May's Pub of the Month
The Hope Inn - Heaton Norris, Stockport

Thursday 25th May 2017

118 Wellington Rood North, Heaton Norris, Stockport SK4 2LL Map

The Stockport and South Manchester CAMRA Pub of the Month award for May 2017 has been awarded to the Hope Inn, Wellington Rood North, Heaton Norris, writes Jim Flynn.

When the moribund Hope was bought by Martin and Samantha Wood in late 2012 so desperate was it that many thought they had committed financial suicide. How wrong these doubters were because with their transformation of the pub into a modern, easy on the eye pub for a relaxing drink, married with a range of excellent beers (it's a regular entry in the Good Beer Guide) the couple have hit on a winning formula. They have now successfully used at their second pub, the Spring Gardens in Marple Bridge.

There are two rooms, to left the vault, with a small games room to the rear, and a comfortable lounge with raised-seating area to the right. Throughout the décor is modern, but nevertheless warming, with attractive polished wood floors and brewery memorabilia on the walls.

The Hope offers 11 cask ales, usually six of which are brewed at its very own micro-brewery in the basement. The name 'Fool Hardy Ales' is a reference to the past history of the Hope which started life as a Hardys' Crown Ales house as is shown by the mosaic signage along the top of the pub. Martin describes his beer as 'cracking beer that sells itself' and such is demand he has taken on an assistant brewer, Katie Bromley. Also regularly on the bar is a beer from Bury's Outstanding Brewery along with changing ales from breweries across the country, foreign draught and bottled beers and a real cider.

So effective was the transformation that the Hope won the Stockport and South Manchester Pub of the Year award for 2014 but now we thought that it was high time that the continuing excellence and growth of the pub was recognised again. So why not join the local CAMRA branch to celebrate the award which will be presented to Martin, Samantha and their staff on Thursday, 25 May when, I am sure, a great night and great beer will be enjoyed by all.

The pub is on the 192 and 22 bus routes and less than half a mile from Stockport town centre.

The Pub of the Month award is sponsored by Stephensons, a local family firm that has been supplying the local pub and catering trade for over 140 years. Check out their web site by clicking on their logo.

Edgeley and Shaw Heath Walkabout

Friday 19th May 2017

New start point - Alexandra at 7:30pm

Another Olde Woolpack in 1986 of our longer staggers, starting at the award winning Olde Woolpack and spiralling in towards the equally award winning Olde Vic.

After the early route march to transport us from the Olde Woolpack to the Royal Oak you can then settle down to almost a pub on every street corner as we traverse the rest of Castle Street.

In the photo left we see the Woolpack in 1986 before this part of Heaton Norris was devastated by the M60 motorway. At this time traffic still travelled over the now pedestrianised bridge. In the background the pyramid has replaced the houses seen in the distance.

Alexandra today Alexandra in 1975

Next stop we approach the Alexandra and here we see the Alexandra both in 1975 and today, but which is which? The trees in the older photo right have now gone and the cars are a little more modern but what else has changed?

Around the corner Royal Oak today Royal Oak in 1979 at the start of Castle Street we reach the Royal Oak. Back in 1979 the Royal Oak was in the hands of Wilson's Brewery from Newton Heath, Manchester. This is the first of many former Wilson's houses we will meet this evening.

A little along Prince Albert in 1979 Prince Albert today Castle Street, and on the next street corner, we come across the Prince Albert. This was also a Wilson's house back in 1979. For a time it was bereft of cask ale but back in 2012 it started to serves Marston's beers so is back in the real ale fold.

Next up,  Sir Robert Peel in 1979  Sir Robert Peel today again on the next street corner we see the Sir Robert Peel, known to generations of locals as the Bobby Peel. Back in 1979 it was another Wilson's house and presumably served real ale. This was unfortunately lacking until a year or so ago when thankfully cask ale returned, but not Wilsons!

Now for a bit Pineapple today Pineapple in 1979 of variety. Yes the Pineapple is still a Wilson's house, but this time in the middle of a row of shops and not a street corner! Unfortunately these days there is no real ale.

We are back to the norm, Jolly Crofter Jolly Crofter with the Jolly Crofter being yet another street corner establishment. Unfortunately it is difficult to determine whether this was yet another Wilsons house or not. Judging by the typeface used for the pub's name and size and shape of the end of brewery sign, it does appear to be a Wilsons house.

The Florist is evident Florist in 1912 Florist today in the 1912 postcard right, but there is no telling whether it is a Wilsons house or not. In today's photo it is evidently owned by Robinsons.


We now have an interesting array of photos of the Armoury. The initial photo (far left) has been dated as 1901 but the caption admits it could have be any time between 1895 and 1912. The middle photo is undated but the building has been rebuilt and/or modernised and looks closer to todays layout and now is obviously a Bells & Co. house. The third photo shows what the Armoury looks like today when it is firmly a Robinsons outlet.

Armoury around 1900 Armoury at an intermediate date Armoury today

The final photo from Ye Olde Vic in with its old name of Victoria Vaults Ye Olde Vic as is today yester-years took some tracking down because in days gone by Ye Olde Vic was known as the Victoria Vaults. The older photo is undated, but can't be that long ago as shown by the municipal flats which loom in background. Nowadays Ye Olde Vic is a multi-ale free house, whereas then it was yet again a Wilsons house.



Edgeley and Shaw Heath


Pub Name


Bus & Rail


Olde Woolpack
70 Brinksway,
Starting point
195 Northgate Road,
310, 309 (11, 11A, 328, 368, 368A)
Grange Club
151 Edgeley Road,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 328, 368, 368A
Royal Oak
124 Castle Street,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 328, 368, 368A
No real ale
Prince Albert
107 Castle Street,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 328, 368, 368A
Sir Robert Peel
83 Castle Street,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 328, 368, 368A
50 Castle Street,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 328, 368, 368A
No Real Ale
Jolly Crofter
15 Castle Street,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 328, 368, 368A
No Real Ale
100 Shaw Heath
309, 310, 313, 374
31 Shaw Heath,
11, ,11A, 309, 310, 313, 328, 368, 368A
Finishing at
Olde Vic
1 Chatham Street,
(11, ,11A, 309, 310, 368, 368A)


View Edgeley and Shaw Heath stagger in a separate window.

Updated 3rd May 2017

Northenden Walkabout

Friday 23rd June 2017

This month's walkabout sounds a little like a small child playing with their train set, namely too, too, too, tooooo! And why do I describe it this way? It is a meander of two traditional pubs, two modern bars, two without cask ale, two closed and [sorry to spoil the thread] one licenced restaurant actually selling real ale!

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.

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, 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 Photo of Bar Bibo 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 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 twelve year life.

Continuing north, our next encounter is with Photo of Escape 2 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.

A little to the north we find Photo of Vikz Bar & Restaurant Vikz Bar & Restaurant at 351-359 Palatine Road. It was converted from shop premises in 2004, opening as Rafters Bar before changing name to Palatine Bar & Restaurant. From opening it was keg-only, that was until they joined the LWC Cask Club around Christmas 2012, so it now has two changing cask beers. As the name implies, there is an adjoining eatery which is in fact an Indian restaurant. At last somewhere that you are able to have a pint of cask beer together with a curry. Well done, why can't more places take up this idea, or at least offer real ale in a bottle as an alternative to keg offerings.

Continuing travelling north we reach Grapes Lounge Bar Photo of Grapes Lounge Bar located at 297 Palatine Road (approximatly where Wall's ice cream sign 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. Two or three cask ales are 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?

Our next task will be to look through the windows of 273 Palatine Road, which, when open, was Bonito's (with former names being Bar Mono and Mill). Listed as closed, possibly awaiting conversion to residential use, we will be verifying its current status.

We round the corner Mill Lane in 1971 - Tatton Arms at far end Tatton Arms today onto Mill Lane. Why Mill Lane when Northenden escaped industrialisation, the nearest it came to having factories was a cottage industry in flax spinning. Back in the 14th century, however, a weir was created on the Mersey and a mill (demolished in the 1960s) set up to grind corn. A ferry boat for crossing the River Mersey was also instigated giving rise to the Boathouse pub. The mill originally belonged to the Tatton family of Wythenshawe Hall, hence the pubs name being changed to Tatton Arms.

There is some confusion over the status of the establishment as CAMRA's WhatPub website shows the Tatton Arms as open whereas a recent Manchester Evening News article has it closed and due to be converted into flats! The application would see the historic Tatton Arms building retained and converted into nine apartments, with 14 family homes built within the grounds. The word on the street is, it's already knocked down! Answers will be gained tonight.

Moving around the The Crown, or Corner Pin in 1959 The Crown today corner and up the rise we progress towards 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 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.

As this is the final point so we can River Mersey, the southern end of the ford was approximatly where the railings are here on Ford Lane. 1947 linger as long as we like and perhaps 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 were no bridges over the Mersey anywhere between Sale and Stockport, that is 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 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 the crossing a thing of the past.




Pub Name




7.30pm Start point:
Farmers Arms
26 Longley Lane,
M22 4JR
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
8.30pm Mid point:
Lounge About
424 Palatine Road,
M22 4JT
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
Followed by
Bar Bibo
387 Palatine Road,
M22 4FY
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
No Real Ale
Escape 2
377 Palatine Road,
M22 4FY
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
No Real Ale
Vikz Bar & Restaurant
351-359 Palatine Road,
M22 4FY
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
Grapes Lounge Bar
297 Palatine Road,
M22 4HH
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
273 Palatine Road,
M22 4ET
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
Tatton Arms
Boat Lane,
M22 4HR
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370
Finishing at:
Crown Inn
19 Ford Lane,
M22 4WE
41, 43, 101, 104, 105, 178, 370


View Northenden Walkabout in a separate window.


Updated 7th April 2017