Iconic Stalybridge pub to rise from the dead on a new site

2019 is set to be one hell of a year on this planet of ours. Britain is supposed to be leaving the European Union. Manchester City have achieved the first domestic treble in English footballing history. Game of Thrones has also ended its run as a drama series. The most surprising aspect of this surprising year so far is the return of an iconic pub. Especially in an era where pubs are still closing left of centre, far right and centre right.

Enter the return of The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn.

If you have lived in Tameside for most of the life, or imbibe random intoxicating drinks every now and again, the original pub used to be on Astley Street, Stalybridge. Which if you remember had a place in The Guinness Book of Records for having the longest pub name in the world. Any CAMRA member with a GCSE level education in Urine Expressionism would know that Stalybridge also has the shortest pub name in the world.

The Q Bar. Which (like the hostelry with its lengthy nomenclature) is on a different site to the original pub. Its Market Street site was originally Le Bar du Gare. The original Q Inn was on 28 Back Grosvenor Street, close to where the Savers supermarket is nowadays.

The new version of The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn will be situated on 11 Market Street, next door but one to The Q Bar. Its new premises have previously been The Stalybridge Tavern, Ruby Rooms, Bar Max and an Indian restaurant. It was originally built as a pub anyway: The Steam Engine Tavern which closed in 1960.

Its owner, Sarah Farrer Baxter, also runs the Bohemian Lounge on Grosvenor Street. We hope the new version of The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn sells cask conditioned ales. Like the original premises, live acts would be a worthwhile addition. All will be revealed as soon as the hostelry returns to the Stalybridge pub scene.

With the revived version of The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn and Crafty Pint being Stalybridge’s most recent additions, the Stalybridge Ale Trail could have nine pubs. Who fancies reviving the Cottage Of Content and making that a tenth stop on the trail?

The long and short of it: other rivals to the Rifleman Inn in the Great British Public House Nomenclature Stakes

On several occasions, The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn has faced competition for its world record by other pubs. The original pub’s original name was The New Inn. Then the pub changed its name to The Thirteenth Cheshire Rifleman Inn.

For a time the original version of the name entered the first edition of The Guinness Book of Records. It had at one point (in the 1972 Guinness Book of Records) been beaten by The London, Chatham and Dover Railway Tavern on 43 Cabul Road, Battersea. This is now a photographic studios.

In the 1986 edition of Guinness Superlatives’ masterwork, the Rifleman Inn lost that honour to the Ferret and Firkin in the Balloon Up The Creek. Again in London, this time on 114 Lots Road, Chelsea. Still a pub, it is now known as the Lots Road Pub and Dining Room. It is owned by Brunning and Price, whose other pubs include The Bank on Mosley Street, Manchester.

By the time it adopted its present name, it didn’t only return to The Guinness Book of Records. Its place in history was marked with a blue plaque by Tameside MBC on the 30 May 1995.

S.V., 22 May 2019.

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