The Manchester – Bradford

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The Manchester, Grey Mare Lane, Bradford, Manchester. M11 3DG

The Crossroads was a typical looking 70’s built estate pub that was just off the busy Ashton New Road. There were two rooms inside a decent sized bar and a smart lounge, the pub was very busy on my visit with a good mix of locals. The pub was a Bass tied house and there were no real ales on here I had a drink of keg Stones Bitter this was far too cold and a very poor drink. This pub is still standing with a part of it trading as a training centre, the side of the pub says The Manchester but I am not sure what this is. 

Alan Winfield Pubs Galore 1993

February 2016 I cycled by – stopped at the crossroads – The Manchester now sits in Eastlands, even though you are in Bradford, you are now in the shadow of the Etihad Stadium, which is owned by Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, commonly known as Sheikh Mansour, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, minister of presidential affairs and member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. The ghost of Alan Turing runs away to your right – heading off at a pace for Phillips Park and Openshaw, simultaneously.

The pub was open yet quiet, as you may expect on a cold, quiet mid week winter’s day, match days would see it spring to life. The building is a delightful mix of flat roofed brick and glass volumes, strong verticals and staggered windows, typical of its type.

Surrounded on one side by a large estate of 70’s social housing and on the other newer developments associated with the arrival of the football stadium, training ground, trams, retail park and roads.

Quite literally, but not nominally a crossroads – a collision of wealth and want.

As JK Galbraith said:

“Private affluence and public squalor”.

“We need, and surely will have, an end to freedom from regulation and at least some of the oratory of the magic of free enterprise”

Have a drink on me.

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The Flying Shuttle – Bury

Once it flew, thanks to John Kay:

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Then it rocked, thanks to Soma Dark and Hobo King:

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Now it does neither.

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Overwhelmed by its massive, muscular multiplex neighbours, The Flying Shuttle is another victim of unfettered urban renewal, overwritten by the developers unique and exciting leisure facility template – coming to every town UK any time soon.

“During the week, we try to make the pub as welcoming as possible, if it is chucking it down outside and people come in with not much money and just want to sit with their friends with a can of Coke for a few hours, they know we won’t chuck them out.”

King Cotton threw in the towel years ago, now we import all our fun and manufactured goods.

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Close the door on your way out.

Don’t rock The Rock.

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The Woolpack – Salford

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Belvedere Road, Pendelton.

 

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Once one of five pubs to serve the area, an area of newly built and bustling estates, The Woolpack has finally called and served its time. Despite local residents’ moves to revive this once busy pub, it now stands lost and alone .

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Gene Houghton of Sycamore Court, Pendleton, said:

It was and will always remain the best pub in Salford.

When these doors closed last year a community closed with it. People come from near and far, everyone knew each other and it was a pleasure to go to.

The entertainment was second to none, especially on a Sunday afternoon. It was a fantastic place.

Bez Salford Garden photo by Steven Speed (2)

Even the well intentioned intervention of Happy Monday’s Bez and co has seemingly failed to halt the forces of free market economics and industrial decline

So in area now awash with the great unwashed and ever expanding student population, whose social needs are quite possibly met elsewhere, it remains decidedly:

Closed.

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The Flemish Weaver – Salford

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The transition of Manchester into a town was realised as the rest of Britain experienced an increase in population, due to trade and commerce, in the early thirteenth century. During this time Manchester was also granted an annual market, making it one of the most important towns in Lancashire. This, along with the arrival of Flemish weavers and cloth makers in the 14th century, marked the beginnings of Manchester as a major player in the textile industry.

Brown, Ford Madox, 1821-1893; The Establishment of the Flemish Weavers in Manchester, 1363

Following a wild flurry of activity in the ensuing centuries, wool and silk are replaced by cotton, in a whirl of spinning jennies, mules, flying shuttles and water frames – cottage industries are replaced overnight by the satanic mills of the Industrial Revolution. Subsequently international capital decides that its time to do one – so off they flounce in search of cheap labour and post-imperial commodity supply chains and markets.

The Cotton Club closes its doors forever.

The Flemish Weaver pub suffers a similar fate, built in the 70s to serve the Pendleton Estate – the tab end of post-war prosperity supplies enough tab ends and pulled pints to support several boozers.

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The slow burn of the free market has however, transformed the passing pub trade into a threatened species of ashen faced publicans and absent friends, disappearing in desperately diminishing circles, as time is finally called.

 

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The Flemish Weaver finally closed in 2014.

 

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The Sparrow – Collyhurst

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84 Thornton Street North Collyhurst Manchester M40 8JT

It’s too late, she’s gone
Too Late Too Late
It’s too late, my baby’s gone
Too Late Too Late
Wish I had told her she was my only one
But It’s too late, she’s gone

We spend much of our lives searching for something that once was.

There are maps, guides, street views that are as ghostly as the very destination you may seek, the past is an unreliable path to the present.

Walking up Thornton Street North, through Village Park, a city green space initiative, now largely untended and unloved, you can clearly see where The Sparrow was.

A former estate pub, a footprint.

Away from the white hot heat epicentre of the Northern Powerhouse, you quickly feel the chill of deindustrialisation. Full employment and newly built social housing the stuff of dreams and folk memory, as the future is buried beneath worn lino and entrancing entrance steps, seemingly leading nowhere.

 

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Primrose View – Oldham

Primrose View, 25-27 Ashton Rd, Oldham OL8 1JX

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Once there was an OB brewery here, OB – OK?

Fine Lancashire Ales, bought out by Boddington’s.

Closed down by Boddington’s.

Boddington’s was bought out by Interbrew.

Beer can and will eat itself – Boddies the Cream of Manchester, the transubstantiation of Monopoly Capitalism, it rises to the top, as another local brewery and its pubs sink.

Almost without trace.

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A poor do in the poorest of towns, the view was never primrose.

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The blanked, bricked and tinned windows, have a more than somewhat restricted view of an uncertain future, demolition or redevelopment, planning applied for 2014.

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Another new flue, that never arrived.

The Griffin – Heald Green

Wilmslow Road, Heald Green, Stockport SK 8 3BE.

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Once upon a time, some time ago –

Fields.

Lots of them, full of farmers.

Thirsty farmers in search of succour, or better still, bitter.

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Rough tracks cross the county, ready for the roadhouse ruffians to surface, and resurface as thoroughly modern thoroughfares.

No more back to back, back to basics culture, compact company cars are hereon in, carrying the weary worker back to these shiny suburbs.

You should see the estate they’re in.

A brand new boxy breed of boozer is created, for the blue collared, blue blazered clientele.

 

Post 1980 a fresh wave of affluence demands refurbishment, a squeaky clean ambience for the executive refreshment, entertainment environment.

Gone are the confident rectilinear volumes of modernity, to be replaced by an anonymous non-style style, a confused collision, a mismatched, mishmash mash-up.

Surrounded by plants.