A big thanks to Rochdale, Oldham and Bury CAMRA for giving me an overdue return to Middleton, home of Lees Brewery, in the new Beer Guide.

We used to use the Travelodge just off the A627(M) and walk to Mills Hill Station (A), which is where I start this little jaunt into Tandleland.

Tandle Hill not shown so as not to over-excite you

Just for you, I detoured to the Old Boar’s Head, Middleton’s most obvious tourist attraction.


But there must be more to Middleton than I’ve found so far, and goodness know where the 43,000 residents all live.

Future micro

The industrial heritage is compelling, and you can’t beat peeling paint.

Definite future micro

I even found you the statutory “shop selling scary toys“.

Rejected ideas from Frank Sidebottom Musical

The Bricklayers is a classic bit of green tiling.  I’d love to say Domino’s has rescued it for the nation, but it was shut too.

Oh dear

Anyway, the Lancashire Fold was open and serving the community of south Middleton.

Traditional suburban Lees

12-11 every day means it’s already been open longer since the new Beer Guide was released than the Connoisseur Tasting Rooms will be for the entire year.  Think on that.

Gleaming taps

It’s a large, rambling spick and span pub, almost social club in style, and hosting a wake in one half.

Proper seating, duff sports

You can tell a good pub from it’s ability to handles wakes or wedding or Wombles Fanclub conventions without closing the whole pub down.

The old boys were seated round the outside walls, groups of ladies were enjoying cheap lunches, and the banter was as good as the soundtrack (Beatles “Something”). The qualities of gammon (not THAT gammon) and the virtues of Tenerife over Blackpool.  If the mill workers who’d gone to Fylde for Wakes Week had heard these fellas extolling the virtues of Spain they’d turn in their graves.

Perhaps the big screens were superfluous, showing American football on mute to no-one in particular, but it was as Proper a Pub as you’ll find.

Decent rather than spectacular Lees Bitter, but still worthy of its long-awaited GBG entry.

Lacings 3/5

Some lovely touches for the connoisseur, including a locked room and oil painting of Old Middleton.


Once it was all fields

More of these, please, ROB.

14 thoughts on “THE MIDDLETON WAKES

  1. So sorry I’ve been absent without leave this last week or so, Martin. I did miss your writings during my travels, and it feels good to get back to them.

    That Bricklayers-turned-into-a-Domino’s photo is possibly the saddest thing i’ve ever seen on your blog– brings a tear to the eye!

    And wow, that oil painting of Old Middleton is a treasure. It could hang in a museum!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark, I do appreciate that some folk have to work, though in the case of BRAPA his assignment in London seems to be more ticking than banking !
      Yes, I’ve seen a few pubs in Hertfordshire and Essex converted to McDonalds but that Dominos does the building no favours !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Tandle Hill not shown so as not to over-excite you”

    In all honesty the names on that OS map are pretty dull. 🙂

    “Future micro”

    I think you just found out where most of the 43,000 residents live. 😉

    “Definite future micro”

    Fer sure! And they’ll be open all hours but no one will be able to get past the railings to get in! 🙂

    “I even found you the statutory “shop selling scary toys“.”

    What’s really scary is the fact that they’re dressed in “gender colours”.

    “I’d love to say Domino’s has rescued it for the nation, but it was shut too.”

    Google’s Streetview from July 2017 is interesting. I count 3 takeaways within 50 feet. And one rather odd one, Babyworld, that has signage indicating ‘takeaway to let’. What the heck does that mean?

    “Proper seating, duff sports”

    Good lord. Is that the NFL on the telly?

    “including a locked room and oil painting of Old Middleton.”

    In the photo just below that I’m guessing the demarcation between tiled floor and carpet indicates where one can legally wait to be served?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Middleton is takeaway heaven. The Travelodge where we stayed had one of the best Indian takeaways anywhere, Meal for One feeds Four type of thing.

      You may be right on the photo. I’m no lawyer -))


  3. Looks like a potentially lively place on a Saturday night. I love wakes, by the way. Real emotion! I was at a wedding reception in a social club in Bermondsey last weekend. What a disappointment. Of course, it didn’t help that I didn’t know the bride, the groom nor any of the guests, or that no one knew me, but food and drink was free so I popped in out of courtesy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The closed room is the Vault which nowadays only tends to be used for functions, though many would aver it would be a boon to actually open it as it used to be.

    Yes Miggy has a plethora of takeaways, but not that many decent ones. Were you staying at the Travelodge at Oldham? If so was it the Shaheen you went to? It used to be good enough for me to drive there years ago but times change.

    That’s the Manager in that photo. You are honoured.

    Liked by 1 person

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