Pubs of Manchester

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

Monday, 23 September 2013

Harp & Shamrock, George Street

Harp & Shamrock, George Street, Hulme, 1911. (c) Bob Potts [1].

The Harp & Shamrock on the corner of Newcastle Street and George Street, just south of City Road in northern Hulme stood from 1858 to 1917 [2].  It was originally a Bell Brewery beerhouse but was, for most of its life, a Walkers of Warrington boozer.  Licensing records state that in 1917 there was "No application for renewal; ceased to be used" but there is more to the story than that, as detailed in Bob Potts' highly recommended book [1].

Landlord of the Harp & Shamrock from 1898 to 1917 was Joe Clarkson (pictured above, back row, third from left), a local chap who had previously run the Friendship on Chancery Lane in Ardwick.  He took over at the Harp & Shamrock after two previous landlord had failed to make a go of it due to rough clientele.  Clarkson ran an orderly beerhouse though, refusing to serve "roughs" and under-age drinkers [1].

The beerhouse was soon nicknamed "Joe Clarkson's" and his son William worked behind the bar in 1914 when ale was three ha'pence a pint.  He remembered going to Wembley in 1904 to see Manchester City win the FA Cup beating Bolton 1-0, though he couldn't get a ticket.  Billy Meredith scored the winner and Meredith went on to run the nearby Stretford Road Inn, which was nicknamed "Billy Meredith's [1]."

Harp & Shamrock, George Street, 1917. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image [3].

In 1910 the Harp & Shamrock was refurbished and Clarkson's daughter, Elizabeth remembers: "It was lovely inside, like a palace really.  Dad was very proud of it.  We sold Walkers beer, which was very popular in Hulme.  We didn't sell spirits as the Harp & Shamrock was always a beerhouse."  The Clarksons had two more children - as pictured above [3] - who were born in the Harp & Shamrock [1].

The First World War came and although William Clarkson survived the war after serving with the 18th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (which no doubt gave the nearby estate pub, the Manchester Regiment, its name), the Harp & Shamrock did not.  Orders were given to demolish the beerhouse for the war effort under the Defence of the Realm Act.  The Macintosh factory (later Dunlop's rubber works) was extended over the site of Joe Clarkson's [1].

Clarkson was given just 10 days to quit the beerhouse which was his family home, his livelihood and his pride and joy.  He died just three years later aged 56 and "he never got over losing the Harp & Shamrock.  He died of a broken heart.  Our days there were the happiest time of our lives [2]."  Joe Clarkson and family are shown here outside their beerhouse in 1917 [3].

The spot where the Harp & Shamrock once stood is marked by the corner of Hulme Street (this end of Hulme Street was once George Street) and Newcastle Street, right on the edge of the city centre, in a nondescript part of town, these days given over to car parking.

Former location of Harp & Shamrock, Hulme Street (George Street). (c) Google 2013. View Larger Map.

1. The Old Pubs of Hulme and Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts (1997).
2. The Old Pubs of Hulme Manchester (1) 1770-1930, Bob Potts (1983).

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