Sunday, 27 April 2014

Three Tuns, Chapel Street

Three Tuns Chapel Street Bolton

Chapel Street in 1949. The Three Tuns can be seen in the foreground with the three immaculately-whitened steps leading up to the door although by this stage it hadn’t been a pub for over 15 years.

The Three Tuns was situated at number 15, Chapel Street in an area that was then known as Little Bolton, just north of the River Croal. The pub dated back to the late-nineteenth century and was one of three pubs in the town to bear that name. One was on Moor Lane while the other was on Bridge Street, not too far away from Chapel Street. (The name comes from the City Of London guilds representing brewers and vintners).

Running parallel with Chapel Street was Folds Road. In the early-nineteenth century it was known as the Edenfield Turnpike Road and was so narrow that there was room for only one cart. The road skirted the Three Tuns' bowling green which was situated where Folds Road car park now is. In 1822 the bowling green was leased to a religious group who constructed the Fold Road Independent Methodist Church on the site. The church lasted until 1968. [1]

The Three Tuns’ landlady for much of the early part of the nineteenth century was Martha Knott, who was at the pub from around 1800 until her death at the age of 79 in 1849. She ran the pub single-handedly following the death of her husband in 1815.

The Three Tuns in 1930
The Three Tuns came into the hands of local brewer Joseph Sharman until that company was taken over by George Shaw & Son Ltd of Leigh in 1926.

Shaw’s was taken over by Walker’s of Warrington in 1931 and the Three Tuns was a victim of the same business review that saw the end of the Robin Hood on Lever Street. With the takeover of Shaw’s and also the Bolton brewery of Tong’s a few years earlier, Walker’s already had two pubs within a couple of hundred yards of the Three Tuns: the Roebuck on Kay Street and the Spread Eagle on Hulme Street. All three had full licences, rather than beerhouse licences, so they could sell wines and spirits. Over on Junction Road the Vulcan Inn only had a beerhouse licence so Walker’s surrendered the Three Tuns’ licence and transferred it to the Vulcan.

The Three Tuns closed in 1933. The building was turned over to residential use before being demolished in the sixties ahead of the extension of St Peters Way into the town centre.

Very little remains of Chapel Street these days. What was once a district inhabited by “people of quality” – lawyers, doctors, manufacturers, clergy [1] – was swept aside by the needs of the motor car. Part of it is still visible as part of the rear entrance to the car park on Kay Street situated at what was once the headquarters of Edwin P Lees and before that the Co-Operative Bakery. The image below shows that end of Chapel Street. The Three Tuns was situated near to the wall that now supports the raised part of the sliproad leading from St Peters Way to St George’s Street.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this great information, I recently found out that Martha Knott is my paternal Great Great Great Great Grandmother so your piece has provided me with some fantastic historical perspective. I am originally from Derby although now live in Hampshire but funnily enough I did actually live in Bolton for a couple of years during the early 80s when my then girlfriend was the curator of the St Georges Craft Centre. We had a small flat over the road from the Craft Centre above what was then the Gregory and Porritts furniture store. Little did I know when I used to pop in to the Craft Centre for a coffee that many of my ancestors, including the Knotts, had once attended St Georges church. What a small world.... Thanks again and keep up the good work!