Pub Sign Study The Black Friar Salford

Photo taken by me - The Black Friar pub sign, Salford
Preston, England
June 14, 2016 4:33pm CST
Some pub signs do not have the obvious origins you might assume. This one, on Blackfriars Street, in Salford, is a case in point. It’s easy to take a pub name and the image in its sign too literally. Despite the monastic figure suggesting a connection to the nearby Manchester and Salford Cathedrals, the pub is actually named after an innovative theatre troupe who had a theatre on or very close to the pub’s location in the 1760’s. As the pub, was situated close to the River Irwell, but there was no nearby bridge allowing access from the Salford side of the twin cities of Manchester & Salford. Patrons heading for the theatre had to go a mile on to the Salford or Victoria bridges to get across. Trade was lost as many were unwilling to make the journey. The actors and their managers, many of them once associated with London’s more famous Blackfriar Theatre, decided to build their own bridge, which served its purpose from 1761 to 1820 when it was replaced by the modern bridge at Blackfriars. This was a toll bridge until 1848 when it had finally paid for its own construction. The artist who created this sign may well have not known the pub’s true history, or the owners may have thought that depicting actors building a bridge was a little difficult to capture in the art work – the Friar was an easy way round the problem, but he never existed. Arthur Chappell
9 people like this
9 responses
@teamfreak16 (35329)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
15 Jun 16
Cool sign. I love Boddingtons!
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
15 Jun 16
@teamfreak16 Their brewery used to be in Manchester but not any more sadly
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@teamfreak16 (35329)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
15 Jun 16
@arthurchappell -That's too bad.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
15 Jun 16
But we need to also remember that signs are just that- signs. Not depictions of any thing but the immediate object.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
15 Jun 16
@celticeagle very true - the sign is basically just an advert for a pub just as a stripey pole advertizes a barbershop
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@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
15 Jun 16
@arthurchappell ....Yah, the sign can't tell the entire history.
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15 Jun 16
It's looking a little scruffy! Brilliant research though, and a lovely little tale of its history. :)
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
15 Jun 16
@Poppylicious some signs do suffer badly from weathering sadly
@Jessicalynnt (48190)
• Centralia, Missouri
15 Jun 16
another sign I would like to see repainted!
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@JohnRoberts (39066)
• Los Angeles, California
14 Jun 16
The good friar should be holding a pint!
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@koopharper (6216)
• Canada
14 Jun 16
Interesting bit of back story.
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@jaboUK (50134)
• United Kingdom
14 Jun 16
I admire the research you put into the stories behind the signs. Interesting.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Jun 16
A friar and bridge-building is not tooooo far fetched cause I am guessing through religion there is a passage to some hope . . .
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@JudyEv (97322)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Jun 16
That's interesting. Pretty smart of the troupe to build their own bridge. You could do things like that back then.