The Hearts Of Oak was one of many beerhouses that began as a grocery store and branched out into the sale of beer to drink on the premises.
The pub was situated on Haydock Street, a street that still exists in part, but which in those days ran from Higher Bridge Street, opposite the Globe Inn, across to Gray Street. The Hearts Of Oak stood on the corner of Knight Street.
The beerhouse was started around 1870 by John Peake and his wife Elizabeth. However, John had his eye on a different career path and by 1881 he was a draper living in Bullock Street where he employed seven men.
The Hearts Of Oak remained in the Peake family for another 40 years. Robert Peake – believed to be John’s brother – took over and he remained there until his death at the age of 49 in 1883. He had previously been a manager at a bleachworks so this was another change of career for a member of the Peake family.
Robert was succeeded by Edmund Peak and by 1905 it was being run by Robert’s daughter, Emma Peake.
The Hearts Of Oak was later sold to the Manchester brewer Hydes. It was a strange commercial decision given that Hydes had a very small presence in Bolton. That situation continued until the 1990s. Hydes later sold the pub to Burtonwoods and it was a Burtonwood pub that the Hearts Of Oak closed in 1959.
All the properties on Haydock Street were demolished in the sixties and new housing was built in the street. New homes were built on Knight Street, directly behind where the Hearts Of Oak once stood, but they too were demolished in the 1990s. More new housing has been built in its place.
The Haydock Street - Knight Street junction in October 2009 (copyright Google Street View). Haydock Street goes off to the left, Knight Street goes off towards Prince Street where the Aldi store can be seen in the distance. The Hearts Of Oak was situated in the foreground on the right-hand side where the car parking area is situated.