If you think a walk down Market Street on a Saturday afternoon is the scariest thing Manchester has to offer, you are gravely mistaken…
Because it turns out our region actually has a massive number of ‘allegedly’ haunted buildings ranging from pubs, abandoned hospitals and even cathedrals (yep, even the home of God isn’t safe these days).
So, here are some of the spookiest spots to get you into that Halloween spirit…
There are many great ghost stories stemming from this historical cathedral but the most prominent rumour of all is undeniably that of Black Shuck.
Black Shuck is the generic name for a demonic giant greyhound-type dog that would haunt villages back in the day and basically cause a whole load of havoc – and, apparently, there used to be one lurking in the shadows of Manchester Cathedral.
Though legend has it that the cathedral’s own Black Shuck was actually exorcised under the bridge crossing the River Irwell a couple of decades ago, so you don’t need to worry too much about getting chomped by a demonic dog from the underworld when you’re next walking by.
The beautiful Ordsall Hall is one of the oldest buildings in the whole of Greater Manchester and is known today for its rich history… but, sadly, it is also known for housing a number of ghosts and ghouls.
Yep, the Elizabethan half-timbered manor house is apparently one of the most haunted places in the North West, and even has its own ‘ghost cam’ to capture the eerie going ons throughout the night – the most commonly reported paranormal activity takes place in the Star Chamber where the voices of small children have been heard.
Visitors to this room often report the room becoming colder, including getting shivers and feeling random cold drafts from nowhere (yes, those brave enough can actually take part in a guided ghost walk of the building… It’s a no from me).
The Ring o’ Bells Pub
The infamous Ring o’ Bells pub in Middleton is notoriously haunted, which comes as no surprise considering it is built upon the site of an ancient Druid temple where regular sacrifices and massacres were known to take place.
And, if the presence of murdered souls wasn’t enough, the pub was also home to a pair of serial killer landlords in the 17th century – legend has it that the man and his wife murdered over sixty people during their time at the pub.
Over the years, punters have reported ghost sightings, the sounds of groaning and wailing from upstairs, and even the feeling of a cold invisible hand pulling at their pockets and coats. Reckon you’re brave enough for a pint in here?
Stretford Memorial Hospital
The Stretford Memorial Hospital permanently closed in 2015, but a number of eerie spirits were allegedly left behind.
Built back in 1850 as a private residence, the building was eventually lent to the British Red Cross as an auxiliary hospital during the First World War where, as you can only imagine, hundreds of people passed away within its walls. Following the war, Stretford Memorial was then converted into a maternity hospital.
There have been a ton of ghoulish reports over the years and, thanks to the fact a number of the beds and hospital furnishings have been left behind in the abandoned building, visiting makes for a truly chilling experience (I definitely would not recommend it).
Boggart Hole Clough
While Boggart Hole Clough is one of Blackley’s more scenic green areas, legend claims the 170 acre woodland has roots in the Bronze Age and is subsequently alive with spiritual history and general creepy going-ons.
Even wilder folklore claims there’s an actual Boggart living in the woods (for those of you who haven’t seen Harry Potter, a Boggart is an evil gremlin-like creature) and has been credited for snatching a number of missing children from the 1800s.
Folklore books also suggest that the worst thing you can do with a boggart is give it a name. If you do, it will attach itself to you and pursue you to the ends of the earth until it captures you. Something to think about when you’re next wandering in the woods, okay?
Barnes Hospital, a stunning Grade II listed building in Cheadle once named the creepiest abandoned place in Britain, has now been transformed into flats – though you might not be the only thing that lives there…
Built in the 1870s by Robert Barnes, the hospital was designed to help the then thousands of factory workers in Manchester who worked and lived in dangerous and filthy environments. Of course, many people died within its four walls and, with a graveyard just around the corner, many of the poor souls who perished are said to lurk around today.
One individual reported that he saw a nurse, clear as day, doing her rounds of the patients. Only there were no patients, no beds and the tune she was whispering echoed deafeningly around the entire building. Spooky.
Here’s what happened to the infamous Kersal Massive after their early viral fame
The ringleader of the notorious rap trio was tracked down a few years ago…
Back in the early days of the internet, before the birth of TikTok and when YouTube reigned supreme, an unassuming rapping trio from Manchester were catapulted to viral stardom.
C-Mac, Little F*****g Kevin and Ginger Joe, all from Salford, made up the Kersal Massive, a rap trio that would go on to become instant internet stars thanks to their rap song about day-to-day life in Manchester.
Instead of using their music to address social inequality or political issues, the Kersal Massive instead opted to rap about life in Manchester, grand theft auto and using their day saver bus passes.
Their rap song was actually an entry for a contest to win a Kano-themed BMX, hosted by former record label 679 Recordings. Shockingly, the Kersal Massive didn’t win, but the video wound up on the internet, where they found online fame instead.
The video was one of the first viral sensations to ever grace the internet, and today has over 1.8m views on YouTube alone.
For years people have been trying to decipher the meaning behind the song, with one YouTuber optimistically commenting: “By referring to a ‘day saver’, Little Kev highlights the struggle of the working class, while at the same time bringing up questions about religion and culture with the following ‘laid low, did a grand theft auto’ line, and how the incarceration of the young in today’s western world is affecting our society.
“Such a lyrical genius. A poet in his own right.”
Another commented: “It has been said Ginger Joe now travels the globe giving lectures on philosophy and ethics… and is also a UN spokesman answering questions on the [meaning of] being human.”
Someone even went to the bother of creating a lyric page to search for any hidden meanings or political agendas behind the track – unsurprisingly, none were found.
Despite their initial success and claims of having ‘all the money ’cause we know how to rap’, however, the Kersal Massive only ever released the one song, and were as quick to slip out of the spotlight as they were to enter it.
This has caused many people to wonder what exactly happened to the Kersal Massive over the years, and what the rapping trio are up to these days.
Well, The Tab claimed to have tracked down the infamous ringleader of the Kersal Massive, C-Mac, back in 2016.
They said at the time that C-Mac – real name Callum – still lived in Salford and was working for a law firm in Manchester.
He told the publication of the video: “It was uploaded to the internet over ten years ago. It was done as a joke and then it just went viral. I don’t actually know who uploaded it to YouTube, it wasn’t me.”
Then, Callum went on to break the hearts of Kersal Massive fans far and wide by adding: “I am not in touch with the other two lads anymore.”
While the beloved Ginger Joe is yet to be identified or tracked down, many social media users believed a man on the run from GMP for a series of gun-related offences was in fact a grown-up Little F*****g Kev… though this was never proven.
Did you know the NHS was born in Manchester 74 years ago today?
Happy birthday to the NHS!
Today, as our treasured National Health Service marks its 74th anniversary, we’re taking a look back on its extensive history and the substantial role Manchester played in its creation.
Life before the NHS was a bleak one; before 1900, healthcare was typically provided by charities, poor law (the local welfare committees who operated workhouses) and a criminally unregulated private sector.
Others, including many in the lower middle class, struggled to afford treatment, relying on hospital casualty departments, kind-hearted doctors or dubious folk remedies – as a result of these archaic conditions, women frequently died during childbirth and the life expectancy for men was just forty-eight.
But in 1911, that was all set to change.
The National Insurance Act of 1911, something that many regard as the original groundworks for the NHS, was introduced and, for the first time, provided access to general practitioners for manual labourers and lower paid non-manual workers earning under a certain income.
However, this groundbreaking new system wasn’t without its flaws – fees for GPs were increasing for the middle class and wealthy who were outside the system, and the wives and children of National Insurance members were excluded, as was hospital treatment, meaning that many had to pay further fees or rely on older workers’ society insurance schemes or free, less reliable clinics for mothers and children.
Something needed to change.
Nearly two decades later, the Local Government Act 1929 gave authorities the power to transform Poor Law institutions and develop them into the modern hospitals we know today. And, fast forwarding another two decades and another world war, Aneurin Bevan was appointed as the minister of health and thus, the wheels for the UK’s first National Health Service were set in motion.
On July 5th 1948, after years of hard work from various medical and political figures who felt the current healthcare system was insufficient and needed to be revolutionised, the first NHS hospital offering free healthcare for all, regardless of class, was launched at Park Hospital Manchester – known today as Trafford General Hospital.
On that historic day, Bevan arrived to inaugurate the NHS by symbolically receiving the keys from Lancashire County Council. Nurses formed a ‘guard of honour’ outside the hospital to meet him and, from that day forward, the healthcare of the nation changed forever.
In the early days, there were of course some teething problems – not long after its launch, expenditure was already exceeding previous expectations and charges were considered for prescriptions to meet the rising costs. However, by the time the 1960s rolled around, these early adjustments were altered and it was considered to be a strong period of growth for the NHS, characterised by new developments in the availability of drugs.
Since its birth here in Manchester, our NHS has gone through many changes, improvements, updates and modernisation processes, with no one back in 1948 ever fathoming the way in which the service has developed, pioneered and expanded from Manchester across the entire country.
However, there’s still room for improvement.
Today, the NHS continues to face a national crisis – the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the impact that years of underfunding has had upon our health care service and the long-serving staff members and medical professionals that continue to hold it together.
In October 2020, it was revealed by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) that as many NHS nurses died from Covid than were killed during the entirety of the First World War.
But regardless of the hurdles thrown in its path, the NHS continues to valiantly serve the British public – the idea of a National Health Service once upon a time would have been unheard of, yet today we cannot imagine a life without it.
Happy 74th birthday to our wonderful NHS!
FORGOTTEN MANCHESTER: The rise and fall of Tommy Ducks
From coffins as tables and knickers stapled to ceiling, there wasn’t a lot that didn’t happen at Tommy Ducks…
Out of all of Manchester’s weird and wonderful institutions, the legacy of Tommy Ducks remains today as one of the all-time greats.
But what exactly happened to this infamous boozer?
Tommy Ducks stood proudly down what is now Lower Mosely Street, and is known to have roots dating all the way back to the 1800s.
While it is widely believed that it was originally named The Prince’s Tavern, the pub underwent a name change at some point in the 1870s after its egotistical landlord Thomas Duckworth wanted to name it after himself.
But rumour has it that the painter-decorator hired to replace the pub’s sign either ran out of paint and supplies or found he didn’t have enough room to fit in the full name, so improvised and come up with the name Tommy Ducks, instead.
Of course, there’s no solid evidence for this mishap actually happening, but it is certainly one of the more believable rumours about the pub’s namesake.
Anyway, the pub settled with its abbreviated name and went on to quietly serve the good people of Manchester throughout the 1900s.
But then the 1970’s arrived, and Tommy Ducks started to gain a different kind of reputation, with it quickly becoming one of the most sought after boozers in the city – quite the accomplishment considering it was stood in the middle of a recently-demolished estate.
One of the pubs more popular legacies is its makeshift tables – for reasons unbeknown to most Mancunians today, someone had the bright idea of using glass-topped coffins as tables, one of which was kidnapped by a rival pub for a while.
One of the coffins even featured a skeleton, which many people were adamant was a real one.
Tommy Ducks was also renown for having ladies knickers and bras stapled to the ceiling above the bar, with female punters allegedly been invited to remove their undies upon arrival (yes, before their first drink!).
The pub played home to these kind of shenanigans for the next couple of decades and, by the 1990s, it was one of the last standing buildings in the area, which lay in ruin following a mass demolishment.
However, in 1993 the pub’s temporary preservation order – arranged by punters and supporters back in the 1970s – expired, plunging its future into uncertainty and doubt.
Greenalls Brewery, which ran the pub, was also coming under increasing pressure by fat cat developers to sell up and shut shop.
Tragially, the temporary preservation order expired on a Friday, meaning that the council offices were closed for the weekend. And because the order couldn’t be renewed until Monday morning, demolition began in the early hours of Saturday.
While Greenalls was eventually fined £150,000 for their act of destruction, it was still too late – Tommy Ducks and its abundance of coffins and bras was gone forever.