Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Market Hotel (T'Crate Egg), Ashburner Street

Market Hotel (T'Crate Egg), Ashburner Street, Bolton, 1950

The Market Hotel pictured in 1950. Image from the Bolton Library And Museums Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.

The rather anonymous-looking wall seen on the photo at the bottom of the page  is something that thousands of Boltonians will pass everyday as they walk through the Newport Arcade on Newport Street, but it marks the spot of the Market Hotel (or T’Crate Egg, to give it its nickname) which was situated on the corner of what is now Ashburner Street and Coronation Street. It was a pub lost to the redevelopment of the west side of Newport Street in the late fifties.

This 1957 photo clearly shows Timpson’s shoe shop on Newport Street in the distance. In those days Ashburner Street was a thoroughfare that extended all the way down to Newport Street.

Although the Market was situated on the corner with Old Hall Street South no street by that name exists any more. In the 19th century Old Hall Street ran all the way from Deansgate to Great Moor Street but when the Town Hall was built in 1873 it carved the street in two. Old Hall Street North still exists; it’s the street just off Deansgate down the side of Whittakers that contains some ladies’ toilets and not much else.

The site of what was once Old Hall Street South is now Coronation Street which in those days ran parallel to Old Hall Street from the side of the Wheatsheaf Hotel to where it met Ashburner Street. When the shops on Newport Street were finally re-built in 1962, Coronation Street and Old Hall Street South were re-aligned to link together to form one continuous thoroughfare between Victoria Square and Great Moor Street.

In his book Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, Gordon Readyhough [1] reports that the Market was a beerhouse known in 1849 as the Goose With Two Necks and was later known as the Globe Vaults. It became the Market Hotel after Bolton’s wholesale market moved to Howell Croft South in 1871 and occupied the space where the Great Moor Street multi-storey car park now stands. One of the traders nearest to the pub dealt in eggs and the Market became known by the nickname ‘T’Crate Egg’ because of the habit of the trader to unload his crates of eggs by the pub door.

The pub received a full licence in 1879 when the Cross Axes on Wood Court off Deansgate (near the Old Three Crowns) closed down and licence was transferred to the Market.

When football became a professional game in the 1880s many Scottish footballers came south in search of paid football employment, but many had other jobs, often easy jobs in the mills owned by club officials but in 1886 the captain of Great Lever FC was one such Scot, Jimmy McKernan [2], a professional footballer but also making a living as landlord of the Market. The Great Lever club played on the Woodside Ground, situated on the site of what later became the Norweb offices near to Green Lane, and along with the likes of Halliwell FC and Bolton Wanderers were considered one of the major football forces in Lancashire at the time, competing in the FA Cup and supplying one player to the England team in 1883. However, with the advent of the Football League in 1888 and the Wanderers rise to pre-eminence the original Great Lever club faded away, although the name has recently been revived by a junior club.

By 1890 the Market was owned by John Atkinson & Co Ltd whose brewery stood on Commission Street in the area now covered by the new Sixth Form College. Atkinson’s sold out in 1895 to Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester who in turn sold their breweries and pubs to another Manchester firm, Cornbrook’s in 1898 and it was as a Cornbrook pub that the Market ended its days.

The Market closed in February 1957 and prior to its demolition someone had the idea of taking photographs of the area as a record of how it looked prior to the area being redeveloped. To be honest, in these pictures the exterior of the pub was beginning to look a little bit run down but they give an idea of the Market Hotel and its immediate surroundings over 50 years ago.

A number of photos were taken of the pub in1957 but as the pub closed in February of that year some may well have been taken slightly before then.

You can see the photographs here, here, here here here here, and here.

Note the green sward of grass opposite the Market Hotel. Properties on this stretch were demolished in the late forties. The area was grassed over in 1950 and benches placed around the perimeter making a pleasant resting place for weary shoppers. By the time this aerial photo was taken in 1959
the grassed area was being used as a car park, an arrangement that lasted until the Octagon Theatre was built on the site in 1967, while the former car park in Howell Croft South was used as a bus station until buses moved to a redeveloped Moor Lane in 1969. As you can see the Market had been demolished along with all the surrounding property and work had commenced on redeveloping the area.

The wholesale market from which the pub took its final name moved from Howell Croft South to Ashburner Street in 1932, thus denying the pub some of its trade.


The Newport Arcade in 20102. Image copyright Google Street View. Up to 1957 this was a continuation of Ashburner  Street. The Market Hotel stood on the left corner of the building on this image. 

[1] Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, Gordon Readyhough, published by Neil Richardson (2000)

[2] Leisure In Bolton, 1750-1900, Robert Poole (1982)

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