Saturday, 9 August 2014

Roebuck, Kay Street

The bottom of Manor Street with Bow Street going off to the left, Folds Road to the right and, in the distance and beyond the traffic lights, what’s left of Kay Street. The Roebuck stood at the bottom of Kay Street with its junction with Bow Street, where the trees are in the middle of the photo. Here’s the same shot some 60 or 70 years earlier in an undated picture from the Bolton News archives. Then, as now, the Dog & Partridge is on the right of the shot with the Co-op Bakery premises, which later became the head office and warehouse of Edwin P Lees on the other side of Kay Street from the Roebuck.

The Roebuck Hotel was situated at number 1 Kay Street, on the corner of Bow Street. The now empty site of the pub can still be seen diagonally opposite the Dog & Partridge at the bottom of Manor Street.

The Roebuck dates back to the first decade of the nineteenth century. Kay Street ran from the junction with Bow Street, Manor Street and Folds Road up to the junction with Higher Bridge Street some three-quarters of a mile away. 

A number of maps still show Kay Street as the continuation of the dual carriageway at the end of St Peters Way up to its end at Higher Bridge Street. Confusingly, the branch of B&Q gives its address as Roundhill Way, while the Britannia Garage insists its address is still Kay Street. The truncated old street runs for little more than 100 yards from Bow Street up to St George’s Street.

One of the Roebuck’s former landlords was a motor pioneer in the town. 

There is a curious connection between pub landlords in Bolton and the early days of the motor industry. In the early-twentieth century John Bromilow was the landlord of the Boar’s Head on Churchgate. He went on to become part of the Bromilow & Edwards partnership that exists today as Edbro. Ross Isherwood ran one of the town’s early motor repair garages as well as running the Prince William on Bradshawgate. Meanwhile,  Stanley Parker, the landlord of the  Roebuck in the early years of the twentieth century, also went into the motor trade. In 1911 he was listed as the proprietor of the Stanley Garage on Westbrook Street, off Lower Bridgeman Street. He later moved to 71 Bradshawgate, next to Silverwell Yard and by 1922 he was at 157-159 Bradshawgate trading as as Parkers. The firm was later known as Parkers of Bolton and was a motor dealership for many years until the early-nineties. Stanley Parker died in 1948. [1]

The Roebuck was taken over by Tong’s and it became a Walker’s house when Tong’s were bought out in 1923. In 1960, Walker’s built a new estate pub, the Prince Rupert on the Orlit Estate just off Lever Edge Lane. With a number of pubs already in the town centre they saw that a licence transfer was more desirable than attempting to secure a new licence. Plus the Roebuck was licensed to sell wines and spirits rather than beer. [2]

Walkers successfully applied to transfer the Roebuck’s licence to the Prince Rupert on  Holmeswood Road, off Lever Edge Lane. The Roebuck closed in March 1960 and the building was demolished in February 1961.

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

[2] Bolton Pubs, 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough.

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