Saturday, 17 January 2015

Britannia Hotel, 2-4 Derby Street

Britannia Derby Street Bolton
Two views of the same area of Bolton. In the top image the Britannia Hotel can be seen on the left of the picture. The cars in front of the pub are coming from the bottom end of Derby Street. The start of Deane Road is in the distance while Crook Street - which met both Derby Street and Deane Road - can be seen  running to the bottom of the picture. It was a tricky junction to negotiate right up until the road layout was changed in 1979 with the closure of that part of Derby Street and Crook Street when the Trinity Street by-pass was built.

The image above comes from the University of Bolton. The same area is pictured in the bottom image, taken by Google Street View in September 2014. Apart from the fire station (centre right) which  was built in 1971 all the buildings in this image were built in 2009-10. On the left is Bolton One, which now occupies the space where the Britannia once stood. On Deane Road is Bolton Sixth Form College in the foreground with Bolton College a little further along the road.

The Britannia Hotel was situated at the junction of four streets: Derby Street, on which the pub stood, Deane Road, Moor Lane and Crook Street.

The pub dated back to the late-eighteenth century. It was certainly in existence by 1800, but it didn’t appear on the licensing records for 1778.

Anyone with an interest in the history of Bolton Wanderers will know that the Britannia was the club’s headquarters for many years in the nineteenth century.The club was formed at the Christ Church school just a few yards away on Deane Road on a site that was empty for many years before Bolton College was built in 2009-10. But the club’s founder, Reverend Thomas Ogden objected to meetings being held without him being present so the team broke away from the school to become Bolton Wanderers. Its first headquarters was the Gladstone Hotel but it soon moved to the Britannia where it remained until the building of Burnden Park in 1895.

For some years the Britannia was owned by Atkinson’s brewery situated not far away from the pub on Commission Street. The actual site of the brewery is roughly as you drive down Mayor Street from Deane Road. The streets in that area were remodelled in the sixties and Mayor Street was effectively moved from the side of the Duke on Deane Road to its current traverse.

Atkinson’s were taken over by Boardman’s United Breweries of Manchester in 1895, The Cornbrook brewery, also of Manchester, bought out Boardman’s in 1898 and although the Britannia carried Cornbrook’s livery and sold their beers until it was closed, for the final few years the pub was owned by Bass Charrington, who bought  Cornbrook in 1961.

The Britannia closed in 1965. The area bounded by Deane Road, Derby Street and John Street – now University Way – was needed for the construction of the Bolton Institute Of Technology. The BIT was founded at Bolton Technical College on Manchester Road in 1963 but it was immediately decided that it would need an extensive site of its own. The site at the bottom of Deane Road was identified and it was cleared in 1965. The BIT began to move into its new buildings in 1967-68.

For many years the site of the Britannia formed a green sward of grass in front of the BIT. The junction of Derby Street and Deane Road was closed off in 1979 when the southern limb of Bolton’s inner relief road was opened. The BIT became the Bolton Institute Of Higher Education when it merged with the Bolton College Of Education (Technical). In 2004 it became the University Of Bolton.

In 2009 construction began of the Bolton One complex which now occupies the site of the Britannia as well as the Derby Street Secondary School that once stood opposite.


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