Monday, 24 March 2014

Crofters Hotel/Magees/Smudge's

Crofters Hotel St Georges Road Bolton

The former Crofters Hotel pictured in April 2012. Copyright Google.

 The Crofters Arms at the junction of St George’s Road, Chorley New Road, Chorley Old Road and Chorley Street was initially licensed at the turn of the 19th century. At that time it was known as the Whitsters Arms, a whitster being another name for a crofter.

Until around 1907 the pub was a much smaller building and can be seen here in a photograph held by Bolton library and dated between 1895 and 1900. It had been owned by the Manchester Brewery Company since at least the 1870s and was subsequently acquired by Bolton Corporation before being sold on to local brewery Magee Marshall & Co. The pub was rebuilt in 1906/07 with Magees paying the council £500 and giving up the licence of the New Bridge Inn on Churchbank. [1]. The ‘MM & Co’ sign can still be seen near the roof of the pub [see picture here]

The Crofters remained in the company’s hands until it was taken over by Greenall Whitley in 1958. It was refurbished in 1983 with many of the old features of the pub being retained. The carved bar was turned round dividing the pub into two but with one large lounge replacing the old lounge and pool room. [2]

The pub was later known as Magees after its former owners but after a period of closure it re-opened as Gallaghers Oyster Bar. By March 2000 it was the Oystercatcher Brasserie before becoming the Conquistador tapas eaterie and then the Moghuls Palace Indian restaurant.

In 2009 the pub was taken over by Jane McDonald and Frank Smith, the then licensees of the Howcroft and the Roundhouse in Halliwell. Ms McDonald and Mr Smith evicted squatters who had taken up residence in the pub and spent around £30,000 in a refurbishment. The pub became known as Smudge’s – Mr Smith’s nickname. [3]

 Sadly, Frank Smith died in September 2010 and the pub closed shortly afterwards. The building is still up for sale though it is unlikely to be used again as a pub.

[1] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000 by Gordon Readyhough, published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] What’s Doing, the Greater Manchester Beer Drinkers monthly magazine, November 1983 issue.
[3] Bolton News, 14 September 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2014.

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