A brief history


Ye Olde Rovers Return was a public house in the Withy Grove area of Manchester, England, constructed in the early-14th century.Demolished in 1958, it was the inspiration for the fictional Rovers Return Inn featured in the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street, first broadcast in 1960. Our 'Glenfield Rovers Return to Train' plan is updated daily, so its best we upload this to our website under the covid-19 page. This has our policy at this stage but we keep adding to it, so please refresh yourself often. You are also required to register your attendance to the park or training via our contact tracing form. THE ROVERS RETURN A brief history by Mike Plowman '30 years ago there used to be a Black Maria outside Rovers Return every Sat'd'y night. An' coppers used to walk two at a time down Coronation Street. Annie Walker wouldn't o' lasted five minutes' Ena Sharples.

by Mike Plowman

'30 years ago there usedto be a Black Maria outside Rovers Return every Sat'd'y night.An' coppers used to walk two at a time down Coronation Street.Annie Walker wouldn't o' lasted five minutes'
Ena Sharples

Like all the houses in the Street, The Rovers Return innhas its own history, daring back to 1902 when, along with therest of Coronation Street it was built. The brewery was responsiblefor the building of the public house and had planned to name it'The Coronation' to celebrate the imminent successionof King Edward VII. However, they were forced to change theirminds when the street itself was named 'Coronation Street'.

Word continuous break. Lt Philip Ridley, one of the members of the brewery-owninghousehold, had recently returned from the Boer War and the pubwas given the name 'The Rover's Return' to celebratehis safe homecoming. He was present on Saturday 16 August whenthe pub was officially opened. Later on, after the Great War,Lt Ridley had the pub name altered to read The Rovers Return (withoutan apostrophe) to celebrate the homecoming of all the local heroes.

Jim Corbishley, a grocer by trade, was the first tenantin the pub. He had sold his Salford shop for £40 and tookover the new pub with his wife Nellie and 17-year-old son Charlie.Charlie soon gained a reputation as a womaniser in the districtand many local lasses fell for)r his charms. Sadly he died, aged31, from injuries inflicted on the Somme. His girlfriend, barmaidSarah Bridges was consoled by local rake Alfie Marsh. They shockedthe neighbour-hood by running off together and marrying bigamously.Jim and Nellie retired from the pub and bought a hoarding housein Little Hayfield.

Retired police sergeant George Diggins took over at theRovers in July 1919. His wife Mary struck a blow for women's rightswhen she served the local ladies in the Public as well as theSnug. The Diggins had no children, but Mary owned a small dogwhich slept in a basket made from a beer barrel under the counterIt lapped up any beer spilt onto the floor The Diggins remainedin the pub until 1937 when they moved away to Southport.

Newly-weds Jack and Annie Walker took over the pub in October1937, having bought the tenancy from the brewery. Their childrenBilly and Joan were born in the pub during the blitz.

Jack and Annie Walker

Annie Walker ran the pub more or less single handed duringthe war while Jack served in the army. Annie had always wantedto use the pub as a mere stepping- stone to more gracious surroundings,and she had her heart set on a country pub in Cheshire. Jack,however, thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent behind the bar.

In the late 1950s the Walkers supervised the removal ofthe spittoons from the bar and replaced the sawdust on the groundwith tiles. Realising that she was stuck with the pub, Annie haddecided to make the most of the situation.

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On leaving school, Billy trained as a mechanic and did hisNational Service in Eden whilst Joan went to teacher-trainingcollege where she met Gordon Davies, the man she would eventuallymarry.

The residents of Coronation Street were almost as responsibleas the Walkers for making the pub what it was by 1960 - a cosyhub of activity. Characters such as Ena Sharples and Albert Tatlockhad drunk in the Rovers since the 1918 Armistice, whilst youngerresidents like Elsie Tanner and Len Fairclough had arrived intime for the second world war and had suffered, along with Annie,under Air Raid Warden Sharples. The 1950s had seen a younger generationgrow up. including Dennis Tanner and Kenneth Barlow, both anxious- in their own ways - to change the world.

Jack Walker died suddenly ofa heart attack in 1970, a blow that Annie never really recoveredfrom. Annie took a great deal of time off and installed son Billyto run the pub in her absence.

Billyemployed blonde buxom Bet Lynch as barmaid, and though Annie wasless than happy about it, she turned out to be a great asset tothe pub.

Despite various barmaids, relief managers etc. the trioof Annie Walker, Betty Turpin and Bet Lynch remained the mainstayof the Rovers Return right through to 1984 when Annie announcedher retirement

Billy Walker took over the tenancy but did so only becausehe was heavily in debt and needed money. He was unhappy at runningthe Rovers and took every opportunity to bemoan the pub and Weatherfield.Eventually he was summoned before Sarah Ridley at the breweryand told that hey were unhappy with him as the tenant. Billy askedthe brewery to buy him out and they did so.

The Brewery announced that they had decided to appoint amanager to run the Rovers. The locals persuaded Bet to apply forthe job and, unknown to her, signed a petition and sent it tothe Brewery supporting her application. She was amazed to findherself appointed manageress and moved into the living quartersof the pub.

It was, in 1986, while Bet was manageress that the pub wasgutted by fire. Bet was disconsolate at the devastation of thepub and thought that was the end, but to her joy, the breweryannounced plans to rebuild and refurbish the pub and kept heron the payroll whilst the work was being done.

Hilda Ogden had the honour of cutting the tape!

The regulars were all overjoyed when Bet opened the doorsof the new Rovers Return, the only glum face being that of AlecGilroy who ran the nearby Graffiti Club and had been doing a roaringtrade during the pubs closure

In 1987 the brewery told Bet that they wished to revertthe pub to a standard tenancy and offered Bet first refusal. Sheneeded to raise £15,000 and asked Alec Gilroy for help.He lent her the money but Bet found the going tough and fearingshe would face the humiliation of losing the pub, packed a bagand fled. Alec persuaded the brewery to install him as temporarymanager, so he could keep an eye on his investment, while Betwas missing. After three months absence, Bet contacted the Breweryto say she was in Spain. Alec set off immediately in search ofher and, as much to his own surprise as Bet's, proposed marriage!

A month later she became Mrs Gilroy and the pub was hersagain.

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In 1993 Alec, who had maintained his links with the theatricalprofession, was offered a job as entertainment manager on a cruiseliner. Alec desperately wanted to take the job and he and Betwere looking forward to a new life in Southampton. But, as thetime drew near, Bet realised that she could not the leave thepub that had been her only real home over the years and the coupleparted, Bet remaining at the Rovers. The next couple of yearswere tough for Bet and finally, in 1995 when the tenancy of theRovers was up the brewery decided to make the pub a free-houseand offered Bet the chance to buy it. Bet tried desperately tofind the money to buy the pub, asking both Rita and Vicky to loanthe funds, but was refused by both. Realising that she was aboutto lose the pub that she had loved so much and given up so muchfor, she packed her bags and left Weatherfield.

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Hearing that the pub was up for sale, and having just received£30,000 from his late brother, Cliff's insurance payout,Jack Duckworth and wife Vera jumped at the chance of becomingthe owners of the pub where Jack had been cellarman for so manyyears. It has been a big change for the Duckworths, for so manyyears the ne'er do wells of Coronation St, but they seem to haverisen to it and the future for them, for once, appears rosy.

In the 36 years that Coronation Street has been screened,these characters have matured together and inevitably many havemoved on, though there are always other characters to take theirplaces, propping up the bar. These days characters as diverseas Percy Sugden, Rita Sullivan and Kevin Webster spend their eveningsin the Rovers, exchanging views on topics, witnessing confrontations,consoling each other and having a merry time. In its 90 year historythe little back-street ale house has always been a welcoming place,full of familiar faces and juicy gossip.

Reference Source: 'Life and Times at the Rovers Return'. writtenby Daran Little and published by Index. ISBN 3579108642
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