Pubs of Manchester

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

Friday, 9 May 2014

Lion & Lamb / Wrecker / Mariner, Victoria Avenue

Lion & Lamb, Victoria Avenue, Blackley. (c) Alan Winfield with permission.

The original Lion & Lamb (previously the Old White Lion) was on the corner of Lion Street and Market Street in Blackley village, but it was knocked down in 1927 to make way for the new Lion & Lamb on Victoria Avenue to the north on the corner with Chain Road.  The license was transferred to the new pub and it opened the day after the original pub closed under the same landlady, Betsy Ann White [2].  For four decades the Lion & Lamb was a huge but typical suburban Wilsons house, seen here in three photos from the 1960s.

Lion & Lamb, Victoria Avenue. (c) Manchester Evening News [1].

However, in 1971 it was gutted and turned into a bizarre shipwreck theme pub and renamed the Wrecker.  This was after the maritime trick of luring ships to onto the rocks to loot, as the corner of Victoria Avenue and Chain Road with the pub was said to resemble a ship's hull.  Mike Morris remembers that the inside looked like a wrecked ship at an angle in a lagoon, with the ship mast in the middle of the bar area.  There were aged portholes and a video playing of palm trees in the distance.  This would occasionally switch to dark thunderstorms and real water would fall down from the ceiling.  If you looked down the big 'wrecked' hole in the floor you would see a real alligator in the 'lagoon'! [3].

Lion & Lamb, Victoria Avenue. (c) Roger Hall [2].

Unsurprisingly, this North Manchester theme pub, the Wrecker, didn't take off as planned, and the poor alligator would get pelted with empty bottles before animal rights types rescued it.  The Wrecker was renamed the more sedate Mariner for a couple of years, but then reverted back to the Lion & Lamb in 1979.  It was changed back to a normal, multi-roomed pub at great expense to Grand Metropolitan.  The Lion & Lamb closed in about 2003 as a Banks's house and was gutted by fire in 2005 [1].  It was demolished not long after and nothing stands on this corner today.

Former location of Lion & Lamb, Victoria Avenue. (c) Google 2014. View Larger Map.

2. The Pubs of Blackley, Roger Hall (1980).


  1. Very interesting post - I remembered there had once been a pub on that vacant site. Bizarre example of 60s/70s theme pubs.

  2. There are more stories to tell about this notorious place... but I'll leave it for other to hopefully comment

    1. The boss dec.
      The boss decamped to Spain with a barmaid and left the pub open to be drunk dry no-one has commented on this

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  6. I lived in blackley and drank in the pub as a young man, I don't think this pub damaged by fire they just knocked it down,to make way for property development which never happened this was a landmark pub stepped in history, I think it may of been a listed building, I think whoever knocked it down should be ordered to rebuild it as it was the Hart of this community

  7. Let's start a petition to Manchester city Council asking for a explanation why it was knocked down and demand its rebuild as the site had been left unoccupied and an eye sore since the doggy demolition took place

  8. Is this site still active?

  9. I was the Landlord here during that hot summer of 1976. If people are interested I will post what I know, but be aware, I don't have many nice things to say about some of the scumbags who used the pub. Truth is decent local people had mostly given up on it years ago

  10. Interested to hear of any memories about the Lion & Lamb or the Wrecker, including the crocodile in the pond (?!). We are hoping to do something good in terms of decent houses for local people with the bombsite left behind all these years.

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