Manchester Bar Reviews – the definitive guide to bars, clubs & pubs in the rock’n’goal capital of the world!

Mother Macs December 10, 2006

Filed under: Bar Reviews - M — manchesterbars @ 5:31 pm

Mother MacsMother Macs  33 Back Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 1HP map

  • A manchester ‘local’, Mother Macs is a proper pub and it makes no excuses. Hidden down a back street, just off Piccadilly Gardens, it proudly displays its Mancunian heritage on the walls in an almost museum-like way, photographs accompanied by historic descriptive text.  Serving a small range of draught lagers, cider and bitter it also has occasional guest ales. Mother Macs, named after the old land lady, is a small pub that hasn’t changed over the years and is always full of friendly locals – many from a generation who have seen Manchester change drastically.  It’s also one of the only pubs in the city centre to show off its allegiance to Manchester City FC.
  • Real ale
  • live sports (sky sports, bbc, itv, etc)
  • darts
  • manchester city fc pub

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31 Responses to “Mother Macs”

  1. Maureen Herdman Says:

    Do you have any other photographs or information on Mother Mac’s. My mother, formerly Norah McLellan, was the daughter of the original Mother Mac. My mother married Alexander MacTaggart and we (my parents, sister and brother) moved to Canada in 1954. My grandmother died in 1968. I understand the pub was named after her when she died and that there was a tragic fire with the next landlord. My mother, father, brother and sister live in Edmonton, Alberta. I live in Red Deer Alberta, and I have two brothers living in Toronto, Ontario.

    • Karlheinz Schaffer Says:

      We were in Manchester in February and were in the pub. Didn’t look very inviting at the beginning, but we stayed there for 7 hours at last. Had great fun and met nice people..
      Could send you photos if you want, but the focus is mor on the people not the bar itself..

      • Hello Stuart. I think I met you in Blackpool at your parents place Please drop me a line. If you have any images of Mothermac please email them. I live with my brother in Toronto, He was born above the bar I think

    • Stuart mclellan Says:

      Hi Maureen I am Stuart the eldest son of Desmond who as you know was your mums brother, hope that we are able to speak soon, best, Stuart

      • Maureen Herdman Says:

        Hello Stuart:

        I left a message on this site on April 01, 2012, but I think it might have been deleted by the administrators due to mentioning my email address. If you want to contact me, you can find me on facebook. If you do not have a facebook account it is relatively easy to set one up. I would be pleased to learn about your side of the family, as I know very little.

  2. Mac9 Says:

    Sarah and I always enjoy a visit to mother mac’s, where we regularly consume mince n tatties washed down with a couple of non alcholic pints.
    Adios from a warm and windy costa blanca.

  3. Spanish teacher Mike Says:

    I love the TATTIES and the quiz!

  4. team) Says:

    Enter at your own risk – incredibly smokey, you’ll come out stinking so much, you just want to go home and sit in a bath fully clothed. Clearly a locals place and it is like the scene in American Werewolf in London when the two lads walk into the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’.

    If you want to go back in time, walk into Macs, through the smoke and to the bar, feel a dozen pairs of eyes looking in your direction, and try and relax. It isn’t threatening, but at the same time, hardly welcoming and it’s one experience you won’t forget!

  5. Sue Malynn Says:

    Mother Macs has been a regular haunt of mine for many years. Its core business is its regulars. The first time I ever went in there, I was on my own. Within 20 minutes, I’d been introduced to the bar staff and Les and Marie, who’ve had the pub for years.

    I’ll tell you – this is one pub where it never kicks off, rarely if ever runs out of favourites and welcomes newcomers ALWAYS. Until you’ve tasted Les’s twice fried chip butties (free on Friday evenings) you haven’t lived. They do loads for charity (Clare House Hospice and a local youth football team) and are very supportive of the OAPs who visit.

    If you want a smoke free environment – go to Sinclairs. If you want piped ‘Oirish’ comedy while you’re stood at the urinal, go to Waxy O’Connors. If you want to spend a fortune on beer of a dubious quality, any of the Kro Bars will do.

    If you want a little gem of a pub that embraces traditional values and does ‘what it says on the tin’… then have a brew at Mothers. Where else can you get butties for a quid and finney haddock and ribs and cabbage that doesn’t require a bank loan?

    p.s. The twigs you saw on the ceiling are used to hang decorations from (Christmas lights, St Georges flags, birthday banners etc)

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    One of my favourite Manchester centre pubs, a ‘real’ pub in a city centre where such things are becoming rarer.
    Maureen from Alberta mentions a tragic fire involving a later landlord. The story I’ve heard is that he murdered his wife and kids, set fire to their bodies in the cellar and then killed himself. Is their any truth in this story or is it just a myth?

    • Dave Worsley Says:

      Yes this is true the two children murdered were my cousins, they were not his children the then landlord was their stepfather, my uncle James Mc Murdo was the father who actually never got over their deaths and commited suicide many years later. This is a true love story with a rael tragicending.

  7. Mike Taylor Says:

    After my last post I googled the words mother macs fire, I can’t seem to post the link, but this is the story as I cut and pasted it.

    Many years ago there was a fire in Mother Macs which started mysteriously. Once the blaze had been put out, the fire brigade began their investigations into why and where the fire had originally started. The pub had a dumb waiter for moving food from one floor to the next. When the dumb waiter was inspected, the cut up bodies of the landords wife and children were found inside. The fire had been started deliberately but things had not gone quite as planned.

    Does anyone else have thought or comments on this story?

    • carl coppel Says:

      my nan told me all about it when i was 15 or so she still had clippings from the evening news and i think the daily mirror the landlord murdered his wife and childrenthem in a small room upstairs and when my nans sister anne hennigan came to clean the pub in the morning he murdered her tooher daughter pat had tried to get her mum to stay off that day so she could go shopping with her but ann didnt want to let them down at the pub, after killing ann he recieved a delivery from the breweryand had a cup of tea with the delivery men afterwards setting fire to the pub with himself alive you can read about it at central libary on the old newspaper reels ive wanted to read it again but forgot the date of the fire

    • Philip Says:

      I was in the bar last week a few times. I guy I spoke to in the Wetherspoons Pub in Shaw, who recommended Mother Macs. He said the landlady’s wife was caught with a costomer by the landlord. He went upstairs, got a gun, shot the couple, his children, set fire to the pub then shot himself.

    • clare booth Says:

      hi cafl coppel just reading your piece mother macs . anne hennigan was my mothers cousin

  8. Dave Outram Says:

    I have heard the fire and bodies in the dumb waiter story many times. Does anyone know when the incident took place. I have searched the Net to no avail for more details. Having worked in Manchester City center for 30+ years I have heard many people tell the tale of Mother Macs fire and murders but nobody remembers when it took place nor any detail?

  9. Maureen Herdman Says:

    Norah MacTaggart (formerly McLellan) daughter of the original Mother Mac, passed away on July 02, 2009. She was 89 years old and died from complications of pneumonia. She left behind 5 remaining children, Maureen, Norah, John, Kevin and Lawrence. Her husband Alexander MacTaggart died on February 29, 2008.

  10. sue walker Says:

    We went to mother macs on our weekend for our pearl wedding anniversary, and it was a breath of fresh air. Joan and les looked after me. Marcus and our friends, making us feel as if we were locals. Our Sunday afternoon watching the footie was an afternoon never to be forgotten. We have been challenged to a game of darts, Llandudno Ladies against Mother Macs Men in the near future. Date to be arranged. Once again thank you all for your hospitality.

  11. Dave Woolhouse Says:

    Hello! All this sounds very interesting! I run a ghosthunting group and would love to do a night in Mother Macs! If anyone’s interested, give me a shout on either or ring me on 07743 958 886

  12. Steve Goff Says:

    I have frequented this establishment on many occasions over the years and always found the staff to be friendly and pleasant which is more than I can say for the reception I received on Friday 14/01/11. I entered the pub at around 23.00hrs to pick up my son and his friend who were out celebrating him passing a driving test. As I located them a rather arrogant female voice came from behind the bar “We’re Closed” . I looked around and said ” I’ve come for these ” which she replied ” I don’t care”.
    I let it go and waited for my son to finish his drink but watched this same arrogant person and other staff carry on serving several other customers a good 15-20mins after her telling me she was closed !
    I made a point on the way out of going to the bar as she was serving again and told her how disgusted I was but she chose to walk away and ignore me.
    I wouldn’t have minded but I didnt even go in for a drink, just to pick my son up.
    So due to this arrogant,ignorant woman behind the bar my family and all our friends will be bypassing Mother Mac’s in the future!

  13. Ivan Bennett Says:

    The Mother Macs fire and murders did happen in 1976. At the age of 22 I was on holiday on the Isle of Man at the time. The newspapers and Granada T.V. local news were full of the story. I discussed this with the owner of the guest house / hotel we were staying at. His name was Mr Lewis and he had until recently been landlord of the Flat Iron pub at Pendleton Market, Salford. This was a Whitbread house as was Mother Macs and he told me that he knew the landlord there. The news as reported was that the landlord of Mother Macs murdered his wife and children. He then prepared to burn the building down and as he was doing so he was disturbed by the pub’s cleaner who had just let herself into the pub. He therefore murdered her as well. He then torched the pub and died in the fire. I don’t remember any mention of body parts in dumb waiters or any dismemberment. The bloke must have been mentally disturbed and for whatever reason decided to end everything.

  14. tommy Says:

    The story abiut the murders at Mother Mac’s is true. How do I know this? I am the step brother of 2 of the children who were so terribly murdered by their step father on that terrible night. My father, their father was devastated by this event and sadly never really fully recovered from it! In total the landlord murdered 3 children, the third his own daughter, his wife, the cleaner, the family’s pet dog and himself. A tragic and devastating event in my family’s history I’m afraid!

  15. Patricia Lynch Says:

    My mother tragically died in this place helping out as a favour!! There are newspaper cuttings in a frame which are displayed on the wall. Reading this article from other family members has left me very distressed even after all these years. My mother was innocent as were the other victims and I know my family will never trully ever overcome the great sadness we all have to live with. Just great sorrow!!

    • Patricia Lynch Says:

      PS: It would be appreciated if the Landlord, would kindly remove the framed paper cuttings
      from the wall, as a mark of respect to famillies that have a lost a loving member of their family due
      to this horrific crime!! There is personal information on view and I and my family would be gratefull,if this could be considered! We remain heart broken and we will never ever overcome, such a tragic and
      painfull loss.

  16. When did the the name cahnge from Wellington to Mothermacs to If anyone has any any photos please email them to me. I just watche a very British Gangster. It makes me think aabou what my family would have experienced had we stayed in Manchester.

  17. Martin Mcdonald Says:

    At last a pub that shines the light threw the pouring rain, a real gem in the rougth i found this a santcury in her love .

    • Patricia Lynch. Says:

      You may all have different opinions, had you lost a family member so tragically! There were 3 young children, their mother and my mine too! My mum was helping this family out, as they were friends and were short staffed. My mum volunteered to help them out which resulted, in her being caught up, in all this horror! The landlord had been given notice to get out, hence, him doing this horrific and wicked act, to his 5 innocent victims! Please have respect for all the families affected, by this heinous crime, that we have to live with day after day! It is heartbreaking to us all, so please stop the ghoulish comments and think of our struggle, on daily basis! Reading some of these comments are not even sympathetic and I find hurtful!! Think about how YOU would be affected.. had it happened to a much loved one… in your own family!! Have some respect for the loved ones, that lost their lives, on that fateful day (please)!! PS: I know I don’t have to read what is displayed, however as a mark of decency, stop the interrogating comments! The paper cuttings, are all on the wall for you all to see (sadly) so you are able to get your info, from them!! I hope I have confirmed, some of the questions being asked so please let us get on with our lives as best we can!

      Thank you for reading this painful post!!

      • Patricia Lynch Says:

        My mother died in the Mother Macs tragedy, along with 5 others. I find it hurtful and distressing, when ghouls are making comments with no sympathy, compassion or concern, for the families that were affected AND…. sadly… still are!!

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