Sunday, 8 January 2017

Stories behind the book ........ No 4 .... Eric’s contribution

Now we all know an Eric.

He is someone who thinks his knowledge outstrips everyone else, will not brook alternative views and rarely lets you speak.

Added to which on the rare occasion you offer up something you know he can never have come across he will just nod and say “Yes that’s right I knew that.”

But my Eric can also be charming and in his way, very entertaining and he appears in the book offering his advice, and passing judgement on a selection of the pubs from the Shakespeare to the Old Wellington.

He was of course only one of the many people we talked to while researching the 78 pubs and all of them had interesting and in some cases fascinating stories.

There was the man who introduced himself as the chap who had said no to the Beatles, the musician Paul Mitchell-Davidson and Alan who recounted the story of the bookie’s mate who worked in the alley beside Tommy Duck’s in the 1950s.

Some we encountered more than twice like the two men from Yorkshire and their friends from Glasgow who were on a beer break which involved a two night stay in Manchester sampling some of the “best” pubs before doing Burton on Trent next month.

We fell across them in the Castle and half an hour later bumped into them again in the Crown and Kettle.

What I liked about all these chance conversations was that much of what they told us was unknown and even when it was clear they were drawing on well known stories there was always a slant which made the original.

One such story came  from my friend Elaine and involved the coffin and the skeleton which had once been in Tommy Ducks and made its way with the landlord to the Nag’s Head.

But sometimes when the stories were slim I was forced back on good old solid research which provided me with the story of the barrow boys in Back Piccadilly beside Mother Mac’s.

Generations of street traders had occupied this narrow street but the introduction of parking meters spelt the end to a little bit of retail history.

And it is these stories which mark out our book as different from other publications on Manchester’s drinking places.

Of course the other unique features of the book are Peter’s original paintings of the pubs and city landmarks, the old maps and the guided tour of the fifteen areas served by the 78 pubs.

You can order the book from or collect it by prior arrangement from Chorlton, and that is all you are getting for now.

Location; Manchester

*A new book on Manchester Pubs,

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