Pubs of Manchester

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

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Rotters, Oxford Street

Rotters, Oxford Street, 1980s. (c) stagedoor at flickr.

For people in the 40-ish age bracket, Rotters probably evokes fond memories as a pulling place despite it being a bit of a tip. With its large dance floors, electrified ale and over-cautious bouncers, this wasn't the best club in town, but one which was popular with many and one of the first real cattlemarket type clubs. The club had two rooms from memory, one with a long bar in, with seating and dance floor in the other room. A large theatre type staircase also swept its way grandly up to the toilets situated in the first floor, bizarrely sat well out of the way of the bouncers sight and therefore a regular point of kick-offs. Indeed if you were lucky (?) you could find yourself tumbling down the stairs as a full scale brawl erupted behind you! Closed at the beginning of the '90s, this is still a part of Manchester's history, and well worthy of a mention on here.

Rotters flyer. (c) woody1969 at flickr.

As the above flyer suggests, originally Rotters was the Gaumont Theatre, opened in 1935 on the site of the just demolished Hippodrome Theatre on the same site. It was a lavish theatre seating 2,300, with a double height entrance, mirror-lined foyer and a grand central staircase leading to the 1,000-capacity circle [1] (the very same stairs that led to the toilets in Rotters!). In the basement was the Gaumont Long Bar. The exterior was in Italian Renaissance style with a huge neon display, reminiscent of an American theatre (probably why the Long Bar was so popular with Yank servicemen). The Gaumont was one of Manchester's most popular theatres but it closed suddenly in 1973 until it reopened as a first floor, ground floor and basement club, Romanoffs. It quickly became Rotters with its fake ceiling hiding the glorious old cinema fittings.

Gaumont theatre above Rotters, 1987. (c) stagedoor at flickr / Ian Grundy 2008.

The Gaumont Long Bar also closed and as the photo below shows, did at one time become another public house, The Place Next Door.

Gaumont as Rotters, 1980s. (c) woody1969 at flickr.

Sadly, in their wisdom Manchester City Council felt that what was needed was less fantastic old buildings and more car parks so the Gaumont and Rotters were demolished in the '90s.

Gaumont and Rotters being demolished, 1990s. (c) woody1969 at flickr.

Thankfully, the Wurlitzer organ on display in the Gaumont Theatre is still in use today at Folly Farm in South Wales, having been previously in display at the Granada Studios Tours (closed) then owned by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust [2].

Wurlitzer formerly of the Gaumont Theatre, now at Folly Farm. (c) Folly Farm.


  1. God that brings back memories. It could be pretty rough though. I was in Rotters once when someone got stabbed in the neck on that grand staircase and the blood went everywhere.

  2. The Gaumont was also home to one of the UK's finest Wurlitzer organs which was broadcast regularly in it's heyday. Fortunately the organ was removed from the building before it was demolished and is now used daily to entertain the many visitors of Folly Farm, Tenby, South Wales.

  3. It's good to know a little part of Manchester's history lives on, albeit some distance away! As the Folly Farm websites say, the organ was previously at Granada Studios until the Tour closed, then owned by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust.

  4. I remember Lewis Collins from the Proffesionals doing a persanal appearance in Rotters in the 80s surrounded by some models ,loved that place x