July's Pub of the Month — Midland Hotel
Wellington Road North, Heaton Norris

Thursday, 26 July 2018

19 Wellington Road North, SK4 1HJ Map


Once, before the viaduct was built, the railway terminated at Heaton Norris Station and passengers were transported by horse-drawn vehicle across the Mersey Valley to join the line on the other side. The 19th century Midland Hotel is part of this rich history and John Sutcliffe describes the pub as it is today and why we consider it to be a worthy Pub of the Month for July.

The Midland Hotel was taken over by Mark Hayter about seven years ago and is an independent free house, having previously been owned by Enterprise Inns. Mark has removed the 1970s alterations so that there is now a pleasant interior having three inter-connecting rooms with the bar on the left having a new uPVC window but in the original style.

The pub was originally built in 1834 and pre-dates the viaduct. Nothing from this time remains in the interior but you can see plenty of Art Nouveau tiling from a late 19th century refurbishment which lines the entrance corridor and part of the back room.

It is a good community public house with three darts teams and a loyal crowd of regulars. Nevertheless about a year ago this was a pub under threat of demolition. A new road is being constructed under the arches of the viaduct to relieve pressure on Georges Road with its low railway bridge. Compulsory purchase was considered as the traffic engineers wanted to make room for a bicycle lane that required two metres taking off the front of the building. This was opposed by CAMRA and other local bodies. Luckily the local councillors agreed and the pub was saved.

Mark works hard to keep his beers in superb form. JW Lees Manchester Pale Ale is a regular with three other guest ales, often including beers rarely seen in the area. There is one bag-in-the-box cider throughout the year with more in the summer months. Prices are modest.

We are pleased to celebrate the continuing excellence of this establishment that provides a home for Pepper the black and white pussycat, often seen in the bar.

The presentation will take place on Thursday 26 July so come and join us from 8.00pm. The pub is on the main A6 so is well served by public transport.


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.

Forthcoming outing

Leeds 4th August 2018

LocationTime (pub's approx)Notes
Depart Stockport10:40Train to Manchester Piccadilly
Arrive Piccadilly10:52 
Depart Piccadilly11:05Train to Middlesbrough Timetable
Depart Oxford Road11:08Same train to Middlesbrough
Depart Victoria11:17Same train to Middlesbrough
Arrive Leeds12:08 
Victoria Family & Commercial12:30 - 13:30Food available
Foleys Tap House13:30 - 14:00 
Ship Hotel14:00 - 14:30 
Whitelocks Ale House14:30 - 15:15 
Duck & Drake15:15 - 16:00 
Tapped16:00 - 16:30 
Scarbrough Hotel16:30 - 17:00 
Hop17:00 - 17:30 
Return trains to Stockport via Manchester Piccadilly17:49, 17:52, 18:06, 18:18, 18:50
Times may vary due to timetabling difficulty


The Victoria Family & Commercial Hotel — 12:30 - 13:30

Built by the Victoria Hotel Company in 1865 as a twenty eight room hotel to accommodate visitors to the Assizes Court in Leeds Town Hall, the grade ll listed building has an impressive Victorian exterior and ornate interior with high ceilings. There is a long main bar area and two separate rooms all of which feature an array of polished wood and shiny brass. The guest beers are selection of local ales and quality beers from around the country.


Foleys Tap House — 13:30 - 14:00

The building is an impressive edifice built of Portland stone and previously owned by the Pearl Assurance Company. The company was founded by Patrick James Foley hence the name of the pub and his statue is at the top of the building. The interior is on several levels with a variety of seating. This busy city centre pub is now owned by the York Brewery and showcases four of their own beers along with up to eight guest beers. Also sells real ciders and perries.
Leeds CAMRA Pub of the year 2017.


Ship Hotel — 14:00 - 14:30

Long narrow pub with a single room on two levels with the bar next to the main door. Decorated with nautical memorabilia in keeping with its name and has brass fittings, period lighting and an impressive wall clock. Expect to see up to six beers on the bar.


Whitelock's Ale House — 14:30 - 15:15

Whitelock's dates from 1715 and occupies a long narrow yard. The interior is unchanged from 1895 and has been identified by CAMRA as having a nationally important historic pub interior. The pub is a feast of mirrors, woodwork, stained glass and a fine faience bar. A varied beer selection is offered from local and national breweries. Beers noted recently from Roosters, Brass Castle, Acorn, Ilkley and Thornbridge.


Duck & Drake — 15:15 - 16:00

A fine example of a two-roomed Victorian corner pub retaining some original features. Wood-floored throughout and some of the floorboards have survived two hundred years of trade. The central bar with fifteen handpumps sits in between and serves both rooms. A mural can be found behind a small stage depicting many blues and rock legends and is decorated with various music memorabilia.


Tapped — 16:00 - 16:30

This modern bar consists of one room with the long bar to right of entrance and brewing equipment along the left hand wall. Tapped Brewing Company real ales are usually brewed at Tapped's sister pub on Sheffield station. Signs above the bar give details of the beers available. There are no handpumps but the lower set of thirteen taps on the back wall dispense the cask ales. Above these are fourteen keg taps. A wide range of bottled and canned beers are also available.


Scarbrough Hotel — 16:30 - 17:00

The pub stands on the site of a Medieval manor house that was lavishly built in 1768 as a most desirable residence. It became a pub in 1826 when Harry Scarbrough took the property renaming it The Kings Arms. It has been known as the Scarbrough Hotel since the late 1890s. This pub serves two regular beers, Nicholsons Pale and Tetleys. Up to seven guest beers are dispensed from both local and national breweries.


Hop — 17:00 - 17:30

Opened in 2010, this pub which lies beneath the arches of Leeds Station's platform 17, the Hop serves ten real ales from the Ossett family of brewers together with several guests and real cider. The bar is surrounded by comfortable seating with bare brick walls decorated with murals and pictures depicting rock bands. The stairs on either side of the bar lead to another seating area which hosts live music on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Additional pubs from the same are located in Wakefield, York and Saltaire.

 

Pub of the Year 2018

Blue Bell, Levenshulme

170 Barlow Road, Levenshulme, M19 3HF Map


The Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2018 is the Blue Bell on Barlow Road in Levenshulme, Manchester.

Outside view of the Blue Bell

In recent years the voting for the Stockport & South Manchester Pub of the Year has been nail-bitingly close and this time was no exception with just one vote separating the top two pubs.

The winner is chosen from the Pubs of the Month in the previous year and the 2017 crop was not only very diverse but also included many excellent pubs. Debate was intense but there can only be one winner and this year the top spot is taken by the Blue Bell on Barlow Road in Levenshulme.

An imposing pub tucked away a short walk from the A6 (turn down Cromwell Grove and keep walking) the Blue Bell has been a cask ale outlet for some years now with well-kept Sam Smith's Old Brewery Bitter on handpump. For years it was one of the few oases in the now recovering Levenshulme "beer desert".

Mark and Mary Dunn receiving the award

It is managed by Mark and Mary Dunn (pictured left with their Pub of the Month award), who have worked for Samuel Smiths for well over 20 years now. Not all Sam Smith's pubs sell cask beer and that was the case with the Blue Bell until Mark pushed the company to install cask beer eight years ago.

The Blue Bell's signage

The pub itself is very smart, having undergone one of Sam Smiths classy refurbishments a few years back. On the right is a spacious vault and to the left three additional rooms - a large lounge with parquet wraps itself around the bar counter and off this is a smaller, carpeted lounge and also a small snug. The extensive light oak woodwork gives the pub a warm and cosy feel and it is understandably very popular with a wide range of locals.

What really makes the Blue Bell special though is its special position at the heart of the community with a variety of groups using the pub. Events are held to raise funds for community projects to improve local sites and walkways, there are other regular events, a quiz night, a knitting club and trips out. Local pensioners are particularly well looked after but there's always a warm welcome for everyone from Mark, Mary and their staff.

The award was presented on the evening of Saturday 24 February 2018.

Two Awards for Petersgate Tap

Petersgate Tap - Cider Pub of the Year
Runner-up Pub of the Year

and another two!

Greater Manchester Cider pub of the year
presentation Sunday 5 August 2pm onwards
 
Mild Magic best pint in the branch
Presentation Wednesday 5 September

 

19a St Petersgate, Stockport SK1 1EB Map

Petersgate Tap The very close runner-up in the Pub of the Year voting, and also the clear winner of the Cider Pub of the Year award is the Petersgate Tap on St Petersgate in Stockport town centre.

A most welcome addition to the town centre's real ale scene, Chris Gent and dad Alanthe Petersgate Tap, run by Alan and Chris Gent (pictured right), opened in late September 2016 in the premises of an old betting shop and has been dispensing a wide variety of well-kept beers and ciders ever since.

Set on two floors, downstairs is a modern, minimalist, continental-style room with the bar on the left-hand side and recycled oak-topped tables amongst the seating. A growing display of artwork adds to the atmosphere and a variety of beer magazines is available to browse as you drink. Upstairs is a function room with table seating and comfortable settees which also plays host to a variety of beer and cider tastings, as well as live music nights and other functions.

Six handpumps are on the bar, with Hawkshead's Windermere Pale being the house beer. A further five ever-changing beers from local, regional and national craft breweries are available, with one or two pumps usually reserved for a stout or porter. In addition, there are four keg fonts including one dedicated for Hawkshead Lakeland lager. A loyalty card scheme rewards ten purchased pints with the next free - this applies to both cask and keg beers.

A cider fridge containing three or four ciders and perries on rotation sits alongside an excellent selection of bottled and canned beers from around the world. A wide range of gins and wines is also available.

The two awards were be presented from 2pm on the afternoon of Saturday April 14.

Club of the Year

Wythenshawe Cricket & Sports Club

78 Longley Lane, Northenden, Manchester M22 4JF Map

The Stockport & South Manchester Club of the Year is the Wythenshawe Club on Longley Lane in Northenden.

On entering this very welcoming club you are afforded the choice of the large, well-furnished lounge to the left which opens out on to a delightful veranda overlooking the pitch, while to the right is a further lounge with a seating section at one end, and a more opened-out area where people can gather if TV sport is being viewed.

Both are served by a single central bar with the cask beers being Lees Manchester Pale Ale and two changing guests, the latter often sourced from Greater Manchester or Cheshire micro-brewers. The club has hosted occasional beer festivals in the past, too. At the time of writing the presentation date had not been finalised so look for details in a later issue of Opening Times.

Stagger diary - Work in progress

Many staggers have been updated and there are a few new ones. Thus some links below are still pointing to older accounts BUT ALL ITINERIES ARE CORRECT {just the accompanying text which is amiss!}

Month

Stagger

Date

Start Point
7:30 unless stated

Mid Point
8:30 unless stated

2018

January

Gatley and Cheadle west

19th

Prince of Wales
Gatley Green, SK8 4NF

White Hart
90 High Street, SK8 1PX

February

West Didsbury east

16th

Woodstock Arms
139 Barlow Moor Road, M20 2DY

Wine and Wallop
97 Lapwing Lane, M20 6UR

March

Heaton Moor

16th

Elizabethan
33 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4PB

Plough on the Moor
82 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4NZ

April

Cheadle Hulme centre

20th

Kenilworth
Cheadle Road, SK8 5DX

Church Inn
90 Ravenoak Road, SK8 7EG

May

Stockport North and Portwood

18th

Midway
263 Newbridge Lane, SK1 2NX

Railway
1 Avenue Street, SK1 2BZ

June

Withington

22nd

Orion @ 8pm
8 Burton Road, M20 3ED

Victoria
438 Wilmslow Road, M20 3BW

July

Cale Green and Higher Hillgate

20th

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Wheatsheaf
205-209 Higher Hillgate, SK1 3RB

August

Levenshulme

17th

Klondyke Club
Burnage Range

Station Hop
815 Stockport Road, M19 3BS

September

Heaton Norris east

21st

Carousel
156 Reddish Road, SK5 7HR

Silver Jubilee
21 Hamilton Square, SK4 1JG

October

Gorton, Hyde Road

19th

Plough
927 Hyde Road, M18 7FB

Royal Oak
114 Cross Lane, M18 8NZ

November

Didsbury south

16th

Didsbury
852 Wilmslow Road, M20 2SG

Crown
770 Wilmslow Road, M20 2DR

December

Stockport Hillgate

21st

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Sun and Castle
54 Middle Hillgate, SK1 3EH


2019

January

Offerton

18th

Puss in Boots
147 Nangreave Road, SK2 6DG

Finger Post
434 Hempshaw Lane, SK1 4QA

February

Hazel Grove south

22nd

Rising Sun
2 Buxton Road, SK7 6AD

Horse & Jockey
201 London Road, SK7 4HJ

March

Ladybarn and Fallowfield

22nd

Ladybarn Social Club
13 Green Street, M14 6TL

Friendship
353 Wilmslow Road, M14 6XS

April

Cheadle east

19th

Cheshire Line Tavern
Manchester Road, SK8 2NZ

Royal Oak
22 Stockport Road, SK8 2AA

May

Didsbury north

17th

Botanist
1d School Lane, M20 6RD

Station
682 Wilmslow Road, M20 2DN

June

Cheadle Hulme north

21st

P5
47 Station Road, SK8 7AA

Kings Tap
11-13 Station Road, SK8 5AF

July

Chorlton-on-Medlock and University

19th

Ford Madox Brown
Wilmslow Road, M14 5FT

Grafton Arms
27 Grafton Street, M13 9WU

August

Bramhall

16th

Three Bears
Jackson's Lane, SK7 5JH

Shady Oak
Redford Drive, SK7 3PG

September

Stockport Market Place

20th

Bakers Vaults
Market Place, SK1 1ES

Remedy Bar & Brewhouse
10-11 Market Place, SK1 1EW

October

Hazel Grove north

18th

Three Tunnes
194 London Road, SK7 4DQ

Grove Alehouse
145 London Road, SK7 4HH

November

West Didsbury, Burton Road

22nd

George Charles
246 Burton Road, M20 2LW

Folk Café Bar
169-171 Burton Road, M20 2LN

December

Stockport Hillgate

21st

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Sun and Castle
54 Middle Hillgate, SK1 3EH


2020

January

Edgeley and Shaw Heath

17th

Alexandra
195 Northgate Road, SK3 9NJ

Royal Oak
124 Castle Street, SK3 9AL

February

Northenden

21st

Farmers Arms
26 Longley Lane, M22 4JR

Lounge About
424 Palatine Road, M22 4JT

March

Moss Nook and Heald Green

20th

Tatton Arms
Trenchard Drive, M22 5LZ

Heald Green
Finney Lane, SK8 3QH

April

Great Moor and Heaviley

17th

George & Dragon
14 London Road, SK7 4AH

Travellers Call
351 Buxton Road, SK2 7NL

May

Reddish and Heaton Chapel

22nd

Fir Tree
257 Gorton Road, SK5 6LL

Union
93 Broadstone Road, SK5 7AS

June

Burnage

19th

Farmers Arms
254 Burnage Lane, M19 1EN

Beer Shop
13 Kingsleigh Road, SK4 3QF

July

Stockport south and Underbanks

17th

Nelson Tavern
98 Wellington Road South, SK1 3UH

Petersgate Tap
19a St Petersgate, SK1 1EB

August

East Didsbury and Heaton Mersey

21st

Gateway
882 Wilmslow Road, M20 5PG

Dog & Partridge
687-693 Didsbury Road, SK4 3AG

September

Gatley and Cheadle west

18th

Prince of Wales
Gatley Green, SK8 4NF

White Hart
90 High Street, SK8 1PX

October

West Didsbury east

16th

Woodstock Arms
139 Barlow Moor Road, M20 2DY

Wine and Wallop
97 Lapwing Lane, M20 6UR

November

Heaton Moor

20th

Elizabethan
33 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4PB

Plough on the Moor
82 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4NZ

December

Stockport Hillgate

18th

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Sun and Castle
54 Middle Hillgate, SK1 3EH