Saturday, 13 September 2014

Rose and Crown, 55 Cross Street

Cross Street pictured in April 2012 (copyright Google Street View). The Rose and Crown was  near the top of the street on the left-hand side. 

The Rose and Crown was situated on Cross Street just off Turton Street on the outskirts of Bolton.

The pub was owned for many years by the Settle family, who also went under the name of Booth. Robert Booth came from a pub-owning background as his father, Richard Booth, was the landlord of the Little John on Lever Street in the 1860s and 1870s.

William Settle was born towards the end of 1868 to Robert Booth and Rachel Settle. The couple weren’t married, but in January 1869, just a matter of weeks after William’s birth, Robert did get married – to Martha Clough.

In a letter to the Bolton Evening News in 2003, Robert’s great-granddaughter says that according to the story passed down the family, Martha had £100 and that she and Robert used the money to buy the Rose and Crown. [1] The beer-house was an established business dating back to at least 1836.

Sadly, Martha Booth died in the summer of 1878 at the age of just 43. But just six months later, in January 1879, Robert Booth married again - this time to Rachel Settle, the father of his son. They went on to have two more sons: Daniel Booth born in October 1879, and Albert Booth born in October 1881.

William Settle’s entry into the family business came suddenly. When he was just 13 years old his mother sacked the Rose and Crown’s brewer after an argument. On arriving home from school later that day William was told he would have to leave school and assist with the brewing. It was the start of an association with the Rose and Crown that was to last almost 70 years.

Rachel Booth died in 1891, aged 54. Before she died she made her husband Robert sign an agreement enabling William to take over the Rose and Crown pub and brewery, buying out the stakes of his brothers, which he subsequently did. Eight years later, in 1899, Robert Booth died and William had control of the pub and its brewery

The business had already expanded beyond the Rose and Crown with the purchase from Joseph Atkinson of the British Oak on Derby Street and the Alfred The Great on Noble Street. Further pubs were bought and William’s brothers were installed as the landlords of two of them: Daniel at the Rope and Anchor on Kay Street and Albert at the Red Lion on Crook Street.

Meanwhile, the brewery had outgrown the Rose and Crown and new premises were found at the former Bradshaw Field Mill owned by Thomas Pearson. This was in Dean Street, which ran parallel to Cross Street and was just a hundred yards or so away from the pub.

At that time all the pubs advertised themselves as selling Booth’s beers. During an argument between William Settle and Albert Booth at the Red Lion one day Albert asked William why he advertised Booth’s beers when his name wasn’t Booth. William took a stool from the pub, smashed the window with the brewery name on it and said “It will have Settle’s Ales on it tomorrow”. All the pubs were subsequently changed to Settle’s.

The 39-year-old William Settle married 22-year-old Alice Crompton in 1909. The following year their son William was born with a daughter, Alice, born in 1912.

William Settle junior joined the family business, even though he remained teetotal all his life.  Each summer, Settle’s organised an outing for each of their pubs in a Daimler brewer’s dray. The body was taken off the dray and replaced by a coach body. The younger William would stand at the door of the coach and hand each man a shilling to buy his beer for the day.

William Settle senior died in Newland Nursing Home on Chorley New Road on 26 January 1949, aged 80. He left an estate valued at £37376 -  or £1.2million in today's money. But the decision was taken to sell the Rose and Crown, its brewery and a tied estate of six other pubs. [2] The business was bought by Dutton’s of Blackburn and the brewery was closed and converted into a paper works.

The Rose and Crown closed in 1960. Cross Street still exists, just off Cable Street at the back of Turton Street. Some of the original buildings from the pub’s time still stand. A council estate was built in the 1930s but much of the area was cleared again some years ago.

[1] Bolton Evening News: “When Brewing Was A Family Affair” – 24 April 2003. Retrieved from the Bolton News website [link here] 12 September 2014.

[2] For the record the other pubs were: the British Oak on Derby Street, the Alfred The Great on Noble Street, the Rope and Anchor on Kay Street, the Red Lion on Crook Street, the SchoolHill Hotel (T’Skennin’ Door) on School Hill and the Britannia, which is taken to be the one on King Street in Farnworth as the Britannia on Derby Street was a Cornbrook pub. If so, the Britannia is the only Settle’s pub to survive.

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