Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bridge Foot Inn, St Helena Road/Chorley Street

Bridge Foot Inn St Helena Road Chorley Street Bolton

The Bridge Foot Inn on the corner of St Helena Road. The Great Bridge can be seen to the right of the pub running along Chorley Street. That the pub is advertising Shaw's ales suggest the photo was taken after 1927. 

The Bridge Foot Inn stood on St Helena  Road on the corner of Chorley Street in an area of Bolton still referred to as some maps as  Great Bridge.

This ‘Great Bridge’ wasn’t the splendid 1870s high-level bridge over the River Croal at Marsden Road but a much more modest affair named Great Bridge or Clayton Ford Bridge. This ran over the river as it left what is now Queen’s Park on its way towards the town centre. The Bridge Foot Inn took its name from the fact that it was quite literally at the foot of the bridge which was situated on Chorley Street just outside the pub.

The pub dated back the late 19th century and was a beer house owned by Joseph Sharman’s Mere Hall brewery. Sharman’s was taken over by George Shaw & Son Ltd of Leigh in 1927 which was itself taken over by Walker Cain Ltd of Warrington in 1931. Walkers had a review of their newly-expanded tied estate and decided to axe some pubs. The Sir Sidney Smith on Bridgeman Street closed in 1934 and time was called at the Bridge Foot that same year.

Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the Bridge Foot was what happened next. In short: nothing happened. The pub remained closed and empty for over 50 years until the land was acquired for the construction of a car park. Walker’s merged with Tetley’s in 1961 and even they waited over 25 years before selling off the premises. There can be few examples of commercial premises left abandoned for 50 years.

Chorley Street looking towards St Helena Road which runs off to the left. The Great Bridge still stands but the Bridge Foot was demolished in the 1980s. The site of the pub is now covered by a car park.

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