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.

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.

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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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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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The Ace – Fitton Hill Oldham

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Fircroft Road, Oldham OL8 2QD

Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil,
Going with the flow, it’s all a game to me,
Seven or Eleven, snake eyes watching you,
Double up or quit, double stake or split,
The Ace Of Spades

Subsequently curtly shortened to – The Ace.

Lying two miles south of Oldham town centre, the Fitton Hill Estate was built during the Fifties and Sixties on previously undeveloped moorland with scattered hamlets and farmsteads.

The layout of the estate obliterated all traces of the old landscape.

Wind whips the streets above the Lancashire Plain – swirling down and around the high hills above the city below. It was once an area rich on the pickings of cotton and coal, regular work and pockets almost full of cash, slipping carelessly into the landlords’ tills

Oldham has suffered the fate of many of Manchester’s satellite towns, their energies and opportunities absorbed by the centre of the voracious city centre, as attempts to invest and regenerate flounder on the swelling tide of decline.

The Ace all high angles and Anglo Saxons continues to fight on, serving larger than life sports TV, lager and lounge music to the locals.

There are two handpumps on the bar, but according to the landlord, they tried selling real ale for a while, but it didn’t sell and they had to throw it away.

Pushing up the ante, I know you wanna see me
Read ’em and weep, the dead man’s hand again
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die
The only thing you see, you know it’s gonna be
The Ace Of Spades, The Ace Of Spades

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