The Gamecock – Hulme

Booth Street West – Boundary Lane Hulme Manchester M15 6GE

Manchester Local Image Collection

1964 the old Hulme, the old Hulme of tight dense dark terraces, shops, industry and hubbub.

Swept away by the waves of progress that washed over the area in the 1970s – a system built concrete haven, for a brave new world.

Thus heralding the birth of the Gamecock in 1974 as a Wilson’s house – very much in the Estate Pub manner.

The pub survived the demolition of the brave new Hulme from 1993 to 1995.

As fresher waves of progress heralded the expansion of Higher Education.

Seen here as a Belhaven house in 1993 – The Gamecock ever in the shadow of one of the few remaining housing blocks.

Photograph Alan Winfield.

Nobody knows precisely when it ceased to be a pub, suffice to say that at some point, it sadly ceased to be a pub.

It now stands abandoned, slowly reclaimed by nature – as bramble and dock scramble over its sharp interlocking volumes of brick and once bright white cladding.

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?

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 Old Garratt – Manchester

127 Princess St Manchester M1 7AG.

Once there was a hall that’s all – The Garratt Old Hall.

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.

At least it’s still open for business.

Archival photographs from the Local Image Collection

Bradford Inn – Manchester

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112-114 Bradford Road, Manchester M40

Welcome to Miles Platting Manchester.

Early one Sunday morning I was on my way cycling somewhere else and had time to rest a spell and take some snaps.

Good traditional pub, makes a refreshing change from all these trendy wine bars, close to the Etihad stadium so a City pub. Beer was good and staff were friendly enough.

Trip Advisor

A million miles from a trendy wine bar, but ever so close to a gas holder.

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And the site of the former  Bradford Pit.

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Along with the rest of north and east Manchester,  the area has survived slum clearance, deindustrialisation, the building of ever newer homes and the arrival of fresh faces from almost everywhere.

At its heart it prevails, a newly refurbished community boozer with a clear role and identity, customers – whose ranks are swollen on match days by home and away fans, from the ever so almost nearby Etihad Stadium – Home of The Blues.

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So if you’re in the area pop in for a pint of Joey Holt’s and enjoy one or more of the entertainment opportunities – open every day all day.

Currently in the grip of World Cup fever!

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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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