight, returned the next morning to retrieve it only to find a pile of rubble!  Greenhall Whitley were later fined £150,000 for breaching the regulations.

Tommy Ducks, East Street. (c) Frank Mitchell at Hulme, C.on.M., All Saints, Ardwick Facebook [3].

2. An Endangered Species? The Public House - The Conservation and Protection of Victorian Pubs in Manchester, Debbie Hickey & Jacqui Norwood (1993).

Down Under, Peter Street

Down Under, Peter Street. (c) Ruba.

Down Under was an Australian themed cellar bar, just off Peter Street, and was very popular in its day.  Free to get in but with a late licence, it was popular with many later in the evening after the pubs had shut.  It had a disco on a Friday and Saturday which attracted a younger crowd, and indeed, the place itself was kitted out a bit like you would remember your local youth club to be.  Despite its popularity it eventually closed and was replaced by a club, Soft, then Doop, and a wine bar/club, Baby Grand.  This too is now closed.

Baby Grand, Peter Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Albion Hotel, Piccadilly

Woolworths, former location of Albion Hotel, Piccadilly, 1979. (c) MEN .

The Albion Hotel sat on the site of the old Woolworths building, on Piccadilly at the bottom of Oldham Street.  The pub is pictured here in 18801926 after a new facade, and this great 1902 photo shows the Albion in the background of these horse-drawn trams.  There was an adjoining Albion Hotel Vaults to the rear, accessible off Back Piccadilly [1].  The Woolworths building replaced the Albion and it seems that some of the signage from the Albion was used for the Yates's Albion Hotel further down Piccadilly towards Market Street.

Woolworth building, Piccadilly, 1979. (c) Woolworths Reunited.

Woolworths tragically suffered a fire on 8th May 1979 (the same sad day that Thatcher took power) in which 10 people lost their lives.  This Evening News account of the disaster describes how those who died would have survived if they'd taken the smoke a bit more seriously.  There is little left to indicate that the building was Woolworths' except for the stone company monogram which can be seen to the rear on Back Piccadilly.  The Nobles Amusement Centre resides in the lower part of the building these days.

1. Manchester (Piccadilly), Alan Godfrey Maps (2009).

South Junction Hotel, Oxford Street

South Junction Hotel, Oxford Street. (c )Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image.

The South Junction Hotel was on the corner of Oxford Street and Whitworth Street. The only evidence of the South Junction Hotel is the faint signage on the wall of the Acropolis restaurant in these two 1974 photos, OXFORD ROAD SOUTH JUNCTION HOTEL.  In the latter can be seen the grand-looking old pub, The Oxford, which would have been four doors down.  The South Junction stood where the Sainsbury's is now located on Oxford Street, opposite the Palace Theatre.

Former location of South Junction Hotel, Oxford Street. (c) Google 2010. View Larger Map.

Cellar Vie II, Charlotte Street

Cellar Vie II, Charlotte Street. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image.

Cellar Vie II, seen here in 1985, was spawned due to the success of its namesake and was situated around the back of Piccadilly Bus Station on Charlotte Street.  It has been opened and closed many times over the years as a succession of new owners tried over and over again.  It started as a classy place in the 1970s and '80s, and was popular as a late-night bar in the early '90s.  Sadly, it didn't have the staying power of its namesake and remains closed.  It does get a mention in the Evening News though - Dennis Tuart recalled a derby win in the 1970s (a 4-0 win in November '75 in the League Cup 4th round): "My wife and I walked into Cellar Vie II and got a standing ovation, which helped to bring it home how important the Manchester derby is [1]."

Champers Wine Bar, High Street

Ruby Lounge, High Street. 

In the 1980s, when High Street and Piccadilly were the end of town to be seen in, one of the most popular bars was Champers.  Sat next to Yates's / Blob Shop and just up the road from the Shakespeare and Bensons, this bar was part of the crawl for many people.  Essentially a downstairs bar, illuminated in neon and plastic, as was all the rage at the time, it attracted a mainly young crowd.  It did however begin to go downhill as more and more younger drinkers took to the place and now is infamous as the first bar to bring in the use of metal detectors for entry.  Eventually as the remainder of Manchester improved and took over this area for popularity, Champers shut.  It has fairly recently re-opened as music venue, the Ruby Lounge, and maybe, by carving a niche in this area, it may well survive.

Cellar Vie, Lloyd Street

Cellar Vie, Lloyd Street, 1990. (c) deltrems at flickr.

Cellar Vie was a popular cellar bar situated on Lloyd Street, and although historically they were both there a lot longer, I only know of them from the late '80s onwards.  Originally thought of as a poncey wine bar, it evolved into quite a popular cellar and music bar.  Over the years it had a mixed clientele with everything from young clubbers to football lads in the '90s.

It was still popular as ever until recently as this YouTube clip shows, and this City Life article saluted the survivor Cellar Vie.  Apparently the place was still going strong as a night club until 2008 but is now closed and up for sale, with the Boutique club (formerly Tmesis / Audio) adjacent to it.

Cellar Vie, Lloyd Street, 2008. (c) markydeedrop at skyscrapercity.

Monday, 25 January 2010

White House, Great Ancoats Street

White House, Great Ancoats Street. (c) Luddite Bicentenary [1]. 

The White House was one of Manchester's better pubs on the outskirts of the city centre, on the corner of Laystall Street, opposite Ancoats Retail Park.  With well kept Holt's always on and a couple of guests it was a popular enough locals' pub, so it was shame to see it closed and demolished in 2005.  I managed a few pints in here en route to the Commonwealth Stadium in summer 2001 (later to become the City of Manchester Stadium), and the White House's location meant it was well placed to pick up match day trade, so a pity it's gone.  The render below shows the monstrosity that sit here how - these flats will be knocked down themselves in a decade or two no doubt.  Quite why the White House had to go I'm not sure, as the land where the pub once sat just lies derelict next to the new builds.

White House, Great Ancoats Street (c). SteKnight at skyscrapercity.

The White House was originally known as the Prince Regents Arms, where one of the first meetings of Manchester radicals was held in 1812, not long after it opened [2].  The meeting was meant to have been at the Elephant in Tib Street but the organisers had been tipped off that the Deputy Constable would be coming to break it up.  They changed the venue to the Prince Regents Arms but that didn't stop soldiers, with guns and bayonets, arresting 38 weavers in the pub (it's easy to see how the Peterloo Massacre ended up happening seven years later at St Peter's Field).  The pub ceased being called the Prince Regents after 1838.  By 1840 it was known as the White House, and became a Walker & Homfray house, then Wilsons (seen in 1967), before becoming a free house in 1985 after a two-year closure [2].

White House, Great Ancoats Street. (c) Neil Richardson [2].

2. The Old Pubs of Ancoats, Neil Richardson (1987).

Wilton Hotel, Cannon Street

Wilton Hotel, Cannon Street. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image.

The Wilton Hotel, seen in in both these 1938 snaps, was lost when the Arndale Centre was built in the 1970s over much of Cannon Street.  Here's the lamp outside the Wilton from over 100 years ago in 1909, confirming its place near the corner with New Cannon Street.

Old Boars Head, Withy Grove

The Old Boars Head, Withy Grove. (c) [1].

The Old Boars Head sat on the site of the Printworks on the corner of Withy Grove and Corporation Street.  It was said (by the eccentric, murky, but seemingly knowledgable, William Connell in Underground Manchester) to be one of the many old Manchester pubs that were part of the city's secret tunnel network [2].  Seen in 1895 and 1906 in these archive images, the Old Boars Head lasted until the 1920s when Kemsley House later to become Thomson House and Maxwell House, the newspaper offices, were built.  Today this building houses all manner of popular but soulless chain bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the Printworks.

Printworks, Withy Grove, 2008. (c) markydeedrop at skyscrapercity.

2. Underground Manchester, Keith Warrender (2007).

Conservatory / Old Bank Street Brew House, Old Bank Street

Annies, former Conservatory, Old Bank Street. (c) theafternoonteaclub [1].

Yet another downstairs cellar bar, the Conservatory was situated on the corner of St Ann's Square on the passage through to Half Moon Street.  After conversion to a bar it was originally the Old Bank Street Brew House and it brewed its own ale from 1983 to 1985 [1], which must have been quite encouraging at a time when keg was king.  Tyson recalls it being a malty brew-type output though, like the Lass O'Gowrie was, and brewed ales such as the imaginatively entitled Old Bank Street Bitter.

As the Conservatory it was considered to be quite a classy place in its day, but it rapidly went downhill as it sold its soul to the baby-faced drinker when it returned after a period of closure as Bar 105.  All drinks at this time were £1.05 and whilst as a novelty it was great, it usually ended up with the place erupting in a booze-fuelled brawl later in the evening as those what struggled to hold their drink turned to fighting. The Conservatory shut in the 1990s, and after its brief stint as Bar 105 and then Bar 5 it remained closed for years.  Update: As of 2012 this place has reopened as Annies Restaurant.


006. Manchester & County, Piccadilly

Manchester & County, Piccadilly, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

Imaginatively referred to the as The Manchester and County on the Wetherspoons website (but referred to locally as simply Wetherspoons), this was the first of five 'Spoons pubs in Manchester city centre, the others being the Moon Under Water (Deansgate), Paramount (Oxford Street), Seven Stars (Printworks) and the Waterhouse (Albert Square).

Banshee, Piccadilly, 1990s. (c) MDMArchive.

This 'Spoons opened in the 1990s after the demise of the demise of the Banshee which had relocated to here from Oxford Street, it is a big open spaced pub with a large capacity, with some nice large pictures of Manchester back in the day hung around the place.  One such picture is of Piccadilly Gardens, opposite the pub, in the very early 1900s - when instead of a concrete eyesore, or a sunken gardens (until the early '90s), there stood the imposing Infirmary / Dispensary / Lunatic Asylum and a water feature, seen here in 1910 and here depicted in 1830.

Piccadilly Infirmary. (c) oldukphotos.

As with most of these types of pubs - especially city centre branches - the clientele tends to be generally older folk all day in search of the cheaper drinks and a total mixed bag in the evenings.  Food is plentiful and cheap, and it's one of the few places you can go for a breakfast whilst having a pint or bottle to wash it down with.

Manchester & County, Piccadilly, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

There are always plenty of real ales on (although the last pint we had in here was appalling), however it does tend to be something of a last resort, unfortunately, as this, and 'Spoons in general, tend to be soulless and full of the lower end of society.  There is however a place for them on the high street, and the better ones can be excellent.  The Manchester & County resides in an older building, a grand-looking the Italianate 1840s warehouse, which you'll never notice if you walk round town with your head down.

Manchester & County, Piccadilly. Tilt-shifted.