Former location of White Bear, Piccadilly, 1962. (c) johncassidy.
The site of this old inn at the lower end of Piccadilly was once home to famous locals, Sir Ashton Lever and his wife Lady Darcy Lever (as in Lever Street). Lever was an animal and bird collector and loved animals so much he was responsible for bringing horse racing back to Kersal Moor in 1761. Their house is depicted here in around 1783, and the White Bear was built right in front of the house, incorporating parts of it into the hotel. This map from Manchesterhistory.net shows its proximity to the Mosley Arms Hotel, as well as the fact it had an entrance on Back Piccadilly.
The White Bear is pictured in the early 1900s - note the Rylands sign, which later became Pauldens and now is Debenhams. This 1903 shows the cast-iron framed building at 1 Piccadilly, built in 1879 . This building now houses one of Manchester's many Starbucks. This 1904 photo gives a close-up of the White Bear - it was directly below the 'PAUL-' below in front of the old sunken Piccadilly Gardens.
Piccadilly Gardens, 2007. Senzatitolo at imageshack.
The White Bear has now been replaced by the building in the centre-right here, now in front of the modern and ugly Piccadilly Gardens, with its brutal Japanese architecture, part of which is meant to screen the trams and buses from revellers in the Gardens (but instead looks like something you might have found in the '70s on a half-finished housing estate somewhere behind the Iron Curtain):
Reference to the White Bear was made in this clipping describing a huge boxing match which took place in Manchester some time during the last century. Not being a great boxing fan I can't be sure who Murray and Holland were, but they sounded popular:
1. Manchester's Northern Quarter, English Heritage (2008).