— Hardys Well MCR (@HardysWell) October 11, 2015
My living room window used to look out onto the right side of Hardy’s Well , where a Lemn Sissay poem stretches from the top to bottom of the wall. After moving away over a year ago, I happened to pass it in a taxi, only to find it had closed down, and had quickly became derelict. After you’ve left the sweet scent of spices on the curry mile, you’d be greeted with this beautiful pub on the corner of Wilmslow Road and Platt Lane.
Formerly known as Birch Villa – the pub had been pulling pints to the locals of Rusholme since 1893, and on site since 1830, only to rebrand as Hardy’s Well in the late 20th century. As of Sept 2015 the pub had the protection of Asset of Community Value status and was run by a team of dedicated volunteers on the bar in one last attempt to make this into a community-focused space.
Save this pub from closing, save your local public house, support the community they shouted. Their last tweets and Facebook statuses got more desperate for forcing bodies through the door in its last months, and eventually, silence, recorded in the late, cold parts of 2015. Windows have now been boarded up with cheap chip wood, that kind that flakes off in a harsh wind, the brick crumbles to the touch of even the most delicate of fingertips. Poorly constructed metal gates surround the walls whilst the fate of its future is decided behind closed doors, or not even considered at all.
I heard the shanty tunes of accordions and fiddle players singing out through the cracks in the windows, only to spill out onto the streets when the bell for last orders had rung.
The pub had been overshadowed by the bright lights of the mile, a quiet building on the end of a electric row of curry houses and shisha bars. But on certain days of the week, I’m sure it was a monthly get together – I heard the shanty tunes of accordions and fiddle players singing out through the cracks in the windows, only to spill out onto the streets when the bell for last orders had rung. When laughter used to hang in the cool air of the early hours of a Saturday, it was a constant gaggle of hearty voices that strung together my aural history of my time in that flat. Now only the traffic of the main road and passers by are heard from that corner, newly double glazed to prevent even the loudest of pint guzzlers to penetrate your sleep.
As Lemn Sissay’s creative career and new role as Chancellor has lifted him towards the unofficial title of Manchester’s resident poet, his words stapled onto the side of Hardy’s slowly fade with the building. I’ve been told that the civic society have tried to inquire about listing the building, but no solid information is around to really understand the fate of this 120 year old building, a firm institution in the fabric of Rusholme’s history.
As part of Sissay’s poem as landmarks series, these words held a beacon of hope for those who saw the pub struggling through the depths of financial pressures, finally closing in the autumn of 2015. If anyone has any information on the current owners of this building, and whether the poem (or building) is being preserved, please get in contact.