The Oak – also known as the Royal Oak – was situated at 73 Bury Old Road. The first mention we have of the pub is in 1869 when the landlord, Thomas Brooks, was re-applying for his beerhouse licence. The police raised a number of objections. Mr Brooks, they said, had been fined twice: once for 10 shillings, the second time for £5 plus costs. There was a gang of drunken men constantly in the vicinity of the pub many of whom occupied a private house next door. The pub was in the habit of serving on Sunday mornings and on one occasion Mr Brooks’s wife Jane had been seen taking a jug into the house in question one Sunday. But despite Mr Brooks’s application being rejected he won an appeal and was allowed to continue trading.
By the 1890s the Oak was run by Nathaniel Sharples. Born in 1832 he was living further down Bury Old Road at number 81 in 1901 having retired, but by 1911 he was working again as a jobbing gardener at the age of 79. He died in 1913.
Mr Sharples was succeeded by Thomas Hulme who ran the pub along with his wife, Mary. He died in March 1905. Mary re-married just three months later, this time to John Kirkman a widower who lived next-door-but-one.
The Oak had its own brewery in the nineteenth century, but it was taken over by Watson, Woodhead and Wagstaffe, a company whose former brewery premises later became a jam factory and is now the Ainscow Hotel on Trinity Way in Salford.
Watson, Woodhead and Wagstaffe had few other outlets in the Bolton area. They were taken over by another Salford brewery, Walker and Homfray’s, in 1912. Walker’s closed the Royal Oak in 1922.
The building was converted to residential use, but it was demolished in the late-1970s and the whole of that end of Bury Old Road is now occupied by the RRG Toyota garage.
What is now the end of Bury Old Road can be seen on this May 2012 photograph (copyright Google Street View). Mule Street runs across the middle of the image. The entrance to the RRG Toyota garage now occupies what was once the continuation of Bury Old Road as it headed down to meet Bury New Road.