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.


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.


Photograph Matt Wilkinson Flickr


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.




















The Tommyfield – Oldham

There been an market here since 1788.

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Open markets were held on land owned by Thomas Whittaker, near Albion Street. The land soon became known as Tommyfield, and Tommyfield Market is still a bustling centre of activity today.

The Market Hall was destroyed by a huge fire in 1974. The blaze could be seen for miles around and damaged surrounding premises. The hall was replaced by a temporary market building, before construction work began on the new hall in the early 1990s.


There still is a market – and now there’s a pub too.

Custom built 70’s square box on the market car park. Inside it’s L shaped and smelly. The carpets are a mess and the whole place has a run down look. The pub is far better then the clientele though, most of whom seemed to be smellier than the pub when I called in one Friday late afternoon. One handpump on the bar but no pumpclip. Luckily there was no-one actually behind the bar serving. This meant that I could have a look around without having to buy a drink, bit of a result that. It’s awful.

That’s what Rob Camra of Pubs Galore thought in 2011.

Colin Chorlton on Best Pubs thinks otherwise

Worth a visit The Tommyfield, friendly pub. Great atmosphere, good beer and busy. Fantastic entertainment in the afternoons. A must visit, compliment your visit to Oldham, a must do.
I was there some two years ago, it was looking busy on a sunny morning in April, in good working order – the usual conflation of odd angles and assorted volumes.
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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:


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



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.


Close the door on your way out.

Don’t rock The Rock.



















The Woolpack – Salford

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Belvedere Road, Pendelton.



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 .


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:



















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 Railway Hotel – Longsight

Berigan Close, Manchester, M12 4QT.

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Once there was a Railway Hotel here, once there was a railway too.

The nearby Longsight Shed teemed with Carriage and Engine Cleaners, Firemen, Drivers, Guards, Fitters and Shunters and all the requisite ancillary support staff.

Thirsty work.

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Firstly the first Railway Hotel disappeared, then the railway too.

Sidings once full of stock and sheds full of locos, stood emptier.


Less spare capacity rolling stock, less cleaning and maintenance, less of everything.

The area was redeveloped, back to back terraces replaced by brand new homes.

The Railway Hotel reappeared, a brand new Boddington’s house for brand new people in their brand new homes, neat sleek and well, new.

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Through the 70’s, the final death throws of late industrial capitalism required far fewer hired hands, no more thirsty work for tired lads and lasses.

No more Railway Hotels.

Railway Hotel Berigan St

Tinned up and turned into a mini-market.

Through a succession of owners, the building has survived, as a retail outlet and multiple occupancy residential homes.

There are now virtually no pubs left in the area.

Making things poorer and poorer for the pourer.

Thanks to Dan Granata: