Friday 24 June 2022

Tonight's meander Northenden is around what is an ancient settlement which has now been subsumed into the bounds of Manchester. The City Council used the Local Government Act 1929 to extend its boundaries to encompass Northenden in 1931. This was as part of their plan to build the garden city of Wythenshaw(!) to house people from the inner city inter war slum clearances.

There are two theories of where the name Northenden comes from. A settlement called Norwordine was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086; its name deriving from Anglo-Saxon Norþ-worþign or "north enclosure". Another theory is that the name means "northern dale or valley", presumably because it was near the River Mersey. This begs the question whether there was a corresponding Southenden somewhere in the Style Ringway area - any suggestions. At times Northenden has be referred to as Northen causing difficulty in tracing its history.

We start our meander this evening at Modern photo of Farmers Arms Old photo of Farmers Arms 26 Longley Road, where we will find the Farmers Arms. A longstanding hostelry where the front three low-ceilinged rooms still have the feel of a traditional pub, while towards the rear a large room is mainly for dining which is popular with families. Being owned by John Barras, it offers beers from national suppliers. Cask ale sales have gone up and down, being dropped altogether in 2015, but re-instated in 2016 and currently supplied by Marston's.

Now a slight departure from a normal stagger, we are going to call in the Wythenshawe Cricket & Sports Club, a previous winner of our Club of the Year. As we are visiting in the summer, expect to see (or evidence of) cricket being played, while in the winter months rugby and football are the games. And as to who takes precedence in April and May I have no idea!

It is but a short walk Photo of Lounge About back towards Palatine Road and our 8:30pm meeting place. At 424 Palatine Road we find Lounge About, a bar of two halves, well two shops really. The left-hand half is set out with tables for drinking or dining, whilst through the wall to the right the ambiance changes markedly. Three huge tables, constructed from wooden sleepers, with accompanying benches create a more rustic feel. Decor is very much cafe-like with lots of mono photos and some individual paintings. Meanwhile at the rear is a beautiful little, secluded beer garden where, if the weather permits, you can get away from the bustle of Palatine Road. Whoever tends this garden does so with great care as it's a real picture. There is a constantly changing supply of real ale thus keeping the range an ongoing surprise to customers.

We now start a long trek north along Palatine Road where we will encounter a variety of bars. First up, at 387 Palatine Road, we will be pressing our noses against the windows of Anton's (formerly Bar Bibo). Having been converted from shop premises, it was opened around 2005 and is decorated in a modern spartan style. Unfortunately it is a keg-only bar having never been known to have served real ale over its whole year life.

Photo of Escape 2

Continuing north, our next encounter is with Escape 2 located at 377 Palatine Road. Opened around 2005 it was, like Bar Bibo, converted from former shop premises. Having been re-named from Escape after its 2013 refurbishment it is again devoid of real ale. Oh dear! Onwards we go.

Photo of Grapes Lounge Bar

Continuing travelling north we reach Grapes Lounge Bar located at 297 Palatine Road, approximatly where the gent with parcel is in the 1971 picture at the top left of this page. Opened in 2015 as the Grape Escape Lounge Bar having been converted from a former Chinese take-away. Previously two or three cask ales were on offer in the long, mood-lit bar area, complemented by an outside drinking area on the street frontage. Will the weather be clement enough to allow alfresco drinking this evening? Well, "No", as there is currently no real ale being sold, so onward.

Our penultimate port of call requires a short walk back towards the centre of the village(?). Around the side of the Grapes Lounge Bar is Mill Lane, proceed along until it morphs into Boat Lane. At the end stands the Crown Inn located at 19 Ford Lane. This is probably the oldest (and smallest) pub in Northenden and is/was often called the Corner Pin. A former Boddingtons The Crown, or Corner Pin in 1959 The Crown today house, now owned by Punch Taverns, that had not sold any cask ale for some years. That is until 2016 when an entrepreneurial couple took on the lease. Back came cask ale, and the place was given a smart and very thorough make-over. Two small yet traditionally decorated rooms flank the central bar and a small outside drinking area beyond this completes the accommodation. Unless the weather is very summery I doubt we will be sampling the delights of the latter tonight.

While savouring your pint, River Mersey, the southern end of the ford was approximatly where the railings are here on Ford Lane. 1957 contemplate the name of the road outside, Ford Lane. Northenden was on a major (and very old) "Salt Road" from Cheshire towards Manchester and thence into the West Riding of Yorkshire. Unfortunately there was no bridge over the Mersey between Sale and Stockport, until Bonnie Prince Charlie's army built a temporary bridge over the Mersey in 1745 (approximatly where Manchester Road now crosses into Didsbury). The ford at Northenden was unusual because its northern and southern ends were not opposite each other, so people using the ford had to wade about 500 feet along the riverbed. In 1901 pedestrians got a better deal when the Simon's Bridge was built at the northen end of the ford. Unfortunately users of the ford got a worse deal in the 1980s when the flood prevention work carried out all along the Mersey made fording a thing of the past.

To reach our final destination we need to proceed to Church Road, there to discover Northenden Untapped. This is a new bar opened November 2019 in former shop premises in an under-pubbed area of the town. The inspiration to open the bar was due to the changing local demographics, with many young professionals moving into the area, but finding little in the way of cask or craft beers to drink. To alleviate this a three handpump "wicket" is complemented by keg/craft beer taps behind, and a selection of canned craft beers.
NB. the bar does NOT accept cash, all payments by CARD only please.

Below, clicking on Map will call up a Google travel map with that location automatically set as the destination. Insert your current location (post code?) as the start and choose a travel mode (public, car, cycle or foot) and discover your travel options.

Following THIS LINK will take you to the Transport for Greater Manchester website for current travel information.




Pub Name




7.30pm Start point:

Farmers Arms
26 Longley Lane
M22 4JR


Wythenshaw Cricket Club
78 Longley Lane
M22 4JF

8.30pm Mid point:

Lounge About
424 Palatine Road
M22 4JT

Followed by

387 Palatine Road
M22 4FY
No Real Ale
Escape 2
377 Palatine Road
M22 4FY
No Real Ale
Grapes Lounge Bar
297 Palatine Road
M22 4HH
No Real Ale
Crown Inn
19 Ford Lane
M22 4WE

Finishing at:

Northenden Untapped
67 Church Road
M22 4WD


View Northenden Walkabout in a separate window.


Updated April 2022

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