Pubs of Manchester

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

Monday, 1 February 2010

007. Britons Protection, Great Bridgewater Street

Britons Protection, Great Bridgewater Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

A fine pub sat just behind the Bridgewater Hall and one of the oldest surviving pubs in Manchester, licensed since 1806 as the Britons Protection, but actually the Ancient Briton before that from 1795 [1].  These images from the archive show it before and after a clean in 1959 and 1970.  With a large front room and then two smaller rooms at the back, this is something of a hidden gem, and with its always closed front door, somewhere that some people wouldn't think of entering.  To do this would be a crime, as the pub is one of the best examples of a real pub that you will come across.  Make a point of looking at the artwork displayed on the corridor walls as well, with many depicting the Peterloo Massacre at St Peter's Field in 1819.

Peterloo Massacre, "The Massacre of Peterloo or Britons Strike Home" by George Cruikshank. (c) Spencer Arnold/Getty.

The beer is kept in superb condition and there is always a varied selection of real ales on.  On our first visits, there were six ales on, together with the usual suspects of lager and Guinness.  The Protection also specialises in whisky, keeping over a hundred different single malts.  Always busy, you can sometimes struggle to find a seat, but don't let this put you off as one will become available sooner or later.  There is also a decent yard out the back with plenty of seating which often acts as overspill for the weekend crowd.

Britons Protection, Great Bridgewater Street. (c) Manchester Pub Surveys [2].

The prices are possibly a little higher than average, but in this case, its worth paying a bit extra for excellence.  There is a reason why this classic Mancunian boozer is always rammed despite being a bit out on a limb - well, three: quality product, quality decor and quality custom.  A bonus during our first visit of the year was bumping into local musician and Elbow frontman, Guy Garvey; clearly a man of taste.

Britons Protection, Great Bridgewater Street, 2009. (c) deltrems at flickr.

2. The Manchester Pub Guide, Manchester & Salford City Centres, Manchester Pub Surveys (1975).

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