Saturday, 11 October 2014

Beaumont Club, Deane Church Lane

Beamont Club Deane Church Lane Bolton
The Beaumont Club in 1929.

Not a lost pub but an interesting one, nonetheless. This is a picture of the Beaumont Club, a private-members’ bowling club that existed just off Deane Church Lane until some time in the 1960s.  The image is from the Bolton Library and Museum Services collection and is copyright Bolton Council.

The occasion is the visit of the recently-victorious Bolton Wanderers side which had carried off the FA Cup for the third time in seven seasons with a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth in April 1929. That looks like team captain Joe Smith behind the cup. The man sat next to him wearing a splendid pair of breeches could be goalkeeper Dick Pym who played in all three Wembley finals.

The Beaumont Club was at the St Helens Road end of Deane Church Lane on land which has only recently been redeveloped as housing. The Bolton Wanderers manager of the time, Charles Foweraker, lived not far from the Beaumont Club in a terraced house on St Helens Road. It is entirely possible that he was either associated with the club in some capacity or that he was friendly with some of its members.

But it is the Beaumont Club itself that interests us as very little is known about this establishment. It came about following a growth in the popularity of bowls in the mid-to-late 19th century. Several pubs had their own greens, principally the Gibraltar Rock on Deane Road. At the Howcroft on Pool Street the bowling green pre-dated the pub, while the King’s Head at Deane was advertising two bowling greens in 1873. [1]

In his book about leisure in Bolton in the nineteenth century Robert Poole informs us that a bowling green was set up at the Stag’s Head on St Helens Road in 1865. [1] He suggests that this was perhaps the Rumworth Bowling Green Company Ltd, which was set up in 1880, though that assertion appears to be incorrect.

An 1893 map of the area shows two bowling greens in the area: one at the Stag’s Head, situated on St Helens Road, and one just off Deane Church Lane. The Stag’s Head bowling green was actually situated behind the pub but on the other side of the tracks of the Bolton to Leigh Railway. Access was via Wilton Street or via Bertwine Street, which ran down the side of some early-nineteenth century cottages that stood raised up from St Helens Road until they were demolished around 1969.

The Stag’s Head green lasted until at least the fifties. Warburton’s Soreen bakery and, later, Park Cakes was built on the site of both the green and the cottages on St Helens Road. The Bakewell Tin and Metal works were right next to this green with the Daubhill Brick Works not far away.

But an event in 1906 suggests that the Rumworth Bowling Green Company wasn’t at the Stag’s Head. While it was established as a limited company in 1880, the London Gazette for 16 February 1906 suggests the company had collapsed. More crucially, it gave its address as Deane Church Lane, so it wasn’t at the Stag’s Head.

After the Rumworth Bowling Green Company failed the premises became the Beaumont Club. By September 1906 the liquidator, Mr S.H. Horrocks, was able to distribute proceeds from the sale of the old company’s assets to its creditors. So the green was obviously sold on and it seems to have become the Beaumont Club at that time.

The splendid clubhouse in the image above was a much more modest affair up to around the time of the First World War. By the time this photograph had been taken the Beaumont Club had added tennis courts at the side of the bowling green but these had disappeared by the time of the 1954 map of the area. Entrance to the club and its grounds were via Hudson Road, just off Deane Church Lane.

Unfortunately, old maps are really all we have to go off as there is very little evidence – either anecdotally or otherwise – that the club ever existed. The bowling green itself last appears on a 1967 map. The Beaumont Bowling Green Company's final appearance in a local phone directory was in 1952. It must have closed around that time and abandoned. Certainly the company was struck off in 1957 its officers having resigned and the firm - like the bowling green - abandoned.

It was used as industrial premises after that until a housing development began to be built on the site around 2007.

Any information on the Beaumont Club would be gratefully received in the comments below.

The outline of the Beaumont Club’s bowling green can be seen on the left of this January 2005 satellite image (copyright Google). The club’s tennis courts were situated in the five-sides enclosure to the right of the former green. Deane Church Lane runs from top to bottom of the picture. The large, light-coloured building on the right is Park Cakes. The row of houses that juts into the bakery is Jubilee Street and it is at this end of that street on land now occupied by Park Cakes that the original Stag’s Head bowling green was situated. The Daubhill branch of Asda, St Helens Road and the former Stag’s Head are in the bottom right of the picture.

Hudson Close (formerly Hudson Road). This housing development was built on the site of the former Beaumont Club and the shot is taken from roughly the same point as was the photograph of the victorious Bolton Wanderers side at the top of the page. Image taken in April 2012. Copyright Google Street View.

[1] Popular Leisure and the Music Hall in Nineteenth-Century Bolton, by Robert Poole. Published by the University Of Lancaster (1982).
[2] London Gazette, 16 February 1906. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
[3] London Gazette, 7 September 1906. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 

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