Shamrock, Bengal Street. (c) Marstons.
Quaint little back street pub halfway down Bengal Street (of Bengal Tigers infamy, as detailed in The Gangs of Manchester and the play Angels With Manky Faces) which is the last remaining pub within Old Ancoats in an area that once housed an untold number of pubs.
The Gangs of Manchester and Angels With Manky Faces (Marble Arch backdrop). (c) Guardian & Forever Manchester.
Maybe we'll eventually be able to put a number the pubs that used to stand in this small but significant part of town - it's certainly more than is claimed in the book, which states 25 pubs and beerhouses within 300 yards of the White Swan (a figure probably lifted from Neil Richardson's The Old Pubs of Ancoats), a few yards down the road from the Shamrock.
Shamrock, Bengal Street, Old Ancoats. (c) googlemaps.
Shown as a Wilsons house in 1962, and the '70s, it was a Burtonwoods pub by 1984, and is a Marstons house today. Lord Howe's Fleet used to stand next door to the Shamrock before being dropped in the '50s (the only pic we've seen of the Fleet is of it being demolished in Neil Richardson's book). Even further back it was described in the Manchester Guardian in 1862 as "Vault, brewhouse, grocer's shop and dwelling house", belonging to Renshaw & Cardwell's Hulme brewery. As its name suggests, it was an Irish pub, where the Orangemen and Catholics of Ancoats would mix freely according to Mick Burke .
Shamrock, Bengal Street, 1963. (c) 'All Work & No Play: An Ancoats Scrapbook', Heritage Works / Countryscape.
The landlady has done well to make the pub work, and it's a friendly first stop for ourselves on match day for an 11am pint or two. Usually frequented also by the nearby postal workers and elder statesmen from the Victoria Square flats, opposite, it's nice for the first couple of liveners. It might not be quite as friendly later on in the day as it becomes very much a locals only-place. Still, you can't have everything. On the beer front, it could be better as they only have Banks Smoothflow keg and mild, perhaps they just don't do enough trade to turn over cask. However, the Guinness is reasonably priced at £2.60. There is also a pool table in the corner, though the lack of a triangle on our recent visit (pinched by some scrote) made setting up a tad difficult! All in all though, the Shammy is a fine place for a day time pint, and you'll be doing your bit to keep this great little place going in the heart of old Ancoats, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
1. The Old Pubs of Ancoats, Neil Richardson (1987).
2. Shamrock, Bengal Street, 1963. (c) 'All Work & No Play: An Ancoats Scrapbook', Heritage Works / Countryscape.