Pubs of Manchester

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

Monday, 30 March 2015

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street, Stockport. (c) Jim Phelan with permission.

The Vernon Arms stood on the corner of Vernon Street and Warren Street in Portwood, Stockport. It has long been lost to the new ASDA development at the start of the Merseyway shopping precinct, but this lost Robinson's pub is fondly remembered. Jim Phelan, grandson of a former landlord of the Vernon Arms, James Sheehan, takes up the story.

James Edward Sheehan, born 1878, was landlord of the Vernon Arms before, during and after World War I. He was previously a pawnbroker and insurance agent before taking on the tenancy around 1912. In 1915 he enlisted in the Irish Guards for war service despite being 37 years old at the time. James fought at Passchendaele and was wounded in his knee and left hand. The photo of James standing in the doorway of the Vernon Arms was taken in 1913. The vehicle in the picture is a 1910 Napier 15HP Landaulette Taxi, registered in Sheffield.

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street. (c) Jim Phelan with permission. 

When his wife, Lavinia, died during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, James returned to look after his two young children. In the early 1920s, there was a post-war depression and supplies being hard to obtain, the business gradually declined. Rather than accept bankruptcy, James walked away from the Vernon Arms leaving all his possessions behind, and with his children, went to live with his elderly mother in nearby Edgeley.

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street. (c) Jim Phelan with permission. 

The wedding photograph was taken in the yard of the Vernon Arms circa 1918. James is standing in the back row, his daughter (Jim's mother), Kathleen (born 1912), is the little girl front right, and her brother Jim (1914) is the little boy on the left. Behind Jim is a Mrs Slattery who was the cleaner, childminder, barmaid and general dogsbody at the pub.

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street. (c) Jim Phelan with permission.

The black and white photograph shows the Vernon Arms in relation to the electricity cooling towers with the courthouse on the right and probably dates from the 1960s. Confusingly, this area is known as Portwood, Brinksway and Underbank, the street on the right, Vernon Street, leads up to the market. The pub was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the ASDA supermarket.

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street. (c) Google 2015. View Larger Map.

An odd looking new-build has replaced the corner on which the Vernon Arms stood, which is today occupied by a loans company. However, the old courthouse building opposite on Vernon Street remains and houses a coffee shop. Wonder what James Sheehan would have made of today's Stockport town centre?

Vernon Arms, Vernon Street. (c) Jim Phelan with permission.


  1. Unique collection of old picture makes your blog attractive for reader. I enjoyed reading your blog. Car Parking Manchester

  2. Have you thought on making a section with all the currently open pubs in Manchester and the ones worth going to?
    I also love to hear about your favorite brews! Think about it.

  3. That's what the numbered entries are about down the side, 001-205 --->
    We have done about a hundred more to be added with time!

  4. The building on the corner now housing a loans company used to be Burger King - it closed in 2011 -

  5. Would it be possible to post the photos of the pub on the Facebook group page of Stockport Memories - a group concerned with the history of Stockport? I would give Jim credit for the photos. Thanks! Carolyn Wright