Iconic Manchester pub with a gruesome past has closed down – but there are new plans afoot

This pub has seen some things in its 150-year history.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 10th April 2024

One of the Northern Quarter’s most legendary pubs has closed down, with Mother Mac’s signs pulled down and builders already moved in.

The Back Piccadilly boozer has seen some things in its years, since first opening as a public house back in the 1870s.

Most notable would surely be the massacre that occurred here in 1976, when then-landlord Arthur Bradbury killed his wife, her three children and even the pub’s cleaner.

Then he started a fire that claimed his life too.

But far from shying away from its grizzly past, Mother Mac’s has always been strangely proud of its macabre history.


A plaque detailing the brutal killings has long been mounted on the wall outside, and newspaper clippings about the murders have been framed inside the pub.

It’s spent 55 years as Mother Mac’s, even with the pub changing hands a few times along the way.


But now the pub has closed, its recognisable painted signs pulled down and currently propped up against a window inside.

Based on a current licensing application submitted to Manchester city council, it will reopen as The Rat & Pigeon – so appears it will still operate as a pub.

The names linked to the application have a long history with the local hospitality scene, including through the Crown & Kettle pub.


Photos shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, show that Mother Mac’s is going to undergo a pretty serious makeover before reopening as The Rat & Pigeon.

The historic site on this Northern Quarter back street has been largely gutted.

Exact opening dates and plans for the new venue haven’t yet been announced.

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Featured image: The Manc Group