Saturday, 31 January 2015

Good Samaritan, 73 Derby Street

The bottom end of  Derby Street pictured in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). Fletcher Street can be sign on the left. Direct entry onto Derby Street ended in 1980 when the road was re-routed to traverse the former Pilkington Street to meet the main road at College Way. The Good Samaritan was directly where the entrance to KFC now stands.



The Good Samaritan was on Derby Street not far from the corner of Fletcher Street.  It dated back to the 1840s. Isaac Maude is listed as the landlord on the 1843 Bolton Directory. He was a brewer living on Kay Street in 1841 and appears to have moved to the beerhouse shortly afterwards.

An early landlord was David Magee who was at the Good Samaritan from 1855 until 1866. Magee is believed to have been born in Scotland and his name was originally spelled McGee. He was in Bolton by 1841 living with the Forrest family in Shuttle Street. By 1851 he was in Coe Street and working as a weaver before turning to the beer trade. Like many pub landlords of the time he was a brewer but his ambitions were greater than just to brew for his own pub and when he moved further up Derby Street to the Crown Hotel it was because the spare land nearby the pub enabled him to build a much larger brewery.

Magee died in 1875 and it was left to his three sons, Thomas, John and Joseph, to turn Magee, Marshall and Co, as the business was eventually known, into a substantial local enterprise.

By the mid-1870s George Crompton was the landlord. However, he went off to work for Magee’s where he became one of the brewery’s manager. Samuel Pye succeeded Crompton and was at the pub until his death in 1896.

The Good Samaritan remained as a Magee’s pub even after David Magee's departure and it formed part of the sale of Magee, Marshall & Co’s to Greenall, Whitley in 1958.

Much of the area bordered by Derby Street, Fletcher Street, Houghton Street and Pilkington Street was redeveloped in the late-sixties and early-seventies. The Good Samaritan closed in 1969 and was demolished shortly afterwards.

While land at the Pilkington Street junction with Derby Street was redeveloped by the drive-in restaurant that opened as Henry’s in 1980 (later China Garden, now McDonalds), it wasn’t until later that decade that a drive-in KFC was built on the site of the Good Samaritan.  

Tippings Arms - Bedrock Cafe - Astley's, Blackburn Road

Tippings Blackburn Road Bolton


The site of the Tippings Arms in September 2014. The pub knocked into its neighbouring properties many years ago and part of the premises had already been sold off and converted into a taxi office when this image was taken.

The Tippings Arms opened in the 1820s and was named after the Tipping family, local landowners who owned land in the Little Bolton area north of the River Croal. The pub was one of the last buildings in Bolton, at least until Astley Bridge was incorporated into the County Borough of Bolton in 1896. The bridge itself over Astley Brook was just a few yards away up Blackburn Road.

John Grime was an early landlord of the Tippings and he was followed by Humphrey Nightingale and his son John who ran the pub from around 1836 until 1848.

Mr Nightingale was succeeded by Jesse Langshaw, previously a warehouseman in Little Bolton. Jesse had married a Turton girl, Alice Wood, in February 1848 and once they had settled in at the Tippings the couple took the opportunity of the relative stability of life as pub licensees to start a family. In the space of less than two-and-a-half years, Alice gave birth on no fewer than three separate occasions – a girl followed by two boys.

The Langshaws were gone by 1870 and were running a beerhouse further up Blackburn Road.

Later in the nineteenth century, the Tippings was bought by Eden and Thwaites, who since 1770 had owned the Water’s Meeting bleachworks at the bottom of what was then known as Tippinge’s Road (now Water’s Meeting Road).  The deal made commercial sense to Eden and Thwaites who would see their employees trudge up Tippnge’s Road every night into the pub. Buying the Tippings at least ensured that they reclaimed what was perhaps a fair chunk of their employees’ wages.

There was a more munificent side to Eden and Thwaites. When one of the partners, James Eden, died in 1874 he left money for the establishment of a children’s home. The Eden Orphanage stood on  Thorns Road from 1878 to 1951 when it was taken over by the Isis Independent School. It closed in 1966 and most of the buildings were demolished. Pendle Court now stands on the site. [1]

The Thwaites side of the partnership built The Watermillock in the 1880s. After ending its days as a private residence it was an old people’s home for many years before being converted into a restaurant in the 1990s by Banks’s Brewery. It is now a Toby Carvery

Eden and Thwaites eventually sold the Tippings to Threlfalls brewery of Salford. Threlfalls were bought by Whitbread in 1967.  That led to handpumps being pulled out of the pub and Whitbread’s ubiquitous national brand Trophy Bitter being pushed. Local drinkers reported in 1981 that it did, however, sell two of Whitbread’s real ales from time to time: Special Cask Bitter and Dutton’s Best Bitter. [2]

The pub was taken over in the mid-eighties by the same licensees that ran another Whitbread pub, Scandals (formerly the Painter’s Arms) on Crook Street. They renamed it Astley’s and turned it into a kind of disco pub with regular live acts. It did well – at least for a while.

In January 1999, Astley’s was taken over by Willy Richards, described by the Bolton Evening News as “a larger than life character” who had previously run The Jungle (previously Pink Panther) on St George’s Street. Willy renamed Astley’s as the Bedrock CafĂ©, based on a Flintstone’s theme. Opening-night invitations were sent out on slate. There were three bars, two floors and two DJs. [3] When that didn’t work out the pub reverted back to being the Tippings Arms.

The Tippings closed in 2006 and the premises remained empty for a number of years. A taxi office opened in one part of before work began converting the rest of the premises into houses in 2014.

Bridge Inn Tippings Arms  Blackburn Road


The Tippings can be seen in the distance in this 1970s image of Blackburn Road. In the middle distance people are crossing Astley Bridge itself, which at one time marked the Bolton boundary. But in the near distance is the Bridge which was demolished some time after the turn of the millennium. The site of the pub has remained vacant ever since.

[1] Bolton.org.ukhttp://www.bolton.org.uk/edenhome.html. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
[2] What’s Doing, the Greater Manchester Beer Drinkers’ monthly magazinie, July 1981 issue. Retrieved from the Bolton Camra website, 31 January 2015. What’s Doing’s Bolton items from 1975 to 1984 have been collated onto two files (the otherfile can be accessed here). 
[3] Bolton Evening News, 22 January 1999. Retrieved from the Bolton News website, 31 January 2015.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Silver Vat - Lion's Paw - Four Horseshoes - Horse Shoe, 75 Deansgate

The Lions Paw next to the District Bank c.1903.
The Horse Shoe on Deansgate was one of Bolton’s oldest pubs. It was listed as one of Great Bolton’s Ale Houses in 1778 and by that time it had already been in business for some time [1] at the corner of Old Hall Street South and Deansgate. The landlord at that time was Henry Wilkinson and the Wilkinson family were in control of the pub under two of its various guises for much of its existence.

The Horse Shoe changed its name towards the end of the 18th century.  The  pub was the headquarters at various times of the freemasons’ St John’s Lodge. The lodge led something of a nomadic existence changing its headquarters on no fewer than 17 occasions in the century following its establishment in 1797. On four of those occasions it moved to the Four Horseshoes and we know that the pub had adopted its new name by the time of the lodge’s initial move there in 1802.

The Wilkinsons sold the Four Horse Shoes in the 1870s thus ending an association going back around a hundred years. By 1899, the pub was one of a number of tied houses belonging to a local brewery, Wingfield’s Silverwell Brewery Ltd of Nelson Square. Wingfield’s sold out to the rapidly-expanding Manchester Brewery Company Ltd of 1899. [More on Wingfield's here].

The Four Horse Shoes became the Lion’s Paw in the early years of the twentieth-century, but MBC decided in 1907 to knock down the original 18th-century pub and rebuild it as a much grander affair. The new building was done almost in a mock-Tudor style and there was yet another change of name, this time to the Silver Vat. At that time, the Manchester Brewery Company was heavily marketing its “Silver Vatted Ales” although it has been claimed they inherited the trademark when they took over Wingfield’s.

Lions Paw Deansgate 1907
Lions Paw shortly before demolition in 1907
But MBC were in trouble. A few years before the Lion’s Paw was rebuilt a shareholders’ committee discovered that a number of the firm’s pubs had been neglected for many years and that a number of takeovers in the name of expansion had left the company strapped for cash. In 1912, the Salford brewer, Walker & Homfray’s, bought the Manchester Brewery Company and although MBC remained in existence until 1956 its brewery closed in 1924.

In 1929, just 22 years after it was built, the Silver Vat was sold to its next-door neighbour, the District Bank. While it seems odd that a building should be demolished after such a short period of time it is likely that District Bank offered Walker & Homfray’s a good enough price to warrant its sale. The Silver Vat was demolished and District Bank expanded into the former pub.

District Bank formed part of the newly-formed National Westminster in 1970. After a spell as a KFC franchise during the first decade of the 21st century the building is now a branch of the Nationwide Building Society.


[1] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough (2000)  

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Peels Arms, 30-32 Sidney Street

The Peels Arms was one of the early beerhouses on Sidney Street, which at the time connected Bridgeman Street with Lever Street. William Grime was the licensee, according to the 1853 Directory and it seems that he was the pub’s founder.

Grime is listed in the 1841 Bolton Census as a resident of Sidney Street, one of many hand weavers that lived in that street. But it seems he had grander ideas and he turned number 30 Sidney Street into a beer house, the Peels Arms, which also sold general provisions.

William Grime got lucky. In 1884, George Hodgkinson and Sons’ built Hilton Mills. While the mill fronted onto Bridgeman Street it employed many of the weavers from Sidney Street that provided the Peels with much of its custom – and the pub and its attached shop was right outside the mill.

Grime brewed his own beer - he was listed as a brewer in the 1871 Worrall’s Bolton Directory – and the pub must have been a little goldmine, at least for a while. But unfortunately, Hilton Mills was destroyed by fire in 1892 with damage estimated at £30,000. But even then, the land was redeveloped for housing.

Magees took over the Peels and were the pub’s owners in 1962. By that time the brewery had been taken over by Greenall Whitley and there was the review of the tied estate that inevitably accompanies such a takeover. The area between Bridgeman Street and Lever Street was earmarked for redevelopment and a number of streets had already been demolished.

At the same time, Magees – or Greenalls – were pressing ahead with a new pub, the Morris Dancers on Sapling Road. Whereas the Peels was in a predominantly working-class and over-pubbed area, the Morris Dancers was in a more affluent area which had only recently gained its first pub, the Prince Rupert.

The brewery did a deal. They surrendered the licences of the Peels and the nearby Oliver Cromwell – two beerhouses – and obtained a full public house licence for the Morris Dancers.

The Peels was pulled down soon afterwards and the whole area was subsequently redeveloped as an industrial estate. The pub’s location was roughly to the rear of Samson’s auto repairs on Bridgeman Street.

Sidney Street Bolton

Sidney Street seen at its junction with Cochrane Street. The street ends at that point but beyond the factory gates in the foreground the old street can still be seen. The Peels was situated  in the distance, on the left-hand side, not far from the junction with Bridgeman Street.

Cotton Tree, 60 Lever Street

There have been four pubs in Bolton named the Cotton Tree. The one on Prince Street looked as though it would become a lost pub in 2014 but is still open, the one Moor Lane closed in 1869 and the one on Edgar Street closed in 1908. This Cotton Tree stood on Lever Street at its junction with Nelson Street.

The road lay-out is different now to how it used to be. A look at maps from the 1950s, for example, shows Thynne Street not as the dual carriageway it is today for most of its length, but as a street with a single lane in each direction running from Crook Street to its current junction with Nelson Street and Lever Street.

The Cotton Tree was opposite the Tanners Arms, but a little further forward so that it almost jutted out into the road. Directly opposite the Cotton Tree, on Nelson Street and in front of the  Tanners Arms, was a bus shelter and public lavatory

The pub dated back to around the 1860s. An early licensee was Jeremiah Aspin, who took over the pub in 1871 moving from the Egerton Arms at the other end of Lever Street. Aspin was a brewer, which suggested the Cotton Tree had its own brewery.

Aspin was a widower, but he married again in 1872, this time to Alice Brindle a widow four years older than him at the age of 43. She bore him a daughter, Clara – his third.

John Atkinson Commission Street Brewery Bolton
Atkinson's ad from 1885
The Cotton Tree was later taken over by local brewer Atkinson’s whose brewery was on Commission Street, just off Mayor Street. William Atkinson was a brewer based at 1 Manor Street in the town centre in 1871. John Atkinson – possibly his son - took over the business and moved it to industrial premises on Commission Street. He then began a plan of expansion and bought a number of local pubs. These included other pubs near to the Cotton Tree, such as the Coe Street Tavern, and brewpubs like the Lord Clyde on Folds Road, which still stands. Other of its pubs that are still in existence include the Greyhound on Deansgate and the Griffin on Great Moor Street.

In 1895 Atkinson’s sold out and the Cotton Tree and the rest of their pubs were bought by Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester. Boardman’s sold their Lancashire pub and the old Atkinson’s brewery to another Manchester brewery, Cornbrook’s, in 1898.

But Cornbrook’s later sold the Cotton Tree to Magee’s. Quite why they did so is puzzling as Magee’s already owned the Tanners Arms across the road. Breweries tried to space apart their properties and having ten yards or so between the two pubs must have counted against the Cotton Tree at the end of the day.

Magee’s sold out to Greenall Whitley in 1958 and after the inevitable review of their newly-expanded tied estate Greenall’s decided to close the Cotton Tree in 1962. The pub was later demolished as part of a wider redevelopment of the area.  

Cotton Tree Lever Street Bolton

The bottom of Lever Street in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). The Tanners Arms can still be seen on the left. The Cotton Tree was on the opposite corner just in front of the car parts building seen on the picture.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Union Arms, 56-58 Eskrick Street

By common consensus the most popular pub name in the country is ‘Red Lion’. Not in Bolton. So far we’ve found three different examples of the Bradford Arms [two of them are here and here] and that’s not counting the one still trading in Farnworth. There have been four Bowling Greens – one still exists, in Horwich. But surprisingly, there have been no fewer than five pubs named the Union Arms and all of them have gone.

The Union Arms we’re dealing with on this occasion stood in Halliwell at 56-58 Eskrick Street, on the corner of Mort Street and – perhaps handy for the pupils – right next to Brownlow Fold Secondary School. Halliwell Reform Club was just a few doors away down Mort Street. The pub was known locally as the Pincop, after a type of fabric used in local textile mills.

This part of Halliwell was developed in the 1870s and 1880s and the Union was a typical street-corner local which served the streets between Eskrick Street, Tennyson Street and Darley Street.

Towards the end of the 19th century the Union fell into the hands of the Whitefield Brewery Company. This short-lived enterprise merged in 1899 with the Stamford Brewery of Ashton-under-Lyne and the Lee Home Brewing Company Ltd, to form Whitefield Breweries Ltd but within five years the company had gone bust.

All the Whitefield Brewery pubs, including its three in Bolton, were sold to J W Lees of Middleton Junction, which still exists today. Of the three, the Hare and Hounds on Bank Street was closed in 1911 for being ‘ill conducted’. It became a lodging house until 1963 when it opened as a nightclub (the Beachcomber, Placemate, Maxwell’s Plum, etc). The other two, the Union and the Victoria on Hotel Street, remained in Lees’ hands until 1929 when they were sold to Hamer’s brewery of Bromley Cross. They were the last Lees pubs in Bolton until the brewery bought the Lodge Bank Tavern in 1979. 

The Union remained in Hamer’s hands until the brewery sold out to Dutton’s of Blackburn in 1951. Dutton’s sold out to Whitbread in 1964 and it was as a Whitbread pub that the Union ended its days in 1979. Many of the properties in the area that were built at the same time as the pub were demolished at the same time as well. An area bordered by Eskrick Street, Tennyson Street, Carlyle Street and Darley Street – including the Union and the Brownlow Fold school - was cleared.


The site of the pub is now occupied by the Brownlow Fold Community Learning Centre.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Ninehouse Tavern, Ninehouse Lane

Ninehouse Tavern Ninehouse Lane


This image of the Ninehouse Tavern was taken in the 1920s shortly after the Leigh brewery of George Shaw took over the pub’s then owners, William Tong’s. Note the door on the right advertising ‘Jug and Bottle’.  This was the off-sales counter for punters who wanted to drink at home.

The Ninehouse Tavern was situated on Ninehouse Lane, just off Rishton Lane. The pub stood on the original row of nine houses that gave the thoroughfare its name, but it was known locally as ‘the Rag’.

Ordnance Survey maps from the 1840s show ‘Nine Houses’ on Ninehouse Lane opposite two brick fields. To the rear of the houses ran Jenny Beck, which in the middle of the nineteenth century formed part of Bolton’s southern municipal boundary.

Jenny Beck was a small stream, a continuation of Crowshaw Brook, which ran at the bottom of a hill next to Crowshaw Lane (now Ellesmere Road). It became Tanner Hole Brook in the area of the modern-day Higher Swan Lane and from there it ran towards Great Lever and became the more substantial Jenny Beck around Rishton Lane before emptying into the River Croal at Burnden.

The stream was eventually culverted and much of it was built upon many years ago. Jenny Beck Grove, off High Street, takes its name from the rivulet. This map shows Jenny Beck as still being in existence. The path of Crowshaw Brook can still be seen in between the houses on Ellesmere Road and the Deane and Derby Cricket Club. A footpath leading from Chelsea Road to Ellesmere Road goes over the remains of the brook.

There is no record of the Ninehouse Tavern in the 1853 Bolton Directory. The 1871 edition shows the pub in existence as a beer house with Susannah Atkinson as the licensee.

The pub was bought by the Deane brewer William Tong. It became a Walker Cain pub when that company bought Tong’s in 1923.

The Ninehouse operated as a beerhouse until 1934. By then the area surrounding the pub had changed dramatically. Jenny Beck had been culverted and new housing had sprung up around Weston Street, Rishton Lane and Settle Street. But whereas the developments around  Lever Street and Bridgeman Street had led to an explosion of pubs, the Ninehouse was the first port of call, at least until Magee’s took over the Brooklyn on Green Lane some years later.

The houses around Rishton Lane were have a higher standard than the terraces closer to town and Walker’s decided that the Ninehouse would better serve this more affluent local community if it had a wine and spirits license.

As with much of British society in the 1930s – and later – the class system was evident in the licensing of public houses. The beer house made up the majority of licensed premises that were common in working-class areas. The fully licensed public house appealed to a more upmarket clientele and any brewery wishing to upgrade the license of one of their beer houses had to recognise that a public house license was worth at least two beer house licenses.

So it was that another pub had to close so the Ninehouse could sell wine and spirits. Walkers had a number of properties in that part of Bolton and the Sir Sidney Smith on Bridgeman Street was sacrificed.

The Ninehouse Tavern continued until 1972. The area around Grecian Crescent and Burlington Street was due to be redeveloped with streets such as Bull Lane, Rebate Street, Plover Street set to disappear. Ninehouse Lane – including the original nine houses that gave it its name – was demolished a few years after the pub’s closure although part of the lane west of Grecian Crescent still survives as a narrow footpath with new housing.

The First Manchester bus depot now stands on the site.

Oliver Cromwell, 125 Bridgeman Street

The Oliver Cromwell was situated on Bridgeman Street, on the corner of York Street and Back Coe Street, neither of which are still in existence. The Sir Sidney Smith was just a few doors away until its closure in 1934.

The Oliver Cromwell arrived later than many of its neighbours. The explosion of pubs in the Bridgeman Street and Lever Street areas during the middle of the nineteenth century was largely over by the time it opened for business towards the end of the century.

The Oliver Cromwell was owned by the local firm of Magee’s, but when the area between Bridgeman Street and Lever Street began to be cleared in the late-fifties Magee’s saw an opportunity. The fate of the Oliver Cromwell and a nearby pub, the Peels Arms on Sidney street, had already been sealed and the two pubs were due for demolition. But Magee’s – recently taken over by Greenall Whitley -  were building a new pub, the Morris Dancers on the corner of Sapling Road and Morris Green Lane.

The brewery did a deal with the licensing magistrates whereby the licences for the doomed Oliver Cromwell and Peels Arms were surrendered and a full licence obtained for the Morris Dancers.

The Oliver Cromwell closed in 1962. The building was demolished shortly afterwards.


Bridgeman Street pictured in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). The Oliver Cromwell was situated on the right-hand side at the bend in the road and opposite the entry to  Lecturers  Closes on the left.

Oliver Cromwell Bridgeman Street Bolton

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Bradford Arms, 28 Foundry Street

Another  Bradford Arms to go with the Bradford Arms on Bridgeman Place and the Bradford Arms – previously the Bradford Hotel – on Bradford Street. This Bradford Arms was situated on Foundry Street, just off Thynne Street.

The pub is listed in the 1871 Bolton Directory with John Mee as the licensee. But when John’s daughter Elizabeth married Patrick Murphy in 1868, John’s occupation is given as a moulder. Patrick was also a moulder and the new Mrs and Mrs Murphy’s address was given as 28 Foundry Street – the same address as the Bradford Arms a few years later. It is likely that both men were employed at the nearby foundry that gave the street its name and John Mee must have decided to open up his home as a beer house.

The Bradford became one of Hamer’s pubs and was supplied from the company’s brewery behind the Volunteer Inn at Bromley Cross. Hamer’s sold out to Dutton’s in 1951.

The whole area around Bridgeman Street began to be redeveloped in the 1950s. The 1954 Ordnance Survey map of Bolton shows the Bradford Arms alone on its row, the neighbouring properties all having been demolished. The row on the other side of the street was still standing at this stage.

In his book Pubs Of Bolton 1800 – 2000, Gordon Readyhough says the Bradford closed around 1960. In truth, it probably shut a few years earlier. The pub and its remaining properties were demolished and the area cleared. The land was acquired by Edbro’s – or Bromilow and Edwards as it was in the fifties – who by then owned the foundry that John Mee and Patrick Murphy were once employed in. Edbro’s closed off that end of Foundry Street and for many years the land was used as a parking space for trucks.

Edbro’s closed their Foundry Street works in the late-eighties. The factory, which had been on the site in one form or another for over a hundred years, was demolished and the Orlando Village student accommodation opened around 1995.


Foundry Street ran from Sydney Street to Bridgeman Street. It is now truncated at the student village, but here’s a 2014 view (copyright Google Street View) of the former Bridgeman Street entrance partly built over by the Medina Dairy (formerly the Associated Dairies Bolton depot). The Bradford was around halfway towards the current end of Foundry Street on the right-hand side.

Bradford Arms Foundry Bolton September 2014

Egerton Arms, 284 Lever Street

The Egerton Arms on Lever Street isn’t a pub that has lasted long in the memory of older drinkers. Plenty of people reminisce in on-line forums about more recent closures such as the Tanners Arms or UncleTom’s Cabin or even the Recreation Tavern  next to Bobby Heywood’s Park, but more than 50 years after the Egerton finally closed its doors there is barely a memory of the place.

The pub was situated on the corner of Reservoir Street, and like the Recreation it was close to Heywood Park, across from Lever Street meets Rupert Street and some six doors up from Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 

The pub dated back to the 1860s. The opening of Heywood Park led to a development of the area and the 1871 directory gives Jeremiah Aspin as the landlord. But by the time Mr Aspin’s daughter Elizabeth married John Foster later that year he had moved to take charge of the Cotton Tree opposite the Tanners Arms at the other end of Lever Street at its junction with Nelson Street. 

It is likely that the Egerton was taken over at the time by Henry Heyes of the Fox and Goose pub on Deansgate and was supplied directly by that pub’s brewery. Jeremiah Aspin’s occupation was put as a brewer on his daughter’s marriage certificate and it seems that the Egerton’s own brewery had closed as a result of the pub’s sale.

The Fox and Goose and its brewery closed in 1897 after the pub’s licence was refused. The Egerton was sold to a Rossendale company, Grant’s Tower Brewery of Ewood Bridge. In 1913, Grant’s sold out to John Kenyon of Barrowford, near Nelson, but despite Kenyon’s falling into the hands of Massey’s Brewery of Burnley in 1928, the Egerton ended up in the hands of a more local concern, Cornbrook’s of Manchester, who already had a number of pubs in the Bolton area.

In 1962, Cornbrook’s closed the Egerton. It was a double blow for Lever Street as the Cotton Tree also closed in the same year.


The area was redeveloped in the seventies and new housing replaced the old terraces. The photo below from September 2014 (copyright  Google Street View) shows Lever Street with a walkway heading off the street. That was once Reservoir Street and the Egerton stood to the right of the passage fronting Lever Street.

Egerton Arms Lever Street Bolton

Houghton Street Tavern (Bricklayers Arms), Houghton Street

The Houghton Street Tavern was one of those ‘back street’ pubs that somehow managed to keep going until the early 1970s. It was situated on the corner of Houghton Street and Shaw Street, close to the bottom of Derby Street.

The pub was in business for over 100 years and was originally known as the Bricklayer’s Arms. In 1871, the landlord was George Timson, but he had only been at the pub for a couple of years. In June 1869, he married the landlady of the Bricklayers, a lady named Susannah Bishopp. Neither were from Bolton: he was from Lincolnshire, while she was from Buckinghamshire. George was 25 and a cab driver who lived in Coe Street, not a million miles from Houghton Street – it was around 400 yards away on the other side of Bridgeman Street. Susannah was 32, a widow who had taken over the Bricklayers on the death of her husband.

The Timsons were gone by the end of the 1870 and their union didn't last. The 1881 Census shows here alone in west Yorkshire running a small shop. 

The Bricklayers Arms became the Houghton Street Tavern and the pub eventually came under the control of the Leach family whose brewery was based at the Albert Inn on Derby Street. The Leaches built up a small tied estate including the Houghton, the Albert, the Clifton Arms on Newport Street and the Albion, which still stands on Moor Lane.

But the Leaches went out of business in 1936 and they sold their remaining pubs – namely, the above with the exception of the Clifton - to the Leeds brewery, Joshua Tetley. The Leach purchase, along with the separate purchase of the Sweet Green Tavern, gave Tetley’s a small foothold in Bolton. They added considerably to this with the merger of Walker’s of Warrington in 1961, which had also ended up with a sizeable tied estate in Bolton after a series of takeovers. From then until the vertically-integrated model in the brewing and pub industries began to unravel in the 1990s Tetley Walker was the largest pub owner in Bolton.

The Houghton was a beerhouse until 1961 when it was granted a full licence enabling it to sell wine and spirits. It carried on until the early-seventies but by then a redevelopment programme at the bottom end of Derby Street had seen huge swathes of properties demolished. Houses on Rothwell Street, Pilkington and Derby Street were cleared away and streets such as Apple Street, Hammond Street, Peel Street and Glass Street were no more. When the council offered to buy the Houghton Street Tavern from Tetley’s they snatched their hands off. All their customers had moved on.


The land occupied by the Houghton has never been built on. A car park for the Centredart fireplace showroom now occupies the site as can be seen below in the Google Streetview image from September 2014.

Houghton Street Bolton Houghton Arms Bolton

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

School Hill Hotel (T'Skennin' Door), 6 School Hill



The School Hill Hotel was known locally as T’Skennin’ Door due to its having two doors set on slightly different angles.  

School Hill itself took its name from its proximity to St George’s School at the top of Bath Street. When  St George’s church was consecrated in 1796 Green Hill was immediately to the west of the church, with Lark Hill further on towards the road to Chorley. School Hill was to the north of the church.

The pub occupied the junction of School Hill and Haworth Street and it dated back to the 1860s.

In his book, Pubs Of Bolton 1800 – 2000, Gordon Readyhough tells us that Ellen Crompton was the licensee in the 1880s when the pub also had its own brewery. Indeed, Mrs Crompton was already at the pub in 1871, according to Worrall’s Directory for that year, and there is every chance that she and her husband John were the pub’s first licensees. Mr Crompton had previously run a beerhouse on Higher Bridge Street.

Later, the School Hill became a Settle’s pub. Settle’s were a local firm based on Cross Street, just off Turton Street [more details on Settle's brewery can be found here]. Settle’s sold out to Dutton’s of Blackburn in 1951. Dutton’s and its 800-odd pubs were bought by Whitbread in 1964. The presence  in the above photo of a Whitbread tankard on the front of the pub suggests the image was taken post-1964.

The School Hill closed in 1972 and was demolished soon afterwards. The whole area was redeveloped and Topp Way opened roughly on part of the site of the pub in 1980.


The image below (copyright Google Street View) shows Topp Way with the former St George’s school (later Ben Topps and McGinlay’s) on the right. The School Hill was roughly where the green sward of grass can be seen next to the pedestrian crossing. 


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Waterloo Tavern, 197-199 Folds Road



The Waterloo Tavern pictured in the 1920s shortly after it had been taken over by Shaw’s of Leigh. Note the Shaw’s sign – bare on the 1976 photo (link here).

Not to be confused with the older and - it has to be said, grander - Waterloo Hotel at the other end of Waterloo Street, the Waterloo Tavern was a beer house on Folds Road at its junction with Waterloo Street.

It dated back to around the 1860s and Alexander Martin is shown as the landlord in the 1871 Bolton Directory. In the 1880s it was taken over by George Walker of the Park View Brewery on Spa Road and as the brewery changed ownership on a number of occasions over the years so did the pub and the rest of the brewery’s small tied estate. It became the Spa Wells Brewery in 1900 then James Jackson & Sons Ltd in 1904.

Jackson’s sold out to George Shaw & Co Ltd of Leigh in 1927; Shaw’s were bought by Walker Cain Ltd in 1931 and Walker’s merged with Tetley’s in 1961.

Like many pubs, the Waterloo was originally two dwelling houses that were knocked together and was numbered 197-199 Folds Road.

The end for the pub came in 1976. Many properties on Folds Road were knocked down in the sixties and seventies and the row containing the Waterloo, between Waterloo Street and Turton Street were among the last to be demolished.  

The pub can be seen here in a photograph from the Bolton Evening News of 15 September 1976  It’s the last property still occupied in a row of boarded up houses.


Below is a modern-day view from September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). The site once occupied by the Waterloo Tavern is now landscaped with the bottom of Waterloo Street closed off and traffic diverted to the bottom of Turton Street via Slater Lane. The pub was next to the footpath leading up Waterloo Street.


Prince Arthur Hotel, 82 St John Street


The Prince Arthur Hotel pictured in the 1920s shortly after Tong’s had been taken over by Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool. It was a sizeable building and may have been two or three properties knocked into one. The pub was on the corner St John Street and Pen Street and the latter street can be seen to the side of the pub. Like a number of pubs it also had a counter for the sale of beer to be consumed off the premises.

 Updated on 10 October 2016 to include more on Robert Wood and the pub’s brewery.

The Prince Arthur was a beerhouse situated on St John Street, which was just off Higher Bridge Street. Egyptian Street, which still exists, was the next street along and the two streets converged as Bridge Street. St John Street ran off the main road at an angle as far as Pen Street. At the junction with Pen Street stood the Prince Arthur.

The pub began in the 1860s when Robert Wood, who was previously the licensee of the Cross Keys on Cross Street and who had also run the Rising Sun  on Churchbank near the parish church, moved into the premises along with his wife Catherine. Wood was a weaver by trade, but Catherine’s family were publicans. Her father, John Holgate, was the landlord of the Farmers Arms on Bridgeman Street when the couple married in 1856.

Many pubs brewed their own beer and sold only their own draught ales on the premises. But there was an increasing demand for what was known at the time as a ‘common brewer’. That was a brewery that sold beer to pubs who didn’t have their own brewery.

The Prince Arthur was in heavily-pubbed part of Bolton as beerhouses sprang up all over the rows of terraced houses that were being built between Higher Bridge Street and Halliwell Road. Robert Wood began to build up the brewing side of the business and was soon supplying other pubs in the area. It was a competitive market. Joseph Sharman had just built his Mere Hall Brewery while John Halliwell had the same idea as Robert Wood and was supplying pubs from the Alexandra Hotel just a hundred yards or so away from the Prince Arthur on Stewart Street.

Even so, there is evidence that Robert Wood was very successful as a brewer. The 1871 Census shows him and his family living on the premises. The Bolton Directory of 1876 shows Robert living nearby at 83 Hampden Street – so the business was profitable enough for him not to have to live on the premises. But by 1881 Robert Wood was going up in the world. Aged 50 he was living in Victoria House on Markland Hill not far from the Victoria Hotel (“Fanny’s”) which still stands. Ten years later and Robert had obviously retired. He was living on Raikes Parade in Blackpool where he died on 29 March 1895.

A measure of Robert’s success can be seen in his will. He left a fortune valued at £18,000 – the equivalent of over £2million in today’s money – from a 30-year career in brewing.

Robert Wood was succeeded in the business by Catherine and their sons, Thomas and John. Charles Holgate, who was born to Catherine out of wedlock in 1852, was also a partner in the business.

At the end of 1909, Charles Holgate retired from the business   but the Woods continued as a partnership. He died in 1920 and was living at 71 Hampden Street at the time.

Catherine Wood died at the end of 1914 at the age of 84 and the following year the Woods converted their business partnership into a limited company.

By this time the Prince Arthur brewery was not only supplying its own pub but also a small tied estate. This included the Little John, which still stands on Lever Street, as well as the Mortfield Tavern on Gaskell Street  , the Caledonian on Lyon Street , the Kings Arms on Chorley Old Road, the Noble Street Tavern on Noble Street, the Prince Hotel on Thwaites Street, the Standard Hotel on Gray Street and the Fountain Inn on Nelson Street.  Most were reasonably close to the brewery with the Prince Hotel being just a few yards away.

But the first world war was under way and trade was tough. Small brewers such as Wood’s found it difficult to continue in business as even the basic raw materials for brewing became more and more difficult to get hold of.

The Woods packed in brewing at the Prince Arthur in 1917. The pub was sold to a larger local concern, William Tong’s, who were in turn taken over by Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool in 1923. Walker’s merged with Joshua Tetley Ltd of Leeds in 1960 to form Tetley Walker Ltd and it was a Tetley pub that the Prince Arthur ended its days in the early seventies.

Nothing remains today of St John Street and only very little remains of Egyptian Street.  The site of the Prince Arthur is covered by part of the playing fields surrounding St Matthews primary school.




Saturday, 17 January 2015

Britannia Hotel, 2-4 Derby Street

Two views of the same area of Bolton. In the top image the Britannia Hotel can be seen on the left of the picture. The cars in front of the pub are coming from the bottom end of Derby Street. The start of Deane Road is in the distance while Crook Street - which met both Derby Street and Deane Road - can be seen  running to the bottom of the picture. It was a tricky junction to negotiate right up until the road layout was changed in 1979 with the closure of that part of Derby Street and Crook Street when the Trinity Street by-pass was built.

The image above comes from the University of Bolton. The same area is pictured in the bottom image, taken by Google Street View in September 2014. Apart from the fire station (centre right) which  was built in 1971 all the buildings in image were built in 2009-10. On the left is Bolton One, which now occupies the space where the Britannia once stood. On Deane Road is Bolton Sixth Form College in the foreground with Bolton College a little further along the road.




The Britannia Hotel was situated at the junction of four streets: Derby Street, on which the pub stood, Deane Road, Moor Lane and Crook Street.

The pub dated back to the late-eighteenth century. It was certainly in existence by 1800, but it didn’t appear on the licensing records for 1778.

Anyone with an interest in the history of Bolton Wanderers will know that the Britannia was the club’s headquarters for many years in the nineteenth century.The club was formed at the Christ Church school just a few yards away on Deane Road on a site that was empty for many years before Bolton College was built in 2009-10. But the club’s founder, Reverend Thomas Ogden objected to meetings being held without him being present so the team broke away from the school to become Bolton Wanderers. Its first headquarters was the Gladstone Hotel but it soon moved to the Britannia where it remained until the building of Burnden Park in 1895.

For some years the Britannia was owned by Atkinson’s brewery situated not far away from the pub on Commission Street. The actual site of the brewery is roughly as you drive down Mayor Street from Deane Road. The streets in that area were remodelled in the sixties and Mayor Street was effectively moved from the side of the Duke on Deane Road to its current traverse.

Atkinson’s were taken over by Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester in 1895, The Cornbrook brewery, also of Manchester, bought out Boardman’s in 1898 and although the Britannia carried Cornbrook’s livery and sold their beers until it was closed, for the final few years the pub was owned by Bass Charrington, who bought  Cornbrook in 1961.

The Britannia closed in 1965. The area bounded by Deane Road, Derby Street and John Street – now University Way – was needed for the construction of the Bolton Institute Of Technology. The BIT was founded at Bolton Technical College on Manchester Road in 1963 but it was immediately decided that it would need an extensive site of its own. The site at the bottom of Deane Road was identified and it was cleared in 1965. The BIT began to move into its new buildings in 1967-68.

For many years the site of the Britannia formed a green sward of grass in front of the BIT. The junction of Derby Street and Deane Road was closed off in 1979 when the southern limb of Bolton’s inner relief road was opened. The BIT became the Bolton Institute Of Higher Education when it merged with the Bolton College Of Education (Technical). In 2004 it became the University Of Bolton.

In 2009 construction began of the Bolton One complex which now occupies the site of the Britannia as well as the Derby Street Secondary School that once stood opposite.

   



Bank Of England, 36 Kay Street

Kay Street stood right in the middle of a heavily built-up working class area. Worrall’s 1871 Bolton Directory shows no fewer than ten beerhouses on the street alone, along with two fully-licensed pubs the Falcon and the Roebuck. The former was the last pub on the road to close, in 1987 and what was onnce Kay Street is now just an extension of St Peters Way.

One of the ten beerhouses in the 1871 directory was the Bank Of England, which dated back to around 1860.  It was a sizeable pub standing opposite the Co-op Dairy at the junction with St George’s Street and Lark Street. The Kay Street Congregational Mission stood right next door to the pub.

An often-told saying about the pub was that you could stand with your back to it and say “I’ll never go broke – I’ve got the Bank Of England behind me.” [1] How often that was actually said before the locals grew tired of it – who can say.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t something you could say after 1956. That was when this Magee’s pub finally closed. The council had a plan to widen Kay Street from Turton Street down to the junction with St George’s Street. The row of properties fronting Kay Street and those to the rear forming one side of Union Street were all demolished in 1958 and Kay Street was widened.

Some years later, in 1971, Kay Street's junction with St George’s Street formed part of the entry on to St Peters’s Way, which opened that year. But Kay Street was later widened again. It took its current form in the late-eighties when St Peters Way was extended up to the junction with Higher Bridge Street and Blackburn Road. The junction with Kay Street was re-modelled so that Kay Street itself was effectively truncated to run from Manor Street as far as St George’s Street. The original commencement of St Peters Way became a small slip road enabling motorists to exit the by-pass into town. A subway was built under the motorway extension which was some 20 feet above Kay Street.


In 1989, Thomas Walmsley’s Atlas Forge on Bridgeman Street was demolished (the site is now the Mill View nursing home). A large statue of Atlas with the world on his shoulders was rescued from the old forge and was placed on Kay Street at its junction with St George’s Street on the corner formerly occupied by the Bank Of England.  

Atlas being moved onto the site of the  Bank Of England, 1989

Kay Street - or what's left of it - in this Google Street View image from September 2014.

St George's Street runs off to the left. Offices occupy what was once the Co-Op Dairy. Opposite the offices, the statue of Atlas rescued from Walmsley's forge on Bridgeman Street had been in place on the site of the Bank Of England for 25 years by the time this photograph was taken.

The image is copyright Google Street View. The 1989 photo is copyright Bolton Council.