Pub Sign Study The Harlequin Chadderton Manchester

Pub Sign photo taken by me - The Harlequin Chadderton Manchester
Preston, England
July 5, 2016 12:54pm CST
Opened in 1858, though originally called The Cemetery Inn after Chadderton’s main public cemetery graveyard which had opened just the year before. Cemetery pubs are often the place where mourners and those visiting family graves stop for drinks, food and sometimes even accommodation. Wakes and post internment social gatherings often take place in pubs. For those drinking there in happier times, a bowling green was added to the pub in 1864. As Chadderton grew as a suburb between Oldham and Manchester the pub served as an unofficial town hall where many local political decisions were made before the town’s official town hall opened in 1873. There was stabling for up to two horses at a time, and the pub was bought by the Wilson’s Brewery in 1897. The brewery made radical changes to the pub including the installation of indoor lavatories. Customers had complained that the outside privies involved a long walk down the pub yard and one customer said the journey there and back really needed a railway line, as referenced in ‘Chadderton Pubs’ by Rob Magee. The pub had an identity change in 1977 when it was turned into the Hustler’s Disco Pub, at a time when Saturday Night Fever sparked a short lived disco craze. It was all over by 1980 when the pub finally took the Harlequin name. The sign is an intriguing one with its name drawn from 17th century Italian theatre. Harlequin was a colourfully garbed trickster, manipulating everyone round himself in his quest for the love of Columbina. Before then he had been a 12th century agent of Satan pursuing souls to take them to Hell. The modern Harlequin is a theatrical fore-runner to many clowning and pantomime figures. The sign depicts Harlequin as a sombre looking matador figure, with the spectral Pierott clown, his main antagonist in the stories, laughing in the background. It is a reversal of their usual frames of mind making for a slightly unsettling image for promoting a happy night out at the pub, though in its days as a cemetery pub (a function still sometimes served) its clientele were obviously not at their happiest. The forthcoming Suicide Squad movie, with its depiction of the feminized insane Batman villain, Harley Quinn may well generate more interest in this mysterious figure soon. Arthur Chappell
5 people like this
4 responses
@Jessicalynnt (47895)
• Centralia, Missouri
5 Jul 16
I have a feeling with lots of pints in one, every foot felt like a mile, on the trek to the facilities
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (60127)
• Los Angeles, California
5 Jul 16
I would think Harlequin would be a popular name especially around theaters.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
5 Jul 16
@JohnRoberts yes though Chadderton has none
@Inlemay (16654)
• South Africa
6 Jul 16
this is a stunning picture
1 person likes this
@DianneN (79948)
• United States
5 Jul 16
I love the sign and the history about it. Great job!
1 person likes this