Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Six into two does go

Northenden is a South Manchester suburb which must be typical of many places throughout Britain. Sandwiched between upmarket Didsbury and sink estate Wythenshawe, it’s a middling kind of place, with a surprisingly extensive local shopping centre along the main Palatine Road. Maybe about ten years ago, it had six pubs, unusually all situated south of the main road – the Jolly Carter, the Spread Eagle, the Church, the Crown, the Tatton Arms (pictured) and the Farmers Arms. Now, only two are left, the Crown and the Farmers, which were probably the smallest of the six.

Maybe that is a bit of an extreme case but, on the other hand, there are plenty of places that have lost two or three out of six, or the equivalent, and this is somewhere depopulation and poverty cannot be blamed. This should serve as an object lesson to those blinkered individuals who continue to insist, in the face of an ever-growing mountain of evidence, that the British pub trade remains fundamentally healthy and losses have only been at the margins.

On a similar note, it’s worth mentioning the scenic B5470 road between Macclesfield in Cheshire and Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire. Not so long ago, this had five pubs along it – the Rising Sun and Robin Hood in the village of Rainow, the Highwayman in a picturesque location a couple of miles east of Rainow, and the Bull’s Head and Swan in the village of Kettleshulme. Now, only the Swan is still open, and this not in the deep countryside but in a desirable area within twenty miles of the centre of Manchester.

3 comments:

  1. Has the Robin Hood closed too? Kettleshulme was only ever a one pub village and The Swan under current ownership (best food led pub in the area by a distance) will always survive. Highwayman is a victim of drink driving trends and a failed restaurant. Still sad though.

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  2. Last time I passed, the Robin Hood had a note on the door saying "Closed until further notice". I understand from the local CAMRA branch that there are plans to close it permanently and presumably convert it into a private house.

    Kettleshulme also had the Bull's Head up the road from the Swan, which is still there in pub livery although I don't think it's been open for some years.

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  3. I grew up in Rainow and my parents still live there. If the Robin Hood is to close permanently then it's a crying shame, as my mum says there is still a demand for a good local in the village. The Robin seems to have tried to convert itself into some sort of steakhouse/gastropub, with food prices to match, which is not what the community needs.
    It's seems ridiculous that a village of 2,500 people now has no local (as well as no shop).

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