Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Painters Arms, Scandals, Mr D's, The Academy


The Painters Arms pictured in 1978. Although the pub’s address was Crook Street, for many years the main entrance was on Thynne Street.

The Painters Arms was at 148-150 Crook Street.  It is possible that the building was in use as a dwelling before it became a pub but it was certainly in use as licensed premises by 1871. In that year Worrall’s Directory named the licensee as Joseph Young.

The Painters occupied the corner of Crook Street and Thynne Street and while the layout of the streets around the pub changed over the years the building can be seen on old maps from the middle of the nineteenth century.

In those days Crook Street was still pretty much where it is today, though it went on for much longer beyond the Sweet Green. Burns Street, which was largely covered by the rebuilt Thistlethwaites Tyres in 2004-5, was already in existence, but the street that now forms the end of Thynne Street in front of Holy Trinity church and running past the Painters, was known as Bleakley Street and only ran as far as the junction with Bridgeman Street.

Behind the pub, just off Bleakley Street, was Horrocks Court, the entrance to which can still be seen today. Horrocks Court was a short thoroughfare just a few yards long. On the left-hand side were the rear of the Painters Arms and other buildings on that part of Crook Street; on the right-hand side were four small houses. Those houses were demolished after the first world war.

Thynne Street came into existence around the 1860s and was extended to run past the Painters in the 1930s. At that time a small bus station was built on the site of what is now Thistlethwaite's garage and was used by buses to Salford and Manchester (the number 8 service) up to the late-sixties.

Thynne Street, along with Matthew Street North, Matthew Street South, Bleakley Street, Burns Street, North Street and Moncrieffe Street, formed the catchment for custom at the Painters. But Thynne Street was re-developed in the early sixties. Houses standing on one side of the street were demolished to form the short dual carriageway that still exists today. Properties in Matthew Street North and South and also North Street were demolished and those streets were erased from the map.

The Painters was a Magee's pub in the early part of the twentieth century but was sold to Hamer’s Volunteer Brewery of Bromley Cross. Hamer’s were bought out by Dutton’s Brewery of Blackburn in 1951, while Dutton’s merged with Whitbread’s in 1954. [1] [2]

On 9 January 1941 the area close to the Painters Arms was hit by a bomb during a German air raid with a cafe on the corner of Burns Street taking a direct hit. The reminiscences of that night by Trev Barker, a night watchman, can be read here.  

In the Painters Arms became Scandal’s, a kind of disco-fun pub. Four years later it was renamed Mr D’s, a late-night gay disco aimed at clientele of the nearby Church Inn, which closed at 11pm . By 1994 it was known as The Academy as its owners chased the student population that had moved into the nearby Orlando Village development.

The Academy closed in 1999 and the building was boarded up for a while before becoming the Achari Indian restaurant.

In September 2014 a plan to convert the upper floor of the building into four flats was withdrawn by the applicant.

[1] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] Turton Local History group did some research into Hamer’s pubs in 2003 and 2004. Their work remained incomplete and appeals were made in the Bolton Evening News. However, the pubs they were able to identify makes for interesting reading. Click here for the list.

Below are two more recent views of the former Painters Arms. On the left is Crook Street pictured in March 2011 with the premises in use as the Achari Restaurant. The original entrance to the rear of the pub has been restored. On the right is a view from April 2009 (copyright Google Street View) similar to the view at the top of the page.

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