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Remembering Manchester and Salford’s original riverside pub that sank

Step back in time to the iconic Mark Addy pub, a cherished gem on Manchester and Salford's dividing line that captured the hearts of Mancunians for over 30 years.
Mark Addy

Unfortunately, due to flooding, Manchester and Salford’s original riverside pub, the Mark Addy, has been closed for over a decade.

We all know what a wild ride Manchester’s weather can be.

Torrential downpours wreak havoc on the city, none more so in 2013 when the much-beloved watering hole, the Mark Addy fell victim to the deluge and flooded.

Alas, this city gem is gone for good, perched precariously as it was on the banks of the mighty Irwell on the dividing line that joins Manchester and Salford.

Despite its less-than-stellar appearance and occasional unpleasant aromas of sewage and dampness, the pub always had a certain allure that drew people in.

Remarkable individuals worked wonders with the pub, and its history deserves to be remembered and celebrated.

So let’s take a trip down memory lane for a liquid lunch or a ploughman’s board at the Mark Addy.

The history of the Mark Addy

Let’s take a moment to share some information about the pub’s namesake, Mark Addy, a revered figure in Salford during the late 1800s.

His courageous acts earned him the Albert Medal from Queen Victoria for his life-saving deeds.

An avid swimmer and rower, Addy is credited with rescuing over 50 individuals who had fallen into the polluted River Irwell, saving them from drowning and certain death.

The Mark Addy was set across two levels and had a bizarre glass frontage.

Mark Addy
Credit Not Quite Light

The roof of the building looked a bit like a mix between a bus shelter and a strange conservatory.

What was the Mark Addy like inside?

Upon descending the steps, which could be quite challenging after several pints, patrons were greeted by a moderately sized bar with understated industrial decor and open brickwork.

However, the large windows overlooking the river and the spacious outdoor terrace were the real highlights of the establishment.

Who needs the Seine when you’ve got the Irwell and a pint of Boddies and a Mark Addy cheese and meat platter?

The pub was famed for a world class jukebox before the advent of digital juke-boxes made music much more accessible.

It was the perfect place to lounge away an afternoon with beautiful views of the river.

The pub featured in many of the Good Beer Guides during the 90s and won plenty of rave reviews, but as time passed, it began to lose its charm and become neglected.

As the Millenium approached, the building was really in need of a lot of love.

Robert Owen Brown at the Mark Addy

In 2009, the pub’s fortunes took a turn for the better when renowned Manchester chef Robert Owen Brown took over and transformed it into one of the city’s most vibrant culinary destinations.

Instead of focusing on trendy and expensive ingredients, Owen Brown emphasised honest, traditional British cuisine, including game, off-cuts, offal, and other meats associated with hunting.

In 2010, they were named Best Newcomer at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards.

Championing tail-to-nose, the menu featured locally-sourced and waste-free dishes, such as Long-braised Chicken-stuffed Pig’s Trotter, Crown of Pigeon, and Tripe in Madeira on Toast.

They also heavily promoted regional dishes, sourced from local ingredients.

Owen Brown’s approach was both refreshing and exciting, setting a new standard for the city’s dining scene and paving the way for subsequent ventures of a similar nature.

Robert Owen Brown successfully revitalised The Mark Addy, elevating it to a sought-after destination for food and drink enthusiasts alike.

This brought a significant boost to the pub’s popularity and reputation, earning it recognition as one of the top gastropubs in the country.

Unfortunately, the renaissance was brief, as the pub had to close in 2014 due to the mounting costs of repairs and upgrades required for its maintenance.

Robert Owen Brown said nearly £250,000 worth of repairs were needed to bring it up to scratch.

At the time, speaking to the MEN he said: “It’s a real shame, but let’s be realistic about this, the place was falling down.”

It appears that the revenue generated was insufficient to cover the expenses, forcing the pub to close its doors and remain vacant since then.

The flooding

In hindsight, the decision to close the pub in 2014 appears to have been a wise one, as just a year later the venue was hit hard by extensive flooding when the River Irwell overflowed in 2015.

It was flooded again in 2021.

While there were rumours in 2017 that the pub’s owners – who also own Albert’s Restaurants and Dukes 92 – were considering restoring the venue due to the increasing foot traffic and interest in the area following the nearby Spinningfields development and the new New Bailey offering, it remains empty to this day.

The bar has been closed since the 2014 flooding, which caused an estimated £200,000 worth of damage and led to then-operator Allen Caldwell relinquishing the lease back to Elle R Leisure.

It is currently in a sad state of affairs, and it’s grim to see a once glittering gem on the Manchester scene fall into rack and ruin.

It surely couldn’t make a comeback again, could it?

Fancy some more nostalgia? Check out the facebook page where a dedicated community share all things Mark Addy by clicking here

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

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