Pubs of Manchester

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

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

015. Shakespeare, Fountain Street

Shakespeare, Fountain Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

The Shakespeare as an Inn has stood on this site just off Market Street since 1771, but the pub standing here now may be even older. Apparently it was originally The Shambles Inn in Chester, 40 miles away. It was dismantled and brought to Manchester and reassembled here in the 1920s [1]. A slightly less dramatic version of this story is that the Tudor timber and carvings did indeed come from the Shambles in Chester, but were just added onto the already standing Victorian Shakepeare building in 1928. The pub is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who was raped and murdered by the chef, who subsequently went on to hang himself in the pub. The rope marks where he hung himself are reportedly visible on the ceiling beam inside the pub - however as we'd already sunk a few halves before our visit we thankfully forgot to look out for this macabre feature. The ghost is reported to stand at top of the stairs in the pub, appearing to be on fire [2].
A Wilsons pub in the '50s through to the '70s, it's a free house now and a bit of a rarity was on offer, cask Boddies. It was decent enough but nothing comes close to the creamy yet bitter Boddies that was available all over town in the '80s through to the end of the century when Boddingtons then-owners, Whitbread/InBev, made the terrible decision to wind down the Strangeways Brewery. Smaller volumes of this once great cask ale are now brewed at the Hydes brewery in Moss Side. The Shakespeare was busy enough on a Sunday evening, and despite the slightly shabby interior, it retains some charm and is worth a pint if you're passing.

Shakespeare, Fountain Street, 2007. (c) joseph mcgarraghy at flickr.

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