“Where’s the Shambles ?”

I really love walking with Matt. He’s fast, chatty and unlike Stafford Paul sometimes stops when the red man shows at the crossing.

But I sometimes forget he’s only nnnnnn19, and doesn’t remember the 2 events that define modern Manchester. By which I mean the closure of Tommy Ducks and the 1996 bomb which forced two ancient pubs to be relocated brick-by-brick from the back of the Arndale, where we’d headed on our quest for lunch after admiring the Abel and the Unicorn.

While Matt and Emma perused the artisan options in the Arndale food court I went for the first thing on the Viet Shack menu with more than 1,300 calories in it. Pulled pork and sticky chips, mmm.

You’re not allowed to eat inside at the moment because, y’now, Covid.

Meet you outside the Shambles” I said, decisively.

What’s the Shambles ?

You must know the Shambles. OK, Cathedral Gardens then

Where ?

The football museum !”


Funny how our points of reference change. Also funny to see a pretty complete absence of beer cans on the Cathedral Gardens, though the police presence for the “Kill the Bill” protests may have been a factor.

Why can’t young people protest about the lack of real ale in Sinclairs like they did in the ’70s ?

Have you ever seen the Shambles so empty ?

But it all looked rather beautiful, and hearteningly spotless.

We pressed on towards Salford, clearly finding a rare hill near the Irwell.

and I gave Emma a guided tour of “Proper” (non-Quays) Salford, including this iconic (and sadly smartened-up) boozer.

I tried to do justice to “Proper Salford”, taking in the Egerton Arms and the New Oxford, but I fear my efforts were wasted. Back across the river for a last hurrah then.

22 thoughts on ““Where’s the Shambles ?”

  1. I don’t know Manchester at all well but was there a couple of years ago and was well impressed with the Shambles. Tried to get into Sinclair’s but it was rammed and went to a Holt’s pub up the road instead. Had no idea the buildings had been moved around to that extent.


  2. “and the 1996 bomb which forced two ancient pubs to be relocated brick-by-brick from the back of the Arndale”,
    As I remember it, firstly, two ancient pubs wouldn’t have been relocated brick-by-brick if ‘the planners’ hadn’t had the daft idea that anyone wanted another Arndale Centre and, secondly, Mancunians didn’t too much mind such an abomination being bombed and welcomed the jobs that came with rebuilding work.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Craft beer can make me very angry. So pretentious. You’d laugh RM. We are moving downtown and you would think we were moving to a DMZ. Riots have an effect on perceptions. The closest I came to rioting in Manchester was when the People’s Museum worked its magic.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Laughed at the line “people protesting about the lack of real ale.” I like the idea of CAMRA mobilizing its members for real ale protests back in the 70s, and maybe three or four people showing up. “Just you wait. In the future CAMRA will be massive, and people will be laughing at us to a noticeably smaller degree!” 😉

    Me, I just want to get a taste of the pulled pork and stick chips from the Viet Shack menu…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First let me say how much joy it gives me when I get a comment from you that starts “Laughed at the line…”.

      Stafford Paul will correct me, but I understand that dozens of CAMRA members in their 20s and 30s used to turn up at obscure places like Wem and Leeds to complain about brewery closures in the ’70s and ’80s, even though they’d been on the CAMRA website the week before comparing their beer to “dishwater”.

      We have some tremendous Vietnamese food in Manchester, not seen much in Sheffield yet but there’s time…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dozens ?
        No, hundreds on the Joules marches down Stone’s high Street in 1973 and 1974.
        I was also in Barnsley 1975 and Wem 1988 which were similarly well attended.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Remember going on the Oldham Brewery closure protest march. And on to The Boltmakers afterwards .


      3. John,
        And is that you photographed alongside t’other Mudgie in an old Good Beer Guide ?


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