First Expansion: 1820s

The first enlargement of the George & Dragon occurred in the late 1820s when what was then No 20 Oak Street was annexed, though not interconnected. Most probably it was part of the conjoined premises the footprint of which would be roughly that of the middle of the current Band on the Wall main venue, the public area where seats are laid out for seated events.

Figure 9 – The first expansion of the George & Dragon, annexing the adjacent vaults in Oak Street

Figure 9 – The first expansion of the George & Dragon, annexing the adjacent vaults in Oak Street

A significant re-numbering of Swan Street must have occurred between 1832 and 1836 – probably the result of numbers being allocated to buildings on the North side of the street after the Shudehill Pits were filled in. A map of the period shows that in 182411 the infilling of the pits had not been completed – and part of the current Cross Keys Street, opposite the present Picturehouse entrance to Band on the Wall, was named Pit Street — whereas by 1832 the pits had been completely filled in, and buildings were constructed along the length of the street. These buildings were then allocated the even numbers and the South side given only the odd numbers for the first time. Evidence for this can be seen in the street directories that, for example, show corn dealer James Slater’s number changing from 17 in 1832 – next door to the George & Dragon, then at No. 16 – to 27 by 1836, remaining next door to the public-house, now listed for the first time at No 25.

It is not clear if during this period and into the next decade the Oak Street annexe remained continuously part of the George & Dragon; it may have been rented out as living and workshop accommodation. For example, in 1843 it is the home and workplace of an engraver, Alexander Fraser,12and in the next few years that of beer retailers13none of whom was the licensee of the George & Dragon.

11Map in Pigot & Dean’s Directory of Manchester, 1824

12Pigot’s Directory of Manchester, 1843

13Slater’s Directory of Manchester, 1845 & 1848