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Home > Cheshire > Kent Green > Bird In Hand

Bird In Hand

Bird In Hand, Kent Green

Picture Source: Chris Barrett


The Bird in Hand was situated on the bank of the Macclesfield Canal, a remarkably unspoilt canal-side beer-house. It was run by an old couple (mostly by the wife...) and was notable for its utterly unchanging interior; a cramped room with ancient settles, coal fire and a couple of Britannia tables. If you were particularly lucky you may be allowed to sit in her parlour, another small room overlooking the towpath and Macclesfield Canal. Toilet was outside across the yard. The old lady sourced the beer from a barrel settled in the cellar and brought it up to the bar in porcelain or tin jugs. Sadly she died in the 1990's and the place is now a private house (I'd guess it closed in c.1998). In the right light the legend "Bird in Hand" can still be made out (albeit painted over) on the gable wall.
Neil Collins
Four of us took a narrow boat round the Four Counties Ring immediately after graduating in 1977.
One of our guidebooks recommended the Bird in Hand in Kent Green, accessible from the canal, or by footpath from the road. No car access.
It was exactly as described on this website - just like a kitchen from the 1950s-60s, and the elderly lady collected beer from the cellar in a jug.
We brought out a pack of cards but she said cards could not be played and suggested dominoes.
The others had not heard of “5s and 3s” and I quickly explained it to my mates, adding that that is what is played in pubs – we were all Maths graduates, so not a big problem!
As we played, some locals arrived and gathered around to watch. They must have thought we were quite slow.
When we finished our game, four of them said “all draw a domino, two highest play the two lowest”. By some miracle (?), they drew both the two highest and the two lowest, and we were able to watch how quickly seasoned players lay their dominoes and score on the pegs. We also realised how a mix of us and them would have been acutely embarrassing, finished our drinks and returned to the boat for a game of cards.
Eric Bridgstock (May 2016)
I grew up in Kent Green. The Bird in Hand was a Free House run for many years by Emmy &,Jack Whittacker. The had for many years a large, very gentle Pyreneen Mountain dog. We used to fish the canal and get "pop" there occasionally we got half a pint of cider. The pub was also famous fora large pear tree (no longer there because of an accident). Closing time came when Emmy or Jack couldn't or didn't want to get another gallon of beer. I went there in the mid 1990s with my late father who was other than me the youngest man there. The Bird was always the favourite pub for the more senior members of the community.
Ernest Garner (February 2019)
In spring of 1974 I walked with my uncle from Kidsgrove to Congleton along the Macclesfield canal.
It was a bright sunny day. By 11 am we were both rather thirsty and saw The Bird in Hand looming up ahead next to the towpath. "This will be an experience for you," my uncle said.
We knocked and were admitted by an elderly lady, and asked if we could have some beer. She looked a bit doubtful, since it was not yet opening time, but told us to take a seat and closed the door, then disappeared down some stairs.
She emerged about a minute later with two sparkling glasses of cold lager.
We sat in the parlour looking out onto the towpath. Was there an aspidistra next the window? I don't remember.
Beer has never tasted so good.
I tried to find the pub again recently, only to discover that it had been demolished.
Andrew Dale (May 2019)

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Other Photos

Bird In Hand, Kent Green

Picture Source: Chris Barrett