The Griffin Takes Flight And Moves North

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By Helen Morgan

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First Published 28/6/2021
Last Updated 12/1/2022

 

Who knew! It was originally called the Black Griffin Inn

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Fig. 1 The "New" Griffin 1903, on the corner of Long Lane and Finney Lane
Charcoal drawing loaned by Diane Elkington, former Griffin landlady © R. Palmer
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The Origins of The Black Griffin Inn

Long Lane was part of a turnpike road that ran from Manchester to Birmingham  . The Hurlbote toll bar was just up the road from the original Black Griffin, and the house that is now a hairdressers, next to the mosque, was the toll keeper's house. Hurlbote was a hamlet just out of Heald Green passed the Waggon and Horses, and the name has long since disappeared   . 

 

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The turnpike was very successful. It enabled food and goods to get to their main markets in the cities, on roads made for carts, rather than uneven tracks. The turnpike’s decline was brought on by the railways taking goods far quicker to their destinations, and it closed in 1881   . 
 

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Fig. 2 The former toll keeper's house 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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By 1750 Griffin Farm was well established on Long Lane   . The Land Enclosures Acts of Parliament between 1750 and 1860    meant the farm was designated for the mixed farming of crops and animals with hedges and fences for boundaries, rather than just wide open space for local people to use. In 1786 the first liquor licence was bought by Thomas Bailey with a surety of £10 (about £1580 in 2021’s money) and £10 from the liquor merchant. The Black Griffin Inn was opened. The barn alongside would house the horses of weary travellers, who were at the inn for a drink or a stopover. In 1829, 6 licensees later, the Hankinson family moved in. They were an important tenant farming family   .

By the 1831 map the name Griffin Inn can be seen, so at some point prior, “Black” was dropped   . (1888-1913 tithe map used to illustrate the inn's original location).

On the Tithe map of 1841 Isaac’s name can be seen on the surrounding fields. His son Charles was born in 1837 and died in 1922 at the ripe old age of 85. He was the last landlord of the old Griffin. Children living there included Charles’ sister Martha, and his daughters Louisa, Emma Jane ( she married into the Hodkinson family) and Charlotte. Richard was Charles’ son. It is likely that they brewed their own beer here   .  You can read what happened next to Griffin Farm here, but for now, we follow the Griffin North.

 

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Fig. 3 Mr. Charles Hankinson, final licensee of the old Griffin pictured in 1910 
© F. Mitchell / St. James Church
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Fig. 4 The Hankinsons outside Griffin Farm 1910
© F. Mitchell / St. James Church

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Griffin Farm OS Map 1888-1913 v 2020 Ove

Fig. 5 Griffin Farm on OS Map 1888-1913 v 2020 Overlay
© ARCHI Information Systems Ltd.

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The Inn Moves North

The Inn moved from this location at some point after 1871 and before 1881. There were existing farm buildings on the corner of Finney Lane, which belonged to the farm of James Warburton Finney since at least 1840. The Griffin was made from the farm house that stood on Long Lane. In 1871 there was a grocer and provision store there run by Thomas Burgess, his wife Mary and their 2 sons.   This location made a perfect site for the new inn, with thirsty workers from Cheadle Royal just up the road. Finney went on to sell more of his land to Cheadle Royal.

 
On the census of 1881, James Hankinson lived 2 doors down from the Griffin, in the cottages. Alfred Nadin, a stone mason, lived next door. Next door to him and the pub was Samuel Burgess a corn dealer.  The cottages on both sides of the road now housed local artisans like seamstresses, housekeepers and engineers; all kept busy working at Cheadle Royal or bigger houses around the area.

 
The Griffin publican was now Ellen Grindrod, a widow aged 35, who lived there with her brother, John Mills. Her 2 sons and 2 daughters also lived there. The same family was there in 1911. This family were related to the Coombes family who owned the Red Lion in Gatley.

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Fig. 6 The "new" Griffin 1882
© F. Mitchell / St. James Church
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The photograph above shows a wedding party stood at the door outside this new location. To the left of the party is Mr Richard Boyes stood with his penny farthing bicycle. He was a famous rider in the area connected to the Didsbury based Rovers Bicycle Club. Annual races were held for penny farthings from Didsbury to the Griffin which was a distance of 3 miles.

The Griffin sign can be seen over the door. The origin of the signage is unknown. However it probably comes from the coat of arms of the Davenport family of Stockport and Bramhall and their ancient seat of Woodford Old Hall. This building had a perfect cellar, as there was a stream running through, that kept it at a constant temperature. The Joseph Holt brewery opened in Manchester in 1849 and it may well have been a Holt’s establishment. It certainly was by WWII   .

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Heald Green Tithe Map Colour b - waterma

On the Tithe map of 1841 the smithy was located where the old post office was, on Wilmslow Road, and the smaller of the 2 buildings was the forge. As horse traffic increased and Cheadle Royal came to the area there was a need for a larger smithy and this relocated over the road to be next door to the Griffin    through some large gates.
 

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Fig. 7 Smithy Location, Tithe Map 1841
© F. & T. Mitchell / St. James Church
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From around the end of 1921, John Boden and his wife Sarah took over running the pub. He was a large and extravagantly moustachioed man. At various times their two youngest daughters, Dorothy “Dolly” and Margaret “Peggy” lived with them at The Griffin.
 
After John's death on 28th of May 1929, Sarah moved to Rosslyn Road, around the corner from the pub. John and Sarah are buried in Cheadle Cemetery along with Margaret   .

 

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This pebble dashed building remained a pub until the late 1960s. In December 1964 permission was being sought for the demolition of the Griffin Public House and the erection of a new one   . In the Ratepayers' Contact magazine of September 1966 it was noted that permission had now been granted for the demolition of the Griffin Hotel and the erection of a new hotel   . Roy and Jean were the last landlords of this building   .

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Fig. 8 The Griffin Hotel, 1960s
© Ratepayers' Association
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“The second window to the right of the front door was a cocktail bar that had not been used for many years. In the 1960’s no one went in and it had been left as it was, frozen in time.”

- Mick Hankinson, 2021

Another New Building

In 1967 a brand new building was built back from Wilmslow Road to allow for car parking at the front. The site was made larger by knocking down several old buildings including a farmhouse, cottage and barn   . It had a purpose built lounge, snug and vault. By the Autumn of 1969, around the new Griffin Hotel ,our ratepayers described the area resembling a tarmac jungle with no greenery to break up “the monotony”. They wrote to Holt’s brewery but “no cooperation had been
forthcoming
”   . By the winter of 1969 the problem had not been resolved with the Ratepayers referring to “a tarmac wasteland”   . A full year passed by until their complaints were heard and the council, with the consent of the brewery, were able to plant trees around the perimeter of the building   . 

 

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Harry was a big man, an ex-butcher with a quick temper and he took no nonsense. Ivy could turn you to stone with her stare and she was definitely the boss...in the midst of the miners' strike in 1973...there was a power cut.  Harry lit candles and placed one under a glass shelf upon which was Ivy's expensive collection of glassware...the shelf shattered along with Ivy's fancy glass.  The mortified look on Harry's face I will never forget as he knew what was coming to him.
- Mick Hankinson, 2021

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Fig. 10 24-hour darts marathon
© Stockport Times
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Fig. 9 The Griffin in the 1960s
© Cheshire Life
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Ivy and Harry Young were landlord and lady in the early 70's. Some may recall Phil as a licensee who ,with his sister Janet McDonell, ran the pub in the 1970’s.

Bob and Diane Elkington came next. Bob had lost an arm to cancer in 1984, and died in 1986. The brewery allowed Diane to continue as landlady.

Diane can remember a charity all-night darts marathon from 1983. She also recalls that the lager on tap was not as good as the bottles they were selling. In 1984, due to fantastic bottle sales, the couple won a trip to Munich, courtesy of Kaltenberg Lager.

Staff felt the cellar was haunted. Stories abound of the rattling of barrels, dogs barking at nothing, seeing someone in the corridor and starting a conversation, only to discover there was no reply and no-one there!
 

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Fig. 11 Bob and Diane win a prize 1984
© Diane Elkington
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The vault was strictly a man's domain. The snug had an olde world feel about it and was frequented by older people who would sit around and reminisce. The lounge was for everyone else to sit and drink, no food was sold yet only crisps, pork scratchings and nuts. Later pub grub meals were being sold, with chips always on the menu! The pub had lots of characters though. A bank of seats opposite the bar was classed as “death row”!!  Many recall Peter who played old time songs on the piano. 
 

You could find every type of tradesperson in there, builders, plumbers, electricians, roofers you name it, who would do work on your house for the price of a few good pints. That was in the good old days
- Ray Dowthwaite, 2021

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This 1960’s building remained until 2006 when a huge remodelling project took place   . The rooms inside were reconfigured. The snug went in place of a restaurant, the lounge was reformatted for drinking and later for food if the restaurant was full or for a bar meal. The vault remained, although a much smaller room now. The outside was painted all white and reopened in 2007. There was outside seating on 2 sides, and designated smoking areas. The feeling of a traditional public house had gone.
 

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Fig. 12 Last Sunday lunch in the Griffin, 2006
© Helen Morgan
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“When I worked at Cheadle Royal in the 80s in particular we used to call the Griffin "Cheadle Royal outpatients" as we often escorted patients for drinks at the pub.  Griffin patrons and Cheadle Royal staff used to have an annual cricket match (with funds for charity) and I have some fabulous memories of those great days.”
- Jane Downs, 2021

“When the pub, as is now, was first built after pulling down the beautiful old pub, the regulars thought they were sat in a clinic.”
- Shirley Slack, 2021

In 2016 the pub had another smaller remodel, and the outside was painted grey with wooden panelling. The plain white façade had gone. The restaurant was revamped with a carvery deck. During 2021 the pub has been closed due to COVID19 regulations but should re-open any day. Outside drinking was permitted from April 12th, and inside drinking from May 17th.
 
Cheers!

 

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Fig. 13 The Griffin 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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