Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ye Olde Boars Head, Middleton, Part 2

Anyway, this is me outside Ye Olde Boars Head in Middleton.

On arriving we entered and........bought a pint, of course. We had a bit of a nose round, getting a few strange looks as we examined all the old pictures on the walls and then the walls themselves. Then I asked the girl behind the bar if Leanne was around and after a few minutes she appeared. We made our introductions and we sat in one of the back rooms and had a chat. She told us a little about the pub and that, after my first call to her, she had gone straight to our blog and read it. This was promising after our previous dealings with managers. She then took us on a tour of the pub.

Turns out, not only were we lucky to have some time with the landlady, Leanne, but she also knew loads! She told us about how she was trying to get a bit of the history of the pub into a leaflet, and was hoping to do some tours. Surprisingly, it seems as though Middleton gets its fair share of our friends from across the pond. 


Shurrup Dad...

Anyway, I had noticed walking through Middleton on the way to the pub was a strange experience, starting from our hotel, we passed some nice housing estates and it seemed like a nice place to live. Then as we got closer to the centre, we started to see some some strange juxtaposition. For example, as we were looking for the St Leonards Church sign, we passed a cracking little lively pub, next to the church on the hill, which was in huge grounds, surrounded by cobbled roads, and next to that, there was a park with a feature bandstand. All looked brilliant. But then turn around 180 degrees, and there were the ugliest, run down parts of the town, all boarded up industrial units, probably 100 years old. I got the feeling that with a little investment on these run down areas, Middleton would be a gem of the area, especially with all the nice people we had met. 

 Middleton library

Middleton Park and Bandstand

I did see these things but it didn't register quite so much with me. I was seeing everything through a red haze and was fighting for breath in the thin atmosphere. I was now suffering for my sedentary lifestyle at this altitude (Oh all right...all I'd done was walk a couple of miles but it was uphill  for the first mile). 

The pub was originally three dwelling houses which were built around 1587 according to one source, but the date 1632 is cut into a stone lintel in the cellar. At some point the cottages were bought by the clergy from St Leonards church and the building was used as a courtroom. As you pass from the front lounge area into what was once outside but is now inside there is a trapdoor in the floor which leads down to a very small box-like room under the lounge. This is where the prisoners were kept while waiting to be bought before the magistrate. In the event the accused was found guilty and sentenced to death for his crime he was kept in this cell until he was taken to be hanged.......... at the church!!! 

Later an extension was added on one end  to create a bigger court and this now serves as the pubs function room named the Sessions room in honour of it's history.

The Sessions Room

One of the many interesting features of this room is the pub sign hanging on what was once the outside wall. It was here that Clint asked Leanne how long she had been at the pub and that little story was interesting to us. 

Her mother had worked at the pub as a young girl and met her father when he joined the pub football team. Years later Leanne went to work in Scotland and came home at Christmas to see her family. Her cousin was now running Ye Olde Boars Head and, being Christmas, was very busy. Leanne offered to help out behind the bar and has been there ever since and as manageress for the last 4 years. In a further twist, she employed a young man to work in the kitchen but they became very friendly and she had to sack him so that they could have a relationship as it would be frowned on by the brewery. They get married next year. How cools that?

The visit was getting better and better. Excellent sights. Excellent people, Excellent tales, and we were only on the first pint. Next blog we'll write about the people and tales they tell. 

This Blogger site gives us some excellent statistics, but the most interesting one is the audience. We have readers from all over the world, and truthfully, we would love to hear from you, So please, follow us on facebook, Search Ye Olde Innseekers, and come and chat to us online, tell us what you think, and hopefully, like our page.

Anyway... got 1 beer left, so I'll open that and toast to the next blog....


Monday, 4 March 2013

Ye Old Boars Head, Middleton, Part 1

More Press than Aldi....

Well, this is gonna be hard to beat. We have had quite a poor show in the past, but Middleton and its community have more than made up for it. These blogs we've been publishing are about the cards, and the pubs we visit, but this time round, the time leading up to the visit is, to us at least, just as appealing. 

Dad did the normal "pre-visit" check list. Contact the pub, search Google, look on facebook for any willing locals that would fancy meeting us for a beer, and maybe have a tale to tell us. Just so I don't miss any details  (and he's sat right next to me) I'll let Dad tell you about the people we spoke to before our visit...

  Firstly, I rang the pub and spoke to the manageress, Leanne. She turned out to be a diamond.  She said she would pass the word around and try and get the locals interested. Then I found Middleton Archaeological Society (MAS) so I posted a message on their facebook page asking if anyone could help. I got a message back from a Peter Alexander (Thanks Peter) who asked the members of MAS for their help and suggested a Mr Geoff Wellens would be a good chap to talk to. I searched facebook and found ONE Geoff Wellens and messaged him on the off chance that HE was the Geoff I was looking for. Over a week went by and I thought it was a dead end. but then I got a message from him and, after a little confusion (he thought I was trying to flog him something), he said he would see what he could do to drum up some interest.

Then I got an e-mail from a Chris Jones who works for the Middleton & North Manchester Guardian, a weekly newspaper in the area. Geoff had contacted him and told him all about us. He asked me to mail him back with a contact number, which I did. He rang me the next day and asked me loads of questions about me, my son, why we were doing this and how our wives felt about it. 

Then, a couple of days later I received a mail from Geoff saying that we were in the local paper and it was a good spread. Clint messaged me on facebook Wednesday posting me a link to this....

WE MADE THE FRONT PAGE!!!!! (bottom right)

and inside on page 8.....

and we got a bigger piece than Aldi's new store (page 11), and they're creating 15 new jobs! How mad's that??

As you can imagine, as soon as we saw this, we couldn't wait to get there. And this time, as I promised in the last blog, we were staying the night, so we could thoroughly enjoy the establishments board of fare. By the way, being on a budget, we booked a Travelodge just outside the town, and its a good job we aren't reviewing hotels, because this one was a right... (Careful Clint!) sorry Dad.... anyway, it weren't the best.

Us en route...

While we were prepping for the trip, maybe Thursday night, We decided that, being as though, A, we were on a budget, and B, we like to take in the sights, that we would walk the 2 miles from the hotel from hell to Ye Olde Boars Head (what a mistake! It looks flat on Google). So, as all great explorers do, we Google mapped our route. And we noticed something VERY interesting....

Not sure if we mentioned it in this blog, but our surname is Gardner.  And to be more specific, Dads full name is Stephen Leonard   Gardner (cheers Mum) (lol). On our virtual tour of Google Middleton, we spotted, just around the corner from Ye Olde Boars Head....

Which, was just around the corner from....

But to get to these, and Ye Olde Boars Head, we had to pass....

Although, truth be told, we may not have just walked by that last one...

Eventually we made it to Ye Olde Boars Head and met the lovely Leanne, landlady for the past five years, who was very helpful and gave us a tour of the pub and our FIRST Ye Olde Innseekers FREE PINT!!!! (and our first interesting tale, about herself and her family) despite trying to get the function room ready for a 50th birthday party and herself ready for a family evening out. 

Next time we'll go into more detail and bring you more tales of the inn-expected (get it??)

Cheers for now