Monday, 24 March 2014


The Back Cheapside car park. The Busin was situated about half-way up the street on the left-hand side. Image taken May 2012. Copyright Google Streetview.

The Busin was situated on Back Cheapside, an unusually-named street. The existence of Back Cheapside suggests a street named Cheapside but it seems the name was simply a nineteenth-century nickname for Newport Street where the goods on offer by local traders were said to be of an inferior – and therefore cheaper – calibre than elsewhere in the town centre.

Initially, the Busin was the social club for drivers and conductors working for Bolton Corporation Transport (later Selnec and Greater Manchester Transport) from at least the 1950s onwards. Ernest Forth wrote on the Bolton Lancashire Bygone Days Facebook group that he played there with his skiffle group in 1957. but was sold in the seventies to local businessman – and later Labour councillor, Jim Sherrington.

The club is perhaps best remembered for two things: its rough-and-ready clientele and its punk nights which began around 1978, once a week during the quieter midweek nights. It began to put live bands on during the early part of 1979 beginning with the Genocides and the Raw Boys, something that inspired other local musical wannabes to form bands of their own.

Issue 11 of the local punk fanzine Trends described the venue as such in May 1980:  “The opening of the Busin was the advent of a host of new talent able to get gigs to an audience of punks who had not only gained a disco but also acquired a dossing place easily accessible from all surrounding areas. But foremost it was at your disposle [sic] to perform to a live audience for the first time.” The article goes on to list some of the bands that performed at the venue including Ltd. Edition, The Parelettix, Nervous Disorder, Gun Control, The Reducers, The Grout, The Droogs and Ex-Directory. However the article points out that “Due to trouble with the police the Busin looks doomed as a punk club but in recent weeks it has re-opened again but only as a disco.” [1]

Patrons of the punk nights reported that there was never any trouble.

The end for the Busin came in 1982 when it closed down and was taken over to be used as premises for a computer firm [2]. Jim  Sherrington concentrated on his other business interests and on Sundowners nightlcub (now Level) which he also owned.

In 1986, the Busin premises. became a footwear retailer named Shu-String. It was later demolished and its site is now a parking area on Back Cheapside.

Busin Back Cheapside Bolton

[1] Trends, Issue 11, May 1980.

[2] Bolton Town Centre, A Modern History. Part Two: Bradshawgate, Great Moor Street and Newport Street, 1900-1998


  1. I Dj'd there from Nov 80,taking over from Dougie Mitchell, till its closure. I started a similar night straight away at Dean Ward Conservative Club with pretty much the same punters until Dec 82,when sadly that club also shut down and was demolished. Neil Kell.

  2. Correction - The new venue was called Derby Ward Conservative Club.