Monday, 14 April 2014

George and Dragon, Oxford Street

George and Dragon Oxford Street Bolton

The George and Dragon and surrounding properties pictured in 1907.

The George and Dragon stood on Oxford Street and dated back to at least the 18th century. It was certainly licensed in 1780 when the landlord was John Brown and in 1818 a Mr R Ainscow was the licensee.

During the early part of the nineteenth century, like in so many of the old-established pubs in Bolton, the George and Dragon played host to numerous political discussion groups [1]. In his book,  Classic Soil: Community, Aspiration, and Debate in the Bolton Region of Lancashire, 1819-1845, Malcolm Hardman states that the Liberal debating club met at the George and Dragon [2]. The Conservatives, meanwhile, met at the Swan Hotel while Hardman writes of a meeting in November 1816 of radicals at a pub “frequented by the lower orders” close to Dog Court on Brown Street. [Click here for details]. Maps of the time show a Dog Yard behind the Horse Shoe pub on Manor Street.

Although not a huge pub if the above photograph is anything to go by, the George and Dragon was used for meetings throughout the nineteenth century. As an example, when one of the pub's neighbours, the auctioneer and valuer James Holt of number 17 Oxford Street, went out of business in 1877, a creditors’ meeting was held earlier the following year at the George and Dragon. [3]

Later in the nineteenth century it was taken over by the local brewery of Joseph Sharman [4], but it was closed and demolished in 1924 when the Bolton Co-operative Society bought the site bounded by Oxford Street and Victoria Square to build a new department store. The Co-op remained at the site in 1986 when it was closed as part of the move to the new Normid Superstore built at the Embankment End of Burnden Park.

[1] Leisure In Bolton, 1750-1900, Robert Poole, 1982.
[2] Classic Soil: Community, Aspiration, and Debate in the BoltonRegion of Lancashire, 1819-1845, Malcolm Hardman. Published by Rosemount Publishing and Printing Corporation (2003).  
[3] London Gazette, January 4, 1878.
[4] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).

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