15 Wellington Road North Stockport SK4 1AF.
Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
A delightful interwar pub on the corner of Heaton Lane and Wellington Road North, I moved to Stockport some forty years ago and was mightily impressed by the restrained exterior Deco design, wrought and hewn from soft pale sandstone. Equally impressive was the wood panelled, open, spacious interior space.
The George was always something of an anomaly, being the only Greater Manchester pub owned by Higson’s Brewery, our almost next door Liverpool neighbour.
Higsons was founded in 1780 – 1974 saw the brewery merge with James Mellor & Sons. In 1978, Higsons acquired the Bent’s Brewery, which was based next to its North Street head office. Boddingtons of Manchester acquired Higsons in 1985 but decided to abandon brewing in 1989 to focus on its pubs.
They have/had fine former offices on Dale Street
Boddingtons’ brewing arm was sold to Whitbread in 1990 which then subsequently closed the Higsons Stanhope brewery and then reopened by new owners as the Cains Brewery in 1991. Higsons beer was brewed in Sheffield and Durham for a few years after closure before being discontinued. The beer brand was revived in the current century and reborn in 2017, now served in the swish Baltic Triangle based Higson’s Tap & Still with an interior order that leaps backwards head first, into an imagined future of raw brick, reclaimed wood and industrial flourishes.
The George prospered – a town centre pub surrounded by workers in search of a wet and shoppers shirking their retail duties in favour of draught bitter or Cherry B.
Its interior however did not fair so well, ripped out in the 80s – remade remodelled, in the deeply unattractive, anti-vernacular, sub-disco style de jour.
Renamed The Manhattan, riding the fun-pub wave, closed reopened as The George – there followed thirty year of uncertainty, struggling to find an identity throughout a time of ever-changing moods.
It became a daytime haunt of the hardened, shattered glass, blood on the tracks class of drinker, its reputation in tatters along with yesterday’s fish and chip papers.
The last time I came by you were still open for business.
I bided a wee while, without imbibing, all the better to record your disabused Art Deco details.
I came by yesterday and you were all tinned-up with nowhere to go.
Premises To Let as of 13th May 2018 – on the 2nd April 2018 the licence has lapsed, so this will be a further barrier to it re-opening.
And so your faux nowheresville interior will pass into yet another of somebody’s history, along with your fine Deco detail and disco destruction.
This a tale of our age – of monopoly capitalism, stay at home Bargain Booze tipplers, demographic shifts, de-populated town centres, fashion fads and cheap cladding.
Time changes everything except something within us which is never surprised by change.