It is my belief there have been two establishments with the Portobello name in Cheadle during it’s recorded history. Given how close this Portobello appears to have been to the Parish church, it could have been Cheadle’s first alehouse.
Robert Plant in the ‘History of Cheadle’ published 1881 recounts a story about the Portobello, giving it’s location as “near the south western wall of the Parish church graveyard”. A footpath through the graveyard was used by locals to get to it; until the old church was demolished in 1837 and the right of way removed.
The earliest possible mention of this establishment was in an issue of the Staffordshire Advertiser from May 1809, in which an auction notice was published. Lot 1 was “a Malt House and three small houses standing close to the church-yard in Cheadle” at the time in possession of Simon Fernyhough and others. Incidentally the auction was held at the Royal Oak; although there is no clue as to which Royal Oak it refers to.
Another reference to the Portobello, where it is referred to as “Whitlock’s malthouse” is in a letter published by the Cheadle Herald in 1907, the writer JH describes the same footpath as in Robert Plant’s book. This description places the pub in what is now likely part of the church graveyard.
In the 1828 edition of the Pigot’s Trade Directory a Thomas Whitlock is listed as a Maltster on Paradise Lane (now Church Street).