Saturday, 22 April 2017

Mill Hill Tavern, 121-123 Mill Hill Street, Bolton

Mill Hill Tavern Bolton site of Sep 2014
Mill Hill Street and the site of the Mill Hill Tavern (copyright Google Street View) pictured in September 2014.

The Mill Hill Tavern was situated right at the top of Mill Hill Street at its junction with Windley Street and Kestor Street.

The name Windley is significant in the history of the pub as the first recorded landlord of the Mill Hill Tavern was John Windley in the middle of the 19th century. It is thought that Mr Windley was formerly a schoolmaster who gave his name to the street formerly known as Hill Lane that ran alongside the pub.

The Mill Hill Tavern doesn’t appear on the 1849 list of beerhouses in the Little Bolton area, but by 1853 John Windley is listed as being in business at licensed premises that are assumed to be the Mill Hill Tavern.

John Windley left the Mill Hill in the mid-1860s. He died in October 1871 and was described as a retired publican in the census taken earlier that year. He was succeeded by John Wood, a man already in his seventies. He died in 1868 and his wife Ellen took over the running of the pub. She was assisted by her son Thomas who brewed the pub's beer.

The pub was sold by the Woods to Henry Heyes who owned the Fox and Goose on Deansgate. On Heyes' death in 1881 the Mill Hill Tavern was sold again.

The Mill Hill's very existence was under threat in August 1881 when the annual brewster session refused the transfer of its licence to Thomas Pickersgill. The session was presided over by the then Mayor of Bolton, Joseph Musgrave. A factory owner, Conservative and no friend of pubs or their customers, Musgrave refused the licences of 14 pubs and beerhouses at the 1881 session, but Pickersgill appealed and was granted the licence at a later hearing.

Magee Marshall owned the pub for a while at the end of the 19th century. It then became a rare outlet for Grant's Tower Brewery of Ewood, near Blackburn before being sold to William Tong's whose Diamond Brewery was situated just off Deane Road. Tong's was taken over by Walker Cain Ltd in 1923. Walker's merged with Joshua Tetley Ltd to form Tetley Walker.

It was a Tetley Walker pub that the Mill Hill ended its days. It was granted a full licence in 1962 that enabled it to serve wines and spirits as well as beer. But the whole of the Mill Hill area was redeveloped in the 1970s. The pub closed in 1972 and the building remained standing for a few years later but it was demolished along with much of the rest of Mill Street.

The Mill Hill caravan park now stands on the site.

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