Two images of the St George's Hotel on the corner of St George's Road and Knowsley Street. The image on the left dates from 1924 and is of the original building with W. Rothwell's chemist's shop next door. Both properties plus that at the top of Knowsley Street were demolished in 1927 and the new St George's Hotel arose in their place. Images from the Bolton Libraries, Archive and Museum collection and are copyright Bolton Council. Click on the images for larger view.
The St George’s Tavern – later the St George’s Hotel - was situated at the junction of St George’s Road and Knowsley Street, right opposite the church from which it took its name.
An early landlord was Henry Fishwick and he may well have been the founder of the St George’s Tavern. Fishwick was a tailor who, according to the 1841 Census, was living on St George’s Road along with his parents. It is likely that Fishwick persuaded his parents to open up their home as a pub - not just a beerhouse, as was common at the time, but as a public house fully licensed to sell wine and spirits as well as beer.
Unfortunately, Henry Fishwick didn’t have a long tenure at the St George’s. The pub opened in 1842 but he was dead just five years later. John Rollinson, previously the landlord at the Golden Lion on Churchgate, took over.
The St George’s Tavern later became the St George’s Hotel. The area around the pub changed as well. Knowsley Street didn’t exist when the pub opened in 1842. Instead Bath Street crossed St George’s Street, as it then was, and ended at Bark Street. A few yards beyond that a small wooden foot-bridge crossed the River Croal. There was a large timber yard where the Market Place shopping centre is now is.
There was also a timber yard next door to the pub, where the Palais nightclub stood for many years. That remained in place until 1927 when work started on the Palais.
Also in 1927 the original St George’s Hotel closed and along with Rothwell’s chemist next door it was demolished and a new building replaced it. The original pub was owned by Magee’s but the Manchester brewery of JG Swales & Co Ltd were now in charge and they decided to completely rebuild it.
The new St George’s Hotel was a three-storey semi-circular building – an altogether much grander affair. But it was to last just a little more than 40 years.
The St George’s Hotel closed in January 1968. The building remained empty for four more years before being demolished in 1972. A number of other properties down as far as the Market Hall were also demolished, including the seemingly luckless Rothwell’s chemist’s shop which had moved just a few yards down Knowsley Street. Also demolished were Morris’s photographers, the Norweb showroom, the Scotch Wool and Hosiery Store and Proffit’s cycle service. 
The site remained empty for over 15 years, though it was used for parking until the Market Place was built in 1987-88. The shopping centre still stands on the site.
A number of images of the St George’s Hotel and Knowsley Street around the time of demolition in 1972 can be seen here, here and here.
 Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
|Site of St George's Hotel 1975 and 2012|
1975 image from the Bolton Libraries, Archive and Museum collection , copyright Bolton Council. 2012 image copyright Google Street View.