Friday, 13 February 2015

Bank View Inn, 66-68 Kestor Street

Kestor Street still runs from Radcliffe Road down to Mill Hill Street. It dated back to the early part of the nineteenth century at a time when the area became utilised for both industrial and residential use.

There was a beerhouse on Kestors, as the street was then known, in 1836 but that only lasted for a few years and  is thought not to have any connection to the Bank View Inn.

The Bank View Inn was so called because the banks of the River Tonge were visible from the pub. While there were houses on the opposite side of Kestor Street a little further down the area directly in front  of the club was never developed.

An early landlord - possibly even the pub’s founder - was John Howson. He was a native of Preston who married Alice Drinnan at St John’s church in Little Bolton in 1860. By 1869 the couple were at the Bank View Inn, 66 Kestor Street. John was a mechanic by trade and he kept up that trade while running the pub.

Alice died in the early part of 1873 leaving John with two children. But in July of that year he remarried, this time to Mariane Heaton. Mariane was a spinster who lived on Bury Old Road, but her father was an architect named Rowland Hall Heaton. He built the Clarence Hotel on Bradshawgate  as well as a cotton factory, Parkfield Mill, which also known as Solomon’s Temple.  The mill was situated in Dawes Street on what is now the site of Morrison’s car park and Heaton built three streets of housing next to the mill, presumably for to house his employees. The street’s names were Rowland Street, Hall Street and Heaton Street.

John and Mariane used a similar unusual method of naming their children. Boys were often named after their father with a nod to her mother’s family as a middle name. The Howsons achieved both with two of their two sons. There was John Heaton Howson, born in 1874, and John Rowland Howson, born in 1883. Two other children were named, perhaps a little more conventionally, Mercy and Thomas.

The Bank View was originally numbered 66 Kestor Street. The property next door – number 68 – was a shop. Despite the street having just around 120 residential properties there were no fewer than four shops in the street and number 68 must have fallen by the wayside. John took on number 68 and for the rest of its time as a pub the Bank View occupied both properties.

But whether the extension caused financial problems or there were problems raising a young family in an environment where late-night opening was the norm, the Howsons left the Bank View soon afterwards. By 1879 John was running a grocer’s shop not too far away at 137 Bury Road, near the junction with Bury Old Road. William Street took over the pub and by 1881 it was in the hands of Wilson Bleakley, previous the landlord of the fully-licensed Spread Eagle on Hulme Street. 

For many years the Bank View brewed its own beer, but it was sold to Sharman’s brewery and was owned by the Liverpool company Walker Cain when it closed in 1937.

Leigh Paints have been on Kestor Street for many years and the factory covers a large chunk of the northern end of the street. The row of properties between Morton Street and Franklin Street contained the Bank View. What was once Franklin Street can be seen going up by the side of the car park. The Bank View was roughly in the middle of the row of cars in this image. (Image taken September 2014, copyright Google Street View).

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