Saturday, 10 December 2016

Ormrods Arms, 51 Great Moor Street, Bolton




In his book Bolton Pubs 1800 – 2000, Gordon Readyhough claims the Ormrods Arms was a former name for the Railway Hotel on Great Moor Street. That isn’t true.

The 1849 list of Great Bolton beerhouses has both an Ormrods Arms and a Railway Tavern on Great Moor Street. Skip a few years and the 1853 Bolton Directory has the Ormrods Arms at 32 Great Moor Street and the Railway at 38 Great Moor Street so the two pubs were completely separate. In those days, streets weren’t numbered odds on one side and evens on the other. Quite often buildings were numbered starting from number 1 on one side up to the top of the street and then back down the other side of the street. Problems arose when streets were extended so a convention was established where odds were on one side – usually the left – and evens were on the other side of the street.

The Railway was later renumbered 63 Great Moor Street – it was numbered as such by 1871. If the Ormrods Arms was six doors down then it would have been renumbered 51 Great Moor Street.

But the Ormrods Arms was only a shortlived pub. The first mention we have is on the 1848 Bolton Directory when Jane Thompson is the licensee. In 1841, Jane Thompson was a shopkeeper along with her husband Michael on Great Moor Street just up from Dawes Street. The business wasn’t operating as a beerhouse on the 1843 Directory but Michael Thompson died in 1844. Either that was just as the decision had been made to sell beer at the shop or perhaps Jane Thompson converted the shop into a pub.

The pub’s name came from the nearby Flash Street Mills owned by Messrs Ormrod and Hardcastle.  James Ormrod and Thomas Hardcastle began a textile business in 1798. James Ormrod died in 1825 and was succeeded by his son Peter Ormrod. The family’s seat was Chamber Hall at the bottom of Deane Road.

John Wood was at the Ormrod’s Arms in 1851. He was initially a bleacher but got into the pub trade. He was 56 by this time. He had moved to the Crown Inn on Shipgates in 1861 and the Mill Hill Tavern on Mill Hill Street by 1871. His son Thomas Wood worked at each pub as a brewer.

The Ormrods Arms slips off the radar at this point. Number 51 Great Moor Street certainly wasn’t a pub on any subsequent directory listings. It was a tobacconist in 1905 and by 1924 it was a milliner.

But the building still stands. Many readers will be familiar with its incarnation as Syd’s Butchers which occupied the premises for many years. Syd’s (Butchers) Ltd was formed as a limited company in 1947 and was finally dissolved in 1997. But the premises remained empty for many years afterwards until the Scissor Art hairdressing salon opened there in 2012.

Ormrods Arms 51 Great Moor Street Bolton October 2009


The former Ormrod’s Arms was Syd’s Butcher’s on this image from October 2009 (copyright Google Street View). The building was empty for almost 20 years after Syd’s packed up and was even empty long after the business was liquidated. Note the ‘ghost’ advertising in red at the top of the building.

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).

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Old Hen and Chickens, 90 Deansgate, Bolton



Not that Hen and Chickens! This was the original pub of that name. As we have written previously, it wasn’t uncommon for there to be two pubs of the same name, often within yards of each other. There were two Millstones, two Three Crowns, two Nags Heads and there were two Hen and Chickens, both on Deansgate.

It was quite common for the older of two pubs with the same name to add the prefix ‘Old’, ‘Olde’ or ‘Ye Olde’ and that’s what happened in this case. The Hen and Chickens that survives to this day is officially known as the Higher Hen and Chickens.

The Old Hen and Chickens was situated further down Deansgate at number 90 and appears on the licensing register of 1778.  Seth Hitcroft was the licensee.

By 1821, it had been joined by its neighbour further up Deansgate. However, both clubs were named the Hen and Chickens on local records. It was only in the 1830s that the more ancient of the two hostelries became known as the Old Hen and Chickens.

Around 1850 James Fletcher became the landlord of the Old Hen and Chickens. He was to remain at the club until he died in 1868.  James Fletcher’s wife Lydia took over the running of the pub on his death but by 1876 it was in the hands of Ralph Entwistle.

Ralph Entwistle died in 1885 and the Old Hen and Chickens closed in 1888. Its full license was transferred to the Railway Shipping Inn on Crook Street. That pub was owned at the time by local brewers Atkinson’s which suggests that the Old Hen and Chickens was bought by them soon after Ralph Entwistle died. 

The Old Hen and Chickens had a full licence which made it attractive to Atkinson’s. It was also on the same row as two other pubs: the Kings Arms was next-door-but-one in one direction. The Blue Boar was three doors along in another. The Railway Shipping Inn’s proximity to Great Moor Street railway station also made it a prime candidate for a full licence rather than permission to sell only beer.

The Old Hen and Chickens premises were sold to a firm of dyers and cleaners named George Wright Ltd. By 1924 the building was occupied by a seedsman named William Southern.


The old pub building still stands. For some years it has been a furniture store as the image from 2015 shows (Google Street View).

Old Hen and Chickens 90  Deansgate Bolton


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Greyhound, 564-566 Manchester Road, Bolton




The Greyhound pictured in 2008 a couple of years before its closure (copyright Google Street View). Note the Greyhound weather-vane on the pub’s chimney. This was removed after closure.

The Greyhound was situated on Manchester Road between Green Lane and Moses Gate. This particular part of Great Lever enjoyed three pubs: the Bridgewater Arms  (also known as the Gravel Hole after its locality), and the Bradford Arms, on the same side of the road as the Greyhound and not far from the Bridgewater.

The first mention we have of the pub is in the 1869 Bolton Directory when Thomas Shaw is a provision dealer and beerseller on Manchester Road. Shaw grew up in pubs. At various times his father, John Shaw, was landlord of both the Bradford and the Bridgewater.

Thomas was initially a wheelwright. By 1856 he and his wife Harriet were living in Lever Hall Fold, a small settlement close to Great Lever Hall and situated in an area that was cleared in the 1960s for the construction of St Peters Way.

Some time in the 1860s, Thomas Shaw and his family moved across Manchester Road to open a provisions store and beerhouse in what became the Greyhound. He was to remain there for over 30 years.

Two of Thomas Shaw’s daughters married brothers from the Middlefell family of Starcliffe Street. Elizabeth Shaw married William Middlefell in 1881 and the family went to live in Shaw Street, which ran down by the side of the White Horse Hotel near Moses Gate station. Sadly, she died after giving birth to a son in 1885. Later, William Middlefell was to move next door to the Greyhound at 568 Manchester Road. He died there in 1913.

Another daughter, Mary Jane, married Edward Middlefell in 1882. They took over the pub when Thomas Shaw retired. Thomas died at the Greyhound in 1896 but the Middefells tenure didn’t last for much longer. By 1901, the landlord was William Kay, formerly a wine and spirit salesman who remained at the Greyhound until his death in 1919.

By 1922 the pub was being run by Thomas Hodson. In 1922, his daughter Constance married a professional cricketer, Charlie Hallows who played for Lancashire. In 1928 the Little Lever-born Hallows achieved the feat of scoring 1000 runs in the month of May which has only been matched by two other players. [1]

The Greyhound received a full licence in 1933 allowing it to serve wines and spirits as well as beer. The pub was owned by Liverpool brewery Walker Cain after a series of takeovers left the with a sizeable tied estate in Bolton. Walker’s decided to transfer the full licenses of the Old Robin Hood on Lever Street, the Three Tuns  on Chapel Street, and the Arrowsmith Arms on Mill Street, to three other pubs: the Greyhound, the Vulcan on Junction Road and the Nightingale on Lever Street. However, the council was also keen to cut down on the number of pubs and before allowing the deal to go ahead they insisted that Walker’s surrendered three beerhouse licenses, as well. The Merehall  on Lyon Street, the Greengate on Hammond Street and the Black Horse in Chew Moor were all axed.

Walkers merged with Tetley in 1961 to form Tetley Walker. As breweries disposed of their tied houses the Greyhound was sold to a Mr Grundy in 2000. He closed the pub in 2010 and converted it into living accommodation.

[1] Wikipedia. Accessed 19 November 2016.





Saturday, 15 October 2016

Noble Street Tavern, 87 Noble Street, Bolton





Noble Street pictured in August 2015 (copyright Google Street View). The Methodist church dominates a truncated street that at one time ran all the way down to Deane Road but which now runs for barely a quarter of its former length. The Noble Street Tavern stood where the hedges are in the distance.

Once known as the ‘Hark Up To Glory’ the Noble Street Tavern dated back to the 1860s. A James Heywood is listed as the landlord of an un-named, un-numbered pub on Noble Street which is believed to have been the Noble Street Tavern.

By 1876 the pub was numbered 87 Noble Street and was known as the Noble Street Tavern. It was owned by Robert Grime. By then the Noble Street Independent Methodist church had opened nearby in 1872. For the four years prior to moving into its rather grand premises it had existed on Blackburn Street (later known as Deane Road) as a mission of the Folds Road Methodist church. A small street named Temperance Street separated the pub from the church’s Sunday school building.

The Noble Street Tavern was taken over by Robert Wood of the Prince Arthur brewery on St John Street in the 1880s. 

By 1906, the pub stood directly opposite the church’s Sunday School building with the church next door. Only a narrow thoroughfare named Temperance Street separating pub from church. Temperance Street and Noble Street Independent Methodist church still stand. The Noble Street Tavern had its licence refused in 1906. It was converted into a residential property before being demolished with much of the rest of Noble Street in the 1960s.


The site of the pub is now the Jehovah’s Witness church car park. Temperance Street and the Noble Street Independent Methodist church still exist.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Derby Hotel (Sharman Arms), 218 Halliwell Road, Bolton

Derby Hotel  Halliwell Road Bolton 1931


The Derby Hotel pictured around 1931. The image comes from a collection of former George Shaw pubs taken shortly after the brewery’s takeover by Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool.





The Sharman Arms was situated at 218 Halliwell Road. The pub was known for most of its existence as the Derby Hotel. Part of Halliwell Road was known in those days as Derby Street and that gave the pub its original name.

The Derby was a small pub dating back to the 1860s and the first record we have is when Daniel Cain is listed as the licensee in the 1869 Bolton Directory. Daniel Cain was born around 1827, the son of Henry and Mary Cain of Back Oswald Street, Little Bolton. He was a cotton spinner lodging in Hulme Street in 1851 and in 1854 he married Alice Heyes at St John’s church, Little Bolton.

The couple were living on German Street – now Haslam Street off Derby Street – in 1861, but he got into the pub business and was at the Derby by 1869. The 1871 census shows and Daniel and Alice Cain at the Derby along with and two daughters aged 17 and 14. Daniel had retired to Winter Street, Halliwell, by the time of the 1881 census, but his address was given as 35 Wynne Street, Little Bolton when he died on 7 October 1881. The pub trade had been good to Daniel. He left an estate valued at £2293 – the equivalent of around £250,000 today.

Daniel Cain was replaced at the Derby by John Riley who spent over a decade at the pub.

The Derby was bought by Sharman’s whose Mere Hall Brewery was just a few hundred yards away from the pub. Through various brewery takeovers it was owned by Shaw’s of Leigh from 1927, Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool from 1931 and Tetley Walker from 1961.

In the 1980s this small, basic two-roomed boozer was renamed the Sharman Arms after its former owner. 

It closed around 2011.



A rather forlorn looking Sharman Arms pictured in August 2015 (copyright Google Street View).


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.