|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.