|Around Town. ( The Pubs & Clubs Of Levenshulme)|
AROUND TOWN The Pubs And Clubs Of Levenshulme
The above photographs are the work of Aidan O'Rourke, who has a fascinating website called Eyewitness in Manchester. His photographic work is stunning. Several pages are devoted to a virtual walk around Levenshulme. The above images are contemporary and show 1)a view of Stockport Road near Elbow Street. Remember Sankeys Newsagents And The Grand Cinema? 2) The corner of Cromwell Grove And Stockport Road. Whatever happened to Estelle Modes? 3) The Pack Horse HotelAre those mounting steps still in the passage at the side? 4) The Palace Nightclub, formerly the Palace Cinema. It was certainly never a palace! Also known as The Farmside, because it was in Farmside Place. Popularly known as "The Bug Hut" or "Flea Pit" This view is unusual to me, because all the building surrounding The Palace have been demolished! There used to be a bakery adjoining. Was it Burdetts or Birkett & Bostock?
A great contemporary photograph of Clare Road, west of the main London to
Manchester railway line.
The same view, but almost a hundred years earlier! More leafy but still timeless!!
To prove my point on a timeless scene, this postcard photograph of Clare Road was taken prior to the First World War.
Children on Clare Road prior to WW1.
An early colourized post card view of Clare Road.
This view taken just a little further back from the previous one shows the corner of Errwood Crescent. Note the trees growing in the road! ( Manchester Libraries)
A postcard view of the same scene! Claire Road was obviously a local beauty spot.
A fairly feint old photo of Claire Road. Those two old trees, Children and the railway bridge in the distance. Early 20th century I would think. (via Ebay)
This photo is captioned " Clare Road" 1911. I would guess it is in the area of Errwood Crescent. ( Manchester Libraries)
An interesting postcard view of what is now Errwood Crescent, taken from the corner of The Fields near Cringle Brook. All the houses in the view still exist. Note the Poor Claires Convent at the extreme right of the picture.
The Pubs of Levenshulme "NOW & THEN
Levenshulme has many public houses ,"Pubs", mostly located on Stockport Road. Most date from the late 19th or early 20th century. Some are rebuilt examples of earlier inns, or coach houses. There may have been other local inns in the distant past. If you have any information on Levenshulme pubs, I would like to hear from you.
I will list the pubs from north to south on Stockport Road, and then the other pubs which are located in various parts of the Levenshulme area.
The Farmers Arms
The Farmers Arms 1958. Note the neat Hoardings. Remember "Drinka Pinta Milka Day"? ( Manchester Libraries)
The Farmers Arms 1970. I am not sure whether this public house was actually situated in Levenshulme or Longsight, or maybe even Gorton under the old boundary rules!! (Manchester Libraries)
The Midway Hotel
This photo shows the Midway Hotel in 1902. Very much a country pub. Note the sign says " Midway House"! (Manchester Libraries)
The Midway Hotel after it was rebuilt. This photo taken in 1907 shows that the Midway has changed little in the last 100 years. ( Manchester Libraries)
This photo taken in 1959 shows the wall on Stockport Road adjacent to the Midway Hotel. Lettering on the wall states that the pub was first licensed in 1604 and rebuilt in 1904. Also it indicates that there were bowling greens. The greens must have been turned into the car park at some time. As kids we used to take pleasure in walking along this wall, which was quite precarious due to the rounded capping stones!! ( Manchester Libraries)
This photo of the Midway Hotel is dated 1970, though the vintage of the Riley car would indicate an earlier period!
The Midway Hotel, March 2008. Not much has changed here! ( Photo via Colin Irving)
The Victoria, a rather unassuming public house situated on Stockport Road in North Levenshulme. ( Manchester Libraries)
The Victoria, now renamed " The Little Vic". When did this name change occur? Also note the Irish Tri-colour, a recognition of Levenshulme's strong Irish connections. ( Photo via Colin Irving)
The Church Inn
Two views of " The Church Inn" in March 2008. During the early 1970s, I belonged to a youth oriented club that met here on a Monday evening. The group was called " Levenshulme 18 Plus", part of a national organisation. The landlady was a Mrs. Turner. We met in the music room at the side. Note the public lavatories are long gone. Also the "shot off" look of the Stockport Road frontage. ( Photos via Colin Irving).
The Church Inn. Going...Going...Gone!! February 2010
Sadly I heard from two separate correspondents about the demise of the Church Inn. Apparently the demolition only took a couple of days. This is probably the first Levenshulme pub to be demolished in the last 100 years! (photos via Colin Irving & Kevin Butterworth)
Two views of the " Church Inn" Stockport Road. The first view from 1970 clearly shows the outside public convenience. The second view shows the row of terraced cottages, one of which the pub would have originally been. As of March 2008, the pub is still in business. The cottages have been demolished. Update:- February 2010 the Church is no more. See above.
Hennigans Sports Bar
Hennigans is a fairly new bar/pub in Levenshulme. Located on the corner of Farmside Place and Stockport Road. The location was originally occupied by a High Class Grocers called Burgons. My mum worked for Burgons pre-WW2.
The above photo shows " The Horseshoe Inn" on Chapel Street in 1965. ( Photo. Manchester Libraries)
Two views of " The Horseshoe" in March 2008. Currently up for sale. Is it still in business? ( Photos via Colin Irving)
The Horseshoe Pub sign. Interestingly there was a blacksmiths shop located around the corner from this pub!
The Union Inn
Two views of the " Union Inn". The first, from 1970, is a good frontal view clearly showing the year of construction " AD 1923". Was there a pub here prior to this date? The second view, from 1959,shows the ' Union Inn" and its neighbors namely, The UCP tripe shop, Kents sweet shop and Robinsons bakery and cafeteria. I seem to think that the UCP had a cafeteria as well. Notice the louvered windows on Robinsons. Very continental!! ( Photos via Manchester libraries)
This photo shows the " Union Inn" in 2008. Note the M19 bar next door. See below
The M19 Bar
This is the newest "watering hole" on Stockport Road. Right next door to the " Union Inn". The premises used to be a butchers and a chemists I think. Promoted as an alternative to the " dingy Levenshulme pubs", and appealing to a younger crowd. It offers A variety of lagers and sophisticated drinks together with loud music and video screens. (Photo Aidan O'Rourke)
The Railway Hotel
The "Railway Hotel" in 1970. Obviously added to at a later date. Note the very prominent neon sign, " A Chesters House".( Photo via Manchester Libraries).
This view of the side of the Railway Hotel taken in 1965 also features the Union Inn in the background. Does anyone remember the newspaper vendor on the corner of Stockport Road and Albert Road? Rain or shine they were always there during the morning and afternoon! ( Manchester Libraries)
An interesting view of the corner of Albert Road/Stockport Road corner taken in 1935. It shows The Railway Hotel, Williams Deacons Bank, The old sign post and what appear to be early Belisha Beacons on the corner. Also note the cobbled road and tram lines, and in the distance the railway bridge with a very large sign board. ( Photo Manchester Librairies)
This photo of the The Railway Inn was taken in 1905. It looks like some major rebuilding took place after this date
A couple of interesting photos of bottles marked " A. Platt, Railway Hotel, Levenshulme" and "J Platt, Railway Hotel, Levenshulme". Were these used for off-licence sales? What was the capacity of the bottle? (via Brian Carter and an internet auction site) Update:- It seems several members of the Platt family ran the Railway Hotel. One branch of the family emigrated to Australia in the 1920s. More to follow.
The Pack Horse Hotel
The Pack Horse Hotel in 1959. Note the Bedford Utilicon vans, well loved by local shopkeepers for deliveries. Next to the Pack Horse was Halsalls Newsagents, and beyond that the Trustee Savings Bank. The TSB eventually acquired the newsagents and extended its premises. ( Manchester Libraries)
This photo of "The Pack Horse" shows the original premises in 1890. Note the mounting steps which still existed into the 1970s or later. Does anyone know what happened to them?
Fancy looking gates at the side of "The Pack Horse", August 2010. This is where the mounting block was placed. (via Mike Berrell)
This is a fairly new pub on Stockport road in a very familiar setting!! The building used to be a bank. I remember it as The Midland Bank, but it may have gone under different names in the past. The far end of the building used to be a fishmongers, Warings. They had an open frontage with fish sold off marble slabs.
The "Levenshulme Hotel" in 1959. Also note the gateway to the former police station, with the coat of arms of The Lancashire Constabulary in the centre. The gateway has since been demolished. Was the coat of arms preserved?
In answer to the last question. Yes, the coat of arms were preserved. Now fixed to the old clinic/police station frontage. (via Mike Berrell)
The Levenshulme August 2010. (Via Mike Berrel)
Two views of The Levenshulme, March 2008. As you can see part of the old gateway still does exist, but not the arch. Note the abbreviated LEVY name on the side panel, and the razor wire!! ( Photos via Colin Irving)
August 2010, showing the re-built archway, razor wire, spiky gates and the "Levy" sign expunged!! (via Mike Berrell)
A nod to Bacchus! Grape moulding over the door of "The Levenshulme". (via Mike Berrell)
Situated on the corner of Broom Lane & Stockport Road in South Levenshulme. This was, and is, Levenshulme's most southerly "watering hole". My Mum worked here as a barmaid in the 1950's. I remember the Billiard Room with its large tables. In the 50's the landlords were called Smith. They went to Spain for their holidays! Very unusual in the 1950's. Also at one time they had a pet chimpanzee, which they kept in a cage in a spare bedroom! A very unusual family the Smiths!! I used to watch TV here after school. It was probably my first encounter with television! In the 50's & 60's this pub was part of the Grove & Whitnall Brewery chain.
Wheatsheaf Memories by Paul Nachman
I was recently contacted by Paul Nachman, who has memories of the Smiths who ran the pub in the 1950s. " In the fifties and sixties, the Smiths, Frank and Dorothy, from the Wheatsheaf, were family friends. Like them my mum and dad used to holiday in Spain, (Sitges) in those days. I remember the monkey and stories of it demolishing the curtains in the main lounge as Frank desperately tried to recapture it. I also remember various strange items about the place, such as a large black ball with a fuse sticking out on top, labeled "BOMB", and a drum kit decorated with palm trees which Frank gave to my brother, who played with a very early version of Herman's Hermits (mostly in our front room). Frank also used to take me off on trips out on a Saturday, when it seemed he knew everyone, everywhere...I have pictures of me on a tug at the docks, and in a stock car in a garage somewhere...in retrospect I think he was probably an expert blagger! Oh, and I remember Dorothy tootling about in a "Cosmopolitan"...the car, not the magazine! Nice people. Any idea what became of them?" Also see below Paul's memories of Browns Disco.
A great photograph of " The Wheatsheaf". Not sure of the date, but early 20th century by the look of the fashions & transport. The pub was obviously extended north at a later date. Note the horse drawn delivery vans. The one in the middle of the road appears to be a bakers van as it advertises " Choicest Flour"!! ( photo via Joy Mercer)
Yet another view of the Wheatsheaf Hotel. Was the small add-on a toilet? Its obvious that this pub went through several architectural changes over the years. Photo 1920s or 30s? ( via Cheshireditiology?)
The same corner in 1959. The Wheatsheaf had received some considerable additions during the intervening years.( Manchester Libraries)
At the side of the Wheatsheaf was a small shop. I do not know whether this was built as part of the pub, or a separate entity! When I was younger I remember it being a Greengrocers and Flower shop. In this 1986 photo it is an Antique store. Levenshulme had quite a few antique stores during this period. ( Manchester Libraries)
A postcard print of Stockport Road and The Wheatsheaf early in the 20th Century
December 2007. The Wheatsheaf Hotel now boarded up and for sale. Looking quite different from the 1950s view above.
Since 2007 The Wheatsheaf had a brief new life as "The Golden Prague" a Czech restaurant!! However in August 2010 it is once more closed. (via Mike Berrell)
"Other Pubs, not on Stockport Road!!"
The Blue Bell Situated on Barlow Road, opposite Green Bank Playing fields. This pub was built in the 1930s and replaced an earlier "Blue Bell", which was on the opposite side of Barlow Road. Sustained some bomb damage during the Second World War, and the splinter marks are apparently still visible on the west side.
The Blue Bell 2003 ( Photo MEN via Cliff Garratt)
This is a nice view of The Bluebell Inn in March 2008. I had a drink in here with my friend Dave Irving in December 2007, and I have to say it seems to be a very comfortable and well run pub. I remember as a child playing in the "beer garden" at the side. Also roller skating, on borrowed skates, on the large flat expanse of the car park. ( Photo via Colin Irving)
A similar view taken from the west side of the Bluebell Inn.
Various views of the Blue Bell Inn in 1910. Was this building on the same site as today's Blue Bell?
Another view of the Blue Bell in 1929. this was probably shortly before it was re-built. Its hard to believe such ancient building existed in Levenshulme! (All photos above via Manchester Libraries)
The Polygon Inn Situated on Barlow Road, east of Saint Marks Church.
The Polygon Inn March 2008. Looking somewhat different in appearance to 1959 below. The windows in the eaves are gone!! The pub is situated in the area known locally as Talleyrand. (Photo via Colin Irving)
August 2010. No longer a pub. Now apartments, but still showing its previous life as a public house! (via Mike Berrell).
The Polygon Inn in 1959. ( Manchester Libraries)
This photograph shows a party of pensioners waiting to board a coach for an outing to Blackpool in 1982, outside the Polygon Inn. Does anyone recognize anyone? (Photo via Ken Musgrave).
My apologies for using this photo again. The Sidings pub, acknowledges that there was once a railway goods yard, or sidings on this site.
The Kingsway Hotel, West Point/Kingsway.
The Kingsway Hotel, West Point, Levenshulme.. This was the largest pub in Levenshulme. Located at the junction of Moseley Road, West Point and the Northern end of Kingsway. When it was built it may have had guest rooms and function rooms. A very "Grand Hotel", still operating in 2008.
The Kingsway Hotel in 1959.
The Kingsway Hotel in 1995. The hotel became a Bernie Inn Steakhouse in 1969-70. Not quite sure who it is owned by now!!
The Kingsway Hotel north side in 1960. Note the Kingsway Cinema in the background on the right hand side. (Manchester Libraries)
August 2010. The current sign outside The Kingsway, now a Holts pub. Showing a royal procession. Presumably King George V after whom Kingsway was named. (via Mike Berrell)
This is a very weird photo of the Kingsway Hotel, dated 1970! Was the Kingsway roundabout elevated temporarily at some point? Answers please!! Update:- This turns out to be a trick photo. Note the neat cut in the middle of the image!
This is a better photo of the Kingsway roundabout, and somewhat explains the "odd angle" of the previous photo. Taken in the 1960s. ( photo via Brian Carter)
Did I miss Any??
Night Clubs and Dance Halls In Levenshulme
Levenshulme had a number of Night Clubs and Dance Halls. My knowledge of these is limited,as most of them were long gone by the time that I was an adult & legally able to frequent such establishments. I will need help with this section!
The Levenshulme Sporting Club
The Levenshulme Sporting Club in 1959. The Levenshulme Sporting Club is a bit of a mystery to me so I am relying on someone to give me some more history. I remember it was once a roller skating rink. It was also a wresting and boxing venue, and for a while a nightclub. A correspondent a few years ago said that he had met Diana Dors at the bar there!! I have a feeling that the club attained some infamy as being involved with Manchester gangster-ism in the 1950s! Was it at one time owned or run by a wrestler, possibly Bill Benny, who appears in several scenes in the film " Hell Is A City" ( See my separate page) . (Photo via Manchester Libraries)
This photo shows the bar at the Levenshulme Sporting Club in the late 50s or early 60s. The Manager of the club was Roy Mills, who is the gentleman in a suit standing at the end of the bar. Roy Mills died recently in April 2009. His son John has confirmed that Bill Benny, the former wrestler owned the Levenshulme Sporting Club, and also The Cabaret Club on Oxford Road, and the Devonshire Club. Can anyone identify the waiters behind the bar? Many famous wrestlers performed at the club, including such personalities as " Billy Two Rivers" who was a full blood Mohawk Indian and wore a headdress into the ring. I believe he also ran a pub on Heaton Moor Road for a few years. (photo via John Mills) Update:- More on Bill Benny on the " Hell Is A City" pages.
I found this photo, probably from the early 1960s on a wrestling web site. Bill Benny is shown with wrestling promoter Conrad Davis.
The Levenshulme Roller Skating Club
My friend Brian Carter found this image on the Internet. The Roller Rink was the previous incarnation of the Levenshulme Sporting Club. How long was the roller rink in business? (image via Brian Carter)
I have recently, January 2012, received a couple of Emails giving a lot of history regarding the Levenshulme Roller Skating Rink in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Emails were from Velda Cook, whose grandparents ran the premises first as a billiard hall and later as the roller skating rink. I will let Velda tell the story in her own words:-
" The Rink was on the corner of Albert Road and Stockport Road at 238 I believe. My grandfather William Reeks first used the premises as a billiard hall, it was turned into a Skating Rink/ Billiard Hall in about 1936. William Reeks, Thomas Maxwell and Norman Hamilton laid the Canadian Maple floor, which was reputedly the best in the country. My Mum, Patricia Maxwell learnt to skate at an early age and eventually taught skating there.
The 1949 World Champion and Pairs skaters practiced there. They were Jean Phethean And Ken Byrne. Jean was also 2nd in figures. The 1949 World Championships were held in Barcelona. There was skating every day at the rink, Wrestling on Friday and Saturday, Square Dancing on Tuesdays. The Black Dyke and Fairey Aviation Brass Bands used the rink for practice on Saturday mornings. There was also a cafe on the premises.
William Reeks emigrated to South Africa in 1949, and my grandmother Nellie Maxwell took over. The Rink was sold in 1959/60."
Further Memories from Velda Cook:- The original Billiard Hall had 22 tables, but became a skating rink after the Depression.
It was not actually on the corner, that was put on the business card to help people find it! There was a pub, the Railway Hotel, on the corner then about 8 shops, the Verandha. Then the New Day furniture shop and then the Rink. It had double doors, then the wide entrance hall, up two steps through a set of swing doors then the pay booth. There were two cafe's in the Rink, one out front on Stockport Road and one inside. The outside cafe became a laundrette in about 1954.
Velda also sent me some photos taken around the 1949/50 period.
Business card for Nellie Maxwell who ran the Rink from 1949 until it closed in the late 1950s.
The World Roller Skating Cup 1949, LtoR Thomas Maxwell, Nellie Maxwell, Ken Byrne, Patricia Maxwell, Jean Phethean, William Reeks and Nellie Reeks. The photo was taken outside the Rink on Stockport Road. Note the Wrestling poster on the wall!
Patricia Maxwell and pupil around 1950. Patricia Maxwell is Velda Cooks mother.
A fancy dress party at the Rink around 1949. Recognise anyone??
The Skating Rink took part in the Levenshulme Pageant with a float entitled Swan Lake. Where is the location and what year was this?
The New Levenshulme Sporting Club
The Levenshulme Sporting Club moved to the old Palais De Danse in the early 1960s, when the old premises on Stockport Road were demolished to make room for the new Lennon's Supermarket. Roy Mills remained as manager until he and his family moved to Australia in 1962. Acts such as Marty Wilde, The Kay Sisters and Danny Williams played there during this period. Also many up and coming Manchester area groups played here during this period and some of the players went on to bigger things with groups like 10CC, Sad Cafe and Godley and Creme. Other acts appearing at the New Levenshulme Sporting Club included:- Freddie and the Dreamers, Frank Ifield, Matt Munro, Mike Preston, Ronnie Hilton, Billy Fury, The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders and lots of local Comedians. ( information via John Mills)
Diana Dors in Levenshulme??
Was Diana Dors ever seen in Levenshulme? Very likely as she made at least one film at the Mancunian Film Studios on Dickenson Road. The film was called " Its A Grand Life" and starred Frank Randle and a cameo appearance by Winifred Atwell. The photo is from the autograph collection of Helen Kowalczyk.
Some stills from "Its A Grand Life" A film made in " Jollywood Manchester" in 1953.
"Jollywood" Manchester?? Mancunian Films 1947-1953.
This is the old church at the bottom of Dickenson Road, Rusholme, which was the home of Manchester's only Film Studio, Mancunian Films.It was the brainchild of producer John E Blackley. Blackley not only produced , but also directed some of the films.It was later taken over by the BBC from 1954 to 1975, and was the early home of "Top Of The Pops" and the " Simon Dee Show". Remember Simon Dee?? Just think of how many celebrities appeared in this building! Amongst them were " The Beatles" and Clint Eastwood. ( via Manchester Libraries) Update:- Apparently "The Beatles" never appeared at this venue. They were by then too famous and all their appearances on the early "Top of the Pops" were pre-recorded in a London studio.
The same church at an earlier date. John E Blackley, head of Mancunian Films
John E Blackley directing Frank Randle during the filming of "Its A Grand Life" 1953
The BBC Studios on Dickenson Road in the late 1950s.
The Dickenson Road Studios in the 1960s. Notice the changes and additions
This photo dated 1970 shows the rear of the studios. Had the exterior stonework been cleaned at some time in the 1960s? ( Manchester Libraries)
This photos is dated 1962, but you will notice there are no BBC signs!! Could it have been taken during the transition from films to TV? ( Manchester Libraries)
Another view of the BBC Studios in 1962, looking west towards Wilmslow Road ( Manchester Libraries)
Almost the same view taken in 1935, prior to either Mancunian Films or the BBC. ( Manchester Libraries)
This Blue Plaque has been placed at the site of the former Mancunian Films and BBC Television Studios.
The Palais de Dance
I am not sure whether The Palais de Dance was really in Levenshulme, but most people refer to it as "The Levenshulme Palais"!
The "Palais" in 1959. This photo, taken from Stockport Road, shows how it was located. Compare to the following photo. ( Manchester Libraries)
Memories of The " Palais" by David Edge
David Edge the son of Bill Edge contacted me recently. "Bill Edge And His Boys" were the regular band at the Levenshulme Palais De Dance from 1945 till 1961. David recollects that:- "the Palais was built and owned by a Mr. Ashworth. The Palais was a regular haunt for the local lads and lasses as well as American Forces stationed at Burtonwood Air Base. There was a fairly strict dress code for the Palais except for Wednesday night which was BOB night. Most of the local teddy boys would try to get in under the watchful eye of the manager, a Mr Banks, but many failed. Ballroom dance competitions were held there some even on the TV. I am sure many of your readers will have started their courtships there. I would be interested if you hear from any of these." Below are some of the photos that David sent me relating to the Palais.
The Palais sometime before it was demolished. When was it built? What inspired its design? It looks sort of Spanish with its balcony & tiled roof!
A sad end to a familiar local Dance Hall. The Palais de Dance during its demolition. Did anyone try to save the building or was it beyond repair? Was it built as a dance hall? When was it built? What was it last used for? Can anyone help with this? (Photo via Cliff Garratt)
These are a couple of photos that I found on the internet showing the demolition of the " Palais De Dance" at a later stage than the previous photo.
The site of the Palais de Dance, now a Jain Community Centre. December 2007.
Browns School Of Dancing
Browns School Of Dancing opened up in the 1960s in the Hall above the old Co-op store in South Levenshulme. A popular disco venue in the 60s and 70s. Does anyone have any memories?
Paul Nachman remembers Browns in the 60s. "Browns Disco in '68/'69...don't remember live music, but do remember my mob squaring up to the local skinheads, led by "Taff" and his mate Paul and fighting it out on the dance floor, and then up and down the main road! Very messy. They would make return visits to Heaton Moor. ( Also very messy!)"
Other Clubs and Social Venues in Levenshulme
Levenshulme Boys Club
Two views of the Stamford Hall Levenshulme Boys Club in 1965. This was situated in what had been a church on land bounded by Rostron Street, Chapel Street and Weatherall Street. I think that the club had a reputation for turning out gymnasts!! I was never a member so have no real idea of the activities that took place here. The building later became an Islamic Centre I believe. Does anyone recognize the kids on bicycles? What was the name of the original church? Update:- Apparently it was a primitive Methodist church! ( photos via Manchester Libraries)
Levenshulme Catholic Club
Levenshulme British Legion. (58 Central Avenue.)
This building became the Levenshulme Catholic Club at some time. I think that it is situated off Central Avenue. It was extended at a later date. Did the house have a name? Update:- This house was known previously as "Dymsdale School". It was a private school and was operating until at least the Second World War. See Below.
This is a view of the Levenshulme British Legion building in 1970. The building stood on the corner of Slade Lane and Albert Road, and always looked a grand and imposing site. There were well kept bowling greens and the house looked like it may have been built for a rich businessman earlier in the 19th Century. Does anyone have any history on this building? The house is shown as Beech House in the 1905 Ordnance Survey. Just behind this building Was a warehouse and yard where Ravenscroft Removals operated their business. ( Manchester Libraries)