Saturday, 14 March 2015

Brewers Arms, 79 Newport Street

In 1851, William Whitfield was listed a brewer living in Newport Street, next to Back Newport Street on the stretch between Great Moor Street and Trinity Street. William was a brewer and when he converted part of his home into a beerhouse he gave it the name the Brewers Arms.

This appears to have been later in the 1850s. The pub doesn’t appear on an 1853 list of beerhouses, but it was being used as such by 1861. Whitfield was living there in 1861 with his wife, Catharine, two daughters and a grand-daughter. Later that decade – though six years apart - the two daughters, Hannah and Jane, each married one of the Almond brothers, Lawrence and John.

The Brewers Arms was close to the Newtown area of Bolton. The district was situated where the Morrisons supermarket now stands and was home to Bolton’s Irish community, but while the Brewers Arms was considered a rough pub it was popular with local railway workers. In 1869, an incident at the Brewers Arms led to the death of an Irish labourer, John Heyes. A man named Henry Horrocks, with whom Heyes had been drinking, was found guilty of manslaughter but was ordered to be bound over to the court for the sum of £20. [1]

William Whitfield died in 1872 and he was succeeded by Joseph Turton. The pub then began to sell beers from John Halliwell’s Alexandra Brewery on Mount Street and it was a Halliwell’s pub when it closed in 1908. [2]

The building was subsequently used as a branch of the Royal Liver Friendly Society but it was demolished in the 1950s. A new building was erected in its place which was taken over initially by Battersby’s department store who were previously further down Newport Street close to the town hall. Battersby’s were succeeded Whelan’s supermarket, owned by Dave Whelan the future chairman of Wigan Athletic. After the takeover of Whelan's in 1978 it became a branch of Morrison’s, followed by Kwik Save, Iceland and B&M Bargains. This successor building to the Brewers Arms was demolished in 2014 to make way for the new bus-rail interchange.

[1] The full story of the death is told in MurderousBolton, by Steve Fielding (2009). 
[2] Bolton Pubs, 1800 – 2000, by Gordon Readyhough. Published by Neil Richardson (2000). 

Newport Street at is junction with Back Newport Street pictured in 2012 (copyright Google Street View).

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