Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New Globe/Rock House Hotel, corner of Kent Street and Duke Street

New Inn Rock House Duke Street Bolton

The New Globe pictured in May 2014. The pub had been shuttered earlier in the year but it appears that the new owners had taken up residency by the time the photo was taken. Kent Street runs to the right of the pub,  Duke Street to the left.

The New Globe closed at the end of 2013 and its days as a pub appear to have come to an end.

The pub was in existence as a beerhouse certainly as early as 1871 when Christopher Briggs was the licensee. It was known for all but the last few years of its life as the Rock House Hotel, perhaps due to its stone structure.

Although it was built a residential hotel, at first it had only a beer licence, but the Shakespeare on Bradshawgate had closed around 1875 and its full licence had simply been surrendered to the council. James Drinnan saw an opportunity and applied to have the Shakespeare’s licence transferred to the Rock. [1] He was successful and in 1883 the Rock House Hotel became a fully licensed inn.

The Drinnans had moved around the corner to a shop at 103 School Hill by the early part of the twentieth century and the Rock House was bought by Chadwick’s Walmersley Brewery in Bury. Chadwick’s remained in control until 1927 when they sold their brewery and 43 pubs to Walker & Homfray Ltd of Salford. Walker & Homfray merged with Wilson’s of Newton Heath, Manchester in 1949.

Wilson’s were in control of the Rock House for almost 40 years. In 1988 it was one of 210 pubs sold by the brewery to a property company named Heron International, but within weeks it had been sold again, one of 60 pubs bought by the Wolverhampton brewery, Banks’s. [2]

The layout of the Rock was similar to many nineteenth-century suburban pubs until a refurbishment in the nineties brought in an open-plan scheme.  There were two entrances: a main door on Kent Street and a side entrance on Duke Street. Before the refurb there was a ‘vault’ to the left of the Kent Street entrance with a lounge bar to the right that included a dart board at the far end. The Duke Street entrance led to a small side room which was used as a pool room and was still in situ after the refurb.

The area around the Rock changed over the final 30 years or so of its life. In the late-seventies and early-eighties the old terraces on Davenport Street, Duke Street, Clarence Street and School Hill were all swept away and were replaced by new housing. While there were pubs in the past on School Hill they had gone by the early-eighties, while the United Veterans Club on Duke Street went out of business in the nineties. If anything, the Vets was much busier than the Rock, especially at weekends when the club would put on cabaret singers.

Around 2002 the Globe on Higher Bridge Street closed its doors for the final time. The locals decamped almost en masse to the Rock and the pub was renamed the New Globe.

The pub carried on until 2012 when it closed for a while and in January 2013 planning application was put in for the New Globe’s conversion into a house. At the time it was stated that the pub had been closed for over a year – news to its regulars. In March 2013 planning application was granted but the pub remained open until just before Christmas 2013.

Although it was boarded up around the time of closure the sheet metal boarding was taken down by the time the above picture was taken in May 2014. Inscriptions on the windows were still visible publicising karaoke, singers and cheap booze offers and the words “The New Globe is here to stay.” It gave the impression of a pub doing its best to justify its existence, but licensed premises to a pubco are just pieces of property to squeeze income out of. The New Globe was obviously more valuable as piece of real estate than as licensed premises and the pub was closed and sold.

Rock House Duke Street Bolton

The Rock House in 1952.  Note the door on the corner leading to the vault. This was long gone even by the time this writer would visit the pub in the late seventies. 

Rock House Duke Street Bolton

The Rock House pictured in 1982 when it was a Wilson's pub.

[1] Pubs Of Bolton, 1800-2000. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] Bolton Beer Break, the magazine of the Bolton branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. Summer 1988 issue.

1 comment:

  1. The Globe was, in fact, closed for about a year - it closed in May 2012, and was still closed when the original planning permission was granted in January 2013. However, it re-opened as a pub in May 2013, and seemed to be doing quite well until it closed suddenly in December. Between May 2012 and May 2013, the pub was untouched - there were even lights still on inside - but as soon as it closed in December, metal shuttering was put up for a couple of weeks, and then work began on gutting the building.