Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.
They say the more things change, the more they stay the same.
That’s certainly true of these two images of Bernard Manning’s Embassy Club in North Manchester. The entrance is almost exactly as it was in 1985.
But the club couldn’t be more different. Stand-up comedy and cabaret stopped when Manning retired in 1999 and his son Bernard Junior took over. The latter’s forte was functions and events.
Manning Senior opened the club on Rochdale Road in 1959. In its heyday it was one of the most popular venues in the North West, with Manning delivering his own brand of humour at the microphone.
After becoming a household name on the Granada TV show The Comedians, Manning brought his own touch of flamboyance to the place. This included the Rolls Royce and limousine with their personalised number plates parked outside.
When Manning died in 2007, his son added a mosaic of his father to the front of the club. The grouting contained the comic’s ashes as a memorial.
The mosaic is still in place, but a lamppost now stands where Manning parked his flashy motors. The saplings in the background have grown into full trees in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image.
There is a belief that the Embassy Club was the inspiration for Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights. Kay certainly performed there in 1999, the last time Manning took the stage before retiring.
*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in the new book The Changing Face of Manchester published to mark the 150th anniversary of the M.E.N.
It’s on sale now at the reduced price of £9.99 plus postage and packing. Order your copy online at inostalgia.co.uk or ring the order hotline on 01928 503777.