Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Another year another open neck shirt

Some of the usual suspects at the Mark Addy on Friday 8th July 2011

The winter Open Neck Shirt will be convening at Mr Thomas's Chop House at 1pm on Friday 11th November.

A little history

Mr Thomas’s Chop House is described by The New York Times as “probably Manchester’s most venerable pub”.

The site on Cross Street was originally occupied by a Georgian Town House, hence its long, slim shape. Mr Thomas Studd, who also gave his name to the premises, first opened it as a public house and restaurant in 1870.

Like the coffee house, the alehouse, the boarding house and others, the chophouse is a British institution dating back to the origins of modern commercial trading in the sixteenth century.

Chop houses

The Chop houses were originally places where businessmen dined and conducted their affairs over hearty plates of traditionally cooked meats, frequently grilled and washed down with fine wines or well-kept local beers.

The architect Robert Walker was commissioned to rebuild and extend the original premises and this version of Mr Thomas’s was completed in 1901.

It is a cast iron frame building - one of the first in Manchester. The exterior walls are a superb mixture of decorative terracotta blocks and Accrington brick. The terracotta was hand cast and delivered to the site hollow. It was then filled with concrete for extra strength and fabricated over the frame on site. The building was given Grade II listed status by English heritage for its architectural merit and historical importance in the city.

The interior remains almost completely original. The arches and Victorian tiling are Mr Thomas’s principal distinguishing features. These have been recently cleaned and restored to reveal the beauty and skill of the original craftsmanship. The intense green lustre of the darker arch tiles is something rarely seen in more modern work.

Since Thomas Studd there have been 29 further innkeepers. Their names are listed in the back room as an historical record and as a way of remembering their contribution to the life of the city centre. Tom’s has certainly had its ups and downs over the last century, but it remains a local institution and one of the jewels in Manchester’s crown.

As well as providing some hearty food Mr Thomas's have a range of real ales available usually including Black Sheep, Holt's and Robinsons.

I'm looking forward to revisiting Mr Thomas's, meeting old friends and sampling the food and drink on offer.