Thursday, 25 September 2014

Saddle Inn, 48 Bradshawgate

The Saddle Hotel, pictured shortly before it closed in 1970. Image taken from the Bolton Library and Museum Service collection (copyright Bolton Council).

The Saddle Hotel was originally known as the Weavers Arms and stood on Bradshawgate, opposite the entrance to Wood Street and just two doors down from the Volunteer Inn.  

The pub dated back to around 1790 and was originally known as the Weaver’s Arms. In his book, Bolton  Pubs 1800 – 2000, Gordon Readyhough [1] claims that it became known as the Saddle after a landlady in the 1840s married a local saddler. The tale does stand up to some scrutiny. In 1844 the landlady was a spinster named Mary Kirkman. In December of that year she married Seth Holding, a local saddler. By the time the 1849 list of public houses in Bolton was compiled the name of the pub had been changed to the Saddle. There was another Weavers Arms around the corner on Ship Gates, which opened at around that time and it could have been a factor in the name change.

William Morris was the landlord of the Saddle in 1868. His son, Nathaniel, was involved in a bizarre incident that year on Crown Street bridge overlooking the River Croal. Morris and his companion, William Brierley, a bookkeeper of Kestor Street, fell into the river, a fall of some 40 feet. Morris broke both his thighs in the fall. Brierley wasn’t as fortunate and died of his injuries some hours later.

The original Saddle was demolished in 1904 as the council set upon a scheme to widen Bradshawgate. But whereas neighbouring pubs the Volunteer and the Ship Inn were never to return the Saddle was rebuilt the following year. Compare the simple structure at the foot of this page with the impressive edifice at the top of the page.The architectural style was similar to that of the Fleece Hotel (now the Flying Flute) which was built at the same time.

But whereas the original Weaver’s Arms/Saddle building lasted for over 110 years, the second building lasted a mere 65 years. The Saddle closed in 1970 and was subsequently pulled down to make way for what became the Arndale Centre. Primark now covers the site.

Bradshawgate from Fold Street looking up towards Nelson Square pictured around 1900 shortly before the row was demolished for the widening of Bradshawgate. Looking from the street corner, T Bromley’s Fine Art Repository is followed by Preston’s jewellers and then the Saddle. The single-storey building at the far end of the row is the Pack Horse Hotel. Image taken from the Bolton Library and Museum Service collection (copyright Bolton Council).

[1] Bolton Pubs 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] Annals Of Bolton, by James Clegg. (1888).

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