Not at the moment in this instance, it would appear.
A residents group in Handforth is being blocked from converting a derelict pub into a community centre because of a 50-year-old rule.
The Spath Lane Residents Association wants to convert The Mermaid, in Delamere Road, into a facility for the community, but the group has been told the site must remain a pub.
As Mancunians were relocated from their homes in Ancoats and Hulme to Handforth in the 1960s and 1970s, it was agreed by Manchester City Council that the Mermaid would be built as a pub for the village’s new residents – and that it would stay that way.
So caught in a double bind – a pub that nobody wants remains un-let, the community resource required remains unrealised.
Meanwhile The Mermaid quietly falls apart, tinned up and seemingly unloved, from as far back as 2005:
A feisty group of Handforth pensioners, whose lives have been blighted by booze fuelled nuisance from their local pub, successfully blocked its application to open late. The group of five pensioners live near The Mermaid Pub on Delamere Road.
They said they have to live with fighting, loud music and antisocial behaviour spilling out of the pub onto their streets.
One man said: “The music from the pub is very, very loud and at times I have to compete with my TV against the volume of it.”
The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the sun and light, poetry, and more.
Better known to us through the NASA space programme, from whom I assume the Inn got its name – we were rocket mad in those days.
Many thanks to Mr David Dunnico and his photograph for confirming my suspicions – whatever happened to the sign one wonders?
For after all pubs are by their nature Dionysian relating to the sensual, spontaneous, and emotional aspects of human nature rather than the more rational and ordered Apollonian – enough however of Teutonic dialectics.
The area having been cleared of it victorian terraces.
Then proceeds to reconstitute itself with a surprising space-age alacrity.
Apollo son of Leto and Zeus is born with a big block of flats for company.
A typically functionalist boozer with a two storey pitched roof home at its core with outrigger bars and commodious car park.
An estate pub that had a large block of flats next to it. The pub had two rooms, I had a drink in the bar which had a very rough edge to it. The Apollo was a Boddington’s tied house so I was pleased, there were two real ales on, I had a drink of Boddington’s Mild which was a nice drink, there was also Boddington’s Bitter on.
Sadly now closed down.
A familiar tale of demolition and rebuilding, empty plots of land, shifting demographics and economic downturns, state enforced austerity and stasis.
Welcome to the low paid, low skilled world of the tinned up local.
The unnatural history which fails to learn from itself and endlessly repeats ad nauseam.
The land of buddleia, barbed wire, ragwort, willow herb and grass cracked tarmac.
The final indignity the theft of your apron of paving stones.
A suspected thief was spotted ripping up nearly 200 flagstones and loading them into a shopping trolley.
He took his time tearing up the paving stones from the front of a derelict pub in Miles Platting.
A Police Community Support Officer spotted the suspected thief pushing a trolley loaded with flagstones away from The Apollo pub on Varley Street.
One local resident said: They’ll take anything round here if it’s not nailed down.
Cleaner Claire Bevan, 38, a mother-of-two, said: I’ve heard about a lot of things but never that.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose.
Mick Burke remembers the Brown Cow being frequented by the then notorious Whizz Gang from the Woodward Street area. These were a gang of local criminals going by names such as Flinka – Alf Flynn – tobacco and cigarettes man and Reynolds – Alfie Lacy a safe-breaker. One Sunday night in the 1930s the Whizz Gang did over a Post Office on Ordsall Lane and nicked the safe. Despite a huge police search it was never found, and rumour was that it had been dumped in the canal at Ten Acres Lane in Newton Heath. The robbery was the downfall of the Whizz Gang as they were caught selling stolen stamps in the Brown Cow.
I got back to Manchester and in the meantime my family had moved. Two and a half years out there and they’d moved. They sent me a message saying our new address is The Brown Cow Hotel, Butler Street, Ancoats.
They’d moved into a pub.
So I go out looking for it, hammock on one arm and kitbag on the other, and I see this copper stopped at the traffic lights. I ask if he can tell me where the Brown Cow is. Goodness gracious he says, I was going there later. This is half ten at night, you see, when it would’ve been closed.
So he takes me to it and he says: this is what you do after time, he knocks on the window. The door opens a bit, I’ve got someone to see you Kitty he says. The door opens fully and there they are, my family.
You usually get a fortnight of leave but I had two months. You can imagine what a time I had.
A very grim looking estate pub in an equally grim area of Ancoats, the pub had the usual two room layout with a basic bar and a lounge, I had a drink in the bar which had a boisterous atmosphere. This was a Wilsons tied house with one real ale on, this was Wilsons Bitter which was a decent drink.
As I wandered around Woodward Street snapping, I was stopped by a local resident, fifty years or so living next door to the pub.
It was a mint boozer.
As a lad I would fall asleep listening to the sound of the turns in the pub.
The Brown Cow is now no more.
Much of the 60’s redevelopment has been swept away, Ancoats the hippest place on the planet is on the move close by. Estate pubs, it seems have yet to designated as hip, so the Brown Cow along with countless others moos no more.
Little details have been retained – the delightful balcony rail, concrete window frames and angular porch.
On a quiet night you may pause to hear a feint echo of the Whizz Gang at work opening up their ill-gotten Ordsall safe, good luck with that Flinka and crew.
Seen here in this well preserved glass negative print of 1910 – I assume that the hall was demolished around this time.
The surrounding area also boasted a Garratt Dye Works, Mill and Bridge.
Then rather confusingly the Old Garrick pub appears in 1844 – demolished in 1965.
1973 and the Old Garratt opens as a Boddington’s house.
Seen here in its original flat-roofed concrete and glass, brewery branded glory – typical estate pub architecture, though sadly lacking an estate to speak of.
Alongside on the railway viaduct is a poster for the then ubiquitous and iniquitous Tartan Bitter. Happily the Garratt sold a great pint of Boddington’s Bitter on cask, a milky pale pint that went down so cheap and easy.
On one occasion we all met up after work to have a drink before going to the The Carousel on Plymouth Grove to see The Pogues – we never made it, I assume Shane and the lads did.
Time changes everything the Cream of Manchester is now a somewhat sour subject, the Old Garratt has dropped the old in favour of Ye Olden Days, a look which it clearly lacked.
Modernity is now dragged up as a cut price stage set coaching house caprice, replete with lamps, black and gold lining, columns and pediments.
The pub that thinks it’s a pack of John Player Specials.
Add a little neon and faux grass and voila – a dog’s dinner for two or more.
Do not let the unusual design of the exterior put you off visiting this pub. When it first opened it was called the Moss Rose. An extensive refit had very considerably improved the interior decor of this once welcoming pub, with its pleasant vault and well appointed lounge.
Quiz is on Wednesdays and a Disco on Saturdays.
Lunches twelve until three.
Do not let the fact that the pub was demolished on the 26th of November 2013 deter you from visiting – we still have our memories and a few surviving snaps.
I have lived almost opposite the site for sixteen years, though ever so local it was never my local, but it provided a convenient and comfortable bolthole for the odd pint every now and again.
Once it looked just like this.
Opened in 1971, it was and always was a Hydes pub.
It had a distinctive architectural style and layout all of its own, an asymmetric timber clad dwelling at the core, complemented by a fan of single story rooms extending into the car park.
The name was changed subsequent to the tragic and unfortunate gangland killing that took place in September 1999. It never seemed to recover from such a damning reputation, and though well used by the many residents in the well populated surrounding area, the offer of hard cash for the site. must in the end have proved irresistible.
The doors closed the windows boarded up – no more karaoke, no more Northen Soul, no more free pool – no more nothing.