Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Farmers Arms, 251 Derby Street, Bolton

The former Farmers Arms pictured in August 2015 (copyright Google Street View)

The Farmers Arms stood at 251 Derby Street on the corner of Haslam Street (known as German Street until the start of the First World War).

The pub seems to have dated back to the early- to mid-1860s. There is no mention of it on the 1849 Bolton Licensing list [1] nor on the 1861 census. But by 1868, Richard Beckett was running the pub though he had gone by 1870 when Richard Walker was in charge. Richard was described as a “painter and beerseller” on the 1871 census.

Later in the 1870s the Farmers Arms was taken over by Isaac Openshaw. He moved from the Brewers Arms on Atherton Street, just off Cannon Street. Isaac was a brewer – he had named his previous pub after his trade – and like most pubs the Farmers had its own brewery. Certainly, Isaac Openshaw made his fortune at the Farmers Arms. He left shortly before 1900 and by 1901 he had retired to Southport. He died in 1922 leaving an estate valued at £8197 – the equivalent of over £400,000 in today’s money.

In the 1920s, the Farmers was run by Harry Fletcher. Harry was born into the pub business. His father Ellis Fletcher ran the Ninehouse Tavern off Rishton Lane for a number of years.

The Farmers was bought by the Bromley Cross brewery of Hamer’s and was a rare outlet for the company south of the town centre. The only other pub Hamer’s owned in the vicinity was Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Lever Street.

Hamer’s were bought out by Dutton’s in 1951. Dutton’s became part of the national combine Whitbread in 1964. The Farmer’s Arms closed in 2001 and was converted into offices.

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

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