The Black Horse Inn

“Spirits have stories to tell, one must know how to listen”- Deepta Roy Chakraverti, From Bhangarh to Bedlam. 

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A view of the hotel from the footpath

To be honest, I have not come across any spirits yet; but I do get an uncanny feeling every time I walk past The Black Horse Inn. This desolate building on Chapel Street has been lying ignored for years. As its outer walls decay with moss and algae; as the heavy rains seep inside the building through old cracks and creeks; as the blowing wind carries pollens to its walls giving rise to life in this lifeless building; something attracts me towards it more and more. The world moves in its own fast pace beside the Black Horse Inn, but somehow I feel that time has stopped for this building. The atmosphere around it carries a feeling of unspoken sadness, it is almost as if, it wants to say something, one only needs to have the ears to listen. 

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Stone Mask outside the Inn

Interestingly, during my research into this building, I found out that the inn was not always so desolate. Once upon a time, it was the centre of all the buzz and happening things in Chapel Street. It was a fully functioning inn with music, piano players, singers, laughter and cheers. The interior of the inn was filled with the aroma of ales and drinks. People from all backgrounds used to come here to quench their thirst amidst entertainment. It was full of life, noise, aroma and people. Then what drove such a flourishing inn to its ruins ? To know about its contemporary condition, it is mandatory to go back to its history, because it is only in the pages of the past that the conditions of the future rests in. 

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Sculpture of a Horse

The Black Horse Inn was built opposite the erstwhile Manchester Race course. Interestingly, today the race course does not exist at all. Just beside the inn is the Crescent pub, the happening place for all the youngsters. Opposite the inn lies the Peel Park, on the other side of the Street. The University of Salford (Peel Park Campus) is just a two-minutes walk from the site. No specific date of its opening has been traced yet. Different websites and blogs state different opening dates. While one website traces its origins to the year 1739, another one traces it to almost a hundred years later in 1875.

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Designs on the Outer Walls

If you look closely at the design of the pub (whatever is left), you would find sculptures of horses and designs which have an equine imprint . The inn was said to have a parlour, two refreshment rooms, a billiards room, a drawing-room, a vault and a bar. From the outer structure of the building it can be understood that there were more than one rooms inside, but what were these rooms, how they looked and most importantly what would one find inside it today can only be imagined.

The pub has been credited to have started the local paper in 1915. This paper usually had local news and news of the Great Wars. This pub was not devoid of controversies as well. It was said that the licence of the pub was at stake when the landlord found out that it employed piano players without proper identity checks and licenses. Nevertheless, the pub fought bravely against it and held its ground till the 2000’s. No one can actually highlight why the pub was shut down and unfortunately there is no one whom I could go and ask for more information. Most people today, have just accepted it as a desolate building standing on the edge of a street. But I think it is far from desolate. The walls of the building has numerous stories hidden inside it and would love to tell, if only it could speak. 

Today, it is a Grade -A listed building, conserved as part of the heritage of Salford, Manchester. Time and again, there have been proposals to demolish the building to make way for modern housing apartments, but each time the building has been saved from being mowed down. It is almost as if there is still life inside it, which wants to live and fight for its existence; fight for making its identity amidst the modern environment. 

To conclude, I leave you with some photographs of the building (Even of the interiors, which I managed to find out  after extensive research)

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58 Replies to “The Black Horse Inn”

    1. Well, the area started developing and more pubs and bars came up which were considered to be ‘modernistic’. plus there were land issues and ownership issues. so, now it just stands there out of use.

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  1. I adore the stories behind monuments, and how they’ve endured through times and conditions along the way of the centuries. For me, there’s so much to learn from those buildings and I loved how you told this story. Today, it’s a monument which is part of the heritage right? I totally get why by now!

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    1. Yes. Its a Grade A listed building. But there is talk of it being demolished. However, there are also the locals who sign petitions against the demolitions- a reason why it has survived three such near close demolition cases.

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  2. such buildings tell alot of history and should be brought back to life and hopefully some decendants from the owners or builders can be found one way or the other for its true rich history and purpose…

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  3. Some buildings do give you an eerie feeling, as if time has stopped still there. This Inn also looks like it has the same vibes. I am sure you have had an intriguing experience while researching and writing this post.

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  4. It looks kinda creepy but I’d still love to go there! How fun would it be to go back in time when it created the paper 🙂 as writers, I’m sure we all can fantasize of life back when ink hit paper instead of keys to the internet!

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  5. For a building that was built during the 17th-18th century, it still does look great. I thought you were going to share some ghost stories here.

    Anyway, yeah it would be a waste to demolish this historical building now. The city can create a museum around that building and have tours.

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    1. i hoped to hear some ghost stories too. but unfortunately, no sightings , nothing that can be backed with at least one witness. But, I am on the lookout for some ghost stories. If not here somewhere else. 🙂 I wont disappoint you.

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  6. I love old buildings! They have a certain mystery and they have the ability to travel us to the past – well, not literally, unless you know such a magical building, please share, hahaha. Each one of them usually has a story to tell. I think that old buildings should be restored! I hate to see them abandoned. Thanks for sharing those great photos!

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    1. No, I don’t think so that the inn has been featured in any movie, or documentary. Although I would personally love to have a documentary highlighting its haunting past. 🙂 But I would find it out for you whether it was used in any productions or not.

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  7. What a beautiful old building and with a fascinating past . It would truly be a shame if it was knocked down. I hope that it can continue to be preserved and perhaps sympathetically restored.

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    1. Yes, it would be shame to bring it down. As of now, the community is fighting to keep its legacy alive. Restoration would probably be focussed on once everyone is sure that it won’t be knocked down in the future.

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