Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tommy Ducks on East Street ............ a pub that vanished over night

Tommy Ducks 1993 painted by Peter Topping  in 2011
It’s a full twenty-two years since the demolition men did their worst to Tommy Duck’s on East Street and even now I have to retell the story to my sisters every time they are up from London.

I first took them there around 1977 and it always ranked alongside the Town Hall, Central Ref and John Rylands as a place to revisit.

So the story of a preservation order that ran out at midnight and couldn’t be renewed till the following morning, the demolition team which just happened to move in during the gap in time and the brewery fined for breaching regulations never ceases to amaze them.

I vaguely remembered the story but had to go back to Pubs of Manchester to fill in the gaps and to be reminded of the coffin story.*

Elaine in Tommy Ducks
Now the coffin at Tommy Ducks I don’t remember but I did happily sit beside one in the Nags Head in the '70s.

It rested in the bay window and was the sort of thing that appealed to students.

Later I went back looking for it but the coffin had gone and as you do eventually I just assumed I had imagined it.  But not so according to my friend Elaine who worked at Tommy Ducks and confirmed that when Ken Riggs the landlord left he took the coffin with him to the Nags Head.

I suppose it may have moved again with him or just no longer fitted the corporate design of the brewery.

East Street, 1903
In the same way Tommy Ducks will have been a very different pub earlier last century and I have gone looking for that earlier story

A pub occupied number 8 East Street in 1911 and had done so back as far as 1876 and with a bit more research it should be possible to determine when between the 1860s and 1876  it opened its doors and when it extended into the adjacent properties.

All of which means it achieved its first century but alas Derrick the Demolition man prevented it rolling onto a second centenary.

So that makes Peter’s painting of the place just that bit special.

And like all good images it draws you in and makes you ask questions.

Look carefully and still standing beside the end of the pub is a bit of the stone work from the old warehouse next door.

This bit of stone formed part of the arch way into the inside of the building.

When I first ventured down East Street sometime around 1971 it was still there, a large gloomy place which passed from one occupant to another.

In 1903 it was the place of work of Edward Samson Bros, merchants, and by 1911 had changed hands and no doubt continued to do so until its final demise.

So there is lots more still to explore and in time I will be back.

Painting; Tommy Ducks © 2011 Peter Topping

Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk

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Picture; Elaine at Tommy Duck's courtesy of Elaine Archer and East Street circa 1903 from Gould's Fire Insurance Maps, 1880-1903, courtesy of Digital Archives Associationhttp://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/

*Tommy Ducks East Street, Pubs of Manchester, http://pubs-of-manchester.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/tommy-ducks.html

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