Pubs of Manchester

All pubs within the city centre and beyond.
A history of Manchester's hundreds of lost pubs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

City Gates / Hyde Road Hotel, Hyde Road


Hyde Road Hotel, Hyde Road, West Gorton. (c) ultimatewigan.

This fine looking old pub marked the spot of Manchester City's first proper ground on Hyde Road in West Gorton.  As late as the 1980s, the City Gates was a popular watering hole before the match for supporters travelling in from East Manchester.  It was kitted out in all sorts of MCFC memorabilia and was run by Gorge Heslop, City legend of the 1960s, after he'd had the Royal George in town.  I remember popping in here a few times as a wide-eyed youngster, rather puzzled why such a pub was so far from Maine Road (about 3 miles) - it was never explained that the land behind the pub used to be a 30,000+ capacity ground, hemmed between the railway arches.

The Hyde Road Hotel plays an important part in the club's history, being the meeting place of Ardwick A.F.C. in 1887 and subsequently, the place where they became Manchester City F.C. in 1894.  Players would get changed in the hotel then duck down the alleyway at the side of the pub to the Hyde Road Stadium.  As a Chester's house, a condition of the club's official link to the pub was that supporters (and club officials and players) would sup Chesters ales, and in return (Stephen) Chesters Thompson of the brewery helped finance stadium improvements.

Hyde Road Hotel, Hyde Road, West Gorton, early 1900s. (c) The Mancunian Way.

The Hyde Road Hotel handed out free beer to customers on election day in 1892 on the promise that they said "success to Balfour" [1] - Balfour being the local Tory who was standing to local election, and was also Vice President of a certain nearby football club, Newton Heath.  This was organised by Chesters Thompson of Chesters Brewery, who used his position at the brewery to influence local politics as well as the football club.  The map on Manchester History shows the location of the Hyde Road Hotel in relation to the football ground [2].  

The move of MCFC to Maine Road in 1923 following a fire at the Hyde Road ground, didn't adversely affect the Hyde Road Hotel and it continued to serve the West Gorton community and the once-bustling Hyde Road thoroughfare.  Sadly, as the community around it was decimated, the pub struggled and its last hurrah was as the City Gates theme pub.  The business failed in 1989 and the pub sat empty and rotting for twelve years until it was demolished, despite a half-hearted fans campaign to save it.  Two keystones from the Hyde Road Hotel reside in the MCFC memorial garden and are all that remain of this significant Manchester pub.

More about Manchester's and MCFC's history at The Mancunian Way.

1. www.mcfchistory.com/2011/10/politics-corruption-and-rise-of.html.
2. http://manchesterhistory.net/manchester/gone/Ardwickmap1.jpg.

1 comment:

  1. I worked there in the late 1970s when Eddy and his missus ran it with a couple of elderly and hilarious ladies called Bella and, um, Betty(?). Still remember the locals who frequented the pub and who largely lived in "Fort Ardwick" across the road.

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