Manchesters oldest pubs and the story behind their names

Posted on by Hannah Waugh

Salford University graduate Erik Merriman looked into the history of the names, his research earned him a coveted award “The Society of Name Studies in Britain and Ireland’s annual essay prize.” The Peveril on the Peak and The Lass O’Gowrie are part of the history in Manchester, but how did they get their names?

Erik Merryman stood outside The Peveril Of The Peak

Erik Merriman stood outside The Peveril Of The Peak

The Peveril of the Peak is the only detached pub in Manchester city centre and was first listed as a public house over 180 years ago in 1830, Erik believes it was named either in celebration of a stagecoach that travelled daily from The Peacock Coach Office on Market Street in Manchester to Charing Cross in London, or after Sir Walter Scott’s novel of the same name, first published in 1823.  “However, there is no obvious geographical links between the pub name and the novel itself and it certainly seems to be the case that the stagecoach was in operation before the pub opened its doors in 1830, “ said Erik, 30 “That is not to say that the stagecoach was not named after Scott’s novel.” This flagship Manchester boozer is situated on Great Bridgewater Street, and is a grade II listed building which has protected it from developers in the past, the pub has also received The Trafford & Hulme Winter Pub of the Season Award 2010/11.

Erik Merryman sat inside The Briton’s Protection pub

Erik Merriman sat inside The Briton’s Protection pub

The Briton’s Protection pub is one of the oldest pubs in the city centre with it dating back over 200 years to 1806. It  was allegedly ‘used as a refuge by folk escaping the attentions of recruiters for the Napoleonic Wars’ thus the name. Erik suggested there is folklore to suggest the name some link to the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 where 15 people were killed and hundreds of others had been injured by soldiers that stormed a peaceful protest. The Briton’s Protection itself has two commemorations to the protesters, one on the pub sign itself and the other in the form of a mural on a wall inside the pub,” said Erik. The pub has been voted Best Pub in Manchester in the Pride of Manchester awards for the year 2008/09 and 2009/10. It is also a grade II listed building and is situated on Great Bridgewater Street.

Lass O'€™Gowrie Manchester

The Lass O’Gowrie pub

The Lass O’Gowrie on Charles Street was originally recorded as a licensed building in1849. It has Irish links to its name due to its location near the former slum known as “Little Ireland”  but it’s said that the pubs first landlord Alexander Graham was a proud Scottish man who called the pub after his favourite poem by Lady Caroline Nairne, It is also a grade II listed building and won Best Pub in Britain 2012. Another famous pub which once stood on East Street, Tommy Ducks named as the sign painter who was supposed to paint the landlords name, Thomas Duckworth, ran out of either space or paint.

“I became interested in the stories and the folklore behind these pub names. It’s often impossible to find the official version of why a pub got its name, but the stories people told each other about them are just as important and tell you as much about an area’s history.” said Erik, who received a first class degree last September and is now training to become a teacher, originally wrote the essay for his dissertation before being encouraged by his lecturer to submit a revised version to the competition – which calls for entrants which make an original contribution to their subject.

Read more on the story here.

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