CHOP Houses head honcho Roger Ward has never been slow to celebrate our city’s heroes. Eight years ago he installed a 700lb life-size bronze statue of LS Lowry at the bar of Sam’s Chop House, where the artist was once a regular.
His latest homage is to rename Mr Thomas’s just across Cross Street in honour of a mother and daughter who ran it in the 19th century. For the foreseeable future it will become Mrs Sarah's Chop House, complete with replacement signage.
The pub was opened in 1867 by one Thomas Studd, hence the name. When he fell ill and died young his wife Sarah took over the pub and its separate male-only dining room in King Street. She was eventually succeeded by her daughter Sarah – one of eight children – who ran the pub for four years until 1901.
Roger said: “Their remarkable achievements in an almost entirely male dominated period deserve to be heard. I think it's a really important story for a city known for so many global firsts, and that has such an important place in women's history."
He said Manchester's new statue of suffragette icon Emmeline Pankhurst had been inspired him to 'make a statement’.
"Since then the John Rylands Library has been running a really fascinating exhibition called The Women Who Shaped Manchester," he said. “It asks simply, what will they inspire you to do? I thought we should make a statement and tell the fascinating story that has emerged from original research on ancestry websites and in the archives of the Victorian Manchester Guardian.
'We're just going to gauge the public response. Who knows, we might end up with one side of the bar sign Sarah's, the other Thomas's."
The name change takes place on Thursday March 7 on the eve of International Women's Day.
Mrs Sarah’s Chop House, 52 Cross St, Manchester M2 7AR. 0161 832 2245.