Pubs of Manchester

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

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Benchill, Hollyhedge Road

Although "Europe's largest council estate" (still a claim to fame?) is at least 8 miles south of the city centre, Wythenshawe's inhabitants are largely generations of inner-city families who were moved on during slum and inner city clearances.  Manchester's sprawling "garden city" started being built in the 1920s and soon there were pubs built to serve the incoming populations.  Some of the first boozers were grand public houses built at strategic locations around the nine districts of Wythenshawe - the Yew Tree (Northern Moor), the Royal Thorn, the Royal Oak (Baguley).  Sometimes they were sometimes simply named after their district - The Newall Green, The Sharston, The Benchill.

Benchill, Hollyhedge Road, Benchill. (c) Google 2012. View Larger Map.

The Benchill sat on the Hollyhedge roundabout in the centre of Benchill, and in its day was a heaving Threlfalls then Whitbread pub which developed a slightly unsavoury reputation over the years:
  • Was walking past it one summers day in the mid-eighties around 11.30 in the morning and decided to see what it was like.  As I walked in, the only people in the place were two guys in their fifties who were having a full-on fist fight.  The landlord was polishing glasses as if it was an everyday occurrence (which it probably was) [1].


Benchill, Hollyhedge Road, Benchill. (c) Google 2012. View Larger Map. 

When the Benchill closed - at some point in the last decade or two - it became a housing office, although it was finally demolished just a few months ago in Autumn 2012.  The Benchill Hotel opened in 1936, and a Manchester Evening News article of the day, transcribed at the Manchester Family History Research site, contains some evocative descriptions of the newly erected pub:
  • It seems only a very short time the site of the hotel was almost inaccessible, brooks and hollows separating the shopping area in Hollyhedge Road from the fields beyond.
  • Development is rapidly going ahead, housing schemes are being carried out at the front and rear of the new hotel, roads are pegged out, school buildings have been started, and in a comparatively short time what is now green pasture land will become one of the largest section of the Wythenshawe satellite town.
  • Messrs. Threlfall's of Salford, having regard to the importance of the site, have spared no efforts or expense in providing what they claim to be on of the finest modern hotels since the war in this part of the country. 
  • With broad draw-up and a large parking ground for over 100 cars the hotel stands well back from the main road, and the quiet dignity of the building can be more fully appreciated.
  • The Benchill Hotel has been planned to give facilities under good conditions to all classes of customers. The large Central Lounge is entered from the forecourt through glazed revolving doors. The lounge is lighted and ventilated by a large ceiling lantern, and one end is entirely glazed and has French windows opening out on to an arched loggia near to the flagged terraces which during the summer months will be provided with teak tables and chairs.
  • Externally the hotel is reminiscent of many of the larger country houses of England. The brickwork is of narrow gauge sand-faced bricks set in cream tinted cement. The façade is picked out in the centre upper portion with solid oak half-timbered and cement panels, and the principal entrances are emphasised with flat lead-covered hoods carried on oak brackets. 
  • Simplicity of design characterises the whole of the building, and a well designed and beautiful hand made tile roof with swept valleys and bonneted hips lends charm to the building.
  • Messrs. Gaskell & Chambers (Lancs) Ltd. Have supplied their patent hygienic “Dalex” beer engines and patent “Hygex-Sillerite” rigid piping and fittings through which beers will be drawn by the most direct route from the cask to the counter [1].

2 comments:

  1. Looking forward to your reviews of the Royal Thorn and Royal Oak ....

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    Replies
    1. Next up will be The Sharston and indeed the Royal Thorn

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