Thursday, 27 March 2014


The Portland Hotel viewed from Wynne Street in May 2012. The building is now a private residence. Copyright Google Street View.

The Portland was situated on Portland Street, near its junction with Wynne Street and Burke Street, just off Halliwell Road and was opened in 1880 to satisfy the needs of the newly-built rows of terraces between the main road and Eskrick Street.

The Portland gained its licence through the transfer of the drinks licence of the Antelope’s Head, a small pub situated between the Golden Lion and the Boar’s Head on the already heavily-pubbed Churchgate.

Owned at one time by Sharman’s, whose Mere Hall Brewery was less than a mile from the Portland,  it was one of 58 Sharman pubs that passed into the hands of  George Shaw’s brewery of Leigh when they took over Sharman’s in 1927. The photograph below shows the Portland as a Shaw’s pub and was probably taken in the late-twenties. Shaw’s sold out to Walker’s in 1931 and Walker’s merged with Tetley’s in 1960.

Portland Hotel Portland Street Bolton

As can be seen in the photographs on this page the pub was a fine stone building and when its days as licensed premises came to an end it was sold to be converted as residential property. When that happened is open to some discussion. In his book on Bolton’s pubs Gordon Readyhough claims the Portland closed in the 1980s [1]. However, in early 1990 it was one of four local pubs sold by Tetley to the Sunderland brewery Vaux. [2] However, Vaux’s tenure doesn’t seem to have lasted long and the Portland closed later on the same decade.  It was certainly closed by the time Mr Readyhough’s book was published in 2000.

The Facebook group 70s Bolton contains a number pictures of the interior of the Portland taken by Stanley Covell around 1966/67. Mr Covell recalls drinking in the pub with his family in the sixties and remembers it as a small but friendly pub. [3]

[1] Bolton Pubs 1800-2000, Gordon Readyhough, published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] What’s Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinker’s monthly magazine. June 1990 issue.

[3] Facebook. 70s Bolton (closed group).  Information retrieved 27 March 2014.

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