The landmark pub with Lemn Sissay poem painted on the side has been demolished

It was deemed unsafe after a huge fire last week.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 29th May 2023

A landmark Greater Manchester pub, famed for having a huge Lemn Sissay poem painted on the outside, has been demolished.

All that remains of the Hardy’s Well in Rusholme now is a pile of bricks – and a lot of sadness from the local community.

The pub has been out of action and largely derelict since 2016, but after a fire ripped through it last week the decision was made to demolish it.

Fire crews had tried their hardest to save the 200-year-old building but deemed it unsafe.

And the destruction of the pub at the bottom of the Curry Mile has also seen the iconic 1992 poem bulldozed.


It was penned by local legend Lemn Sissay OBE, who is also behind the ‘Flags’ poem etched into the paving slabs of the Northern Quarter.

The Hardy’s Well poem was designed to be a tongue-twister for inebriated customers of the pub itself, with every word starting with the letter W.


The pub attracted its fair share of student drinkers, as well as hordes of Manchester City fans thanks to its proximity to the club’s old ground, Maine Road.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Lemn said: “When that poem was put up poets weren’t doing that. They weren’t putting their poems on the side of buildings.

“It became a landmark, and that’s not something you can make happen, people make landmarks. People still contact me from all around the world saying the poem reminds them of their time at university or in Manchester, that it reminds them of a brilliant time in their life.


“I’m extremely proud of that. The poem has done me a lot of good, it’s really helped me and my career, but I don’t think it’s a sad moment.

“I would have loved it if it could have been put somewhere else, but life moves on, things change, Manchester changes. I don’t have a problem with it going now.”

Dozens of locals are now sharing their fond memories of the Hardy’s Well – whether it was as a punter or a passer-by.

One person wrote: “Half of my life time passing it on the way to school, town or raving! Thanks for the moments inspired by reading in every passing Lemm.”

Another said: “Gutting. One of my first memories of Manchester – used to love going past it on the bus twice a day.”


Someone else said on Twitter: “Noooooooo! Worked behind the bar there for about 4yrs. Loved that place. Always loved the pre match crowd when City still played at Maine Road.”

And another wrote: “Used to live round the back of here during my student days! Very sad. Lots of Mancunian culture being lost.”

Lemn Sissay’s Hardy’s Well poem

Wait waterless wanderer. Whoever walks
to the well will wade into a wonderous world.
A world which will waken the wilting
wallpaper of work and worry. Well? Worry
will wait while wells wand whirls a warm-
hearted wackiness into a weary week.
Whereafter waves and waterfalls of
wonderment will wash all weakness. A way?
Well? A world wide web of wholehearted
wholesome wisdom and wit waits wipe away
worries. Wells work wonders for wrinkles.
Why wait. Why wonder. Why worry. Why
wain. Why whittle. Why wither. Walk in. Well.
What we waiting for. It’ll double you. At
Hardy’s Well.

Featured image: Google Maps