Saturday, 1 October 2016

Victoria Hotel, 33 Lum Street, Bolton

The bottom half of Lum Street pictured in 2008 (copyright Google Street View). The Victoria was situated on the right-hand side.

Lum Street was named after John Lum, a local industrialist responsible for the nearby Mount Pleasant mill. Lum was prone to singing hymns during production hours and insisting his employees join in. After he died in 1836 his widow built six alms houses on a part of Goodwin Meadow that was later named Lum Street.

The charity set up by Mrs Lum still exists and has as its aim:

“Almshouses For Poor Widows Or Spinsters Of Good Character Who Are Not Less Than 60 Years Of Age. Preference Shall Be Given To Those Who Attend Places Of Worship."

Lawrence Whittaker, a cotton waste dealer in Lum Street, Little Bolton, moved into a house on that street around 1854. He immediately applied for a full public-house licence at the Brewster sessions, the annual licensing hearing that sat at the Bolton Magistrates court in August of each year. The application was unsuccessful. The chair of the magistrates, Robert Walsh, a keen member of the temperance movement, rejected the application along with 22 others. He calculated that there was one alehouse for every 106 citizens – one for every thousand would do.

The 1861 Census shows an address for Lawrence Whittaker – 33 Lum Street – in what became the Victoria Hotel but which in those days was just a beerhouse. Despite his failure to obtain a full licence from the annual hearing, a beerhouse licence could be bought for just a couple of pounds. Not much now but a considerable sum in those days. The difference between a beerhouse licence and a full licence was that fully-licenced premises sold wine and spirits as well as beer.

The Victoria was bought in the 1880s by Atkinson’s, a local brewery based at Commission Street, just off Deane Road. Atkinson’s were bought out by Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester in 1895 and Boardman’s were in turn taken over by another Manchester firm, Cornbrook, in 1898.

In 1913, Bolton Council instituted a ‘pub compensation scheme’. The idea was that pubs would be bought by the council and the business closed down with the building then sold off for alternative use. The idea was to reduce the number of pubs in the town.

Seven pubs were put before the licensing magistrates in April 1913 including the Victoria Hotel. Of the seven pubs, the owners of six of them – including another Cornbrook pub, the Black Lion on Turton Street – agreed to have their pubs referred to the compensation authority. But Cornbrook’s objected to the Victoria being closed. Representing the brewery, Mr A.F Greenhalgh argued that the Victoria was better adapted and structurally much better than the other six pubs and that it ought to remain as such. However, the police argued that there were two fully licensed premises and nine beerhouses within a radius of just 200 yards from the Victoria!

The Victoria closed soon afterwards. Its final licensee was John Ripley.

The building was demolished to make way for the Ribble Bus Depot.

[1] Manchester Courier, 25 April 1913.

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