Second Extension: 1850s

Around 1850, the next conjoined premises in Oak Street were annexed, probably on the site of the existing stage and dance floor of Band on the Wall and these enlarged vaults were then permanently part of the George & Dragon, but not interconnected until 1911.

Figure 10 – The second expansion of the George & Dragon, annexing the next adjacent property in Oak Street

Figure 10 – The second expansion of the George & Dragon, annexing the next adjacent property in Oak Street

These vaults also from time to time doubled up as a shop and dining rooms as well as remaining as living accommodation, probably on the upper floor or floors, even into the early 20th century. Occupants and traders included an earthenware dealer, and family;14a family of tailors from Ireland;15and for the last quarter of the 19th century a tobacconist.16

Multi-occupancy

On the site of the present Picturehouse building, at No 29 Swan Street, a rope manufacturer with what sounds like an appropriate surname, E Hacking, is listed in the trade directory for 183617but by 184118it is the home and workplace of two families, Joseph Radcliffe, aged 55, smallware dealer, his wife Lucy (50) and their two grown-up children, aged 20 & 25; also George Hickson, aged 30, earthenware dealer, his wife Mary (25) and two children, one aged two years, the other 2 months. The Radcliffes remain at No 29 until 1850 but by that time Mrs Radcliffe, alone, (perhaps now a widow) is listed as the smallware dealer. The Hickson family continued to live there at least until 1861 but by this date Mr Hickson was a widower, living with his three daughters and three sons, aged between 7 and 21, and one sister. Mrs Hickson had died in 1858, aged 42. It is evident that by the 1851 Census the cellars of 29 Swan Street also were occupied by a family of 7: John Trayner and his wife Margaret, both aged 32 and born in Ireland, with their 5 children, aged 2 to 13. The Trayners were shoemakers, employing ‘five men’, perhaps including some of their children.

The 1851 census reveals the level of multi-occupancy that was common in this and many other parts of Manchester. At this date a total of 41 people are recorded as living in the block of buildings on the site of the present Band on the Wall, in addition to it functioning as the George & Dragon public house and including at least two shops, workshops and a warehouse. As well as those referred to in the paragraph above, the occupants included: the pub manager and his family with two servants; a fent dealer and his family; another family of shoemakers; five members of the Conners family, tailors; and three members of the Shirpley family, glass and china dealers, with two saleswomen and a house servant from Ireland.

So at these adjoining premises, a customer could not only have a drink of beer, wine or spirits but also buy clothing, fabric, shoes, glassware and china, various small household items, and have a suit or dress made or repaired.


14Slater’s Directory of Manchester, 1850

15Census records, 1851 & 1861

16Slater’s Directories of Manchester, 1876-1903

17Pigot’s Directory of Manchester, 1836

18Census records, 1841