Sunday, 23 July 2017

Woodmans Cottage, 2 Deane Road, Bolton



Woodmans Cottage Deane Road Bolton

Two views of the Woodmans Cottage. The 1950s shot at the top shows the pub on the left with Moor Lane bending away in the distance. The Old Three Tuns Hotel can just be seen on the right. The second view (below) is from August 2015 (copyright Google Street View) and shows roughly the same sport.



The Woodmans Cottage was situated at the junction of three thoroughfares: Deane Road, Moor Lane and Derby Street. Its address was variously given as Moor Lane, Blackburn Street and finally, 2 Deane Road. While that suggests it was the first building on the road it was actually part of a block that ran from Stanley Street South to Lupton Street. Its next door neighbour for many years was Kay's pawnbrokers (as can be seen in the image at the top of the page).

The area from where Deane Road meets Mayor Street right down to the junction of Moor Lane and Deansgate was one of the most densely-pubbed areas of Bolton in the middle of the nineteenth century. So much so that when local magistrates were given powers to close down beerhouses in 1869 they targeted that area – Moor Lane in particular.

However, the Woodmans Cottage was one of the first beerhouses in the area after an Act Of Parliament passed in 1830 made it easier to open licenced premises selling beer only. It was certainly in existence by the mid-1830s. Jonathan Haslam appears in the 1836 Bolton Directory as a beer seller on Moor Lane a few doors along from the junction with Stanley Street which ties in with the site of the Woodmans Cottage. At that time, his only competition came from the Britannia Hotel, just across the road, the Old Three Tuns, a little further down from the Britannia,  and the Dog and Partridge at the junction of Partridge Street next to the railway bridge.

Jonathan Haslam died in 1845 at the age of 65. By 1849 John Cooper was running the Woodmans Cottage though by 1851 he was at the White Hart on Pikes Lane. By 1861, his wife Jane was at Broom House on Deane Church Lane where she was described as a 'fundholder' – or living off her investments. Presumably, John Cooper had passed away.

William Parkinson was at the pub by 1853, but by 1861 it was run by Samuel Openshaw. He previously ran the Horse and Vulcan, a pub further along Blackburn Street, as the lower end of Deane Road was then known. However, by 1861 he was brewer and beerseller at the Woodmans Cottage where he lived with his wife Sarah. Sadly, Sarah died in 1866 aged just 32. Samuel married Ann Barnes in 1867 and by 1871 he was at the Gibraltar Rock further up Pikes Lane. He died in 1874. 

The future of the Woodmans Cottage came under threat at the licensing renewals of 1900. Three local inhabitants plus members of the local temperance party objected to the pub's licence being renewed. They claimed the pub's closure would be “for the good of the town”. [1] The licensee at the time was Ralph Hall. He had only been at the pub for a few years and no offences had been reported against the house for over 30 years. Quite what Mr Hall had done to raise the ire of the temperance party isn't reported, but the magistrates agreed to renew its licence only if he was dismissed. By 1901 he was living with his in-laws in nearby Shaw Street and was working as a carder in a local cotton mill.

Ralph Hall was succeeded by Walter Copple – or, more likely, by his wife Annie. Walter was a coach painter by trade and he was still painting coaches while he was at the pub. Annie Copple had been brought up in the pub trade – her father ran the Mill Hill Tavern  amongst others – so it's more likely that she ran the pub. The couple went on to run the Queen Anne on Junction Road (by 1911) and the Swiss Hotel on Southern Street in Halliwell (certainly by 1918 and he was still there in 1924).  Walter had retired to Osborne Grove, off Chorley Old Road, by the time he died in 1928 at the age of 64. 

Interestingly, in 1924, Walter Copple's nephew, Walter Tyrer Copple, ran a cabinet-making business from premises on Moor Lane just a few doors down and on the same row as the Woodmans Cottage.

By the early twentieth century, the Woodmans Cottage had become a rare tied house in Bolton for the Openshaw Brewery Company of West Gorton in Manchester. Openshaw was taken over by the Hope and Anchor Breweries Ltd of Sheffield in 1957. Hope and Anchor was later to become part of the Bass empire. However, the Woodmans Cottage didn't get that far. It closed in 1959. The property was demolished in the late-sixties and for many years the site formed part of the Stanley Street car park next to the fire station (opened 1971).

Construction of the Bolton Sixth Form College building began in 2009 on the site of the car park. It was completed in 2010 and the furthest extremity of the complex next to the fire station marks the site of Woodmans Cottage.

[1] Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser, 28 September 1900.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Welcome Inn, 14 Victoria Street/16 James Terrace, Bolton




The Welcome Inn pictured around 1965 from the bottom end of Hartley Street. The pub was originally two separate buildings that were eventually linked together by a small entrance built between them.

The Welcome Inn was situated on the corner of Victoria Street and James Terrace, off the bottom end of Blackburn Road.

Although Gordon Readyhough gives the address as 14 Victoria Street in his book Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, the 1905 directory gives the address at 16 James Terrace. 

Moss Street, with its baths that opened in 1924, ran parallel with Victoria Street. Short thoroughfares such as Stirrup Street, Hartley Street, Rutter Street and Aspden Street, along with Back Rutter Street and Back Aspden Street linked Victoria Street and Moss Street. 

St Matthews Mission Rooms were at the other end of James Terrace. Victoria Mill was nearby. In 1891, the mill was owned by Nathan Pickering who lived in nearby Arkwright Street.

Early records of the pub are hard to pin down and the first record we have is from the 1905 Bolton Directory when William Mason is the landlord. However, it is likely that the Welcome Inn was going for some years before that.

The building is shown on maps from 1891 but at that stage it only consists of the property on James Terrace. It appears to have been extended into the adjoining property on Victoria Street by the early part of the 20th century.

By 1924, Andrew Pendlebury was in charge. Next door to the pub on the Victoria Street side was a firm of printers called Pendlebury and Sons Ltd. It seems likely that Andrew Pendlebury was a member of that family.

The pub was originally owned by the John Halliwell's Alexandra Brewery which was situated on Mount Street just a few hundred yards away from the Welcome Inn. Halliwell's went out of business in 1910 and the pubs were taken over by Magees. Like a lot of Bolton pubs, the Welcome Inn kept its Magees signage even after the brewery was taken over by Warrington-based Greenall Whitley in 1958.

The whole area was cleared in the early seventies and the Welcome closed around 1971.

Kentford Road roughly – though not exactly – follows the path of Victoria Street. Similarly, Kingsdown Gardens was built roughly on the site of James Terrace. The Welcome Inn was situated at the junction of those two streets as can be seen below on this view fro September 2014 (copyright Google Street View).



Saturday, 13 May 2017

Stags Head, 200 St Helens Road, Bolton



stags head st helens road bolton circa 1974
The Stags Head, St Helens Road in an image taken as part of a set for Tetley Walker around 1974, Image Gerard Fagan, Bolton Lancs Bygone Days Facebook group.


The Stags Head at 200 St Helens Road was one of two pubs less than three-quarters of a mile apart to bear that name. The name itself is derived from the crest of the Hulton family who owned Hulton Park on Newbrook Road from 1167 (some say 1353) until 1993. [1]

The Stags Head on Daubhill was the younger of the two pubs by over 30 years. The first mention of the pub was in 1836 when Peter Boardman (1785-1858) the owner. Mr Boardman was previously at the Hulton Arms at Four Lane Ends. Indeed, the Boardman family remained in control of the Hulton Arms and were farmers in the area between the pub and Hulton Park.

The Bolton to Leigh railway line - the second-oldest in the world - was opened in 1828 with Daubhill station at the junction of St Helens Road and Deane Church Lane opening in 1831. With no other pubs in the area the Stags Head was an opportunity to cash in on passenger traffic coming to and from the station. It was also a sizeable building and would have offered accomodation to railway travellers arriving from outside the area. 

As the 19th century progressed the pub gained a local clientele as the previously rural Daubhill area became industrialised. The giant Sunnyside Mills complex was built in 1865 and streets of terraced houses were built on both sides of St Helens Road.

Although there has been speculation that the current building was the second Stags Head a map from 1846 shows the building looking much the same shape as it still does today. [2] The railway ran behind the pub and then across St Helens Road before heading on to Great Moor Street station. Although the line was diverted in the 1880s this small branch line carried goods wagons across the main road to sidings at Sunnyside Mills as late as 1969. The map also shows a tramline on the other side of the pub running from the railway line, across what is now the Asda car park and across St Helens Road to stone quarries on the other side of the road.

The pub was known in some local directories as the Antelopes Head. In the days when most people were illiterate and pubs were known locally by their signs rather than any lettering it was an easy mistake to make. An inquest held at the pub in 1841 into the death of Christopher Ince on the Bolton to Leigh railway made reference to the pub as “the house of Mr Peter Boardman at the sign of the Antelope”. [3] But by 1843, newspaper references were referring to the pub as the Stags Head.

In 1865 a subscription bowling green opened close to the pub. Known at the time as the Stags Head bowling green it was situated on the other side of the railway line on land now occupied by the offices of the Park Cakes bakery. Access to the green was via Wilton Street or Bertwine Street which ran down the side of some early-nineteenth century cottages that stood raised up from St Helens Road until they were demolished around 1969. This small hill was the original 'Daub Hill' from where the area got its name.

The bowling green lasted until around 1953. Warburton’s Soreen malt loaf bakery, which later became Park Cakes, was built on the site. The Bakewell Tin and Metal works were right next to the green with the Daubhill Brick Works (opened 1883) not far away. Another bowling club, the Beaumont ,stood off Deane Church Lane until the late-sixties. 

A tollgate was in operation near the Stags Head. The toll allowed traffic to travel along the road between various gates on payment of a fee. It closed in the 1870s.

Tong's Brewery took over the Stags Head in the early part of the twentieth century. Prior to that the pub had brewed its own beer. It became a Walker's pub in 1923 and a Tetley Walker house in 1960.

The pub was refurbished in the 1960s though it kept its revolving doors until another refurbishment in 1986.

Tetley Walker had been part of the Allied Breweries (later Allied Lyons) group since 1961. The brewery had the idea in the early eighties of transferring pubs into a new subsidiary called Peter Walker Ltd. The pubs were done up in a 'traditional' style and in 1986 the Stags Head's became a Walkers pub. [4]. Other examples included the Howcroft on Pool Street, the Ainsworth Arms on Halliwell Road, the Sally UpSteps (Stanley Arms)  on Chorley Old Road, the Cross Guns on Deane Road and the Church in New Bury. In the autumn of that year £100,000 was spent and the range of Walker's ales introduced.

By 1995, the Peter Walker concept was being put out to grass and the Stags Head gained an alternative identity as Mr Q's, a sort of sports bar aimed at drinkers aged 18-25. However, it retained the Stags Head name on the front of the building.

Allied Lyons got out of the pub business and in 1999 its chain of Mr Q's pubs was sold to Punch Taverns. Punch owned the Stags Head for just ten years and presided over its decline. One day in 2009 landlady Jackie Heyes looked out of the window and saw a 'For Sale' sign outside the pub. Ms Heyes had signed a five-year lease with Punch only a few months earlier after it had been closed for six months. Although she had her partner Ian Matthews managed to raise £200,000 it was well short of the £295,000 asking price. [5] 

The pub was sold to a local firm Mayble Ltd, based at the Gibbon Street Garage further down Daubhill. It closed at the beginning of September 2009.

But while that may have signalled the end of the Stags Head as a pub it wasn't the end of the building. Mayble Ltd converted the former pub in to the Manor House, seemingly a suite of offices. A local business, the retail chemist chain Freshphase Ltd claimed on its March 2016 accounts to be using 200 St Helens Road – the former Stags Head pub – as its head office. The Manor House has also been hauled over the coals for using the premises as a wedding/conference centre, despite not having applied for planning permission. An application (95030/15) was made by a Mr Ali, based at 177 St Helens Road in 2015.

But despite the Manor House being used as offices and as a wedding reception centre, by April 2017 it was still appearing on Bolton Council's list of empty properties. It was said to have been an empty building since it closed as a pub in September 2009. As anyone living in the area will testify, that simply isn't true.


The Stags Head pictured around 1970. The signage over the top of the pub contains its old Walkers livery which pre-dated that company's merger with Tetley's in 1960.


The Manor House, as the Stags Head now is, pictured in July 2016 (copyright Google Street View).

[1] Historic England.  Accessed 25 April 2017.
[2] National Library of Scotland. Accessed 26 April 2017. 
[3) Manchester Courier, 18 December 1841.
[4] What's Doing, the Greater Manchester beer-drinkers' monthly magazine. September 1986.
[5] Bolton News, 23 July 2009. Accessed 26 April 2017. 
JimSant's piece for Bolton Revisited about the Daubhill area is well worth a read. Accessed 26 April 2017.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Mill Hill Tavern, 121-123 Mill Hill Street, Bolton



Mill Hill Tavern Bolton site of Sep 2014
Mill Hill Street and the site of the Mill Hill Tavern (copyright Google Street View) pictured in September 2014.

The Mill Hill Tavern was situated right at the top of Mill Hill Street at its junction with Windley Street and Kestor Street.

The name Windley is significant in the history of the pub as the first recorded landlord of the Mill Hill Tavern was John Windley in the middle of the 19th century. It is thought that Mr Windley was formerly a schoolmaster who gave his name to the street formerly known as Hill Lane that ran alongside the pub.

The Mill Hill Tavern doesn’t appear on the 1849 list of beerhouses in the Little Bolton area, but by 1853 John Windley is listed as being in business at licensed premises that are assumed to be the Mill Hill Tavern.

John Windley left the Mill Hill in the mid-1860s. He died in October 1871 and was described as a retired publican in the census taken earlier that year. He was succeeded by John Wood, a man already in his seventies. He died in 1868 and his wife Ellen took over the running of the pub. She was assisted by her son Thomas who brewed the pub's beer.

The pub was sold by the Woods to Henry Heyes who owned the Fox and Goose on Deansgate. On Heyes' death in 1881 the Mill Hill Tavern was sold again.

The Mill Hill's very existence was under threat in August 1881 when the annual brewster session refused the transfer of its licence to Thomas Pickersgill. The session was presided over by the then Mayor of Bolton, Joseph Musgrave. A factory owner, Conservative and no friend of pubs or their customers, Musgrave refused the licences of 14 pubs and beerhouses at the 1881 session, but Pickersgill appealed and was granted the licence at a later hearing.

Magee Marshall owned the pub for a while at the end of the 19th century. It then became a rare outlet for Grant's Tower Brewery of Ewood, near Blackburn before being sold to William Tong's whose Diamond Brewery was situated just off Deane Road. Tong's was taken over by Walker Cain Ltd in 1923. Walker's merged with Joshua Tetley Ltd to form Tetley Walker.

It was a Tetley Walker pub that the Mill Hill ended its days. It was granted a full licence in 1962 that enabled it to serve wines and spirits as well as beer. But the whole of the Mill Hill area was redeveloped in the 1970s. The pub closed in 1972 and the building remained standing for a few years later but it was demolished along with much of the rest of Mill Street.

The Mill Hill caravan park now stands on the site.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

White Hart (Carringtons), 155 Deane Road, Bolton



The White Hart in a picture taken as part of a survey of Tetley pubs in Bolton around 1974. Image: Gerard Fagan/Bolton Lancs Bygone Days Facebook group.

The White Hart was situated at the corner of Deane Road and Cannon Street. According to Gordon Readyhough's book Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, the pub dated back to 1808. It was one of the principal inns on the road leading out of Bolton towards Deane, Westhoughton and Wigan.

In 1818 the licensee was James Pendlebury who owned the pub for at least a decade. It was during Mr Pendlebury's tenure that a bowling green was opened on land behind the pub a little further up Cannon Street. It was used as such for around 50 years until the land was sold for housing. Houses to the north of Royle Street were built on the old green.

By the time of the 1836 directory Thomas Welsby was the landlord and according to the 1841 census it was owned Thomas Johnson. However, both Mr Johnson's predecessors still lived in the area. Thomas Welsby was in business with his son on nearby Cannon Street where they described themselves as 'manufacturers'. However, James Pendlebury appeared to be operating in somewhat reduced circumstances. Now aged 65 he was a cotton spinner living behind the pub on Back Blacburn Street, as that part of Deane Road was then known.

One former landlord had even less luck. John Forshaw was at the pub in the late-1840s, but he was hauled in front of a debtors' court in 1851. He had left the White Hart – a fully-licensed public house – to run the St Patrick's Tavern, a beerhouse in Great Moor Street. However, he had since gone out of business and was now living in lodgings at the Man and Scythe on Churchgate.

Like many pubs at that time, the White Hart had its own brewery. John Cooper was an experienced brewer and came to run the pub in 1852, but he had gone by the end of the 1850s to be replaced by John Proffitt.

The Proffitt family were in charge for around 20 years. John's son Peter Proffitt lived in Cannon Street and worked as a brewer at the pub. By 1875, John had retired and was living with another of his sons in Mayor Street opposite Queens Park. Peter Proffiit then took over the running of the pub until he retired and went to live with his son in Wellington Street. The two pub-owning Proffitts died within a year of each other: John in 1896 and Peter Proffitt in 1897.

Many prominent local societies met at the White Hart. One such was the Derby Lodge of Ancient Shepherds. At their anniversary meeting at the pub in 1869 the lodge's chairman Thomas Unsworth gave a speech in which he advised all young men to join some order and provide for themselves against some unavoidable calamity. [1] The Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds was – and still is - a friendly society set up to help families against hardship brought about by illness or death.

William Wood was at the White Hart by 1891. He had previously been at the Brewers Arms in nearby Atherton Street and by 1895 he had moved to another local pub, the Noble Street Tavern. By then, Daniel Duke, a former landlord at the Hen and Chickens, was in charge at the White Hart.

Tong's Brewery, situated just a little further up Deane Road on the corner of Blackshaw Lane, took over the pub in the early part of the 19th century when James Guffogg was the licensee. By 1924, Charles Makin Rothwell was landlord. Formerly a cotton spinner from Sunninghill Street, off Derby Street, he later moved to Blackpool where he died in 1947.

Tong's sold out to Shaw's of Leigh in 1927 with the White Hart being part of a considerable local tied estate that formed part of the deal. In 1931, Shaw's were bought out by Walker Cain of Liverpool. They merged with the Leeds firm of Joshua Tetley to form Tetley Walker in 1960. That in turn became part of Allied Breweries Ltd the following year.

By 1960 the old White Hart building was over 150 years old so Tetley Walker decided it was time for it to be rebuilt. To ease the transition the brewery bought buildings to the rear and side of the pub, in particular houses numbered 1 and 3 Cannon Street plus a small engineering works fronting Defence Street which ran parallel to Cannon Street on the other side of the pub. Those buildings were all demolished around 1961 and the new White Hart pub was built on the site. When that was completed the old building was closed down and demolished with the land turned into the pub's car park.

The new White Hart was built in the same design of other estate pubs built by Tetley Walker around that time. The Prince Rupert off Lever Edge Lane was another example. Whereas the old White Hart had a central entrance with equal-sized lounge and vault on either side of the front door, the new pub had its entrance somewhat off-centre. That meant a much smaller vault but also a much bigger lounge where there was more comfort as pubs tried to make themselves more attractive to couples – particularly females. It also led to increased profits as lounge prices were a penny or two a pint more than in the vault.

These estate pub designs of the fifties and sixties were functional but have been much-maligned for their architectural qualities and it is only now, as many of these pubs disappear, that the style has found some appreciation. See here for a collection of images of estate pubs in Manchester and surrounding towns, including Bolton. 

But having a larger lounge meant pubs could take on the local political clubs in offering live entertainment. At the beginning of 1964 a young singer named Michael Haslam took up a residency at the White Hart where he sang songs by the likes of Roy Orbison. He built up a decent local following, so much so that Beatles' manager Brian Epstein travelled from Liverpool in May of that year to watch Michael perform and immediately signed him up to a mangement deal.

Michael is ready to move into the centre of the entertainment business,” said Epstein. Haslam recorded two singles and he toured with the Beatles, Gerry And The Pacemakers and Billy J Kramer. But that was a good as it got. He went back to obscurity and died in 2003. [2] [3] His sister, Annie Haslam, went on to enjoy a successful career as vocalist with prog-rock band Renaissance.

When the White Hart was rebuilt it went over to keg beer which replaced traditional, cask-conditioned ale in many pubs in the sixties. But in 1978, real ale drinkers noted with some glee that handpumps had been re-installed at the pub. [4] The reason only became apparent the following year [5] when a new Tetley beer called Walker's Warrington Ale was introduced at a small number of local outlets. As well as the White Hart these included the Bradford on Bradford Street, the Church on Crook Street, the Crofters at Bradshaw, the Gaiety on Bradshawgate and the Prince Rupert on Holmeswood Road. However, the new beer didn't last very long. In April 1980, the local beer magazine What's Doing announced that the handpumps had been ditched in favour of fast-flow dispenserettes.

The White Hart was renamed Carrington's around 1986 as a nod to the family of that name from the American television series Dynasty. It was attempting to appeal to a younger audience. By this time the live music had long since ended largely due to the presence of Derby Ward Labour Club which had been rebuilt in the late-sixties just a few yards away from the White Hart. Derby Ward boasted a huge concert room which singers – and customers – preferred to the much smaller lounge at the White Hart.

The Carrington's experiment didn't last long and the White Hart closed in 1990. It was converted into the Deane Medical Centre the following year. The building still exists though the frontage was altered in 2011. [6]

The former White Hart premises pictured in July 2016 (copyright Google Streetview). Note the extension on the left-hand side of the building, constructed in 2011.


[1] Bolton Evening News, 28 July 1869.
[2] Bolton News. Original article 17 January 2005. Accessed 19 April 2017.
[3] Manchester Beat. Accessed 19 April 2017. 
[4] What's Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinkers monthly magazine, April 1978.
[5] What's Doing, November 1979.
[6] Whatpub.com. Accessed 19 April 2017. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

New Bridge Inn - Printers Arms, 15 Churchbank, Bolton



New Bridge Inn,Printers Arms,Churchbank,Bolton


The New Bridge Inn was originally known as the Printers Arms. It was situated on the left-hand side going down Churchbank close to where it becomes Churchgate.

There is no mention of the pub in any directories from the 1850s and the first mention we have is in 1869 when it was being run by Wilson Inman.

By 1871, John Butterworth was in charge. Born in 1832, Mr Butterworth was a cotton operative in Simpson Street in 1861.

The 1876 Bolton Directory shows Thomas Derbyshire as the landlord. At that time it was still known as the Printers Arms, possibly as a nod to the vocation of a former landlord.

The landlady in 1895 was Mary Ann Witter. She had taken over the pub with her husband Thomas a couple of years previously having run the Peacock on Kay Street for a while. By this time it had been named the New Bridge Inn presumably to commemorate the rebuilding of the bridge on Churchbank that ran over the River Croal. The pub was the last building before the bridge. 

The New Bridge was owned by Wingfield’s Silverwell Brewery whose brewery premises stood on Nelson Square. Wingfield’s later became part of the Manchester Brewery Company who wanted to rebuild another of their pubs, the Crofters Arms on St George’s Road. In what became a confusing deal the Crofters was sold to Bolton Council who then sold it on to Magee, Marshall and Co. But the council would only give planning permission to Magee's for the rebuilding of the Crofter's if the licence of the New Bridge was given up. The confusing aspect is that the New Bridge was still a Manchester Brewery pub. Nevertheless, the Crofters was re-built and the New Bridge closed in 1907. The final landlord was George Jackson, a Yorkshireman who was originally a saddler by trade.

The building subsequently became a boarding house. It was demolished in the sixties along with three other properties along that row.

[Click here for more on Wingfield's Silverwell Brewery]

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Blue Boar, 96 Deansgate, Bolton




Another recent closure and a sad loss both to local drinkers and local historians. The former for obvious reasons, the latter because the Blue Boar was one of the oldest pubs in Bolton dating back to the 18th century. Until its closure in 2016 it was one of the few surviving pubs from the Bolton licensing list of 1779.

From 1843 until around 1869 the pub was owned by Thomas Dickenson. Mr Dickenson was hauled in front of the courts in April 1848. He was accused of breaking the regulations regarding the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. In those days – and until fairly recently – Good Fridays were treated as a Sunday. Selling booze before midday on that day was illegal. Mr Dickenson was caught and fined 20 shillings. That was £1 in old money and the equivalent of around £115 today. (Getting a drink on a Good Friday afternoon was hard work up to the Sunday licensing laws were liberalised in 1995). [1]

The pub was owned by its licensees for much of its early existence and they would also double as brewers at a small plant behind the pub. One of the last of those was Thomas Wright. He was the licensee in 1895 though prior to that, in 1891, he was at the Church Inn on Bamber Street. He was back in the Daubhill area on the next census in 1901 when he is described as a journeyman brewer living in Birkdale Street.

The pub was subsequently owned by three local breweries: Magee, Marshall’s; Tong’s and finally the  Bromley Cross firm of Hamer’s based at the Volunteer Inn. It fell into the hands of Dutton’s of Blackburn who took over Hamer’s in 1951 and then Whitbread’s when they bought out Dutton’s in 1964.

The Blue Boar was popular with Bolton's Irish community in the fifties and sixties. By the early eighties it was a two-roomed pub with a vault to the right of the entrance and a lounge in front, but a controversial refurbishment in the autumn of 1982 saw vault and lounge knocked into one large room, though the bar remained in the same place. There was sawdust instead of carpets on the floor and beams made from rough timber appeared along with farm implements and chains on the walls. [2]

Local drinkers noted the refurbishment with some horror although they were partly mollified by the reintroduction on real ale for the first time in a number of years. Castle Eden was initially on offer followed in 1983 by the cask version of Whitbread Trophy Bitter. [3]

By the summer of 1985 the sawdust had been replaced by carpets. [4]

In 1994, the Blue Boar became one of Whitbread’s Hogshead pubs meaning it sold a number of real ales. But Whitbread decided to get out of pubs and brewing and the Blue Boar was one of a parcel sold by the company to Enterprise Inns. Enterprise themselves later sold the pub and it was owned by a succession of individuals until its closure in July 2016. It was a live music venue around 2008/2009.

Oddly, the pub was owned by Bolton Council at the time of writing – April 2017. The council also owns the former Sweetens bookshop building. It is believed that the whole block will eventually be demolished to provide access to the car park to the rear although some rumours suggest it will become student accomodation.
.
We’d love to think that the pub will one day re-open and we consign this entry to history, instead. That’s unlikely. Cultural vandalism might be one way to reduce the proportion of empty shops in the town, but what a sad and ignominious way to end almost 250 years of history.

[1] Manchester Courier, 29 April 1848
[2] What’s Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinkers’ magazine. January 1983
[3] What’s Doing, October 1983
[4] What’s Doing, August 1985