Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Eagle And Child, Spring Gardens

Eagle and Child Manchester Court Spring Gardens Bolton

Before the Civic Centre was built in the 1920s the local council had to clear away a whole swathe of buildings, many of which dated back to the late-eighteenth century. One of the buildings demolished was the Eagle and Child pub which used to stand on a site now covered by the old police station in Howell Croft North.

One street, Spring Gardens, disappeared completely, though curiously its back street, Back Spring Gardens, still exists. Despite its pleasant-sounding name Spring Gardens was anything but spring-like and by the early-twentieth century it certainly contained nothing like any gardens. The name was no doubt accurate in the eighteenth century but as this picture shows it was a rather grey-looking urban street by 1908.

The street did contain one pub, the Eagle and Child, which was situated towards the bottom end of the street, near to Queen Street. By the time it closed in 1906 the Eagle and Child was a Tong’s pub and there is one picture of it in the Bolton Museum collection, taken around 1900, a few years before it closed.

If you enlarge the above picture, the devil is in the detail. The Town Hall clock can clearly be seen in the distance but the street running outside the pub is Back Spring Gardens, whereas the pub’s address was Manchester Court, Spring Gardens which was on the other side of the pub as we look at it from this angle. Technically speaking, then, this is the back of the pub. Even so, it is fully-signed which suggests that the rear entrance was actually its main access. The building on the left in the foreground is the Queen Street Mission Ragged School, which was also demolished to make way for the Civic Centre, but which moved a couple of hundred yards down Deansgate to Central Street. Note the graffiti chalked on the walls, the landlord and landlady, Mr and Mrs Wood, standing resplendently in the doorway, Mr Wood smoking his pipe; their next door neighbour standing in her doorway and the two grinning characters hidden away at the right of the photograph, captured for posterity.

The pub’s name is another link with the Earls Of Derby, whose crest was an eagle and child.

The pub building stood for a number of years after it closed until it was demolished. Queen Street, then just a short thoroughfare off Deansgate, was extended to run all the way to Ashburner Street when the Civic Centre was built.

Monday, 4 April 2011

General Havelock, 110 Sidney Street

General Havelock Sidney Street Bolton

If there’s one type of pub that has pretty much disappeared over the past 20 years ago it is what was mistakenly referred to as the ‘back-street boozer’. That term was always a bit of a misnomer in Bolton where a back street is an alleyway between the backs of two separate rows of terraces and as such has no buildings of its own, but you get the idea.

So if we define a ‘back street’ – or more accurately a side street - as a street where you could conceivably throw down your jumpers for goalposts and have a game of footie, then what would you call a back/side street? Brownlow Way and Lever Street are both unclassified roads – no ‘A’ or ‘B’ numbers – but a game of football there is out of the question. The Howcroft is off the beaten track and so could conceivably be called a’back street’ boozer, as is the New Globe (the Rock, as was). The Portland up Halliwell was one of the last in that area and the General Havelock in Sidney Street definitely was one.

The network of streets bounded by Lever Street, Fletcher Street, Bridgeman Street and Thynne Street began to spring up in the first half of the nineteenth century as Bolton expanded out of the centre of the town and by the middle of that century streets such as Sidney Street, Coe Street and Foundry Street already existed, a mixture of industry, corner shops, housing and – inevitably – pubs.

The pub took its name from General Henry Havelock, who was notable for his recapture of Cawnpore during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Pubs and streets were named in his honour and its highly likely that the Bolton General Havelock was named at that time.

According to Gordon Readyhough’s book Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, the General Havelock was a brewhouse owned by Mrs Mahalah Hardcastle in the late nineteenth century. [1] Mrs Hardcastle sounds like a formidable woman and was certainly no slouch. She was born at a village near Bingley in Yorkshire in 1809 and along with her husband John ran the George Hotel in Bolton in the 1830s. Her husband’s family also ran the Boar’s Head on Churchgate for much of the first half of the nineteenth century. However, by 1851 she was a widow living at 13 Deansgate but she was described on that year’s census as a laundress and a brickmaker despite the address being that of the Old Woolpack. The brickmaking business employed eight men! By the 1860s she had the York Hotel on Newport Street. Later, she also took on the General Havelock. She also owned land in Shaw Street which she sold to the council in 1876 and she died in Bolton in 1881 aged 72, still the licensee of the York. Her son Walter was a decent cricketer who played a number of times at county level for Lancashire. [2]

In 1871 the General Havelock was owned by a Mr Joseph Haslam who regularly held the All-England Celery Show at the pub! [3]

The pub was later sold to the Openshaw Brewery of Manchester but that business was taken over in 1957 by the Hope & Anchor Brewery of Sheffield and the General Havelock was one of 125 pubs that formed part of the deal. Hope & Anchor was later sold to Bass and it was as a Bass pub in the seventies that the General Havelock made it into the Good Beer Guide. That it sold real ale at all was unusual enough for a Bass pub in Bolton in the seventies but by then the Sidney Street area had changed beyond all recognition compared to Mahalah Hardcastle’s day. The houses on Coe Street, York Street and Nile Street had all been demolished and replaced by industrial units and other ‘back street’ pubs in the area had also bitten the dust; pubs such as the York Street Tavern on York Street, the New Inn on Coe Street and the Bradford Arms on Foundry Street – all of which were demolished in the early sixties.

Bass decided to put the General Havelock up for sale and it was sold into the free trade in the summer of 1982. [4] I first went there later that year and found a pleasant pub with the bar on the left as you entered from Sidney Street and beers from Boddington’s and Timothy Taylor’s on sale, which made it of enough interest to want to return.

But as the eighties went on the pub continued to struggle. In early 1985 it was being reported that its owners, Columbia Leisure, had also bought Blighty’s nightclub in Farnworth and were planning to turn part of it into a ‘real ale fun bar,’ a plan that never came to pass. [5]

Gordon Readyhough says the pub closed in the 1980s. If it did it was at the end of that decade though I might suggest it remained open for a few years longer. I do remember one licensee getting into a dispute with the Havelock’s then owners and locking herself inside the pub, a fact reported at the time by the Bolton Evening News, and it closed not long afterwards. By then it did some decent business when Bolton Wanderers played at their Burnden Park home, but not much apart from that.

Today, there’s nothing left of the General Havelock. The distinctive white-washed pub was knocked down not long after it closed and as shown in the image above the site of the pub is now used as a lorry park for one of the businesses in Albion Mill next door. You wouldn’t know that a pub ever stood there.

A sketch of the pub and mill by local artist Roger Hampson was up for sale in October and may be seen here.

[1] Bolton Pubs, 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough (published by Neil Richardson, 2000)
[2] Cricket Archive. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
[3] St Mark’s website, David Dixon,  Retrieved 2 April 2011.
[4] What’s Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinkers’ monthly magazine. August 1982.
[5] What’s Doing, February 1985.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Stanley Arms, 134 Derby Street

Stanley Arms Derby Street Bolton
Site of the Stanley Arms, Derby Street in 2011

Although Derby Street and St Helens Road have been largely de-pubbed, particularly in the last 10 years, the latest wave of closures – which has seen the Pilkingon, the Railway, Farmers, the Albert, the Pike View and the Stags Head all close their doors – was not the first.

At one time from the Lido cinema on Bradshawgate up to the Stag’s Head on St Helens Road, there was something like 27 licensed premises; now there is just the Derby, the Oddfellows, Rumworth Hall and the Conservative Club. But there was an earlier wave that saw pubs like the Halfway House and the Lord Nelson close due to re-development in the late-sixties and early-seventies while across the road the Stanley Arms closed its doors in 1973.

The pub was earlier a beer house known as the Spinners and was owned by the Crown Brewery of Bury, which owned a number of other pubs in Bolton including the Man & Scythe.

Crown Brewery was taken over by Duttons brewery of Blackburn in 1959 and they were in turn taken over by Whitbread five years later. It was as a Whitbread pub that the Stanley ended its days.

Bolton’s association with the Earls of Derby is well-known and at times fractious as was shown by the dragging-out of one of the earls to the gallows in 1651 after his association with the massacring of a thousand or so of the town’s citizens in the Civil War a few years earlier.

However, the association still shows itself in the number of pubs given the family’s name – Stanley.

There have also been three pubs named the Stanley Arms in Bolton: one on Egyptian Street over near Blackburn Road; one on Chorley Old Road, which was later known as Sally Up Steps, and this one on Derby Street.

The Earl of Derby owned a lot of land in the Derby Street area and gave it its name and also the name of the council ward that it bore for many years.

Since its closure the Stanley Arms building has been used as commercial premises,and was most recently owned by a business dealing in signs, but a major refurbishment is currently taking place that has seen the inside of the building gutted and top storey almost removed.

The Stanley was situated on the corner of Derby Street and Rasbottom Street, between the former Pilkington Arms and the Derby Arms – or the Suraya, to give it its official name – which seems to have gone from pub to restaurant, back to pub.

Meanwhile, the former Pike View has become an outlet for Chunky Chicken, presumably another takeaway.