The much loved Manchester pub that fell victim to regeneration

The Ducie Bridge pub, an iconic establishment that once stood proudly at the corner of Corporation Street and Miller Street, has left a void in the hearts of locals and music enthusiasts alike.

The Ducie Bridge pub is known for its vibrant live music scene and cherished memories, the pub’s closure in August 2015 marked the beginning of a contentious battle over its fate.

Today, we take a nostalgic trip down memory lane to commemorate the significance of this historic venue and explore the controversy surrounding its eventual demolition.

The building was a three-story fancy 1892 red brick, detailed neo-Jacobean pub, welcoming and inviting.

The outside was adorned with ‘Your Friendly Local’, and owners advertised it as ‘The Friendliest Pub in Manchester’.

Before it’s closure it provided a stage for scores of up-and-coming bands and musicians.

The popular watering hole, on Corporation Street, was one of the foremost venues for up-and-coming bands and everyone from Alias Kid to Death To Strange have played there.

It also was famed for hosting a Quiz League, with a ‘great buffet’ for punters to tuck into as well.

They also had a great open mic ‘Jam’ night where people could come down and entertain the crowd with a few great tunes.

The pub became a popular boozer for people to go to before seeing gigs at New Century Hall and the now AO arena.

It also became a hot bed for comedy acts, with ‘royalty’ like John Bishop, Johnny Vegas, Peter Kay and Jo Brand all performing at the pub.

In 2015, the Co-operative Group, the pub’s owner, announced its closure, leaving many disheartened.

It was revealed that the pub was part of the long-term NOMA vision, a development project that aimed to transform the area into a modern urban hub.

The Co-operative Group’s plans suggested the possibility of converting the building into office space, signalling an uncertain future for the cherished establishment.

Following its closure, the Ducie Bridge pub endured a brief period of hope when an online petition emerged, amassing thousands of signatures.

The petition aimed to save the pub from demolition, rallying support from the local community and beyond. However, despite the outcry, plans for the pub’s demolition were set in motion.

In 2016, the Ducie Bridge pub gained attention once again when a group of homeless squatters occupied the building.

Their goal was to create a stable halfway house, providing a drug-free environment where individuals could find respite and support.

The community they built within the pub’s walls aimed to fight addiction, offer safety and facilitate the search for employment and permanent housing.

Unfortunately, this occupation was short-lived, as the squatters were evicted in September 2017 following a court order. Despite their efforts, the pub’s fate seemed sealed.

One of the main reasons cited for the planned demolition was the pub’s deteriorating condition.

Surveys revealed serious safety concerns, including the presence of asbestos.

However, some insiders argue that the squatters had maintained the building adequately during their occupation, as evidenced by numerous media stories showcasing the interior.

This raised questions about the possibility of refurbishing the pub rather than tearing it down.

Eventually, like the Crown and Cushion pub around the corner, the Ducie Bridge also was lost to Co-Op’s vast NOMA regeneration scheme.

What are your memories of the Ducie Bridge pub? let us know!

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