Saturday, 25 October 2014

Three Tuns (Old Three Tuns Hotel), Moor Lane

Old Three Tuns Hotel, Moor Lane, Bolton  1973
The Old Three Tuns can be seen boarded up in the distance on this 1973 photograph from the Bolton Library and Museums Service collection (copyright Bolton Council).

There were three pubs in Bolton by the name of the Three Tuns. One was on Bridge Street, one on Chapel Street, off Folds Road, and this one on Moor Lane opposite what is now the fire station.

Having multiple pubs with the same name wasn’t uncommon. Bolton had two Nags Heads – the Higher Nags and the Lower Nags– two Millstones, two pubs named the Hen and Chickens, two Dog and Partridges and there was a whole host of pubs named the  Bowling Green.  

The full name of this pub was the Old Three Tuns Hotel. Having ‘Old’ as a prefix usually denoted it was the original. Not so in this case. The Three Tuns on Chapel Street was in existence by 1800, the Old Three Tuns on Moor Lane followed a few years later in 1804.

The pub was a meeting place for the St John’s Lodge of the Freemasons. The lodge was formed in 1815 in Chowbent (or Atherton as it is now known). Unusually, it had its headquarters in a number of towns moving from Chowbent to Tyldesley and then to Halshaw Moor (now Farnworth) before basing itself at the Three Tuns in 1836. The lodge’s itchy feet were in evidence yet again when it upped sticks just two years later and it met at three more Bolton pubs before returning to the Three Tuns in 1842. It remained at the pub for the next 31 years. One of the oldest lodges in the country, St John’s Lodge number 348 still exists and meets these days at the Masonic Hall on Silverwell Street. [1]

The part of Moor Lane around the bottom end of Deane Road gave us two of  Bolton’s oldest sporting institutions. Bolton Wanderers were formed at Christ Church school and were headquartered at the nearby Britannia Inn before moving to Burnden Park in 1895. Meanwhile, in 1908, Bolton United Harriers were formed at the Three Tuns.

One of the pub's landlords who went on to greater things was Frank Whittle. He ran the pub in the early-sixties before the licensed trade took him off to a further seven pubs in various parts of the country. Frank ended up in Stowmarket, Suffolk, where he served as a local councillor and was the town’s mayor in 2007-08. [2]

The Three Tuns was a Magees pub for much of the twentieth century. It was then bought by Greenall Whitley as part of their takeover of Magees in 1958 and the pub lasted until 1973. Council plans for the southern limb of the inner relief road meant it was bought under a compulsory purchase order and demolished soon after it closed.  

[1] Lane's Masonic Records. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
[2] Leigh Journal. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2014.


Moor Lane pictured in this April 2012 image (copyright Google Street View). The site of the Old Three Tuns was roughly on the flowerbeds at the side of the building, which was a Sainsbury's supermarket from 1990 to 2004.






Friday, 24 October 2014

Jolly Waggoner, Deane Road

Jolly Waggoner, Deane Road, Bolton. 1975
The Jolly Waggoner, pictured around 1975. Image from the Bolton Library and Museum Services collection. Copyright Bolton Council.

The Jolly Waggoner was originally a shop at the gable end of Balshaw Street, which ran down the side of the pub.

In the early-1840s a local character named Joseph Atherton owned a donkey and cart and had a business selling cockles and mussels on the streets of Gate Pike, as the area at the bottom of Deane Brow was known. ‘Cockle Joe,’ as he was known, eventually moved to the top of Balshaw Street where he opened a shop and traded as a greengrocer and fishmonger. He was still known as ‘Cockle Joe’ even after expanding his product range and he was later joined in the business by his son Amos, nicknamed ‘Yam Cockle’.

An un-named beerhouse had previously been run by Richard Marsh in the 1840s from his small house in Balshaw Lane, but that had closed by 1853. The Farmers Arms closed in 1869 while the Split Crow beerhouse had also closed. In the early-1870s Cockle Joe sold his shop and on the addition of an extension the premises were converted into two separate businesses. These fronted the main road, then known as Pikes Lane but later re-named Deane Road. One of the businesses was a butcher’s shop while the rest of the premises, on the Balshaw Street side, became a beerhouse.

The licensed premises were originally known as the Red Herring Inn, perhaps as a nod to Cockle Joe, who by now had moved to the top of Gilnow Lane. 

In 1875, John Bennett became licensee. Bennett was a popular local figure, a jovial character who drove his lorry and three horses around Gate Pike and it was from Bennett that the pub took its new name – the Jolly Waggoner.

The pub was an early Magees outlet. Hazel Morgan was born at the pub in 1934 – her parents were managers there for 38 years. Her recollections of the pub are contained here on the Bolton Revisited site

One of Hazel’s anecdotes worth repeating concerned her bridesmaid, Midge, a chimpanzee belonging to Edgar and Phyllis Charlton who owned the pet shop at 148 Derby Street. Hazel’s husband, David Harrison, worked for the Charltons. One night, as Hazel and David slept at the Jolly Waggoner there was a screech of brakes from the street outside. Midge had escaped from the shop on Derby Street and had run down to Deane Road where she narrowly escaped being run over by a lorry. More recollections of Midge can be seen here and here

The Jolly Waggoner was among the first of a huge raft of Bolton beer houses to obtain full public house licenses at the start of the sixties. A large number of pubs successfully applied in 1961, but the year before, in 1960, the Jolly Waggoner was one of a small number that tested the water with an application.

By then it was a Greenall Whitley pub. The image at the top of the page was taken around 1975, according to the Bolton archive records. That would have been five years after Greenall’s had closed Magee’s brewery on Derby Street though it is possible that the photo was taken earlier than 1975.  An earlier image can be seen here in the Bolton News archives.The pub had long since expanded into the adjoining retail premises.

Greenall’s eventually got out of brewing and the licensed trade. Its tied estate was split up and by the time the Jolly Waggoner closed in 2006 it was owned by Hyperhold Ltd, a small operator of pubs and bars that has since gone out of business. 

The Jolly Waggoner was sold de-licensed. It initially became a cybercafé and business centre but is now in use as a restaurant.




Thursday, 23 October 2014

Split Crow, Pikes Lane

Fern Street runs off to the right on this April 2012 image (copyright Google Street View), Deane Road runs to the left. The boarded-up Jolly Waggoner can be seen in the distance, the Lilian Hamer home is in the foreground. The Split Crow was close to the corner with Fern  Street, roughly where the patch of grass is.

The Split Crow is one of those long-lost pubs that even failed to make it into any of Gordon Readyhough’s books, so brief was its existence. We have the early-twentieth century Methodist historian Hannah Cottrell to remind us that it ever existed.

In the early-twenties Mrs Cottrell set out to write a history of the Methodist church on Fern Street, off Deane Road. As an illustration  she sets out a vision of the area of Deane known as Gate Pike in the early-1840s immediately prior to the arrival of Methodism.

Gate Pike was a hamlet situated roughly halfway between the outskirts of Bolton and Deane church, at the foot of Deane Brow. It consisted of just three streets: Balshaw Street, Markland Street (later Gate Street) and Moss Street (later Fern Street). The area still exists around by the former Jolly Waggoners pub and the Lilian Hamer old people’s home.

Mrs Cottrell describes some of the characters who lived in the area at the time and the nicknames they were given. There was ‘Owd Woof’ who ran the corner shop at the top of Balshaw Street; Joseph Atherton – ‘Cockle Joe’ – who sold cockles and mussels from a wheelbarrow. ‘Cockle Joe’ was succeeded in the business by his son Amos, nicknamed ‘Yam Cockle’. A clogger named Aspinall was known as ‘Old Sootum’, the Heaton family were known as the ‘Yettons,’ ‘Saut Bob’ was the rag-and-bone man and ‘Owd Hardneck’ the army pensioner.

But as a Methodist it was the plethora of drinking establishments that Mrs Cottrell took aim at. Owd Woof sold beer at his shop; a man named Dick Marsh sold beer at his cottage at the top of Balshaw Street; there was the Farmer’s Arms, the Gibraltar Rock, the Cross Guns and the Split Crow, all within a short walk from each other.

For a small community of perhaps a few hundred people that is a lot of places to sell beer. The Methodists’ promotion of the abstinence from alcohol meant that as they expanded from their chapel at Ridgway Gates in the centre of Bolton, a small self-contained community such as Gate Pike where beer was widely available meant it was a target for the establishment of a Methodist presence. Indeed, the place was known to them as ‘Hell’s Mouth’.

“Swearing, drinking and gambling were excessively indulged in by many of the men whose wives and families were miserably neglected. Their running dogs, fighting cocks and pigeons received far more attention and consideration than did their little children.” [1]

The Split Crow was situated on land now occupied by the Lilian Hamer home. It was in the middle of a row of three houses on Pikes Lane, which later became Deane Road. Next door, on the corner of Moss Street (was William Worthington’s butchers shop where calves and sheep were slaughtered in the cellar.

The Methodists arrived in the area in the spring of 1843 when they rented a cottage, 34 Balshaw Street. The Split Crow was already in operation by then having sprung up in the aftermath of the 1830 Beerhouses Act.

The pub closed some time in the 1850s. By then the Methodists had moved from Balshaw Street to Moss Street (renamed Fern Street around 1869) where they built a small chapel in 1843. In a twist of irony they bought the Split Crow. It reverted back to a private residence and became the chapel-keeper’s house of the Wesleyan chapel.

In 1927 the Methodists moved to a new church a few yards away on Deane Road on land now occupied by Bolton Blinds. The old Fern Street Wesleyan church was converted into a cinema, the Plaza, and number 336 became part of the cinema complex. The Plaza became the Windsor in January 1937 and closed in 1962. [2]

The Lilian Hamer old people’s home was built on the site in 1973. That closed in 2009 and remains vacant. An attempt to sell the home for £325,000 failed in 2010.

[1] Gate Pike: The Story Of 80 Years’ Methodism, 1843-1923, by Hannah Cottrell (Mrs Albert Openshaw). Originally published by Tillotsons (Bolton) Ltd (1924). The book is a comprehensive history of the Wesleyan church up to that time and includes a history of the bottom part of Deane from Deane Brow and Gate Pike down to Chamber Hall closer to town.


[2] Cinema Treasures website. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

African Chief, Moss Street



Here’s an interesting photo. It’s from the Bolton Libraries and Museum collection. (Copyright Bolton Council) but not much is known about the image.

‘The African’ – African what? It looks as though it may have been a pub sign, in which case it could have been the African Chief on Moss Street. The vehicle in the picture and the dress of the man walking up the street and the men further up all suggest it is later than the turn of the century so it would have been taken some years after the pub closed, which was in 1908.

The African Queen dated back to the 1860s when it was owned by Charles Seddon of the St George’s Hotel, St George’s Road. [1] By 1871 it was one of two beerhouses in Moss Street: one at number 4 owned by George Davison and one at number 5 owned by David Orrell. This latter establishment is more likely to have been the African Chief.

A number of Irish families lived in Moss Street in the 1880s and 1890s. In 1881, the Irish-born William Thompson and his wife Mary kept the pub. Another Irishman, Francis Lenaughan, would soon succeed him. Other Irish-born residents in the street included the Queenans and the Linehans. [2]

The African Chief became an Atkinson’s pub and in 1898 it came into the hands of the Manchester brewery Cornbrook’s after they took over Boardman’s brewery who had bought out Atkinson’s in 1895. Cornbrook’s obviously decided to sell the African Chief as it was owned by Hamer’s when its licence was refused in 1908.

So is the photo of the African Chief? It’s possible but by no means certain. A look at a map of the area in 1893 shows Moss Street coming to an end by Victoria Mills but all we really have to go off is an incomplete sign.

Moss Street was partly redeveloped in the twenties and Moss Street Baths were built in 1924 on the site of the former Richmond Terrace and Richmond Place. The baths remained open until 1987.

[1] Pubs Of Bolton 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] About Laurence Queenan. Retrieved 20 October 2014.



Saturday, 18 October 2014

Red Lion, Crook Street

The Red Lion was situated at the Derby Street end of Crook Street, just four doors along from the Flying Horse.

The pub dated back to the 1840s, probably the latter end of that decade. It first appears in the 1849 licensing records when the licensee was James Nuttall.

The Red Lion was owned by William T Settle whose brewery was based near the Rose and Crown pub, off Turton Street. However, in the early days of its ownership the brewery was known as Booth’s. William T Settle was born out of wedlock to Robert Booth and Rachel Settle. The couple later married and had two more sons, Albert and Daniel. Meanwhile, William T Settle went to work in the Rose and Crown’s brewery as a 14-year-old and later took over the business. He expanded the tied estate and installed his brothers at two of its pubs, Daniel at the Rope and Anchor on Kay Street and Albert at the Red Lion.

One day, during a visit to the pub, William and Albert got into an argument during the course of which Albert remarked that the name of the brewery – Booth’s – didn’t correspond with William’s surname of Settle. William picked up a stool, smashed the window with the Booth’s brewery name on it and said “It will have Settle’s Ales on it tomorrow”. All the pubs were subsequently changed to Settle’s.

Settle’s remained in control of the Red Lion until 1951. The brewery and its pubs were then sold to Dutton’s of Blackburn.

The Red Lion last for just two more years before being closed in 1953. It remained standing for some years afterwards but it was demolished in the mid seventies.



This image of the slip road to Aldi looking towards the bottom of Derby Street was taken in May 2012 and is copyright Google Street View. The site of the Red Lion was on the left of the image roughly where the slip road starts. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Grapes Hotel, Victoria Square

Grapes Hotel, Victoria Square, Bolton. 1900

The Grapes is on the right of this photograph taken from the clock tower of the Town Hall around 1900. Nearby shops included Hyde Brothers, T Hindle, the  British and Colonial Meat Company and Charles Bowker. Photograph from the Bolton Library and Museums Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.

The Grapes was situated on Victoria Square, though when it opened in 1840 the square was actually the New Market Place

During the early part of the nineteenth century, like in so many of the old-established pubs in Bolton, this pub played host to numerous political discussion groups [1]. The politics discussed depended on how well-furbished the pub was. The Ship on Bradshawgate was quite plush and was frequented by the town’s businessmen, as was the Swan Hotel. The customers in those pubs were more likely to lean towards the Tory Party. The George and Dragon on Oxford Street played host to a Liberal debating society, while in the poorer part of Bolton, the Dog Inn – also known as the Talbot – on Brown Street was a meeting place for more left-wing radical politics. [2]

In the Grapes’ early days it was adjoined by a portable theatre which had been placed there before the pub opened. Parish’s fit-up travelling theatre performed Margaret’s Ghost there in February 1836. The California market was subsequently situated next to the pub. [3]

Gordon Readyhough describes the Grapes as “a typical town centre pub”. Entrances were in Victoria Square and in Exchange Street which still runs down by the side of the former site of the pub. [4]

The Grapes closed in 1960 and was demolished in the same year. Shops were built on the site. A Wimpy bar was on part of the site for many years. That was succeeded by Kingburger and now a café named Tiffanies InThe Square.  

[1] Leisure In Bolton, 1750-1900, Robert Poole, 1982
[2] Malcolm Hardman’s book Classic Soil: Community, Aspiration, and Debate in the Bolton Region of Lancashire, 1819-1845 goes much deeper into the local politics of that time.
[3] Arthur Lloyd’s theatre history site.  Accessed 14 October 2014.
[4] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Oscar's, The Wellsprings, Le Mans Crescent


An Oscar's gig guide from the spring of 1994. Members of Lost Boys are now in Glam 45.

Oscar’s opened in 1989 in the cellar of The Wellsprings, an office block built on the site of which a large stone building that once housed Bolton Central Library.

The old library building opened in 1893 but closed in 1932 when the library service moved to the newly-built Civic Centre across the road. It remains there to this day. Its former premises was the Victoria (Civic) Restaurant from 1948 to 1951 before housing National Insurance and local government offices until they moved to Elizabeth House when that was completed in 1971. It was subsequently used as the Bibliographic Services unit of the library until it was demolished in the mid-eighties. The Wellsprings was built in its place. [1]

Part of the entrance to Oscar’s was on the site of the Town Hall Hotel, a former pub that closed in 1933.

Oscar’s was initially a café bar but it soon gained a reputation as a live music venue and it had live acts on most nights of the week as the above leaflet shows. It’s hard to imagine a pub having so much live music on these days with only the Alma Inn or the Dog and Partridge coming close.

The pub was run by the same management team that ran Hawthorn's on Spa Road. 

Oscar's closed around 2004, supposedly when the lease ran out. Far from the premises being taken up by another pub lessee the premises were given over to a ladies-only gym.

A night-time view of The Wellsprings from March 1996 can be seen here.  

Another gig poster from the 1990s can be found here


[1] Bolton Town Centre, A Modern History. Part One: Deansgate, Victoria Square, Churchgate and Surrounding Areas, 1900-1998

Bush Hotel - Star Inn - Star Concert Room, Churchgate

Bush Hotel Churchgate Bolton 1938

The Bush Hotel on Churchgate pictured in 1938. The Bush is in front of Theatre Royal’s canopy as we look.

The music hall was the most popular form of mass entertainment for the working-class public of Britain in the nineteenth century. In his book Popular Leisure And The Music Hall in 19th century Bolton, Robert Poole claims the first music hall in Britain was at the Millstone on Crown Street in Bolton where landlord Thomas Sharples opened a singing and supper room in 1832. [1] This is the same Millstone that exists today and given the size of the pub – twice the size now as it was before it was extended in 2000 - such a supper room can only have been held upstairs.

In 1840 Mr Sharples moved to the Star Inn on Churchgate. Some reports claim this was formerly a pub known as the Cock Inn where cock fights were often held. There is some doubt about this if only because the 1824 Bolton Directory shows the Cock Inn being at number 21 Churchgate. Odd numbered properties on Churchgate were on the opposite side of the road to the Star, leading down to the River Croal, and it is known that there were cock fights behind those properties.

Thomas Sharples built a separate music hall to the rear of the Star that included a separate bagatelle room and the Star Concert Room was up and running in 1840.

The Star went through its fair share of trials and tribulations. Like many music halls and concert room there were a variety of acts, some of which involved wild animals. On 11 February 1844, Matthew Ferguson, the keeper of the menagerie, was killed by Barney, one of the Star’s leopards. It seems that Barney didn’t take too kindly to Ferguson’s liberal use of the whip and attacked the hapless keeper. There was no-one else present at the time.  [2] [3]

In July 1852 three people were killed by a wall which collapsed when the Star’s concert room burned down. At that stage the Star had the reputation of being one of the most popular and attractive concert rooms in the country. Entry was two old pence and four old pence (1p or 2p today) and you got a drink thrown it with that. The Star also contained a museum the wonders of which were famed far and wide – 262 items including paintings, wax figures and a piece of pressed iron from Hick’s foundry on Bridgeman Street.

After the fire the theatre was rebuilt and opened in January 1855 as the Victoria Theatre of Varieties although the Star pub retained its former name.  It was sold, along with the nearby Theatre Royal and the Angel Inn as well as a wholesale brewery in August 1877 for a price of £8450.  

The Star was rebuilt again in 1886 but by 1900 it had reverted back to being a public house and was renamed the Bush Hotel.

From its latter days as the Star the pub was supplied by John Atkinson of the Commission Street brewery, just off Deane Road. Atkinson’s sold out to Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester who were in turn taken over by Cornbrook’s Brewery.

The Bush ended its days as a Bass Charrington pub. Bass took over Cornbrook’s in 1961 and perhaps it is telling that just two years after Bass took over the Bush and the nearby Derby Hotel both pubs and the Theatre Royal were all closed and demolished to make way for the redevelopment of Churchgate.

The site of the Bush and the Theatre Royal was converted into a supermarket, first known as Lennon’s, then Kwik Save and finally Foodsave, but in 1996 the premises were converted into a pub, The Brasshouse. This in turn became Number 15, a live music venue, and then Club Kiss before closing again in 2008.  In September 2014 it reopened as The Venue, described as an over-25s cabaret bar. [4]

[1] Popular Leisure And The Music Hall in 19th century Bolton, Robert Poole. Published by Lancaster University (1982).
[2] Annals Of Bolton, James Clegg, 1888
[3] Arthur Lloyd’s website. Accessed 12 October 2014. The site contains a more detailed history of the Star as well as other theatres in Bolton.
[4] Bolton News. 10 October 2014. Accessed 12 October 2014.




Royal Oak, Churchgate


Churchgate House pictured in April 2012 (copyright Google Street View). The Royal Oak once stood on this site. A pub with the same name was later situated on Paley Street, which can be seen running by the side of Churchgate House.

The Royal Oak stood on Churchgate from at least the 1770s until it was destroyed by fire on 30 June 1848 killing George Radcliffe, a Breightmet man sleeping there for the night. [1]

Gordon Readyhough [2] claims that the location of the pub is unknown but that it was not to be confused with a pub on nearby Paley Street that took the Royal Oak name some time after the original pub burned down. However, in a report for the town’s mayor on Bolton’s sanitation in 1848 - the year the Royal Oak was destroyed  - John Entwisle puts the pub in the vicinity of Molyneux’s Yard, the Flaggs and Oliver Lane, all of which stood roughly in front of the site of the current Churchgate House, opposite what is now Hogarth’s, the former Capitol and Boars’s Head pub. [3] 

Bolton’s population stood at around 17,000 in 1801. By 1841 it had grown to almost 50,000 as people moved to the centre of town during the Industrial Revolution to look for work. [4] Entwisle goes on to describe the sanitary conditions at that time in the dirtiest part of what he had already ascertained was a filthy town.

“In immediate contiguity [to Molyneux’s Yard]…is the Flaggs and Oliver Lane; here fever had infested the whole neighbourhood. In the houses behind the Royal Oak there were several cases; in one the husband had an attack six weeks in duration. In the next house a family of seven, four of whom had fever, and one died. Immediately opposite the houses is a necessary in a broken condition, the privy full, and heaps of ashes and night soil occupied a considerable portion of the yard. Beyond this heap of refuse is the cesspool of Molyneux’s Yard, only separated by a wall which is part falling down.”

To give another aspect of life in Bolton in the 1840s Entwisle analysed all the deaths in the town in the five years to 1847 and calculated the average age of death. But in an interesting twist he also calculated the average age of death by social class.

According to Entwisle, 116 “gentlemen and persons engaged in professions, and their families” died at an average age of 51 years.

In addition, 614 people he described as “tradesmen and their families” died at an average age of 27 years and 2 months. But “Operatives and their families” died at an average of just 19 years and 6 months.

The outstanding point about this last social grouping – the lowest of the three social classes – was their sheer number: 8142 of them. In other words, over 90percent of the people in the town died before their 20th birthday between the beginning of 1843 and the end of 1847. Of course a lot of them were children – over 50percent of the children of the lower orders died by the age of five – but with an average at death of 19, pubs like the Royal Oak were probably losing almost all of their custom every two years simply due to them dying off.

Fortunately, that part of town was cleaned up and Entwisle’s report perhaps had an impact. It’s available to borrow at Bolton Central Library and makes for grim reading. Running water was laid on in that part of Churchgate. Molyneux’s Yard was swept away although Flaggs and Oliver Lane remained into the 20th-century.

Entwisle couched his arguments in language the mayor and rest of the businessmen that ran Bolton could understand: it was counter-productive maintaining a situation where 90 percent of your workforce was failed to reach the age of 20. But this was 1848, a year when revolution was taking hold in Europe and the monied classes in Bolton couldn’t help but look over their shoulder at the potential for social unrest.

Churchgate later became the theatre centre of Bolton with the Grand and the Theatre Royal built on the site of the slum dwellings in the area where the Royal Oak once stood. The theatres made way for offices in the sixties and Churchgate House was built in their place.


[1] Annals Of Bolton, James Clegg, 1888.
[2] Bolton Pubs 1800 to 2000, Gordon Readyhough, 2000.
[3] A Report On The Sanatory Condition Of The Borough Of Bolton, John Entwisle, 1848.
[4] Wikipedia entry on Bolton, retrieved 12 October 2014. Figures combined for Great Bolton and Little Bolton. 


Saturday, 11 October 2014

Beaumont Club, Deane Church Lane

Beaumont Club, Deane Church Lane, Bolton. 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. It last appears on a 1967 map and must have closed around that time. 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.

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. 


Globe, Bridgeman Street

We dealt recently with the Globe Inn on Higher Bridge Street, but there was another pub by that name over on Bridgeman Street.

Nobody will remember the Globe on Bridgeman Street as it closed in 1869 and the licensing records don’t even report where on the street it actually was.

The Globe was a beerhouse, one of many that sprang up in the town as a result of the 1830 Beer House Act. Anyone could convert part of their home into a beer house on payment of £2. That was still a decent wedge of money in the middle of the 19th century, but it wasn’t enough to deter many people. By 1854 there were 208 beer houses in Bolton along with 118 fully-licensed pubs. In the following 15 years a further 121 beer houses opened up and it seems the Globe on Bridgeman Street was one of those. [1]

However, a change in the law in 1869 made it much easier for local magistrates to close down beer houses. They certainly went at it. A total of 69 beer houses were immediately closed and the Globe was one of the pubs that came to an end.

Magistrates used any pretext to refuse licenses and pubs such as the Unicorn on Deansgate, the Railway Bridge Inn on Dawes Street and the Pen Street Arms on Pen Street disappeared almost at a whim. On the other hand, the Music Hall Tavern on Gaskell’s Court – a short thoroughfare off Churchgate the entrance to which can still be seen next to the Brass Cat – saw its licence refused because four ‘loose girls’ lived there, according to the police.

But if the magistrates were looking for a reason to close the Globe on Bridgeman Street then they didn’t have to look far. The magistrates threw the book at the pub. The landlord allowed gambling on the premises, the clientele included prostitutes and there was a ‘low singing room and dancing class’ frequented by thieves and what are described as ‘loose characters’.  To add to all that there was what was described as a ‘minor public health objection’ in that the landlord kept pigs at the back of the pub.

The pub shut in 1869. 

[1] Shut Up About Barclay Perkins blog post dated 24 July 2011 and entitled Bolton In 1854. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 

[2] Pubs Of Bolton 1800-2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).

Friday, 10 October 2014

Swiss Hotel, Southern Street

Swiss Hotel Southern Street Bolton. September 1937


The Swiss Hotel on Southern Street taken by Humphrey Spender. Center Street runs to the right of the pub, Back Center Street to its left.

In a previous posting we dealt with the Queens Hotel on Darley Street, one of three pubs within a hundred-yard stretch of Southern Street, Darley Street and Carlyle Street. The other two pubs were the Woodman and the Swiss Hotel on Southern Street.

Quite why the Swiss Hotel was so-called isn’t recorded although there was a Swiss Terrace on nearby Eskrick Street.

The Swiss was perhaps the more upmarket of the three pubs in that for much of its existence it was the only one to have a full public house licence. That meant it could serve wine and spirits as well as beer. The other two were beer houses, the Queens for the whole of its existence, the Woodman for all bar the final few years before its closure.

The Bolton brewery of John Atkinson’s owned the Swiss Hotel until the brewery was taken over by Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester in 1895.[1] Another Manchester brewery, Cornbrook’s, bought out Boardman’s in 1895 and for the next 66 years the Swiss Hotel was one of a number of Bolton pubs owned by Cornbrook’s. The Anchor, off Bradshawgate; the Griffin on Great Moor Street and the Dog and Partridge on Manor Street were also amongst Cornbrook’s tied estate.

The image above comes from the Bolton Worktownwebsite (copyright Bolton Council). David James Morris writes on the website that he lived at the pub from 1945 until 1961 as his grandfather, William Morris, was the landlord. David says that the front pillars and the outside cover were taken down during World War II as they were considered to be a blackout hazard.  [2]

The Swiss Hotel carried on until around 1970 when it closed and was demolished along with all the properties in the surrounding streets. New housing was built on the site and a number of the streets were re-named. Southern Street and Tyndall Street form what is now Kirkhope Drive, while Center Street became Centre Park Road.



Kirkhope Drive (ex-Southern Street) on this image from May 2012 (copyright Google Street View). Centre Park Road runs off to the left.

[1] Pubs Of Bolton, 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000).
[2] Bolton Worktown. Accessed 10 October 2014.

Queens Hotel, Darley Street

Queens Hotel Darley Street Bolton

The Queens Hotel pictured around 1964. Darley Street runs across the centre of this image from the Bolton Library and Museum collection (copyright Bolton Council). The photographer is standing at the top of Southern Street. On the other side of the junction, where the Ford Anglia car is parked in the distance, is Carlyle Street. The Woodman Inn can be seen almost directly behind the Queens. Behind the photographer would have been the Swiss Hotel – a nice little hat-trick of pubs in the space of around a hundred yards.

The Queens Hotel was situated on Darley Street at the corner of Carlyle Street. 

That part of Halliwell was built up in the 1870s and 1880s with the streets named after popular historical and contemporary literary figures such as George Darley, Thomas Carlyle, Homer and Virgil. Tennyson Street was added around the turn of the 20th century. 

Croft Mills, Brownlow Mills and the Mortfield Bleachworks provided work for many of the residents, and beer houses such as the Queens sprang up in the 1880s.

The Queens was bought by Magee, Marshalls and closed around 1968. The whole of the area surrounding the pub was re-developed with the demolition of housing that had been built little more than 80 years previously. New housing was built in its place.

The image below is taken from roughly the same position as the photograph at the top of the page. Kirkhope Drive was built on the site of Southern Street. Carlyle Street has gone while the Croft Mills, out of shot on the older picture and on the right-hand side of Carlyle Street as we look, was demolished in the eighties. 



Globe Inn, Higher Bridge Street



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 until the late-nineties.

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 RockHouse 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.






Monday, 6 October 2014

Harp Tavern, Moor Lane

Harp Tavern, Moor Lane, Bolton, 1973
The Harp Tavern was a beerhouse situated on Moor Lane opposite what is now the Bolton fire station.

The pub dated back to the 1860s and drew its custom from Flash Street and Back Crook Street. But this was a heavily-pubbed area with something like 13 licensed premises in just a few hundred yards from what is now the fire station up to the junction with University Way.

Magee’s owned the Harp and they took the decision to close it in 1913. [1]

Alan Jenkinson writes on the Ancestry forum that his ancestor, John Helm, ran the pub from shortly before the 1911 Census until shortly afterwards which suggests he was probably the pub's last landlord.

The building later became a motor repair garage and remained in use for over 60 years. It was demolished in 1974 along with a number of other buildings on that row and the site was later developed to form a junction for part of the southern limb of Bolton’s inner relief road.

The photo at the top of the page shows the Harp, clearly marked, shortly before its demolition. Flash Street runs by the handwritten ‘No Parking’ sign. Further along, next to the white building is the former Old Three Tuns Hotel which opened in 1804 and closed in 1973. The Division One furniture store can be seen in the distance.

The image is from the Bolton Library And Museums Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.


The image below shows a view from much the same position in April 2012. Copyright Google Street View.

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

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Town Hall Hotel, Old Hall Street South

Town Hall Hotel, Old Hall Street South, Bolton

A side view of the Town Hall Hotel taken in the 1920s from the side of the town hall itself. The entrance was on Old Hall Street South, which ran down the side of the pub.

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

The Town Hall Hotel – not to be confused with the nearby Town Hall Tavern – stood on Old Hall Street South. It dated back to the 1840s and was originally known as the Stork.

Old Hall Street South no longer exists, though Old Street North is still there. It is the small side street that runs down the side of Beale’s to Le Mans Crescent. In the 1840s it went as far as Ashburner Street, but it was split into two in the 1870s with the building of Bolton Town Hall. This majestic symbol of civic pride cost taxpayers £167,000 having originally been slated to cost only £60,000.

In the early 1860s the town’s mayor, Alderman James Wolfenden, championed the idea of a new town hall on the site of the old pot market. What is now Victoria Square was, at that time, the town’s market place.

As plans came to fruition and the imposing building arose at the side of his pub, the landlord of the Stork, Henry Grindrod, had an idea. He renamed his pub the Town Hall Hotel and in doing so he pre-dated the actual town hall. By the time the new building was declared open on 5 June 1873, Grindrod’s Town Hall Hotel had been trading under its new moniker for quite some time.

The construction also meant that the Town Hall Hotel was now at the end of its row as previously it was in the middle of a terrace. The laying out of the new Town Hall Square meant the demolition of some of the pub’s neighbouring properties and the partition of Old Hall Street. The Town Hall Hotel was now on Old Hall Street South.

The Crown Brewery Company of Bury bought the Town Hall Hotel during the First World War but in 1933 they decided to close the pub. The former pub remained standing until 1947 when it was demolished along with a number of other buildings on Old Hall Street South. The area was landscaped and became a grass enclosure surrounded by benches. In 1967 the Octagon Theatre was built on part of the enclosure. The Wellsprings was built on the rest of the site in 1983.

Old Hall Street South no longer exists. The rebuilding of the west side of Newport Street in 1957 meant that Coronation Street was slightly diverted and extended to meet what was then the Town Hall Square.


For pub-goers of a more recent vintage, the entrance to entrance to the former Oscar’s bar (now the Motorcise gym) is on part of the site of the former Town Hall Hotel.  

Old Hall Street South, Bolton, 1957
Old Hall Street South pictured in 1957. The area once occupied by the Town Hall Hotel is now a grassed enclosure with benches placed at various intervals around the perimeter.  The Market Hotel (T'Crate Egg) can be seen in the distance.

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





The Wellsprings in 2012 (copyright Google Street View).Coronation Street can be seen running down the side of the building. The street was slightly re-routed to include the former Old Hall Street after the west side of Newport Street was re-developed in the late-fifties.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Lower Nags Head - Oliver's, Deansgate


Lower Nags Head Deansgate Bolton 1927



Two versions of the Lower Nags Head  pictured in 1927, shortly after the pub was rebuilt. To the left is the original eighteenth-century building. On the right the grander, rebuilt version which still stands and is used as a bank branch.

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









The Lower Nags Head stood Deansgate, close to the junction with Higher Bridge Street and Mealhouse Lane and a few doors along from where Marks and Spencer’s now stands.

The area around the pub once belonged to the Brownlow family who built Hall-I’th-Wood in the sixteenth century. Gardens and orchards extended over what is now Market Street and Victoria Square.

The original Lower Nags Head building dated back to the eighteenth-century. It was originally known simply as the Nag’s Head and appears on the Great Bolton licensing records of 1778. It pre-dated as a pub its similarly-named neighbour the Higher Nags Head by over 40 years.

By the 1840s the pub was being styled ‘the Old Nags Head’ to differentiate it from its upstart neighbour which only became a pub in around 1820. The landlord at that time was James Isherwood and he had a sideline as a coach proprietor. His Prince William stagecoach would head off to Manchester from outside the pub once every day.

The local brewery of Magee, Marshall and Co eventually took over the pub. By the twenties they also owned the Higher Nags Head and decided to close down both pubs and rebuild the Lower Nags Head (as it  had been styled since the 1860s).

The Higher Nags Head was demolished in 1929 and converted into shops which can still be seen in between Market Street and Oxford Street. The Lower Nags Head survived – in name only and not without radical change. The tiny, eighteenth-century building was deemed not fit for purpose and Magee’s rebuilt the Lower Nags Head a couple of doors down in 1927.

The photo at the top of the page shows the two buildings side-by-side. The difference is remarkable; the old building looks like a shack compared to the new Lower Nags Head with its impressive Doric columns and its ornate rooftop.

But while the old building had served as a pub for 150 years the new pub, for all its fancy architecture, lasted considerably less as licensed premises.

Magee’s had sold out to Greenall Whitley in fifties and Greenall's obviously considered the Lower Nags to have more potential as a retail outlet than as a pub.

When Magee’s rebuilt the Lower Nag's they put in a huge cellar along with a downstairs lounge. Greenall’s closed the two ground floor bars and extended the downstairs lounge into part of the cellar. The Doric columns were torn down and the street-level entrance was divided into two with stairs leading down to a Nags Head that really was ‘lower’, but with Hepworth’s tailors taking up the rest of the entrance and the whole of the ground floor.

But the Lower Nags Head received a new lease of life. A resident DJ was put in and the pub is fondly remembered on various internet forums. The 70s Bolton group on Facebook has numerous reminiscences from customers, licensees, doormen and DJs at the Lower Nags and it is clear that a great deal affection remains for the pub amongst its former customers.

However, it wasn’t to last. There was a refurbishment in 1982 and a name change to Oliver’s in 1985 but Greenall’s pulled the plug in 1989 and the pub closed.

The Abbey National building society converted the whole of the ground floor into one of their branches. It is now a branch of the Santander following their takeover of the Abbey National.

The Magee Marshall insignia can still be seen on the roof of the former pub premises.

Lower Nags Head Deansgate Bolton 1980



The Lower Nags Head in 1980. Image from the Bolton Library And Museums Service collection. Copyright Bolton Council.