Friday, 10 October 2014

Globe Inn, Higher Bridge Street

Globe Higher Bridge Street Bolton

Image from the Bolton Library And Museums Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.

The Globe is the distinctive white building in the near distance on this photo of Higher Bridge Street from around 1975. The heating firm of J Smethurst and Son (Bolton) Ltd, just a few doors down, continued in business until the late-nineties, though not from the same premises.

The Globe Inn on Higher Bridge Street was one of those street-corner locals that began to spring up in the middle of the 19th-century – a small beer house in a residential area.

It dated back to the 1860s and the building was a pub for pretty much the whole of its existence. That part of Higher Bridge Street was undeveloped on the 1849 map but we know the Globe was in existence by 1870 at the latest.

The Globe was situated on the main road out of Bolton with Heywood Street running down one side of the pub and Graham Street down the other. Until the 1930s there was a small row of three houses directly to the rear of the pub on Heywood Street. There was also housing on Edmund Street which ran behind the Globe so there was an immediate catchment area.

The Globe was a traditional multi-roomed pub but by the eighties any walls between the various rooms had been torn down and it had more of an open-plan look. There was a small vault to the left of the entrance, next to the bar; a lounge was on the right and there a pool room at the back. The efficient use of space meant the pub looked bigger than it actually was from the outside. The building was actually situated on a small incline and there was a notable slope from the front door down to the back room.

The Globe was bought by Wingfield’s Brewery which was situated on Nelson Square until the late-1890s in premises that were eventually demolished to become part of an extended Pack Horse Hotel. Wingfield’s were bought out by the Manchester Brewery Company. That business collapsed in 1912 and the pubs were bought by Walker and Homfray’s of Salford. In 1949 Walker and Homfray’s were taken over by Wilson’s.

The Wilson’s beers were usually pretty well kept, though. The brewery, in Newton Heath, Manchester, became part of the national Grand Metropolitan combine along with the Halifax brewery of Samuel Webster’s. However, Wilson’s brewed their own beers for a tied estate largely based in the Greater Manchester area but which reached out to the whole of the north-west.

But Wilson’s closed in 1986 with its beers now supplied from Halifax. It was the beginning of the end as GrandMet eventually got out of brewing and its pub empire was eventually packaged up and sold out to the resurgent pub retailers.

The Globe also began to suffer from a lack of local custom. The housing behind the pub disappeared in the fifties, sixties and seventies and while the rows of terraced houses on the other side of Higher Bridge Street also disappeared there was a  little compensation in that a number of pubs – the Hearts Of Oak and the  Haydock Arms on Haydock Street to name but two examples – also closed. That had the effect of driving custom from the new flats at Skagen Court to the likes of the Globe and the Borough higher up the street. Casual lunchtime custom was also affected by the closure of a number of mills in the area.

The Globe continued until around 2002 when it closed down. It can be seen here in 2000, a couple of years before it shut and with the Wilson's sign still showing on the side of the pub. A little further down Higher Bridge Street the local motor firm of Gordons Of Bolton had expanded in the eighties and nineties and began to buy up land along Higher Bridge Street. The Globe was subsequently demolished and its site is now part of Gordon’s car park.

Many of the regulars at the pub moved to the Rock House Hotel a couple of hundred yards away on Duke Street. The Rock House was renamed the New Globe. It closed at the end of 2013.

Two views of the site of the Globe after its demolition. Above, in August 2008, the site of the pub is fenced off. Heywood Street and Graham Street flank either side of the pub's location. Below, a similar view in May 2012 showing all the land now part of Gordon’s Of Bolton. The former Heywood Street is now just the entrance to the car park. The white van in the foreground is parked on the site of the Globe. Both images are copyright Google Street View.

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