Once an underground public loo, The Temple bar on Oxford Road has become a (slightly unusual) Manchester institution.
The tiny pub has become so much a part of our city’s furniture, we often forget to take stock of what a little gem it is.
So we’re looking back at exactly what – besides its novelty – makes The Temple such an icon of Manchester’s bar scene.
This is its story.
The night I first stumbled across Temple Bar – one of Manchester’s weirdest and most wonderful institutions – will live long in the memory.
I’d been travelling on the top deck of the Magic Bus one Saturday evening, when my friend bolted from his seat, grasped the yellow railing and jabbed his index finger against the red ‘stop’ button.
“There,” he said, answering my quizzical expression by gesturing to a underground staircase in the distance.
“Change of plan. We need to try this place. I’ve been wanting to go for ages.”
The doors hissed open and I clambered off the bus earlier than anticipated, strolling over to a set of stone steps, encircled by a black railings, covered by a white canopy.
Printed overhead was a name. “The Temple”, it read.
We descended, and discovered a whole other world waiting for us at the bottom.
It was unlike any other pub I’d ever visited before; boasting a larger-than-life vibe that defied its diminutive size.
The place served as a public toilet over a hundred years ago during the Victorian era, but as TimeOut so aptly put it: “Temple Bar is anything but crap.”
Ever since being converted into a subterranean drinking den; the venue has become a real favourite among Mancs; earning a reputation for being low on frills but big on music.
Despite the fact that two dozen drinkers in here is a tight squeeze, Temple Bar is nonetheless the proud owner of the best jukebox in the city – serving a wide array of draught and bottled beer brewed from all around the world.
This has led to the cubby hole acquiring quite the creative cult following – with the bar being frequented by Manchester’s poets, writers, artists and, most prominently of all, musicians.
Elbow lead singer Guy Garvey is a particularly popular patron, with Temple even inspiring some of the lyrics for his band’s song “Grounds for Divorce”.
There’s a hole in my neighbourhood, down of which I cannot help but fall.
Garvey told the BBC he spent many a night below Great Bridgewater Street penning songs – finding solace in scribbling away in the nether regions of the city centre.
Footage shows a newspaper cutting of the vocalist was even plastered on the side of the pub at one point; accompanied by a speech bubble saying: “Pint of Krombacher please”.
Despite being one the smallest watering holes in the city, Temple is among the most intriguing you’re likely to find.
From the poster-stapled walls to its graffiti-scrawled toilets (you won’t need to scroll your phone for reading material in here), it’s brimming with character – a rare breed of bar that offers something completely different to any ordinary pub visit.
In a nutshell, you could describe Temple as tight-knit, offbeat, and obsessed with music.
Or in other words, utterly Mancunian.
Peter Kay Live at Manchester AO Arena – times, tour dates, tickets and more
Peter Kay will finally make his long-awaited return to the stage this week with a massive UK tour.
The beloved Bolton comedian is set to play a whopping 42 dates here in Manchester, as well as a monthly residency down in London at the O2.
His AO Arena dates begin on Friday 2 December and will run all the way through to 2025 (yes, really).
According to Ticketmaster, this will be the seating plan for the AO Arena for Peter Kay’s gigs.
It’s a fully seated tour but every block is set to be in use.
Venue security and requirements
The show is strictly for people aged 15+.
The AO Arena has a few strict policies to keep gig-goers safe, so make sure to check entry requirements carefully before you travel.
For example, only one small bag per person is allowed, and bags like backpacks, travel cases and laptop bags are not permitted inside the arena.
All bags are scanned on entry to check for prohibited items like laser pens, flares, projectiles, weapons, drugs and alcohol, and even selfie sticks.
Featured image: Publicity picture
Man uncovers long lost photos in charity shop depicting historic suffragette march
Whilst digging away in a charity shop, a man has uncovered a set of old Victorian era glass slides depicting what appears to be Women’s Sunday – a suffragette march held in London, organised by Moss Side’s own Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).
Amongst a heap of slides that appear to be taken sometime around the early 1900s, one depicts a large group featuring women in the signature stripy hats worn by the protest group.
What’s more their new owner, Ray Newman, has even suggested that one of the photos may depict Emmeline Pankhurst herself.
Writing on Twitter, he shared a thread of the images with his followers: adding short commentary to each one.
One the photo in question, he comments: “If you zoom in on the woman in dark clothing seen looking towards the camera from between two PCs she looks like Emmeline Pankhurst, or am I fooling myself?”
Others have chimed in with suggestions as to the date of the photograph, with one writing: “The boater straw hats plus mutton sleeves equals c.1910.”
Given that the Women’s Sunday protest was held just two years prior to this in 1908, it does seem possible that this incredibly old photograph has captured one of the biggest moments in the suffragette’s history.
The event, organised by Pankhurst’s WSPU, featured the organisation’s colours (purple, white and green) for the first time in public. In days leading up to the event, over 10,000 scarves in the colours were sold at two shillings and elevenpence each, whilst men donned ties in solidarity.
Held to persuade the then Liberal government to support votes for women, the march is thought to have been the largest demonstration to be held until then in the country – drawing around 30,000 women marched to Hyde Park in seven processions.
Of course, the photos not being dated or marked in any way, it is hard to know if these really are images of Emmeline Pankhurst and the historic march but there are quite a few people online speculating that it could well be.
Several have pointed to the seemingly large police presence (and one person claims to have counted eleven officers), suggesting that that could indeed point to it being a photograph of a large suffragette protest.
Elsewhere amongst the collection of photos, images show a stately home, school or institution with flamingos outside, what appears to be a boy scout troop or group of cadets armed with rifles, boaters on the water at Alexandra Park, and a number of people posing in period dress.
Writing above a picture that depicts an old British high street, Ray comments on how the glass slides are tricky to scan adding that he had to “do it with my phone against a bright white screen.”
He continues: “This is a high street… somewhere… c.1910, I’d guess. I can see a sign for an inn with an ‘excellent motor garage’ but can’t work out any more than that.”
Above another, he said: “A stately home, school or institution. There are statues of flamingos on the left. Definitely haunted. (House and slide.)”
Offering a fascinating look into a lost world, some of the images are over 100 years old and taken when photography was something of a new art form. Unlike today, when everyone has a camera in their pocket, to own a camera was something of a rarity – making these images even more intriguing.
If you would like to see the full thread of pictures uncovered by Ray, you can do so by clicking here.