Friday, 9 December 2016

Waggon and Horses, 69 St Helens Road, Bolton

The Waggon and Horses was situated at 67-69 St Helens Road at the top of Bright Street. The was initially at number 69 but it soon expanded into the premises on the corner of the street.

The first mention we have for the Waggon and Horses is in an 1869 Bolton Directory when the landlady is Ann Owen and the address is just given as ‘Daubhill’. Directories were often soon out of date and this one was by the time it was published. But ‘Bernice’ on Rootsweb wrote in 2003 that her great-great grandfather, James Ormrod, started the Waggon and Horses but lost the pub in a bad business deal. [1]

James and Jane Ormrod are listed as running an un-named beerhouse in Daubhill in 1861. On the 1841 Census return they lived next door to the Rams Head further down Derby Street though they weren't in the licensed trade. Indeed, their premises later became part of the enlarged Ram's Head pub.

In 1861, Ann Owen was at the Sir Sidney Smith on Bridgeman Street with her husband John in 1861 but she seems to have moved to Daubhill a few years later. She married a local man, Paul Dootson, in 1867 and they had a son, also named Paul, in 1868. The senior Paul died in 1877. 

So, Ann Owen must have moved to the Wagon and Horses around the mid-1860s. There were huge social changes in Daubhill at this time. Henry Lee had bought a small weaving shed in the area in 1860. He joined forces with his brother Joseph Lee, Henry Tootal Broadhurst and Robert Scott to form Tootal Broadhurst Lee Ltd. Between 1862 and 1867 they built Sunnyside Mills which worked in the textile industry until 1980.

The construction of the mills led to a huge influx of new inhabitants into the area. Houses sprang up on the opposite side of St Helens Road and when the Bolton to Leigh railway line was diverted under Ellesmere Road further housing was built in Olive Street, Barbara Street and Florence Street. [2]

The 1891 Census returns for Sunnyside Street, a small row of houses at the bottom of Adelaide Street, shows that many of its inhabitants were born in Wigan. However, there were also people born in Blackpool and Cornwall and there was even the Lopes family from South America.

By the time of the 1871 census Ann was at the Waggon and Horses with her sons John Owen (born 1849), James Owen (born 1854) and the oddly named Owen Owen (born 1856). Paul Dootson was with his mother in Daubhill. 

In 1881 Ann Dootson was running the pub with her sons, Richard Owen and Owen Owen. Both were brewers at the pub. Ten years later, Ann had retired and was living with Owen Owen in nearby Joseph Street. James Owen was running the pub along with his wife Mary.

The family’s tenure at the Waggon and Horses was over by the end of the 19th century. The 1901 census shows James Owen as living in Bertwine Street. Anne Dootson had moved to Stewart Street in Halliwell where she died in 1902. Owen Owen appears to have gone back into brewing. By 1911 he was living at a house in Smethurst Lane but still gave his occupation as an ale and porter brewer.

The Waggon and Horses was taken over by Henry Maxfield who remained at the pub for the first 20 years of the twentieth century. Maxfield was living in York Street, off Bridgeman Street in 1871 and was working at that time as a blacksmith.  He remained in the profession after moving to St Helens Road later in the 1870s. He lived just across the road from the pub at number 76  St Helens Road in 1881 and was a few doors along at number 97 in 1891. It is highly likely that he was one of Ann Dootson’s customers and took over the pub when the family left.

Maxfield remained at the Waggon and Horses until he died in 1923 aged 72. The pub was then taken over by an Irishman, James Higgins, who was previously a coal miner living in nearby Southend Street. Higgins died in 1941.

The Waggon and Horses was taken over by Magee, Marshall and Co during Maxfield’s tenure.

In his reminiscences of the area, local historian Norman Kenyon said that he often drank at the Waggon and Horses although he and his father-in-law Bill Morgan occasionally drank at the Railway, further down St Helens Road which Bill thought was a better class of pub. [3] 

Wholesale redevelopment of the area bounded by St Helens Road, Adelaide Street, Barrier Street and the old Bolton-Leigh railway line took place in the early-1970s. All properties within those boundaries were demolished and light industrial units were built in their place.

Waggon and Horses St Helens Road Bolton

The entrance to Lantor’s car park was formed out of the former Bright Street. The Waggon and Horses was on the right-hand side at the top of the street. (Image copyright Google Street View, July 2016). These premises were occupied for many years by  Bentwood Brothers Ltd.

[1] Rootsweb. Accessed 9 December 2016. 
[2] There is a preponderance of streets with girls’ names in the area: Olive, Florence, Barbara, Adelaide, Georgina, Ivy, Bertha, Doris, Bella, Minnie, Daisy, Alexandra and Caroline are all represented. Most of the streets still exist.
[3] Bolton, Daubhill and Deane: A Sentimental Journey, by Norman Kenyon. Published by Neil Richardson (1998).

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