Burnage - New route

To be anounced

This is a new route consisting of the first part of the older, pre 2020, Burnage and Heaton Mersey Stagger, then diverts to the centre of Burnage propper.

Burnage straddles the dual carriageway of Kingsway, with the centre, and renowned new(ish) Reason To Be Cheerful, lying on the other side. The name Burnage is conjectured to have stemmed from "Brown Hedge", due to the old brown stone walls (often referred to as "hedges") which were common there in medieval times. In a survey of 1320, the district is referred to as "Bronadge" when it was described as an area of common pasture and marsh land. By 1655, Burnage was a township with the Egerton family the major landowners. In 1894, the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw described Burnage as the prettiest village in Manchester [maybe he should have gone to SpecSave!]. Burnage's bucolic existence changed in 1906 when plans to build a "garden suburb" in the district culminated in building many new semi-detached houses as well as open recreational spaces. This became the part of Burnage adjoining Parrs Wood Road.

Construction of Kingsway began in 1928 and (like Princess Road) was laid out as a dual carriageway with a segregated tram track along the central reservation. So the idea of a tram route to Parrswood (as the terminus in East Didsbury was then referred to) is nothing new. A large housing estate was also built by Manchester City Council along the Kingsway route, mostly characterised by brick semi-detached houses laid out in avenues and octagons. This is the part of Burnage we will be traversing.

Farmers Arms in 1959

Our stagger this evening starts on Burnage Lane at the Farmers Arms. Formally a Hydes house, but now under the control of Lawrence Hennigan of Levenshulme renown. It is a smart, two room, place with Oasis Lounge to the right, and the regular Lounge to the left. A feature of one corner is a series of images and articles about Burnage rock band, Oasis and the lounge sports a stage for entertainment at the weekend.

As we make our way towards our next destination (made easier if we cunningly catch a 197 bus almost door to door) take note of the buildings along Burnage Lane in the vicinity of the Farmers Arms. Here can be seen some surviving original weavers' cottages. Another blast from the past we are unable to see is Mauldeth Hall which is described as being in Green End, and was the dwelling of the Bishop of Manchester for more than 20 years. Just after the Burnage Lane/Erewood Lane roundabout glance to the right at the new housing estate (can I describe around a dozen houses as an estate?) which was the location of the Green End pub. Another point of interest after passing the roundabout is the numbering of the houses on Mauldeth Road. For the first few the numbers decrease to one with the odd numbers on the left, then start rising again, but with the odd numbers on the right! The explanation is you have crossed the boundary into Stockport from Manchester [incidentally the rest of Mauldeth Road Manchester is located 1 mile away with the Victoria pub on its corner].

However you travel, our next destination is the Beer Shop that began life in 2011 in a former butchers premises. I'm not sure whether to describe it as an off licence/bottle shop with drinking on the premises or a micro bar with bottles. The owners say it aims to be both a shop, a sample room, and a bar [Grammar Police: can you use 'both' and then give three alternatives?]. An open stillage has up to six beers on sale served by both gravity and handpump. Interestingly, the draught beer list is maintained in real-time on the pub's website. If in a hurry, beer can be taken away in 3, 5, 10 and 20 litre bag-in-box containers [though I advise a 20 litre box is a little awkward to carry around for the rest of the evening]. Should the weather be good(!), tables and chairs are positioned outside. If you are hungry, freshly-baked, home-made pizzas (for consumption on or off the premises) can be obtained from 5 till 9pm on Friday and Saturday.

Another lengthy walk is now encountered, but at least it is downhill on Barcicroft Road. As we turn left on Burnage Lane take note of the building opposit standing back from the road, this is the former Albion. Once owned by Hydes, this large corner house had a lounge and vault plus an upstairs meeting room. The lounge was pleasantly furnished and, like most pubs in days past, it was opened out over the years. It had a comfy, lived-in appearance complemented by friendly and chatty service. Laterly promoting itself as a daytime cafe as well as a pub. A long time keg pub, but as of early 2017, Hydes cask beers were returned to the bar. Now all is lost after being sold off.

After a short walk {Hurray!} our next pub will be reached. For those wishing to indulge in the full Oasis tour experience, however, should take a detour left along Cranwell Drive to number 5. This is the location of the brothers Gallagher house and where the photo on the iconic cover of their album was taken.

Back on Burnage Lane keep a look-out for a large, white-painted, house stood back from the road on the right, this is the Sun in September. In keeping with the unusual marketing ethos of the owning brewery, there is little to announce it is a pub (there is a sign board but it is obscured by the mature foliage) and nothing to let you know it belongs to Sam Smiths! Originally built in the 19th century by the local bigwig's daughter as her marital home after coming back from her honeymoon in Switzerland, hence the alpine influences in its architecture. At one time the pub was perversely given an Indian Raj theme but following a more recent refurbishment much of the original house is now open to be seen. With the mansion came impressive grounds where mature trees and well-tended lawns grace the front. WARNING: Should you decide to sit outside, drinks must be served in polycarbonate 'glasses' just in case you develop hooligan tendency and decide to throw them the 25 metres on to Burnage Lane!

Reason To Be Chearful in 1960

On leaving the Sun In September, turn right and right again at the traffic lights on to Lane End Road. Cross Kingsway and continue along Fog Lane. After passing under the railway bridge and station, keep a lookout on your left for Reasons To Be Cheerful which can easily be missed. This converted shop, though narrow at the front, goes back a good distance, with the bar to the front and additional seating to the rear. This area of Burnage had hitherto been very under-pubbed till Reasons To Be Cheerful opened in 2017. Its stated role is to sell locally and independently made real ales and craft beer to sit in or take away. The bar now takes CARD payments only, it no longer accepts cash so you will require some form of contactless payment (or a very good friend who will sub you) if you wish to drink here.
Photo left shows shops in 1960 with Reason To Be Chearful to right of shop named Ashcroft. Click image to see larger version.

Parrswood Hotel in 1944

On leaving, turn left and at the traffic lights turn left again. Now if, due to skilful timing, a 172 bus is due, hop on. If not there is another long walk along Parrs Wood Road where, after around 10 minute the Parrs Wood hoves into view. In days gone by it was an esteemed Boddingtons house, but after the takeover and break-up of that company (including at one time being the head office of Boddington Pub Co) it entered a long decline into mediocrity. After being taken over by JW Lees, sums of money were spent on it and it has, phoenix like, risen to its former glory. A full range of Lee's beers are on offer along with, but not overwhelmed by, a good food offering. If you wonder why there are so many photos of theatrical persons, the Capitol Theatre used to stand across the road. The theatre was then taken over by ABC television, with episodes of the Avengers and Opportunity Knocks being filmed here. Finaly being taken over by Manchester Polytechnic and renamed the Horniman Theatre, it staged performances by students of the college, including early performances by Julie Walters, Bernard Hill, and David Threlfall. Now long demolished, and apartments built on the site.

Travel
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Burnage Stagger

Timing

Pub Name

Address

Bus
Rail
Tram

Notes

7.30pm
Start point:

Farmers Arms
254 Burnage Lane
M19 1EN
Map
Mauldeth Road (Rail)
 

Then

Victoria Inn
196 Burnage Lane
M19 1FL
Map
Mauldeth Road (Rail)
No real ale

8.30pm Mid-point:

Beer Shop
13 Kingsleigh Road
SK4 3QF
Map
 

Then

Sun in September
588 Burnage Lane
M19 1NA
Map
Burnage (Rail)
 
Reasons To Be Cheerful
228 Fog Lane
M20 6EL
Map
Burnage (Rail)
Didsbury Village (Metro)
 

Finishing at:

Parrswood Hotel
356 Parrs Wood Road
M20 6JD
Map
Burnage (Rail)
Didsbury Village (Metro)
 

 

View Burnage and Heaton Mersey stagger in a separate window.

Updated January 2022



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