Pubs of Manchester

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

Friday, 30 April 2010

Cronshaws Brewery, Erskine Street, Hulme

Location of Cronshaws Alexandra Brewery, Erskine Street. (c) googlemaps.

To the south of the city centre in Hulme between the main arterial routes of Chester Road and Princess Road was Cronshaws Alexandra Brewery on Erskine Street (the Platford and the Three Legs of Man sit on the junction of Erskine Street and Stretford Road), also facing onto Drayton Street. The map these days shows how these streets are close by but don't meet, so it looks like the development of Hulme changed the routes of these streets somewhat.

Erskine Street and Drayton Street. (c) googlemaps.

Cronshaws Alexandra Brewery, with a distinctive 120-foot high brewhouse tower, was built in 1872 by local architect James Redford. The architectural style of the brewery was described by The Builder as being "early Lombardian Gothic"; Redford used stone dressings, ornamental brickwork and panels of glazed green and red bricks to enliven the tower [1]. On 8th September 1899 Groves & Whitnall, a giant brewer in Manchester at the time, purchased the Alexandra Brewery and their tied houses. Mr W. S. Cronshaw was kept on as manager of the brewery and nine months later accepted a seat on the board of Groves & Whitnall [2]. This 1901 photo shows the Alexandra Brewery on Drayton Street just after it had changed hands from Cronshaws to Groves & Whitnall. Interestingly the photographer marked a boundary on it, possibly the Manchester-Trafford border? A 1965 photo shows the ornate buildings and tower more clearly.

I don't think there are any surviving pubs showing the Cronshaws signage, hardly surprising, over 110 years since it ceased to exist. However, we do know the Deansgate was once a Cronshaws house as was the Welsh Harp on Lees (Laystall) Street. The Kings Arms in Salford, a cracking boozer just over the river outside our boundary, was built by Schofield Cronshaw the family. Old Cronshaw bottles are highly collectible these days due the hand and arrow Cronshaws trademark as shown on the c.1910 bottle:

Cronshaws hand and arrow bottle. (c) Igor at

Thursday, 29 April 2010

St Peter's Hotel, Booth Street

This 1929 photo shows the St Peter's Hotel as a Walkers & Homfray house on the corner of what we think is Booth Street and Cooper Street. The Waldorf Restaurant on Booth Street here is an odd one, as the Waldorf Hotel was just a few doors down on Cooper Street in the old Freemasons Hall. Could be that the pub was named in homage to the old restaurant? Note the sign advertising 'Special Invalid Port' for 4'9 with equally unlikely hoarding for Ryvita Crispbread above it!

Probable site of St Peter's Hotel, Booth Street. (c) googlemaps.

Hardy's Crown Brewery, Renshaw Street, Hulme

Hope Inn, Stockport. (c)

Hardy's Crown Brewery was in Hulme, just to the south of the city centre. Shown in these three 1964 photos, the brewery may already have ceased production, as the buildings were demolished in 1965 after the brewery was bought up by United Breweries in 1962 [1]. The first photo is described as the Crown Hotel and Brewery, and this 1964 pic shows the public house that was incorporated into the brewery. Renshaw Street and South Street are no longer on any maps so I suspect this area may have been swallowed up by some housing development or other.

Hardy's Well, Rusholme. (c)

The only lost pub we know of as a Hardy's house was the St Andrews Tavern in Norton Street near London Road Station. However, a number of old Hardy's pubs in Greater Manchester still display the signage, the Hope Inn in Stockport still proudly bearing the whole name. Possibly the closest boozer to its old brewery is the Salutation ("the Sally" in Hulme).

Salutation, Hulme. (c)

Hardy's Well in Rusholme at the end of the "Curry Mile" is actually named after the brewery, though it was Birch Villas in the days when some of us used to sup there pre-match. Over the road is the grim Huntsman with its white stone Hardy's Crown sign.

Huntsman, Rusholme. (c)

Heading further south, one of the finer looking pubs in Sale is the Bulls Head with its unmissable Hardy's signage on the A56. The Bulls has reopened recently to much fanfare in the real ale community, though every time we've been in neither the ale or the crowd has been much to write home about, so we stick to the ever reliable Volunteer up the road - amongst the many fine Holts houses in Greater Manchester, we reckon this must be right up there.

Bulls Head, Sale. (c)

Finally, The Stonemasons, further south still in Timperley was actually rebuilt in 1926 but you wouldn't know it looking at the old pub, as shown here from the Trafford Archives - the licensing magistrate demanded that the new pub retain the features of the one they knocked down - including the Hardy's masonry.

Stonemasons Arms, Timperley. (c)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Berlin / Asylum, King Street West

Berlin flyer, King Street West, 1984. (c) Manchester District Music Archive.

Berlin was a basement bar and club and is shown in these two 1986 photos from the Archives. It was a small, dark low-roofed place with one of the first dry ice machines in town and a big screen showing films and video footage. It was previously Blinkers, a members restaurant club, and later the Asylum.

Blinkers, King Street West, 1978. (c) Manchester District Music Archive.

Asylum, King Street West, 1987. (c) dubwise-er at MDMA.

The exact site of Berlin was probably this building, Pierre Alexandra the hairdressers, as judged by the pipes on the outside of the building, which don't seem to have changed since the 1986 photos above.

Site of Berlin, King Street West. (c) googlemaps.

Rafters / Jilly's / Music Box, Oxford Street

Rafters, Oxford Street, 1978. (c) Manchester Music District Archive.

Hearing about the closure [1] of a heavy rock / goth club (Jilly's Rockworld and Music Box, below) would barely rasie an eyebrow to most modern day Mancunian music aficionados, except for those that knew their history. Originally this venue was arguably one of the centres of the creative bursts that spawned Joy Division, The Fall, The Smiths, etc. in the wake of Buzzcocks in the late 1970s.

Fagin's first opened at street level on Oxford Street in 1970, hosting the likes of Cliff Richard, Lulu and Scott Walker, the club downstairs opening a few years later as Rafters. By 1977, soon-to-be Joy Division manager Rob Gretton was a promoter at Rafters, putting on Slaughter & The Dogs, Magazine, Warsaw etc. The following year, on 17th April 1978, the Stiff Test / Chiswick Challenge was held at Rafters.
Joy Division were seventeenth on, watched by Anthony H Wilson, Alan Erasmus and Gretton (three gents who were about to start Factory Records), who remembers "...they went on about ten to two and they were blazing madmen. And I just watched them. Great! Best band I've ever seen - and they sent a tingle up my spine. And I was dancing all over... I went up at the end telling them how brilliant I thought it was... And I went raving about them all next day [2]."
Also at this event performing were Paul Morley and Kevin Cummins who would go on to great things in the music industry - though not as musicians (their group The Negatives were a band hastily thrown together just for the night!). Rafters eventually closed in 1983, taken over by Jilly's, a small but popular rock club that had been across town near Piccadilly Station during the '70s - though not before some Rafters regulars had been snapped supping at the bar. Rather confusingly, upstairs then became Jilly's Rockworld and downstairs, the Music Box.

The bar in Rafters, 1983. (c) Manchester District Music Archive.

Cloisters, Oxford Street

Cloisters was the less famous neighbour of Rafters, Rotters et al on Oxford Street. The club was cheaper to get into with cheaper drinks, so probably attracted a certain type of punter in the '70s (think modern day Peter Street). It was a sticky-carpet cellar club and bar, with a bizarre slightly medieval theme and it had life-size suits of armour around the dance floor. There is even a documented haunting recorded for Cloisters - in the '70s the deceased owner, Bill Benny, was reported to have turned up on CCTV a few years after his death [1]! Cloisters closed in the late '70s, and from what I can gather was on the same side of Oxford Street as Rotters, towards St Peter's Square.

Legend / 5th Avenue, Princess Street

Legend, Princess Street. (c) Manchester District Music Archive.

One of the better known clubs in Manchester for many years (so well known it had its own brochure, as shown above), Legend was a basement club situated opposite the Cyprus Tavern and was (and still is) very much a student haunt. Legend opened in 1980 with some impressive decor inside, such as these ceiling lights:

Legend, Princess Street. (c) Manchester District Music Archive.

Well known as one of the best Indie music clubs back in the day, it regularly has up and coming bands on and is still as busy nightly now, as 5th Avenue, as it ever was. Legend was an excellent club for a late drink with good music, in a time when late bars weren't really available as they are now.

5th Avenue, Princess Street. (c) Myvillage.

5th Avenue, Princess Street. (c) Gene Hunt at flickr.

Rotters, Oxford Street

Rotters, Oxford Street, 1980s. (c) stagedoor at flickr.

For people in the 40-ish age bracket, Rotters probably evokes fond memories as a pulling place despite it being a bit of a tip. With its large dance floors, electrified ale and over-cautious bouncers, this wasn't the best club in town, but one which was popular with many and one of the first real cattlemarket type clubs. The club had two rooms from memory, one with a long bar in, with seating and dance floor in the other room. A large theatre type staircase also swept its way grandly up to the toilets situated in the first floor, bizarrely sat well out of the way of the bouncers sight and therefore a regular point of kick-offs. Indeed if you were lucky (?) you could find yourself tumbling down the stairs as a full scale brawl erupted behind you! Closed at the beginning of the '90s, this is still a part of Manchester's history, and well worthy of a mention on here.

Rotters flyer. (c) woody1969 at flickr.

As the above flyer suggests, originally Rotters was the Gaumont Theatre, opened in 1935 on the site of the just demolished Hippodrome Theatre on the same site. It was a lavish theatre seating 2,300, with a double height entrance, mirror-lined foyer and a grand central staircase leading to the 1,000-capacity circle [1] (the very same stairs that led to the toilets in Rotters!). In the basement was the Gaumont Long Bar. The exterior was in Italian Renaissance style with a huge neon display, reminiscent of an American theatre (probably why the Long Bar was so popular with Yank servicemen). The Gaumont was one of Manchester's most popular theatres but it closed suddenly in 1973 until it reopened as a first floor, ground floor and basement club, Romanoffs. It quickly became Rotters with its fake ceiling hiding the glorious old cinema fittings.

Gaumont theatre above Rotters, 1987. (c) stagedoor at flickr / Ian Grundy 2008.

The Gaumont Long Bar also closed and as the photo below shows, did at one time become another public house, The Place Next Door.

Gaumont as Rotters, 1980s. (c) woody1969 at flickr.

Sadly, in their wisdom Manchester City Council felt that what was needed was less fantastic old buildings and more car parks so the Gaumont and Rotters were demolished in the '90s.

Gaumont and Rotters being demolished, 1990s. (c) woody1969 at flickr.

Thankfully, the Wurlitzer organ on display in the Gaumont Theatre is still in use today at Folly Farm in South Wales, having been previously in display at the Granada Studios Tours (closed) then owned by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust [2].

Wurlitzer formerly of the Gaumont Theatre, now at Folly Farm. (c) Folly Farm.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Kays Atlas Brewery, Grey Street, Ardwick

Location of Kays Atlas Brewery, Grey Street, Ardwick. (c) googlemaps.

Kays Atlas Brewery was a mile or two east of the city centre in Ardwick on Grey Street off Hyde Road. The brewery is seen in a sad state in these 1969 and two 1971 photos with its windows put through. In its heyday the brewery would have been within earshot of Hyde Road, Manchester City Football Club's first proper stadium, which stood on Bennett Street just north-west of Grey Street. Once holding 40,000, the stadium was a cramped affair and City had moved onto the 80,000-capacity Maine Road in Moss Side by 1923.

Location of old Kays Atlas Brewery, Grey Street, Ardwick. (c) googlemaps.

The Stockport and London-bound west railway line passes over Grey Street here, and under the bridge a few yards from where the old brewery stood is where the Manchester Martyrs attacked and killed a copper in the Fenian Ambush of 1867. A memorial for the three Fenians sits here, commemorating the last public hangings in Manchester.

Fenian Ambush. (c) wikipedia.

Only one former Kays Atlas house stands in town, the Castle on Oldham Street, and lost Kays Atlas houses include the Greengrocers Arms in Blossom Street and the Brown Bull, Malaga Street. This is the only old Kays Atlas house I can find for the moment, and sadly the pub is unidentified:

Unknown Kays Atlas pub, Manchester. (c) curlywurly at rootschat.

Kays Atlas was acquired by Robinson's of Stockport in 1929, but Kays can still be seen in the odd pub around Manchester today. For example the fine old tiled frontage at the Forresters Arms on Ashton Old Road in Gorton:

Forresters Arms, Gorton, 2005. (c) BreweryHistory.

On the old Bankfield Hotel on Mottram Road in Hyde, the "K" and the "Beast and Key" Kays family emblems are still seen:

Bankfield Hotel, Hyde, 2005. (c) BreweryHistory.

The most obvious example of Kays Atlas tiling can still be seen in the city centre - the classic brown frontage of the Castle on Oldham Street was installed by Kays Atlas about 100 years ago, and fittingly, it's now the only Robinson's tied house in town.

Castle, Oldham Street. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

Kays Atlas bottle. (c)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Free Trade Hall, Peter Street

Free Trade Hall, Peter Street. (c)

Built in 1853-1856 to the designs of Edward Walters, near the site of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre on what is today Peter Street (formerly St. Peters Fields), the Free Trade Hall was a symbol of free trade and the wealth that it helped to generate for Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. It was also used as a concert hall, the Hallé Orchestra first performing there in 1858, and continuing to do so until its move in 1996 to the Bridgewater Hall.

Free Trade Hall. (c)

There have, in fact, been three buildings known as the Free Trade Hall on the same site. The first two were built to host meetings of the Anti-Corn Law League, during the Corn Law debates of the 1830s and 1840s. The first building was a wooden structure, followed by a more solid stone construction. The third, the facade of which still stands today, was completed in 1856, as a permanent monument to commemorate the repeal of the Corn Laws ten years previously. Heavy bombing during the Manchester Blitz severely damaged the building, and it was reconstructed by Leonard Howitt, eventually re-opening as a concert hall in 1951.

Free Trade Hall, WWII. (c) BBC.

In 1997, the building was sold by the council to private developers and the reconstructed building retains the original facade but has been otherwise completely rebuilt as the Radisson Edwardian Hotel [1]. Two of the most famous concerts in musical history took place at the Free Trade Hall - Bob Dylan's "electric gig" on 17th May 1966, where he was famously branded a Judas by a member of the audience for deserting his folk roots; and the Sex Pistol's on 4th July 1976, upstairs at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, organised by the Buzzcocks and attended by what were to become Joy Division, The Smiths and The Fall. Like all good gig venues it had a bar of sorts. These 1955 photos show the bar in the public Promenade Lounge.


Metro Bar & Restaurant, St Peter's Square

Metro Bar & Restaurant, shown in 1929 on the left, stood in the old row of buildings that were replaced by the Central Library and Town Hall Extension in 1934 and 1938. In the below photo which shows the Town Hall in the background, the Metro was the premises below and just to the left of the Town Hall clock tower.

St Peter's Square. (c)

A cracking photo from 1957 shows a builder enjoying a pint on top of the just finished Peter House which stands on the south side of St Peter's Square. Health and safety these days wouldn't allow such a snap shot, nor would they allow dimpled pint pots!

St Peter's Square. (c) Manchester Confidential.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ducie Arms Hotel, New Bridge Street

Former site of Ducie Arms Hotel, New Bridge Street. (c) googlemaps.

This plain looking Boddies house sat right on the edge of our boundaries (and is not to be confused with the old official Boddingtons brewery pub, the Brewery Tap up Great Ducie Street, also gone).  The Manchester Evening News Arena has been crudely plonked near to this part of town, diagonally opposite the row of premises which contained the Ducie Arms seen in the 1964 and 1967 photos, as well as part of Victoria Station.  The Ducie Arms faced the huge Boddingtons Brewery with its famous chimney.  This now stands alone since the rest of the brewery was demolished when Interbrew / Inbev decided to kill off one of our most famous ales by moving production to Scotland and Wales, thereby ringing the death-knell for Boddies cask, once a glorious pint.  Thankfully Manchester is still blessed with four excellent and popular local brewers in Holt's, Hyde's, Lees and Robinson's (Stockport), with an abundance of microbrewies, meaning every pub in town really has no excuse not to serve local ales.

Waterloo Hotel, Chatham Street

Just around the corner from where it all started (the Waldorf), and opposite the Brunswick stood the Waterloo Hotel on the corner of Piccadilly and Chatham Street. It was probably one of the earlier railway public houses and hotels after London Road Station was built. On this 1851 map from, note the Fever Hospital that once stood on Chatham Street in the above map. A few yards further along from the Waterloo was the grand and then world famous Queens Hotel, which in its time welcomed the Kings of Belgium, Portugal and Romania, Emperor of Brazil, Prince Napoleon, President Grant, Thackeray and Charles Dickens, amongst others [1]. This car park now sits on the site of the Waterloo:

Site of former Waterloo Hotel, Chatham Street. (c) googlemaps.

Spread Eagle, Hanging Ditch

Originally the Spread Eagle Inn in Hanging Ditch near its intersection with Corporation Street, it's seen as a large hotel in these two 1902 photos, but a year later was pulled down as seen in 1903! In this map shown at you can see that the Spread Eagle was just around the corner from the New Boars Head and the famous Seven Stars on Withy Grove. Note how the meeting point of Hanging Ditch and Withy Grove, where the gaudy main entrance to the Printworks is today, was once known as Hydes Cross.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Concert Tavern, York Street

Situated on the corner of Milk Street, the Concert Tavern was named after the theatres which stood in this part of town. The original Theatre Royal burnt down in 1789 to be replaced by the New Theatre Royal, later called the New Amphitheatre then the Queen's Theatre, on the corner of York Street and Spring Gardens as shown in this map from The Queen's Theatre was demolished in 1869 to be replaced by a warehouse apparently, followed by Parr's Bank, which now houses the dreadful Athenaeum pub [1]. Not much more is known about the Concert Tavern, but a couple of doors down on the corner of Fountain was the The York pub, on the lower floors of the Oddfellows building.

Old Swan, Long Millgate

Just around the corner from its more famous neighbour, the Sun Inn on Poet's Corner, the Old Swan stood roughly opposite where indicated below in front of today's Urbis. The excellent site contains more photos and maps of this area then and now [1].

Former location of Old Swan, Long Millgate. (c)

Mosley Arms Hotel, Piccadilly

The oldest Mosley Arms stood next to the White Bear Inn in the early 1800s, as seen in this map on It was replaced by a much larger and grander building in the latter part of the 1800s, the Mosley Hotel, as pictured below (White Bear just about visible on the left). The building was replaced by The Piccadilly Cinema in 1922 [1], a building which still stands, housing Boots and a Bella Italia restaurant.

Mosley Hotel, Piccadilly. (c)

Monday, 19 April 2010

065. Yates's, Portland Street

Yates's, Portland Street. (c) beerintheevening.

Yates's is what Yates's is. You know what you're getting with these sort of places, so you can't complain when it lives up to all its stereotypes. As you'd expect, it's got no real ale, its full of loose fitting women, and knuckle dragging fellas of no real particular age group. In short, Yates's is for the generally lower end of society, but it serves them wonderfully. With its blaring music, neon lighting and sticky floors, it is amazingly popular still, carving out its niche in this part of town, where clearly, it's just too far to walk to the Printworks! I've not been in here at night times for years, I suspect it will be years before I return again, buts it's done now and off the list. Thankfully this is the last of Manchester's Yates's, with the Oldham Street trio, High Street and Market Street Wine Lodges gone for good.

064. Ducie Bridge, Corporation Street

Ducie Bridge, Corporation Street, 2009. (c) deltrems at flickr.

The Ducie Bridge is an old red brick pub (1815) that sits on the corner of Corporation Street and Miller Street which has never been particularly inviting if I'm honest, but one that had to be done. Surviving more due to the weekday office trade (CIS and CWS towers are right in front) than its night time clientele this is a rather nondescript pub, with no choice of real ale and just the usual keg substitutes. Its only saving graces were the rare sight of Holts Smoothflow, the pool table in the corner, though this was covered up (could be because it was derby day) and the medley of Smiths songs put on by the barman, which was a nice touch. The Ducie is ideally situated for a quick one from Victoria Station, it's a shame that they don't try a bit harder, because given the choice between here and the nearby houses of Crown & Cushion and The Angel, its unlikely you would choose here, not least due to the lack of real beer. In the past it's been a Wilson's house, shown below in 1990, in 1971, and in the 1960s. A few years ago it was even a Maries Table chain pub (new one to me) for a while, also pictured below. Going back to 1870, landlord John Ashton was charged with allowing thieves to gather in his pub [1].

Ducie Bridge, Corporation Street, 1990. (c) deltrems at flickr.

Ducie Bridge, Corporation Street, 2001. (c) Scottyweb.

1. Crime City: Manchester's Victorian Underworld, Joseph O'Neill (2008).

063. Angel / Beer House / Weavers Arms, Angel Street

Angel, Angel Street. (c) beerintheevening.

Taking its name from the nearby infamous Angel Meadow, arguably Manchester's worst slum during the Industrial Revolution, it's great to see the Angel open regularly in this unheralded but historical part of town. Originally the Weavers Arms, then more famously the institution that was the Beer House (for a time a Tetley's house), this boozer was a real ale geeks' paradise in the '80s and '90s along with the Marble Arch up the road.

Beer House, Angel Street (off Rochdale Road), 1990. (c) deltrems at flickr.

The Beer House shut its door seemingly for the last time (as it looked like it was about to fall down) in around 2005 along with its neighbour, the Pot of Beer. I must have just caught it before it bowed out as I distinctly recall being amazed that this odd little pub was so thriving, early on a week night in what must have been 2004.

Beer House, Angel Street, 2006. (c) scoopergen.

But, pleasingly, we were all wrong. When it first re-opened it was as The Angel, a gastropub complete with renowned local chef (Robert Owen-Brown) and impressive menus, aiming for the discerning diner more so than the casual drinker. Not surprisingly over this side of town, it never really took off, despite selling some fine ales, and the chef has since moved onto pastures new at the now impressive Mark Addy, just over the River Irwell in Salford.

Beer House, Angel Street, 2006. (c) scoopergen.

The Angel has since had a spruce up and reinvented itself as primarily a seller of fine beers, and has really stepped up to the mantle in this regard, with a huge and varied selection of ales, cider and lagers, all of which appear excellently kept and well priced, at £2.40ish a pint. They still do food upstairs, which although is not the price (or standard?) of Mr Owen-Brown's, has received kind words recently. Upon our arrival yesterday, it was interesting to see that they had opened the side wall out with a patio door and turned the back yard into a makeshift beer garden, overlooking the delights of Rochdale Road, weather-permitting. The landlord also had a bit of a BBQ going which was a nice touch. Opening on Sundays might not be a bad idea either!

These two photos looking up Angel Street towards the pub (top of the hill on the left) show how this area has changed since Engels described 1840s Angel Meadow as "Hell on Earth".

Angel Street, 1890 and 2009. (c) Both camm33 at flickr.

Nowadays, this forgotten part of Manchester is anything but a Hell on Earth for the beer lover, what with the Crown & Kettle, Fringe, Crown & Cushion and Marble Arch within a short stagger... with the Hat & Feathers (RIP) and Pot of Beer (rumours abound but don't hold your breath) sadly missed.

The Angel has won the North Manchester CAMRA Pub of the Year 2010. Congratulations, it is well deserved (any excuse to post the below picture of their fine pumps)!

Angel, Anget Street, 2010. (c) North Manchester CAMRA.