Tommy Ducks, Manchester
Having been to Manchester a couple of times lately and especially a few of my memories of the city start to return. Years ago, I worked with a salesman called Brian Birtwistle and I think it was him, who took me to a pub called Tommy Ducks. I seemed to remember that it some bizarre decor and that ladies were invited to donate their knickers and these were then promptly nailed to the ceiling by the landlord.
Initial searches with Google didn’t seem to find anything, but after changing the terms a bit I found this on Sigma Leisure Books.
It is 100 Barbirolli Square (not 101). It should be recorded that this building stands on the site of ‘Tommy Duck’s', one of the great pubs of Manchester. It was located in a late eighteenth century house, and got its name in a most singular way. A signwriter was inscribing the name of the landlord, one Thomas Duckworth, on the fascia boarding – but ran out of space. Thus ‘Duckworth’s’ became ‘Duck’s'! In its final incarnation, the interior was unique, owing nothing whatsoever to a ‘designer’ but deriving from the interests and eccentricities of the landlord and his cronies. There was a priceless collection of Victorian theatre and music hall posters, a skeleton within a glass lidded coffin, and the ‘piece de resistance’, a ceiling covered with a fine collection of ladies knickers. These ranged from the skimpiest pieces of lace to capacious ‘bloomers’. (Female regulars were asked to donate a pair, which was duly autographed, dated, and pinned up with due ceremony.) A raid by a group of women who were determined to reclaim them soon passed into the city’s folklore. Sadly, the pub was demolished in a rather dubious episode. It is said that the perpetrators were fined for knocking down a listed structure without consent. ‘Hanging, drawing, and quartering’ would have been more appropriate.
There is also a picture on Flickr.
My memory says that whilst we were drinking in the pub, a lady was asked to donate and the due ceremony took place. It’s probably been upgraded with the passage of time!
They don’t make pubs like that anymore.