Pubs of Manchester

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

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Castle & Falcon, Bradshaw Street

Castle & Falcon, Bradshaw Street. (c) deltrems at flickr.

This old Burtonwood pub looked to have survived the building of the Metrolink line right past it, alas this was not to be. Regarded as one of the best pints in Manchester, the landlord had a good local clientele together with plenty of trade from nearby businesses. As youngsters, we regularly used to get lock-ins on Friday afternoons (3pm closing) and many a late night. A fine pub, sadly missed. Keith Warrender's Underground Manchester contains an account of the pub by J. Jamieson-Black from 1975. It describes a heavy door in the beer cellar, behind which were rumoured to be cob-webbed skeletons in a passage which led to the cathedral.

Before becoming a pub this building functioned as women's prison dating back to the 1700s, then a general lock-up and there are reports of a man being held here before being led to Shudehill Market to be hanged. The building was originally a church and two of the chapel's stained-glass windows survived in the pub. Bob Gray, a former Daily Mirror chief sub editor, amusingly refers to the Castle & Falcon as 'Fawlty Towers' in Robert Waterhouse's account of the national newspaper industry in Manchester in The Other Fleet Street.


  1. I thought it originally was a women's prison and the building dated from the 1700s?

  2. I frequented the Castle and Falcon back in the 80's. It was one of the pubs we used to go in on our break from work. We had a name for the pub that was passed down from our older colleagues - the C**t and Truncheon. This must have originated as its use as a women's lock up.

  3. I used to go in here frequently when I was a driver at Victoria Station in the 1980s. It was a cracking boozer and a sad loss to Manchester. I can picture the landlord now, though I can't remember his name. The lockins were great. I remember getting in there once at about half two in the afternoon and throwing beer down to beat the 3pm bell. But the landlord just locked the door and carried on serving. Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm I had drunk more than I was used to in a short space of time. Suffice to say that I eventually made my way to Piccadilly Station to catch a train home and that it took three trips to places like Romiley and Marple before I managed to find Guide Bridge!

  4. Replies
    1. Yes, you are quite right Bert Owen was my uncle and his wife was Kate. She refused to go into the cellar as she said it was haunted as she had seen a ghost. Lock-ins were the rule and frequented by the local constabulary.Many happy times as a child spent rummaging through the bins of the local Army Surplus shops in Shudehill with my cousin Roger (Now in Australia)

  5. Replies
    1. Thats right, Peter macgreggor was landlord along with his partner Doreen. I worked as a barman for a awhile

    2. Did Pete and Doreen used to be the landlords of The Harp and Shamrock off Rochdale Road?

    3. That was Sam and norma who also had the harp and shamrock,
      They opened the new castle and falcon club on dantzic st after the original was closed

  6. I frequented this pub in the mid 60s. The back room/lounge was furnished with bus seats. I used to play darts with the guys from the old fruit and veg market. The beat bobbies used to pop in and grab a crafty pint in the back room. I was shown the condemned cell by the landlord.
    I quit the city for 40 years and was amazed,on my return to find the pub gone. How can Manchester let such places go plus Tommy Ducks. Does this city have no concern with history and tradition;

  7. I used to know it as "the flying dustbin" and im sure there was a picture behind the bar of a dustbin flying through a window.