The Halfway House was at 127-129 Derby Street in between the junctions with Shaw Street and Rothwell Street. The pub dated back to the 1830s and it got its name from the fact that it was roughly halfway up the hill from town to Daubhill.
The Halfway House was run by the Ashton family for a number of years. In 1841 Thomas Ashton ran a beerhouse in Back Rothwell Street and if it wasn’t the same pub then it was certainly nearby. Back Rothwell Street ran immediately to the rear of the Halfway House.
The Ashtons were certainly in residence at 38 Derby Street - as number 127 was numbered at that time - by 1843. Thomas and his three sons were joined by Mary Ann Bridge - formerly of Pilkington Street - and her son, Richard.
Thomas Ashton died in 1859 aged 57. Mary Ann Ashton continued to run the pub until she died in 1875, aged 65.
The Halfway House was subsequently taken over by Magee’s. It was owned by Greenall’s when it closed in 1970. Being just a few doors down from the long-established Lord Nelson can’t have been good for business, especially as the Lord Nelson was fully-licensed public house selling wines and spirits, as well as beer. The Halfway House was a beerhouse for the whole of its existence, even after 1961 when a whole raft of beer houses in Bolton had their licenses upgraded to public house licenses.
In the end, the Halfway House was put out of business by town planners rather than any lack of custom. Derby Street was redeveloped towards the end of the sixties. From Crown Street down to Shaw Street whole swathes of buildings were destroyed and new homes built in their place.
The view up Derby Street in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). Shaw Street can be seen bottom left. Rothwell Street is about 100 yards up on the left. There were two pubs on that stretch, the Lord Nelson on the corner of Shaw Street, the Halfway House just a few doors along.