Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Three Tuns, Bridge Street


Bridge Street looking towards Deansgate in April 2012 (Copyright Google Street View). The Three Tuns was situated were the roller shutter entrance to Wilkinsons is now. Older readers may remember a ginnel running down the gated entrance to the Jobwise property next to Wilkinsons. In the 19th century the ginnel ran to Wood’s Court, one of the many courtyards in the centre of Bolton and which were often home to the town’s poorest inhabitants.

The name Three Tuns is one of Britain’s most common pub names. The sign of the Three Tuns represents the brewers’ trade being the symbol of the City Of London guilds for brewers and vintners.

There were three pubs by that name in Bolton. One was on Moor Lane. The Three Tuns on Chapel Street off Folds Road was the first to hold that name in around in 1800 and it was followed in 1808 by another Three Tuns just a few hundred yards away on Bridge Street. [1]

This Three Tuns was once used as a coroner’s court. It was not uncommon for pubs to be used for judicial sessions. Both the Queen Anneon Chancery Lane and the Boars Head  on Churchgate were used as courtrooms. The White Lion on Deansgate was the usual meeting place for the coroner’s court but one session in 1832 was held at the Three Tuns following the rape and manslaughter of a young woman not far away from the White Lion. It was felt that with the depth of local feeling at that end of Deansgate it was best to hold the hearing at the Three Tuns. [2]

In July 1916 a resident at the Three Tuns, George Brockbank, was killed while on duty in France. [3] George was 35 and had joined the 8th Batallion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Although he was resident at the pub he appears to have been a lodger there. Both his parents were dead. His mother, Eliza, had died when George was just 10, while his father William, a Borough Surveyor, died when George was 19.

The Three Tuns lasted until November 1956. By then it was owned by Magee, Marshall & Co, who were looking to licence a new pub, the Willows on Willows Lane. Fortunately for them, Woolworth’s were looking to extend their Deansgate store into the properties at the top of Bridge Street. They bought all the properties down as far as the Three Tuns and the pub was demolished in 1957.

The new Woolworth’s opened in March 1959 and closed almost 50 years later at the beginning of January 2009. A Wilkinson’s store opened on the site in 2011.



[1] Pubs Of Bolton, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] Murderous Bolton, by Steve Fielding Published by  Amberley Publishing (2009). 
[3] DBBCAccessed 12 August 2014.
Also the  Commonwealth War Graves CommissionAccessed 12 August 2014.


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