Thursday, 9 August 2012

20 Rockwood

[Updates, three so far, at end of post]

Visited on 5 June 2012
Here's the photo ...

... and here's the map

From the disappointment of the Woodside I walk north along Valley Road and into Stewart Street, past the more recent housing to a 1930s development typified by names such as Jubilee Avenue. And at the crossroads with Alton Street is the Rockwood, which looks a bit roadhouse-y but is not on a main road.

The immediate area is not inspiring, partly due to a group of yoof on their PratBikes (tm) on the opposite corner, who are loudly attempting an intellectually uplifting discourse in freestyle swearing. The pub looks as if some of the lights are out, but is in fact open, something I was concerned about as it’s for sale. Actually, the Rockwood has been for sale since 2009.

Walking through a very 1930s front door, I encounter a welcome comprised of deep suspicion combined with waves of hate for having entered the domain of a number of almost stationary locals. I love you too, guys. Resisting the urge to stare back at what I first thought were waxworks, I find that the barmaid is at least happy and smiling, although the product is not.


Great. So what’ll it be, then? Oh, I dunno, let’s branch out and try a different NitroFroth MegaBrand Cooliflow NearlyTasty AlmostBeer. Boddington’s. I’ll have one of those. Dunno why, maybe it was a long walk from the Woodside. It’s thin and fairly cold. But, like all good NitroKeg, it’s consistently so. Meanwhile some of the waxworks play doms. Some discuss what they read in the Chronic about the Alex.

There is a big screen. It’s showing, I dunno, the sound is turned down. The lack of lighting is down to an area with a stage not being lit. But that part of the pub is the most interesting, as it has 30s uplighters and other features. In fact, the place is, apart from the lack of cask beer, a bit of a time capsule. It has leaded windows, although the walls are of cavity construction. It’s very mid 1930s.

There’s an awful feeling I get from the Rockwood. The regulars give you the kind of welcome normally accorded to the proverbial turd in a swimming pool, but without more folks walking in through that door, it’s going nowhere. It’s probably not old enough or significant enough to get listed, but it would be a crying shame to lose that interior and its fixtures.

As I finish up and leave, the group of yoof are still revising their pure and applied effing and blinding syllabus across the road. D’you know, if this pub got sold tomorrow to a developer who flattened it to build some upmarket apartments (there’s a large-ish car park out the back), nobody would bat an eyelid, and that would be a great pity. But the waxworks would have to move on.

[UPDATE1 16 September: a recent walk past the Rockwood showed that the car park had been emptied and gated shut, with the pub still for sale. The entrances are, for the time being, permanently locked and sadly the pub has closed.

If it cannot be sold as a going concern, indications are that it will indeed become another casualty in the ever changing pub landscape. It's always sad to see your own feeling that the place might not be long for this world made reality so soon]

[UPDATE2 25 October: the Rockwood has now been boarded up at both ground and first floor level. Part of the pub's signage has been removed and the For Sale signs have gone, the combination of which suggests that it has been sold, and not for future use as licensed premises.

Perhaps the building will remain, but with the Earl on Nantwich Road having just been demolished after standing idle for some months, the impression is given that the site is about to be levelled and redeveloped. So that 1930s time capsule will be lost. And yes, it will be a crying shame]

[UPDATE3 7 June 2013: the demolition men have moved in and the Rockwood is slowly being flattened. Some of the windows and parts of the roof, particularly chimney stacks, had gone when I looked in. So that time capsule interior will indeed be lost.

What will be built in place of the pub is not known. But it's a big site, and most likely it will be apartments. So that's another one lost]

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