Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Queen Anne/Central Hotel, Chancery Lane

New Look in 2012 at the entrance to the Crompton Place shopping centre (copyright Google Street View) looking up from Mealhouse Lane. Chancery Lane once led from this point on Mealhouse Lane right up to Great Moor Street and the Queen Anne was the first building on the left-hand side. 

The Queen Anne was situated at 1-3 Chancery Lane in the centre of Bolton where the Crompton Place shopping centre now stands. The pub dated back to the 18th century and the list of alehouses from 1778 shows pub as being owned by George Taylor. The Bolton map of 1793 shows the building as the only one on that side of Chancery Lane.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries its upper room, known as the Assembly Room, was used as a meeting place by many local societies and institutions. One such meeting, held in 1825, led to the formation of the Bolton Mechanics Institute, the forerunner of the University of Bolton.

The magisterial business of town was also conducted at the Queen Anne at that time. Session courts were held there and the local Boroughreeve had his office thereabouts. Court business was transferred to premises in nearby Bowkers Row by the 1840s. [1]

The Queen Anne became the Central Hotel in 1895 but it closed after its licence was refused at the February licensing sessions of 1911. The premises were described as ‘ill-conducted’ and the licensee ‘unsatisfactory’.

The building was subsequently used as the women’s and juveniles’ departments of the Employment Exchange as an office of the Ministry of Pensions Office, as a bottle store for a local brewery, and as an accountant’s office. In 1946 the Bolton Journal and Guardian and the photo department of Tillotson’s Newspapers Ltd took over upper room while the ground floor became Tillotson’s canteen. By then the Bolton Evening news and Journal series had taken up residence on Mealhouse Lane, just next door.

The building was demolished in the late-sixties ready for the construction of the Arndale Centre which opened in 1971. Chancery Lane still exists with its entry opposite St Patrick’s RC church. In former times the street ran all the way down to Mealhouse Lane but is now truncated just past the entrance to the J2 nightclub by the building at the top of Nelson Square.

In the 1890s, the Central Hotel was owned by Wingfield’s Silverwell Brewery. The company began as a wine and spirit merchants by Thomas Wingfield, a Shropshire man who had moved to Bolton to start his business.  In the late-1820s the company had its offices in Chancery Lane with Wingfield living in Mawdesley Street. A brewery was added on Nelson Square in the latter part of the nineteenth century and Wingfield’s soon built up a tied estate that stretched as far as Preston (the Olde Three Crowns on Deansgate was another Wingfield pub).

One of Thomas Wingfield’s descendents, Thomas Rowland Wingfield, was in charge by the 1890s and in October 1896 he set up the company of Wingfield’s Silverwell Brewery to take over the business of the brewery and the wine and spirit merchants. In September 1899 the company was wound up having been taken over by the rapidly-expanding Manchester Brewery Company although Gordon Readyhough states that Wingfield’s wine and spirit merchants was still trading into the thirties. [2] It eventually became part of another wine merchant, Ross Munro, whose entry in phone directories as late as 1953 (and possibly later) stated that the firm incorporated Frederick Wingfields. The firm's offices were at 3 Victoria Square and 49 Chancery Lane.

The brewery was situated on Nelson Square, one of the properties in between the Pack Horse at the Bradshawgate end and the Levers Arms Hotel at the Bowkers Row end. The Pack Horse was extended to the top of Nelson Square in 1952 and now stands on the site.

There is an excellent photograph here of Wingfield’s staff pictured outside the brewery on Nelson Square in the late-nineteenth century. If you zoom in on the image the original Pack Horse building can be seen at the right-hand end of the row.

[1] Bolton Town Centre, A Modern History. Part Two: Bradshawgate, Great Moor Street and Newport Street, 1900-1998. Published by Neil Richardson (1998).

[2] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).


  1. The Queen Ann was auctioned on 20 Feb 1861 at the Swan Inn Bolton le Moors after the death of John Taylor

    1. I have a photo showing the bottle ive just bought at auction showing Thomas wingfields wine and spirit merchants Bolton on my site I belong to Bolton it wont allow me to put it on here

    2. Can I put the photo on here, Gene?