The Britons Protection: film-maker joins fight to save iconic Manchester whisky and real ale pub

Thousands of people have signed a petition and there is also a crowd-funding page to prevent management changes which it is feared would permanently alter the boozer’s character.
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An iconic Manchester whisky and real ale pub fighting for its future has received a boost after a local film-maker produced a short documentary about the bid to save it.

Brett Gregory of Serious Feather dropped into The Britons Protection on Great Bridgewater Street to produce the film as efforts continue to safeguard its future.

Thousands of people have signed a petition and a crowd-funding page has been launched to stop changes to the management of the pub, which has over 300 whiskies and a rotating selection of eight cask ales.

Brett recounted some of the pub history, which goes back over two centuries, before speaking to landlord Allan Hudd and some of the regulars about the venue on camera.

The Britons Protection. Credit: Google MapsThe Britons Protection. Credit: Google Maps
The Britons Protection. Credit: Google Maps

What is the film that has been made about The Britons Protection?

Brett Gregory, an independent media producer, director, writer and editor, visited The Britons Protection to make his short documentary Protect The Protection.

He heard about the campaign after a friend signed the petition and as a keen visitor to the venue himself was eager to do his bit to help.

The resulting film, which is just over five minutes long and available to view on YouTube, tells some of the long history of the boozer which is located close to Deansgate station.

Brett filmed the pub’s exterior and interior and also spoke on camera to landlord Allan and some of its regular drinkers about why the place is so close to their hearts.

Why is The Britons Protection at risk?

The future of The Britons Protection was recently clouded when landlord Allan was handed a section 25 notice ending the current tenancy arrangements.

Star Pubs and Bars, which is part of Heineken UK, said it wanted to take the pub back into its managed portfolio.

But it is feared that ending the comparatively free rein Allan and his team have had will be the end of aspects of the watering hole like its stock hundreds of whiskies and a continuously-changing array of real ales from small local breweries.

Fans of the pub fear that Heineken UK simply does not have the range of different drinks to continue with what many of them currently cherish most about The Britons Protection.

Star Pubs and Bars has said that it wants to make the pub more sustainable in the long run but it recognises its heritage and history.

What has been said about the film and the ongoing campaign at The Britons Protection?

Film-maker Brett said: “We’ve been going to the pub for years so when I heard about this and we had a job cancelled I gave Allan a ring and he said yes so we went and shot the video.

“If this goes through The Britons Protection will lose its USP and what makes it different from all the other pubs.

“It’s part of Manchester’s heritage and it has that tradition and authenticity about it. It’s a symbol of Manchester and supporting it is supporting the city.

“It’s a typical old-school boozer and people can just come in off the train at Deansgate.

“A few hikers came in while we were there filming. We also interviewed some of the locals and they said what it means to them.”

Landlord Allan said: “It was great to have the film made and really nice of Brett to offer to do that.

“One of the best things was when he filmed the customers and went into the crowd. They all had their anecdotes and were expressing the love they’ve got for the place, which was amazing.”

Where is the campaign to help The Britons Protection up to?

Support is continuing to pour in for the pub, with more than 7,500 people having signed the petition by Monday afternoon (4 April).

A JustGiving page to support the pub’s legal fees should they take Star Pubs and Bars to court had also reached 10% of its target amount by the same time.

Allan said:”I’ve had nothing but support from the local community. Every day in the last week I’ve had up to 20 conversations with customers and what it’s about.

“They’ve been telling me they’ve been signing the petition, it has been great. It is definitely getting the word out there.”