Pubs of Manchester

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

Friday, 23 March 2012

Red Cow, Albion Street

Red Cow, Albion Street, Ordsall, Salford. (c) Salford Pubs of the 70s at flickr [1]. 

Salford's last beerhouse closing in August 1980, the Red Cow is shown here on Albion Street from Donkey Bridge, a vast footbridge which once spanned the Windsor Bridge Cattle Station spur all the way to West Hope Street, Ordsall.  The Red Cow was once a simple corner shop on the corner of Harrogate Street and Albion Street but crucially it was owned by Boddington's.  When the  Freemasons Arms on Spaw Street off Chapel Street and New Bailey Street closed, the brewery transferred its licence to their shop and the Red Cow beerhouse was born.

Red Cow, Albion Street, Ordsall. (c) Salford Pubs of the 70s at flickr [1]. 

The origins of the name, the Red Cow, may be revealed in the forthcoming book about Buffalo Bill's visit to Salford in 1888 by Tom Cunningham - more on that when it's published.  In the 1960s and '70s most of Salford and Manchester's remaining beerhouses were granted full licences, but oddly the Red Cow was an exception and continued to only sell beer - maybe just ale and stout... The Red Cow is pictured in 1980 just before it closed with landlady Lillian Wood and her loyal regulars.

Red Cow, Albion Street, 1980. (C) Kevin Cummins.

The Red Cow was demolished quite soon after it was closed and the building of Albion Way saw Albion Street being lost to the redevelopment.  The old Ripley Street maisonettes shown behind the pub have been remodelled into the Trenham Place houses.  The old location of the Red Cow is roughly in the middle of the south-bound lane of Albion Way where it says A5063 on the map.

Red Cow, Albion Street. (c) Salford Pubs of the 70s at flickr [1]. 

The Red Cow was immortalised on film when it acted as the backdrop to a row between Ray and a young Deirdre in a 1970s episode of Coronation Street.  These stills from the video show the Red Cow receiving deliveries of beer barrels from a Boddington's van - staged or not, this is fantastic scene courtesy of the Granada archives.

Red Cow, Albion Street. (c) Coronationstreettube [3].

Red Cow, Albion Street. (c) Coronationstreettube [3].

2. Salford Pubs - Part Three: Including Cross Lane, Broad Street, Hanky Park, the Height, Brindleheath, Charlestown and Weaste, Neil Richardson (2003).


  1. The Red Cow wasn't quite where you have placed it. On your satellite map it would be in the middle of the southbound lane of Albion Way - just below where it says A5063. The Ripley Close maisonettes shown in the background of my pictures haven't gone - they have been 'remodelled' into the houses on Trenam Place.
    You may have been fooled into underestimating the sheer epic scale of Donkey Bridge which spanned an almost unimaginable length - on the current map it would go from Albion Way right across to half way along West Hope Street.
    Salford still has a rich heritage of classic footbridges most of which - inevitably - have led to great boozers at one time or another. Most legendary of all, of course, is Cockrobin Bridge which spans from the site of the former Feathers on Laundry Street to the surviving Bee Hive on Holland Street. Wodens Street Bridge still crosses from Hulme to the Bricklayers in Ordsall, the Adelphi footbridge leads from Spike Island to the Hyde Park Corner - and Hough Lane Bridge leads off Spike the other way - now sadly only to the site of the demolished Wallness. Who can forget crossing Gerald Road footbridge to be greeted by the slightly unnerving sight of the Bridge on Lower Broughton Road. And of course, another old favourite - Hodge Lane Bridge spanning from the site of the long departed Stag Inn across to Eccles New Road.
    I seem to have digressed onto another of my foibles - there might be an idea for a blog in here somewhere...

  2. Thanks for the clarifications, invaluable as ever, I'll tidy this entry up.

    We've had some great guest posts - "Pub Shaman of Prestwich", "Manchester pub crawl of the 1990s", and the Spanking Roger review. Maybe it's time for a Salford Pub Expert to offer a post or two on the "Footbridges of Salford & their pubs" or similar?

  3. Well I am a Footbridge Shaman - there aren't many of us left you know.

  4. I used to love this pub and it only having beer was never a problem for me. I used to sing the praise of this pub to my mates in the Army and I did bring some 'southerners' to visit for a weekend to see what all the fuss was about. They loved the lock-in and spoke fondly of this place for years later! I did hear of a couple who returned under their own steam some time later as they couldn't believe the place. The Red Cow was legend to some of the dockers and lots of other drinkers from this area.

  5. went to the toilet at closing time as i went to leave lily the landlady was bolting the door shut to late she said you will have to stay for afters p waldron

    1. Looking for Paul with a mum called delia, for Linda McDonald, looking for her cousin Paul -- is this you?

    2. Looking for Paul with a mum called delia, for Linda McDonald, looking for her cousin Paul -- is this you?

  6. Check this out:

  7. Stunning find! Love the way they've parked a beer delivery truck outside the Red Cow and got two lads to hump the casks around. The footbridge looks good too...

  8. There was an Indian with Buffalo Bill's Wild West who was one of a number who contrived to get himself left behind in Salford in May 1888. His name was Charles Picket Pin, otherwise known as Red Cow.

    I would like to ask, did they name the pub after the Indian, the Indian after the pub, or is this just an incredible coincidence?

  9. I remember the Red Cow from the late 1960s. There was a old school opposite. My Dad used to rent it as a scrapyard. He had a couple of Alsatians guard dogs that couldn't resist biting kid's arms put under the gate. Even in those days that was frowned upon.

  10. I took my immaculately-dressed then girlfriend into the Cow just after she had finished doing an exhibition in Manchester. She asked Ian, Lill's son, for a Gin & Tonic. When he less-than-politely explained it was beer only, she spotted some old Babycham bottles and glasses on the shelf behind him and asked him for one. After telling her, again less-than-politely, that they were for display only, she persuaded him to sell us one. He then removed a glass from the shelf, pulled his hankie from his pocket and wiped the glass with it, before pouring the Babycham. Finally, again less-than-politely, he said he hoped she didn't want a cherry on it. Class act! Class pub. After that, she had pints. RIP Red Cow.

  11. Lily the landlady is my great grandmother, my grandmother her daughter also Lillian is my mums mum my mum is Deborah, if you knew the family would love to here stories, I have been trying to find photos too