Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Gypsy's Tent/Gipsy's Tent/Winston's, 178 Deansgate

The site of the Gypsy's Tent in April 2012 (copyright Google Street View). The pub has been closed for some years and work began in 2017 on converting the building into flats. 

The Gypsy’s Tent (or Gipsy’s Tent as it was spelt up until the nineties) was built in the 19th century. Although the pub’s address  is on Deansgate it was severed from the rest of the street when Marsden Road bridge was built in 1877.

During the latter half of that century a band of travelling dentists would extract teeth at the rear of the building. As seems to have been common in Victorian dentistry a brass band was often present and would play tunes in order to drown out the patient’s screams. [1]

The pub came into the hands of local brewers William Tong in the early part of the 20th century before being taken over by Walkers of Warrington in 1923. Walkers merged with Tetley’s in 1961 to form Tetley Walker but in August 1981 it was decided to put the Gipsy’s Tent (as it was then) up for sale. [2]

When the De Havilland company opened its first factory on Bolton on Garside Street, off Spa Road, in 1937 there were only 50 employees on site. However, a sports and social club was soon formed and lunchtime darts and domino sessions were held at the Gypsy's Tent.

A local firm, Bandmatic, took over the pub in 1983. They operated pool tables in a number of local pubs and had also bought the Rose Hill on Manchester Road, which they named Churchill’s.  The Gypsy’s Tent was renamed Winston’s when it reopened in September 1984 and a refurbishment saw the former three-roomed pub turned into an open-plan arrangement. Previously, there had been a vault to the left of the front entrance with a lounge on the other side of an 'island' bar.

By 1989 Regal Knight Hotels were the new owners [3] and the pub was sold again in 1996 with the upstairs room transformed into Romany’s function room.

The Gypsy’s Tent was closed in 2007 and although it was put up for sale it appears not to have been sold.  According to Bolton Council’s empty property list the owner ws a company named PJM Trading Ltd although a company by that name based in Widnes was dissolved in 2011. Attempts to sell the pub appear were unsuccessful until 2016 when it was sold by auction to a company hoping to turn it into flats. Work began in 2017.

The pub is situated on a slight incline leading down to the River Croal and there have been rumours that the foundations are now unsafe.

This eerie yet intriguing photoset by urban explorer website 28 Days Later shows the inside of the Gypsy's Tent in 2015 by which time the pub had been closed for eight years. Note the empty bottles on the bar, seemingly abandoned.

[1] Bolton Town Centre, A Modern History. Part One: Deansgate, Victoria Square, Churchgate and Surrounding Areas, 1900-1998. Published by Neil Richardson.

[2] What’s Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinkers’ monthly magazine, August 1981.

[3] What’s Doing, March 1989.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to re-open the Gipsy's Tent and have the bartenders give readings to their customers.