Gatley & Northenden
It starts off in the relatively well-heeled Stockport suburb of Gatley and finished in the less well-heeled (but now up-and-coming) Manchester district of Northenden, which has, to me, always seemed rather cut off from the rest of the city.As we will see later, the pub scenes in these two areas have had rather different histories.
This was written by me and was one of the earliest Staggers I wrote up. Here we go....
A less well surveyed part of the Stockport & South Manchester Branch area, Gatley & Northenden provide an interesting variety of both pubs and beer, most of the latter being consistently good.
The crawl started at the Red Lion, Gatley, a Chesters house selling handpumped mild and bitter. A typical Whitbread conversion this (it used to have one of their silly names - the Bitter End) but with a too-loud jukebox (presumably the regulars prefer it like that). The mild at 71p was better thought of than the bitter (72p), which was only average.
The 44 bus stops near the Horse & Farrier and this will take you into Northenden where our first stop was the Jolly Carter, a Boddingtons house. This is basically a large open-plan estate type pub which used to be the local of one of our party, who was of the opinion that it was 'dead' compared to her previous visits. Both mild and bitter (mild cheap at 63p) and both were good, the mild being particularly appreciated.
Next was the Church, a monumental and recently modernised Tetley pub. God knows what trouble they were expecting but there were no fewer than eight (that's right, eight!!) bouncers on the door. "Is this a pub or a bouncers convention?" wondered one of our party after we'd got in. Not only must such overkill be costing a bomb in wages it really is off-putting to the passer-by who might have considered popping in for a pint. The modernisation has been done well and despite the usual masses of plastic vegetation, is tasteful and comfortable. The mild wasn't on (although on previous form has been excellent) so we tried the bitter (at 75p the dearest so far) of which opinions varies from good to pretty poor!
|The derelict Tatton Arms|
Finally Greenalls Farmers Arms. Again a good pub atmosphere and agreement on both the mild and bitter which were generally agreed to be good.
The night had finished as well as it had started.
(Readers should note that the comments in the above are not intended to be a statement on the quality of the pubs or beer on all occasions, but is our opinion of both on the night of the crawl).
What happened next
As I said at the beginning, history has dealt rather differently to the pubs of Gatley and Northenden.
|The former Red Lion|
Prior to that it was for some years a failing keg pub that seemed to attract an unsavoury element. One large room dominated by a pool table.
Both the Prince of Wales and the Horse & Farrier continue to thrive as Hydes houses, selling a range of their own cask beers and, in the case of the Horse & Farrier, a sprinkling of guest beers too. They've both been refurbished since that Stagger but remain fine, characterful pubs.
It's been a rather different story in Northenden.
The Jolly Carter, was an old Victorian Boddingtons house that was demolished in the very early 1970s and replaced with the more modern estate pub visited on the Stagger. It closed in Spring 2004 and has been replaced by the small Cedarwood Close housing development.
here). Being an old Groves & Whitnall house it ended up in Greenalls's hands and hadn't sold cask beer for years. A troubled pub, its license was suspended in 2011 following a shooting (details here). It was demolished in December 2012 to be replaced by flats and houses.
The monolithic Church started life as a Hardy's Crown Brewery house (you can see the crowns on the top of the pub here) and so ended up as a Tetley house*. Another pub with more than its fair share of problems (including a murder in 2002), it closed in 2006. A subsequent, and suspect, fire sealed the Church's fate and after lying derelict for several years, it was converted into flats in 2016.
Still lying derelict after its closure in 2008 is the equally large Tatton Arms. Numerous schemes have been put forward for its redevelopment, the latest in December 2019 (which you can read about here).
* Hardy's Crown Brewery was jointly taken over by Cornbrrok Brewery, which took two-thirds of the pubs, and Ind Coope, which took the remainder. Hence, once the 1960s take-over and merger frenzy had subsided, most of the ex-Hardy's pubs ended up as Bass houses with the rest going to Tetley.