Thursday, 24 July 2014

Kings Head Hotel, Deansgate

Blackhorse Street with the Hen and Chickens to the left of it in this April 2012 image (Copyright Google Street View). The King’s Head directly adjoined the Hen and Chickens although it was the ‘junior’ of the two pubs.  

Many readers will know the King’s Head on Junction Road – one of Bolton’s oldest pubs – but there was another pub by that name in the town centre until the late sixties.

The King’s Head Hotel dated back to the late-eighteenth century, according to Gordon Readyhough [1]. We can narrow that down to the final 20 years of that century as it doesn’t appear on the list of Bolton pubs from 1779.

Although the Kings Head ended its days as a Tetley Walker House it was a Magee’s pub at one stage and we can only guess that it was sold by the brewery as it was right next door to another Magee’s pub, the Hen and Chickens.

The King’s Head came undone by the needs of public transport. When Bolton  Corporation decided to close Howell Croft bus station and directed the vast majority of bus traffic into Moor Lane they realised that the Blackhorse Street junction with Deansgate was far too small to cope. A projected increased in the size and nature of traffic from the north of the town meant the junction needed to be widened.

Sadly, the King’s Head had to go and it, along with a small shop next door, closed in 1968 and were demolished that year.

Next door but one to the King’s Head stood the Hippodrome Theatre and the King’s Head, the Hen and Chickens, and other nearby pubs such as the Greyhound, the Gypsy’s Tent, the Blue Boar and the White Lion would have served many thirsty patrons both during and after performances.

Photos of the Hippodrome can be seen here , here, and here. The photos are dated 1950, but given that the demolition of the King’s Head is in progress in at least two of the photos the images are more likely to be from 1968 or 1969.


[1] Pubs Of Bolton, 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough (2000). 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Waggon and Horses, 84 Moor Lane

Moor Lane runs across the centre of this October 2009 photo {Copyright Google Street View). The Waggon and Horses was actually situated on the far-left side of the railway bridge. The fire station (built 1971) is on the left. Prior to its construction the entrance to the fire station was formerly the entrance to Partridge Street.

This isn’t a pub that any readers will remember, as it closed in 1903.

The Waggon and Horses stood at 84 Moor Lane on a site now occupied by an expansion of the railway line. It was a beerhouse and was in existence during the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time Moor Lane had a number of pubs: the 1853 Bolton Directory lists six beerhouses – along with two longer established public houses, the Three Tuns and the Dog & Partridge (not the one on Manor Street). [1]

Wingfield’s Silverwell Brewery owned the Waggon and Horses for a time towards the end of the nineteenth century, but Wingfield’s was taken over by the Manchester Brewery Company in 1899. [2]

In the end, the Waggon and Horses closed not through lack of trade but for the needs of the railway. The Bolton to Preston line was built in 1841 but by the turn of the twentieth-century the Lancashire Yorkshire Railway decided to double the tracks on the approach to Bolton station running under Moor Lane and to build sidings at Bullfield. That necessitated the demolition of a number of streets just off Moor Lane as well as properties on the lane itself.

Hulton School, which was on Moor Lane but had been built on the bridge running over the top of the railway was demolished. Back Partridge Street went and as the Waggon and Horses was on the corner of Back Partridge Street it, too, bit the dust.


A few yards away the Dog and Partridge was reprieved and lasted another 66 years until it was demolished prior to the construction of the new fire station. Only the Albion survives on Moor Lane and its viability could be threatened when the bus station moves to Great Moor Street.

[1] Four Bolton Directories 1821/2, 1836, 1843, 1853. Reprinted by Neil Richardson (1982).
[2] Pubs Of Bolton, 1800-2000. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).

Friday, 18 July 2014

Mortfield Tavern, Gaskell Street



Gaskell Street as it turns into Bromilow Way, pictured in April 2012 (copyright Google Street View). Nelson Mill and the adjoining cottages, which date back to the early-nineteenth century, are pretty much as they were when the Mortfield Tavern was in existence. The car park on the right marks site of the Mortfield.

The name ‘Mortfield’ crops up frequently around the Chorley Old Road area. An area on the north-eastern side of the bottom end of Chorley Old Road was known as Mortfield and even today the name lives on in the Mortfield Angling Club fishing at Mortfield Lodge, while Bolton Rugby Union Club’s ground is known as the Mortfield Pavilion and a housing development on the site of the former Polish Club is named Mortfield Gardens.

Previously, there was the Mortfield Bowling Club on Osborne Grove – now one of our lost clubs – and the Mortfield Bleachworks, owned by the Cross family (later known as Shepherd-Cross) and which was in existence from around 1821 to 1961. It is pictured here in 1927. [1] The Shepherd-Cross family lived in Mortfield House, just off Mortfield Lane, at the back of the bleachworks.

The Mortfield Tavern was situated at number 18, Gaskell Street, a bit further along from the bleachworks and it probably took its name from its proximity to Mortfield Street, which ran down by the side of the pub.

This area of Bolton was built up in the 1870s and the Mortfield Tavern opened up as a beerhouse around that time. It was owned by Robert Wood of the Prince Arthur Brewery, which was situated in St John Street, off Higher Bridge Street.

When the Prince Arthur Brewery ceased trading in 1915, the Mortfield Tavern was sold to William Tong’s, whose brewery was situated on Deane Road. There was an element of having their ‘tanks on someone else’s lawn’ as the Mortfield was only a stone’s throw away from Sharman’s Mere Hall Brewery.

Not that it mattered, ultimately. Both breweries’ pubs ended up in the hand of the Warrington company Walker Cain with Tong’s selling out in 1923.

The Mortfield Tavern continued until 1957. Walker’s had just built the Castle on Crompton Way and in order to get a full drinks licence they had to surrender the licences of no fewer than three beerhouses. The Mortfield; the Pineapple on Radcliffe Road, Darcy Lever; and the Bee Hive on Duke Street all bit the dust as Tonge Moor gained a rare pub.

The whole of that part of Gaskell Street was redeveloped in the sixties and seventies. The Mortfield Tavern was demolished and the likes of Mortfield Street, Lyon Street and Orm Street were all swept away. The old Gaskell Street Primary School, which stood near the Mortfield, was knocked down and rebuilt.

The site of the Mortfield now forms part of the car park of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of The Latter Day Saints a new church set back from the road.  Ironic, really, given the Mormons’ less than welcoming attitude to booze.

[1] St Mark’s website, David Dunne.