Sunday 4 June 2023

The Death of An English Pub

The two drinking establishments closest to me were both built as estate pubs in the sixties, one by Chesters Brewery at the start of the decade and the other by Holt's towards the end of it.

The latter has been transformed by successive rebuilds and refurbishments into a dining pub, but the former remained a community local until it shut a couple of years ago. The site wasn't secured properly and the building was vandalised, with the cellar becoming an unofficial youth club, and last week damaged by a fire.

It's on an overspill estate built by Manchester council in the fifties and has been keg-only since at least the late eighties when I first went, although I'd guess it served cask beer when it opened in the early sixties (Threlfalls bought Chesters in 1961, and was then taken over in 1967 by Whitbread, who in 1988 shut their brewery in Salford, which is now a conference centre).

The site is still for sale, but at £1.2 million, and more needed to be spent on repairs if it were to reopen as a pub, the likelihood now must be that a developer will buy it and demolish the semi-derelict structure before building houses there.

Has the wet-led community local a future then? Although a few still seem to thrive, the statistics suggest that many do not, with several others already having been shut and knocked down locally (tellingly, the former landlord of the one awaiting its fate near me now runs a micropub serving wine and gin as well as beer in a small unit on the adjacent parade of shops).

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