Pubs of Manchester

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

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Kings Arms, Helmshore Walk / Robert Street

Kings Arms, Helmshore Walk, Chorlton-on-Medlock, 1991. (c) deltrems at flickr.

The Kings Arms sits on Helmshore Walk on the delightfully named Skerry Close, well hidden between Upper Brook Street and Ardwick Green, just off the Mancunian Way.  The pub survived slum clearance, as it was originally on Robert Street before the razing this part of Chorlton-on-Medlock and the building of grim flats and council houses.  Although these days something of a forgotten old pub, the place holds a significance for modern day Manchester ale aficionados, as it was at the Kings Arms where Brendon Dobbin started the West Coast Brewery microbrewery in 1989, famed at the time for its stout and strong, hoppy Yakima Grande pale ale.  Dobbin went on to set up the Marble Arch as a brew pub and he also helped design and install the brewery plant [1] - so is partly to thank for the revitalisation of the "Manchester Pale Ale" styles we're enjoying today then.  The pub closed some years ago, and as a trading brew pub was apparently blighted by the scallies from the local estates.  The story wasn't much different in the 1950s when Bill Carroll took over and "...bad characters had driven away most of the customers, so a firm hand was needed to get the pub back to a profitable footing" [2].  

Kings Arms, Helmshore Walk, Chorlton-on-Medlock. (c) googlemaps.

2. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts (1997).


  1. Oh yes, remember that well. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (later Yakima Grande) was the classic "dangerously drinkable" strong hoppy pale ale. Declared at 6% ABV, believed to be rather stronger...

  2. Would like to hear more about Brendan and the brewery. Is he still on the scene?

  3. I think Guiltless Stout was his riposte to the Guinness scandal of the eighties. Apparently, Brendan now grows bananas in West Cork according to this

  4. I remember this pub well as I worked as a barman for a couple or three years from 1977-79 while I was at the nearby College of Music. At that time it was a thriving, seriously profitable Tetley's pub managed by Joe and Dorothy Mills. A bit rough sometimes in the vault but the locals kept trouble out and last orders were pretty frantic. Joe had a heart attack and the company moved them to a quieter town pub on the West side of Manchester round about 1980.

  5. l lived facing the pub as a child of 7 until moving in 1976. We moved in when newly built in 1966. My parents loved this pub along with locals had many a good night. l loved hearing all the latest songs from the juke box drifting in my bedroom window. Ghost stories of the old lady who haunted the pub.l remember the landlords keep changing but the one l do remember was Chubby and Margaret from Scotland they had a son Drew and a daughter Racheal. Memories of bottles of pop and sweets sold in the little shop they open for us kids to keep us out. Great times so sad to see it like this now, it was the place that bought young and old together l hope it remains standing forever.

  6. Used to drink in here from time to time after Uni in early 1990s. Don't even think I realised it was a brew pub. I'm sure my memory wouldn't have erased that if I had known. Used to come here to play pool if the table in the Bowling Green wasn't free. I remember being perplexed as to why they had Firkin Brewery beer mats, but that being another local brew pub at the time I guess there were connections.
    I had until recently forgotten the name of the pub and found out by asking on Twitter what the name of the "Victorian pub in the middle of council flats behind the University" was called. Found this page following a few responses. Sad to see it's no longer open. As I am now back living in Manchester I fancied a trip down memory lane.

    1. Have just walked past, being demolished, just wrong