Monday, 21 April 2014

Robin Hood, Ashburner Street


The Robin Hood pictured after its closure in 1927. Demolition had begun prior to the construction of the Civic Centre. Part of Bolton Library stands on the site as can be seen in the image at the foot of this page. Spring Gardens runs down by the side of the pub. The former Founders Arms (closed 1926) is at the other end of the block on the corner of Howell Croft South. Image from the Bolton Libraries and Museum Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.

The Robin Hood stood on the corner of Ashburner Street and Spring Gardens and dated back to some time between the 1840s. It appears on the 1849 list of Great Bolton beerhouses when it was owned by William Ashton Entwistle.

The pub played a major role in the erection of the statue of Dr Samuel Taylor Chadwick, which still stands in Victoria Square. Dr Chadwick was a medical doctor and philanthropist from a wealthy farming family who moved to Bolton from his native Urmston in 1837. He soon gained a reputation as an able doctor with a willingness to help the poor and he worked tirelessly to improve the public health of the town. He gave generously in time and money to a wide range of schemes to improve the lives of the local working classes.

On his retirement in 1868 Dr Chadwick gave £22,000 to establish an orphanage and model dwellings in the town. The rent from the houses would be used to provide revenue for the orphanage. The Chadwick orphanage opened in 1874 on Chadwick Street, The Haulgh. It remained in use as a children’s home until 1930 and the building was demolished in 1968. [1]

The idea of a statue for Dr Chadwick originated among the working classes with the first meeting on the subject held by landlord James Ashton at his pub, the Robin Hood, in January 1868. The idea soon spread and a public meeting chaired by the town’s mayor, James Barlow took place later that same month. A fund was set up with an upper limit of one guinea each the idea being that the subscription should not be dominated by the wealthy. However, momentum stalled and by the time the statue was cast in 1871 the fund hadn’t reached the £963 owed to the manufacturer. The one guinea limit was lifted and it was telling that 17,683 subscribers donated less than sixpence each – or the equivalent of less than £2.50 in today’s money.

The statue was unveiled outside the newly-built Town Hall in August 1873 although neither Samuel Chadwick, nor his wife Anne, were present, his ill-health having caused him to retire to Southport.

Four months after the unveiling James Ashton, who was instrumental in the idea for the statue, died at the age of 49. [2]

The Robin Hood was a Sharman’s pub until the last two years of its life. Sharman’s sold out to George Shaw & Son Ltd of Leigh in 1926 and in 1928 the Robin Hood shut its doors for the final time. The building had been bought for demolition by Bolton Council along with the Founders Arms just a few doors along.

The council built the Civic Centre on the site and Bolton Central Library stands on the exact site of the Robin Hood.  

[1] Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 21 April 2014.

[2] Annals Of Bolton, James Clegg, 1888

The site of the former Robin Hood pub, now part of the Bolton Central Library. Spring Gardens runs down the hill on the left of the building in this picture, Ashburner Street continues to the right of the image. Both the Robin Hood and the Founder’s Arms, which was situated at the other end  of this block, were demolished in 1928 to make way for the Civic Centre.


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