This photograph shows Mealhouse Lane around the turn of the 20th-century. There was a good pub crawl within about 100 yards in the late-1890s - and probably for some considerable time before that. Behind the photographer – and out of shot – was the Queen Anne. On the right is the Crown and Cushion which was rebuilt around 1901. At the bottom of the block – where the HSBC Bank now is – was the Old Woolpack. A left turn around the corner would have brought you to the Bay Horse.
However, it the area to the right of the photograph that concerns us, the board covered with posters. This was the site of the White Horse Hotel. It dated back to around the 18th century and appears in the 1778 list of Great Bolton Alehouses.
The White Horse closed in 1901 and was demolished soon afterwards. The above pictured comes from the Bolton Museums collection (copyright Bolton Council). The caption on the photo has a date of 1890 but that seems unlikely. The newly-rebuilt Crown and Cushion is complete so it is obviously after that.
The site of the White Horse is covered in posters suggesting it has already been demolished. One of the posters advertisers a match between Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City – a sunny day, the shadows short. We’re guessing it was shortly before the Trotters’ 2-1 home defeat to the Potters in September 1905.
The Bolton Evening News extended their offices and the new building was completed in 1907. The Crompton Place shopping centre now stands on the site.
An image of the White Horse prior to its demolition can found here on the Bolton News website. Shipgate is the very narrow thoroughfare running down the side of the pub.