Monday, 9 February 2015

Old Original British Queen (Pomps), 107 Blackburn Road

Old Original British Queen Blackburn Road Bolton

Happier times for the Old Original British Queen pictured here in August 2008 (copyright Google Street View). 

The Old Original British Queen was a prime example of the practise in Bolton in the eighteenth- and nineteenth centuries were a pub was given a similar or the same name as one nearby.  The centre of town had two Millstones, two Three Crowns and two Nags Heads and at the bottom of Blackburn Road in the 1840s there were two British Queens. However, The original beerhouse was joined across the road by one named the Victoria British Queen, so the owner of the British Queen re-named his pub the Old Original British Queen.

For much of its existence the Old Original British Queen was known as ‘Pomp’s’. So who was Pomp?

George Pomfret was born in 1860. His father – also named George – was a coal miner who moved the family from Atherton in search of work in the Middle Hulton area of Bolton where there were a number of small coal mines. In 1861 the family were living at Whitegate Brow, which is that part of St Helens Road where the road dips down towards Four Lane Ends. Ten years later they at nearby Pasquill Fold and by 1881 they had moved to 144 Deane Church Lane, one of a newly-built row of terraced houses.

George married a local girl, Elizabeth Howcroft, in 1883. At 29 she was six years older than George and she lived on Morris Green Lane. The couple’s marriage certificate described George as working as a coal miner. But a life digging underground wasn’t what George had in mind.

How George and Elizabeth got into the licensed trade on the other side of town isn’t known, but by the time the couple’s first child, Walter, was born at the beginning of 1886 they were already ‘mine hosts’ at the Old Original British Queen. And they were to remain there until George died almost 40 years later.

George’s nickname was ‘Pomp’ and before too long the Old Original British Queen was known as ‘Pomp’s’, one of the few pubs in Bolton to be known after a landlord or former landlord.  Ninety years after his death it is still known as such.

George remained at the pub until his death in 1925. But he was obviously a very shrewd businessman. He left an estate valued at £5177 – that’s the equivalent today of over £270,000. Not bad from a small beerhouse on Blackburn Road!

Pomps was sold to the Bromley Cross firm of John Hamer’s and it was subsequently a Dutton’s pub when the Blackburn brewer purchased Hamer’s in 1951. The pub received a full licence in 1961.

Dutton’s was taken over by Whitbread in 1964 and many older readers may remember it as a Whitbread pub.

Greenwood Leisure bought the Old Original British Queen in the early-nineties and real ale returned for a while in the form of Holts Bitter, but the pub closed at the beginning of 2014. The image below was taken in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View).

The building was demolished in April 2016. The image below was taken in August 2016 and shows an empty site (copyright Google Street View). A five-bedroomed house is expected to be built on the site.

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