Saturday, 14 March 2015

Brewers Arms, 79 Newport Street




In 1851, William Whitfield was listed a brewer living in Newport Street, next to Back Newport Street on the stretch between Great Moor Street and Trinity Street. William was a brewer and when he converted part of his home into a beerhouse he gave it the name the Brewers Arms.

This appears to have been later in the 1850s. The pub doesn’t appear on an 1853 list of beerhouses, but it was being used as such by 1861. Whitfield was living there in 1861 with his wife, Catharine, two daughters and a grand-daughter. Later that decade – though six years apart - the two daughters, Hannah and Jane, each married one of the Almond brothers, Lawrence and John.

The Brewers Arms was close to the Newtown area of Bolton. The district was situated where the Morrisons supermarket now stands and was home to Bolton’s Irish community, but while the Brewers Arms was considered a rough pub it was popular with local railway workers. In 1869, an incident at the Brewers Arms led to the death of an Irish labourer, John Heyes. A man named Henry Horrocks, with whom Heyes had been drinking, was found guilty of manslaughter but was ordered to be bound over to the court for the sum of £20. [1]

William Whitfield died in 1872 and he was succeeded by Joseph Turton. The pub then began to sell beers from John Halliwell’s Alexandra Brewery on Mount Street and it was a Halliwell’s pub when it closed in 1908. [2]

The building was subsequently used as a branch of the Royal Liver Friendly Society but it was demolished in the 1950s. A new building was erected in its place which was taken over initially by Battersby’s department store who were previously further down Newport Street close to the town hall. Battersby’s were succeeded Whelan’s supermarket, owned by Dave Whelan the future chairman of Wigan Athletic. After the takeover of Whelan's in 1978 it became a branch of Morrison’s, followed by Kwik Save, Iceland and B&M Bargains. This successor building to the Brewers Arms was demolished in 2014 to make way for the new bus-rail interchange.

[1] The full story of the death is told in MurderousBolton, by Steve Fielding (2009). 
[2] Bolton Pubs, 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000). 



Newport Street at is junction with Back Newport Street pictured in 2012 (copyright Google Street View).


Friday, 13 March 2015

Bee Hive, 51 Back Derby Street




The term ‘back street pub’ is normally used for pubs off the main road, but the Bee Hive really was in a back street. Its address was 51 Back Derby Street but it was actually an end terrace on Milk Street. Part of the pr had been converted into a pub and was given its own entrance in Back Derby Street. The licensees and their families actually lived in another part of the same property, 2 Milk Street.

The pub dated back to the 1840s when a labourer named Henry Ashton opened up part of his home in Milk Street as a beerhouse. He was succeeded as landlord on his death in 1864 by his second wife Ann Ashton, with his son James Ashton working in the pub’s brewery.

The Ashtons were succeeded in the 1870s by the Reddy family: Martin Reddy and wife Mary. Martin Reddy died in 1888 and he was succeeded by his wife, Mary and when she died by their daughter, also named Mary.

The Bee Hive became a Magees house. It closed in 1936 and the property was converted back into a private residence. It was demolished in the early-1950s, along with part of Milk Street. The rest of the area was pulled down in the early-seventies.



Faringdon Walk was built on the site of Milk Street. Back Derby Street still exists in part, but the stretch close to what was Milk Street is now Ashbury Close. The shot below from 2012 (copyright Google Street View) is of the Ashbury Close  - Faringdon Walk junction. The Bee Hive stood on the site of the bungalow on the corner.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Brewers Arms, 4 Atherton Street




The Brewers Arms was situated at 4 Atherton Street, just off Cannon Street.

The pub certainly existed in 1869 when the licensee was Lucy Turtle, but it perhaps didn’t have the name the Brewers Arms at that time. It is believed that the pub took its name in the 1870s when Isaac Openshaw had the pub. Isaac was a brewer by trade though within a few years he had moved to the Farmers Arms on nearby Derby Street.

The Brewers Arms subsequently became a rare outlet for the Phoenix Brewery of Heywood but it was sold in the 1890s to T & R Wingfield’s. Their Silverwell Brewery situated on Nelson Square in premises which later became part of the Pack Horse Hotel.

Wingfield’s sold out to the Manchester Brewery Company in 1899 and the Brewers became a Walker and Homfray’s house when MBC was taken over in 1912.

The Brewers Arms closed in 1924 and the building was demolished to make way for an extension to the nearby Garfield Mill. The mill closed for the manufacture of textiles in 1960 and was used by a number of small firms until its demolition in the early seventies. Housing now stands on the site.


Cannon Street looking towards Deane Road. To the right is Chatham Gardens which was built on the site of Atherton Street in the 1970s. Before Garfield Mill’s expansion in 1924/25 there were two houses on the corner of Atherton Street: number 2 and number 4. The Brewers Arms was at number 4 close to the junction with Cannon Street on the far corner as we look.




Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Legs Of Man, 24 Churchgate



Legs Of Man Churchgate Bolton


The Legs Of Man can just about be seen in the distance in this 1950s view looking up Churchbank towards Churchgate.


The Legs Of Man public house stood at 24 Churchgate in between the Grand Theatre and the Theatre Royal in what for over a hundred years was the entertainment centre of  Bolton.

The pub dated back to the late-eighteenth century. Gordon Readyhough puts its establishment at 1790. [1] Certainly, it doesn’t appear on the 1779 list of Bolton alehouses [2], though it was certainly in existence by 1800. That was when it was first used as the headquarters of one of Lancashire’s earliest Masonic lodges, Anchor and Hope, which was based at the pub from 1800 to 1801 and from 1804 to 1844. [3] The St John’s lodge also met there from 1846 to 1856. [4]

The Legs Of Man was run by the Thorp family for much of the nineteenth century. William Thorp took over around 1818. A year earlier, when he married the widow Mary Cooper, his profession was described as a warehouseman. But by the time the Bolton Directory for 1818 was published just a few months later he was the landlord of the Legs Of Man. He ran the pub until his death at the age of 62 in 1845 and was succeeded by his widow, Mary who ran the pub with John Cooper, a son from her first marriage.

Mary died in 1856. John Cooper – described as a ‘brewer’ when he married Ann Butler in 1858 - remained at the pub for a few years after her death.

Cooper’s profession suggested that, like many other pubs in the town, the Legs Of Man brewed its own beer. But while it became a tied house owned by a brewery later in the eighteenth century it was actually owned by three breweries in succession: Magee’s, followed by Tong’s, and finally the Salford brewery of Groves and Whitnall. Pubs usually changed hands when breweries were taken over so it was perhaps an indication of the competition in the Churchgate area with seven pubs and two theatres in a stretch of around 200 yards.

But it could also be argued that competition of a different kind saw off the Legs Of Man. The advent of television, which reached the north-west in the early-fifties, affected theatre audiences as customers stayed at home and watched the new medium. The Legs was hit due to its reliance on passing custom before and after shows.

The Legs Of Man closed in March 1962. The Theatre Royal closed later that same year. The Grand Theatre became a bingo hall in 1961 but that failed and it closed in 1963. [5] All three buildings were demolished and Churchgate House was built in their place.


[1] Bolton Pubs, 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] Pubs Of Bolton Town Centre, 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (1986).
[3] Lane’s Masonic Records. Accessed 11 March 2015.
[4] Lane’s Masonic Records. Accessed 11 March 2015. 
[5] Arthur Lloyd. Accessed 11 March 2015.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Baths Tavern, 42 Bridgeman Place




The Baths Tavern stood at number 42 Bridgeman Place. This beerhouse dated back to the middle of the nineteenth century and it took its name from the nearby Bolton Baths which opened on Lower Bridgeman Street in 1845. The privately-owned bathing facility was believed to be the first public baths in the country since Roman times.

For many years the Baths Tavern was run by the same family. Thomas Lane was a cooper on Chancery Lane in the 1840s. By 1853 he was working at premises on Churchbank but he died in 1858. His wife, Jane Lane, was Welsh, born in Denbigh in 1817 and the couple had one daughter, Sarah, who was born in late-1839 or early-1840 and one son, William, born 1836.. Jane was listed as the licensee of the Baths Tavern in the 1860s though it is entirely feasible that she took on the pub along with her husband while he was still alive. By 1871 she was living at the pub alone but with a servant in residence.

Jane Lane died in 1881. At the time, her daughter Sarah was living with her at the pub as she entered the final stage of her life.  Some of Sarah’s younger children were with her while her husband, Reuben Bolton, a baker, lived in nearby Matthew Street South with the rest of the family.

After Jane’s death, Sarah Bolton took over the running of the pub. She was to remain there for the rest of her life. Reuben Bolton died in 1896 and by 1911 Sarah was at the pub with her four unmarried adult children. Three daughters worked at the pub while her son worked elsewhere as a patternmaker.

Sarah Bolton died in 1925. In 1927, the owners of the nearby Globe Hosiery Works, Hodgkinson and Gillibrand Ltd, wanted to rebuild and expand their factory. That meant buying seven properties, including the Baths Tavern, which were owned by the Earl Of Bradford. The pub closed down and the new Globe works was completed in 1929. The building remains on the site today.



 Bridgeman Place in September 2014 with Salop Street running off to the left (copyright Google Street View). The Baths Tavern was directly opposite the entrance to Salop Street.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Jolly Drummer, 16 Partridge Street




The Jolly Drummer was situated on Partridge Street, off Moor Lane. Before the pub opened in the late-1850s Partridge Street was known as Green Street, but as there was another Green Street in the town centre its name was changed, partly in honour of an old-established pub, the Dog and Partridge which stood at the junction with Moor Lane. 

The Jolly Drummer dated back to at least the 1830s. Thomas Ainscow was the first recorded licensee and he appears in the 1836 Bolton Directory. The 1841 Census shows the 69-year-old Thomas as the landlord, assisted by his wife Susannah (56). Their son Robert was the brewer and two of Robert’s three sons also worked at the pub.

Thomas died in 1842 and Susannah Ainscow took over the business until her death in 1850. She was succeeded by Robert Ainscow but he sold the pub to James Parkinson in the late-1850s.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the Jolly Drummer was in the hands of James Kenyon Davenport. Kenny Davenport was born in 1862 to James Davenport and his wife Catharine (nee Kenyon).  He knew Partridge Street well as the family lived at number 4 for a while in the 1870s.

Kenny Davenport


Kenny moved to the Jolly Drummer after a stint working as a labourer for the pub’s owners, William Tong, whose brewery was just up Deane Road at Blackshaw Lane.  Perhaps Tong’s had an ulterior motive, because Kenny Davenport had just ended his career as a  footballer. He was signed by Bolton Wanderers in 1883 from local amateur side Gilnow Rangers and spent nine years playing for the Wanderers at their Pikes Lane ground located just off what is now Deane Road. He also spent part of his playing career arranging for players from Scotland and Wales to move to Bolton with the promise of jobs that he had fixed them up with. He was capped twice by England, becoming the first Bolton player to represent his country scoring two goals for the national team. After leaving Bolton, he spent a season with Southport Central before returning to Bolton to coach their reserve team.

Kenny Davenport was in the Bolton team that lined up to face Derby County on 3 September 1888 in the first round of games in the newly-created Football League. Also in the side was defender Bethel Robinson, at the time the landlord of the Crown and Cushion on Mealhouse Lane. 

Wanderers lost 6-3 in that opening-day fixture. Kenny Davenport scored twice, the first on just two minutes when he sprang the Derby offside trap to put his side a goal up. But in 2013, researchers discovered that Davenport’s goal was the first to be scored in league football.  It had previously been thought that the first goal was an own-goal scored by Gershom Cox for Wolves against Aston Villa, but Villa’s game kicked off at 3.50. Bolton’s game kicked off at 3.45pm. [1]

So after 125 years the name of Kenny Davenport, arguably Bolton’s first star player and Nat Lofthouse of his day, was back in the papers. [2]

He died in 1908 and the Jolly Drummer was taken over by his widow, Emma, who ran the pub with her brother, John Eves.

The Jolly Drummer closed in 1912 and was used for many years as a lodging house. It was demolished in 1969 and the fire station was built on the site. It opened in 1971.

[1] When Saturday Comes. Accessed 9 March 2015. 
[2] More on Kenny Davenport, including links to other media stories on his first league goal can be accessed via his Wikipedia page

The image on top of the paibelow isn't the best picture to illustrate the Jolly Drummer. It’s actually a 1969 picture of the Dog and Partridge on Moor Lane but Partridge Street can be seen in the background. The former Jolly Drummer building can just about be seen with its windows boarded up, next to the white-painted building. (Image copyright Bolton Council). 

Below that is an image of Bolton fire station taken in September 2014. The entrance to the fire station was formed from the entrance to Partridge Street and the Jolly Drummer would have been straight ahead on the right-hand side in the distance. (Image copyright Google Street View). 







Thursday, 5 March 2015

Merehall Inn, 2-4 Lyon Street




The Merehall Inn (sometimes spelt Mere Hall – two words) was situated at 2-4 Lyon Street, just on the corner of Vernon Street and directly opposite the Caledonia Inn with Mossfield Mill on the other side of Vernon Street.   The took its name from nearby Mere Hall although Mere Hall Street was the next street along from Lyon Street.

The first record we have of the pub is in the 1871 Bolton Directory when it was being run by James Hodgkinson and his wife Martha (nee Rostron). The premises were initially a corner shop, but members of Martha’s family had run pubs and it seems the Hodgkinsons hit upon the idea of opening up their shop as a beerhouse.

The 1871 Census describes James as a ‘grocer and beerseller’. But owning a pub has never been an easy business to be in and by 1881 he was working in a foundry and living in nearby Faraday Street. The pub was then bought by George Walker of the Park View brewery on Spa Road.

A similar fate befell a later licensee, Major Mangnall. Despite sounding like a military man, Major Gerrard Mangnall was actually christened thus. He was born in Cheshire in 1862 and he was a carter in Ainscow Street, the next street to Lyon Street as you go down Vernon  Street (Ainscow Street no longer insists though, oddly, Back Ainscow Street has survived; it’s the cobbled street leading from Vernon Street to the Gaskell Primary School football pitch).

By 1894, Major Mangnall and his wife Margaret were running the Merehall Inn, but within five years he was back in Ainscow Street and working as a labourer. He eventually went back to being a carter and was then a gardener until he retired. He died in 1934.

The Warburton family appear to have had more success. They were in charge at the Merehall Inn for over 20 years with James Warburton succeeding his late father John after being demobbed from active service following the First World War.

The Merehall closed in 1933. It was owned by the Liverpool company Walker Cain Ltd who came by the pub as part of their takeover of Leigh brewer, George Shaw and Son. Walker’s decided to transfer the full licenses of the Old Robin Hood on Lever Street, the Three Tuns on Chapel Street, and the Arrowsmith Arms on Mill Street, to three other pubs: the Vulcan on Junction Road, the Greyhound on Manchester Road and the Nightingale on Lever Street. But before the licensing authorities allowed the deal to be done they insisted that Walker’s surrendered three beerhouse licenses, as well. The Merehall was one of the unlucky pubs.

The building was demolished in the sixties along with the rest of Lyon Street, Merehall Street and Ainscow Street. New housing stands on the site.



The approximate site of Lyon Street shown in 2012 (copyright Google Street View). The Merehall Inn was on the right-hand corner at the junction with Vernon Street.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

York Street Tavern, 48 York Street





The York Street Tavern was one of a large number of beerhouses and pubs – we’ve counted just under 30 - that stood in an area between Bridgeman Street and Lever Street.

The first mention we have of the York Street Tavern was in 1869 when David Sumner was the landlord (by 1871 he was at the Lord Napier on Bridgeman Street). That makes it one of the later pubs in the area. But nearby streets all had their own pubs. Coe Street had two and Foundry Street had two, while Sidney Street had no fewer than four.

York Street itself ran from Bridgeman Street down to Cochrane Street and it contained around 60 houses with Maxfield Street running across it about two-thirds of the way down.

David Sumner was succeeded by Robert Handley and by 1895 the pub was under the control of Mrs Alice Hamer. Subsequent directories list Richard Holt in 1905 and Joseph Wood in 1924.

The York Street Tavern was a rare outlet in the area for John Halliwell and Sons’ Alexandra Brewery at Halliwell, but they fell into financial difficulties in 1910 and had to be rescued by Magees, a much more local business less than a mile away up Daubhill.

It was as a Magees house that the York Street Tavern ended its days in the early sixties. Or to be accurate, a Greenalls house given they took over Magees in 1958 though the Cricket Street brewery didn't close until 1970.

The 30 pubs in the Bridgeman Street/Lever Street area had steadily diminished over the years, but the 1954 Ordnance Survey map still shows 21. There are now just three: the Park, the Queen Elizabeth and the Little John, along with the Irish Club in what used to be the Nightingale.

York Street itself didn’t fare too well following the clearance. Nile Street survived, as did Coe Street and Cochrane Street. Sidney Street was cut to less than half its original length, while Foundry Street was reduced to just a hundred yards or so. But York Street and  John Taylor Street – named after the 28-year-old who became Bolton’s first borough coroner in 1839 – were completely obliterated.

This industrial unit stands on what was once York Street.  For many years it was a branch of Booker Cash and Carry but is now the home of Assembly Solutions Ltd. 



Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Talbot Inn (Old Dog), 16 Brown Street





The Talbot Inn - also known as the Old Dog – was one of Bolton’s oldest pubs. It dated back to at least the eighteenth century and appeared on the Great Bolton List of Alehouses of 1778 [1]. The landlord in those days was Edward Woods.

It was situated on Brown Street, which still exists just off Manor Street in that part of town known as Little Bolton.

Little Bolton was home to Bolton’s working-class poor, but it was a hotbed of radical politics in the early part of the nineteenth century. A report in 1816 says that a committee of radicals met at a pub in Dog Court - the Talbot Inn. In those days, pubs were often known for their political affiliations. The George and Dragon on Oxford Street  played host to the Liberal debating society while Conservatives met at the Swan Hotel. Radicals met at “pubs frequented by the lower orders”. [2] This was at a time when Bolton, a town of some 40,000 people, had no parliamentary representation at all, while a “rotten borough” like Old Sarum in Wiltshire, with its 11 voters, sent two MPs to Parliament.

The Talbot closed in 1879. The pub’s full public house licence, which enabled it to sell wine and spirits as well as beer, was a valuable commodity. The licence was transferred to the Railway on Trinity Street. http://lostpubsofbolton.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/railway-hotel-corner-of-trinity-street.html

The Talbot subsequently became a lodging house. It was owned by Robert Lukes in 1905 and by 1924 he had bought up many of the other houses on that row. A number of other properties on Brown Street were also used as lodging houses.

The row was demolished just after World War II and the land has remained empty ever since. It is currently in use as a parking area.

[1] Pubs Of Bolton Town Centre, 1900 – 1986, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (1986).

[2] Classic Soil: Community, Aspiration, and Debate in the BoltonRegion of Lancashire, 1819-1845, Malcolm Hardman. Published by Rosemount Publishing and Printing Corporation (2003).  



Brown Street in September 2014 (copyright  Google Street View). The pub was situated on this row, which was demolished in the 1950s.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Pineapple, 117 Bridgeman Street




The Pineapple at 117 Bridgeman Street is unusual in that it bore the name of a fruit. But it was one of no fewer than four Bolton pubs of that name. The one at Astley Bridge survives, but there also Pineapples at Darcy Lever and on Water Street, off Manor Street in the town centre.

The one on Bridgeman Street dates back to the 1860s. The first reference we can find is in the 1869 Bolton Directory when it was being run by James Smethurst. The 1871 census shows James, aged 58, who is described as an iron moulder and beer seller. His wife Mary, 56, is also a beerseller, though in all probability that would mean she ran the pub while he had a job elsewhere. Certainly, James is described as an iron moulder on the baptismal certificates of eight of the couple's children going right back to 1835.

The Smethursts remained at the Pineapple until James’s death at the age of 70 in 1882. Mary went off to live in Little Bolton where she died in 1902, aged 87.

The licensing authorities tried to shut down the Pineapple in 1903, citing it as a ‘disorderly house’. [1] By that time it was owned the Manchester Brewery Company. It had been bought by the Bolton brewery of Wingfield’s in the 1890s, but Wingfield’s were taken over by MBC in 1899 and MBC were a company in crisis. A series of takeovers had financially stretched the company and tied houses such as the Pineapple were seen to have been neglected. The company put Thomas Delaney in charge after winning the fight to remain open. Indeed, it remained open for another 33 years.

In the end, the Pineapple closed due to financial pressures in 1936. The premises, which were situated on the corner of Coe Street, remained standing until the whole area was cleared in the 1950s.

[1] Bolton Pubs, 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).



Bridgeman Street in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). Coe Street runs off to the right. The Pineapple stood on the corner visible in the shot.



Sunday, 1 March 2015

Union Arms, 53-55 Bullock Street




Union Arms Bullock Street Bolton


A late-1920s shot of the Union Arms. The pub initially occupied the premises at the at the top of Bullock Street though it eventually expanded into the property next door. Folds Road runs along the side of the pub. 

One of the earliest pubs in the Folds Road area was the Union Arms. Although technically speaking it was on Bullock Street it was at the very top of that street at its junction with Folds Road.

The Union dated back to the late-1820s when John Hamer was the landlord. By then it was the only pub on the main road from Kay Street onwards, although a number of pubs such as the Three Tuns on Chapel Street were in the built-up areas off the main stretch.

The pub was in the hands of the Rostron family for a number of years. At various times members of the Rostrons ran pubs such as the Foresters Arms on Smith Street and Anchor on Eagle Street – amongst others. Abraham Rostron was succeeded in the mid-1880s by his son Herbert who spent over 20 years at the pub.

The Union was bought by William Tong’s brewery of Deane in the early part of the 20th century, but it was later sold to James Jackson’s Spa Road brewery. Jackson’s were taken over by George Shaw of Leigh in 1927 and the Union became a Walker’s pub when they bought out Shaw’s in 1931. [1]

The Union ended its days as a Tetley Walker pub in 1969. The pub closed and was demolished along with many other properties in the area. The construction of St Peters’s Way was the catalyst for the wholesale redevelopment of the area.

Jonas Webster Ltd built their new headquarters on the site of Bullock Street and the Union Arms in the early seventies and as Webster Drives they still occupy the site today.


[1] Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).




Folds Road in September 2014. Kestrel Street runs off to the left of the picture. Folds Road Secondary Modern School was once on the site of the motor dealership in the distance. The Union Arms was on the right, directly opposite the school and in front of what are now the offices of Webster Drives.