Apollo Inn – Heywood Street

79 Heywood Street Cheetham Hill Manchester M8 0TX

Somewhat akin to a more than somewhat neglected child, there only appears to be one tiny photograph of your younger self.

Not a million miles away from you space age cousin in Miles Platting.

In your first incarnation as an Inn – a Holts tied pub in an up and coming area, the detritus of the earlier Victorian era having been cleared away.

And a brave new world assembled in the 1960s.

I can find no reference online regarding your upbringing, later years or final demise – you passed it seems without trace.

You had a later flowering as an Islamic Centre, as did full many other an estate pub.

Though this too was short-lived as the Al-Falah moved on up the road.

Where sadly a suspected arson attack was made.

So now you stand forlorn, all alone and unloved – surrounded and bound by chipboard and railings, as nature reclaims your site.

Was there ever a former glory, an untold story or two?

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The Apollo Inn

2 Varley Street Miles Platting Manchester M40 8EE

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.

Thanks again to Alan Winfield for his neat appraisal:

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.

Brown Cow – Ancoats

Corner of Butler Street and Woodward Street Ancoats.

How now Brown Cow?

No Brown Cow now.

Tanning studio, former organic goods store and one stop shop now.

I came in search of unclad flats and left with the inkling that this building must have been a former pub.

A little online research confirmed my suspicions, there had in fact been two Brown Cows.

The former licensed in the 1820s to the John Taylor & Co Pollard Street Brewery until Walker & Homfray took the firm over in 1929, who in turn merged with Wilson’s in 1949.

Serving the emergent industrial city and its citizens in an area dense with 19th Century housing and industry.

The Pubs of Manchester blog details the pub’s somewhat chequered history.

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.

John Logan has a very different tale to tell:

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.

The area was part of the Manchester post-war slum clearance scheme during the 1960s and rebuilt as a mix of low and high rise homes.

But beginning with a brand new pub – Wilson’s Brown Cow.

Archive photographs Local Image Collection.

Alan Winfield recalls:

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.

The Mermaid – Handforth

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Delamere Road Handforth Cheshire SK9 3RB.

When is a pub not a pub?

Not at the moment in this instance, it would appear.

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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.

Knutsford Guardian

 

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.”

Macclesfield Express

The Mermaid remains all washed up with nowhere to go.

Let’s take look at the forlorn walls, jagged eaves and faded signage.

The Four Heatons aka The Moss Rose – Stockport

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63 Didsbury Road, Heaton Norris, Stockport, SK4 2BA.

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.

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Opened in 1971, it was and always was a Hydes pub.

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Stockport Image Archive

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.

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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.

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The doors closed the windows boarded up – no more karaoke, no more Northen Soul, no more free pool – no more nothing.

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The hoardings went up – the pub came down.

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Now it’s a Co-op, with flats attached.

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Lowes Arms – Woodley Stockport

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18 Hyde Road Woodley Stockport SK6 1QG

I passed by for years on bike and bus, never stopping for a pint but intrigued by the distinctive Sixties architecture, an exciting adjunct to the adjacent Woodley Precinct.

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The physical embodiment of the post war brick and concrete optimism which permeates the post-war period. When full employment in a plethora of manual trades ensured a steady flow of post work-customers, expecting a steady flow of Robinson’s draught beers.

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Then one day I passed by bike and you were shuttered up, sat silently on Hyde Road, the windows of your soul staring blankly at the passing parade.

When I pass by all the people say, just another pub on the lost highway.

 

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High Bank Inn – Openshaw

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High Bank Inn 138 Ogden Lane, Openshaw, Manchester, M11 2LZ.

Years ago, I came by here on the bus, the 169 or 170 on my way from Ashton to Belle Vue – seeking the thrills and spills of the Speedway or the wayward, way-out musical fare at The Stoneground on Birch Street Gorton, former Corona Cinema, turned loopy left-field hang out.

The area was always a busy mix of industry, housing, shops, markets – and pubs.

Forty five on Ashton Old Road alone.

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There are now only a handful – the High Bank sadly, is no longer amongst them.

Upheavals in the fortunes of East Manchester mean that the familiar hustle and bustle of densely populated streets and industrious industry, are now the stuff of memory.

It closed in 2015, had been sold on and seems unlikely to reemerge as a pub. Once a well used Boddington’s house, the cream of Manchester has well and truly soured.

On my recent visit mother nature had already begun to take over, and the tinkers had taken the waney lap fence.

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Photograph Matt Wilkinson Flickr

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So if you’re passing, tip your cap, raise an imaginary glass and a smile – here’s to high times at the High Bank Inn.

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