Our beer expert Andrew Nowell visits a pub building that dates back to 1781...
Property is a matter of location, location and location and a good setting to relax and enjoy a pint can make all the difference too.
That’s certainly something regulars at The Half Moon Inn in Tyldesley have got all sewn up as their local is a particularly intriguing local landmark.
Although it only opened as a pub comparatively recently the building itself dates back to 1781 and was known for a long time as the headquarters of well-known wine and spirit merchant and Tyldesley character John Taylor.
Responsibility for this slice of the past and all its stories now lies with the Jones family, with Bryn Jones having bought it from an acquaintance in the 1980s and then passed it on last year into the stewardship of his son Gareth.
The free house, which proudly announces an association with iconic Manchester brewer Joseph Holt at the front, has been kept much as a whole generation of two of beer fans will remember it, although Gareth has given the place a subtle interior upgrade.
Local history is everywhere, though, from the Royal British Legion plaque commemorating its participation in the Great Pilgrimage of 1928 to the sheer age of some of the original wooden beams inside.
Bryn said: “I’ve been told by my father that John Taylor was one of the few people in the country in his time to have a licence to import and export wines and spirits.
“It was a very popular building and the big breweries tried to buy him out but he would never sell.
“One day I got a phone call from an elderly lady. It was a sad story because she had been robbed but while going through her things found a bill for her mother and father’s wedding reception. There were quarts of whisky, port, rum and brandy and it all came to 13 shillings and 11 pence. I got the bill framed and put it in a cabinet.
“There’s a winding winch still there which makes me think they must have sold flour here at one time too. The doors have all got numbers on but they’re planks joined together. We’ve painted them white.
“There are some really old beams upstairs. You have a real job to drive a nail into them, they are so hard. There are still sash windows too.
“I got PVC installed downstairs for insulation and noise but it had to be in character and we had to do what we were told.
“It’s a great talking point in Tyldesley and the main thing is it’s still being used.”
Inside it is surprisingly cavernous and time-honoured features jostle for attention with more modern introductions. There are games machines, but also a dartboard, for example.
The bar has a lot of popular favourites such as Boddingtons, Strongbow cider and lagers Carling and San Miguel, while the fridge is well stocked with bottles.