Monday, 9 March 2015

Jolly Drummer, 16 Partridge Street

The Jolly Drummer was situated on Partridge Street, off Moor Lane. Before the pub opened in the late-1850s Partridge Street was known as Green Street, but as there was another Green Street in the town centre its name was changed, partly in honour of an old-established pub, the Dog and Partridge which stood at the junction with Moor Lane. 

The Jolly Drummer dated back to at least the 1830s. Thomas Ainscow was the first recorded licensee and he appears in the 1836 Bolton Directory. The 1841 Census shows the 69-year-old Thomas as the landlord, assisted by his wife Susannah (56). Their son Robert was the brewer and two of Robert’s three sons also worked at the pub.

Thomas died in 1842 and Susannah Ainscow took over the business until her death in 1850. She was succeeded by Robert Ainscow but he sold the pub to James Parkinson in the late-1850s.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the Jolly Drummer was in the hands of James Kenyon Davenport. Kenny Davenport was born in 1862 to James Davenport and his wife Catharine (nee Kenyon).  He knew Partridge Street well as the family lived at number 4 for a while in the 1870s.

Kenny Davenport

Kenny moved to the Jolly Drummer after a stint working as a labourer for the pub’s owners, William Tong, whose brewery was just up Deane Road at Blackshaw Lane.  Perhaps Tong’s had an ulterior motive, because Kenny Davenport had just ended his career as a  footballer. He was signed by Bolton Wanderers in 1883 from local amateur side Gilnow Rangers and spent nine years playing for the Wanderers at their Pikes Lane ground located just off what is now Deane Road. He also spent part of his playing career arranging for players from Scotland and Wales to move to Bolton with the promise of jobs that he had fixed them up with. He was capped twice by England, becoming the first Bolton player to represent his country scoring two goals for the national team. After leaving Bolton, he spent a season with Southport Central before returning to Bolton to coach their reserve team.

Kenny Davenport was in the Bolton team that lined up to face Derby County on 3 September 1888 in the first round of games in the newly-created Football League. Also in the side was defender Bethel Robinson, at the time the landlord of the Crown and Cushion on Mealhouse Lane. 

Wanderers lost 6-3 in that opening-day fixture. Kenny Davenport scored twice, the first on just two minutes when he sprang the Derby offside trap to put his side a goal up. But in 2013, researchers discovered that Davenport’s goal was the first to be scored in league football.  It had previously been thought that the first goal was an own-goal scored by Gershom Cox for Wolves against Aston Villa, but Villa’s game kicked off at 3.50. Bolton’s game kicked off at 3.45pm. [1]

So after 125 years the name of Kenny Davenport, arguably Bolton’s first star player and Nat Lofthouse of his day, was back in the papers. [2]

He died in 1908 and the Jolly Drummer was taken over by his widow, Emma, who ran the pub with her brother, John Eves.

The Jolly Drummer closed in 1912 and was used for many years as a lodging house. It was demolished in 1969 and the fire station was built on the site. It opened in 1971.

[1] When Saturday Comes. Accessed 9 March 2015. 
[2] More on Kenny Davenport, including links to other media stories on his first league goal can be accessed via his Wikipedia page

The image on top of the paibelow isn't the best picture to illustrate the Jolly Drummer. It’s actually a 1969 picture of the Dog and Partridge on Moor Lane but Partridge Street can be seen in the background. The former Jolly Drummer building can just about be seen with its windows boarded up, next to the white-painted building. (Image copyright Bolton Council). 

Below that is an image of Bolton fire station taken in September 2014. The entrance to the fire station was formed from the entrance to Partridge Street and the Jolly Drummer would have been straight ahead on the right-hand side in the distance. (Image copyright Google Street View). 

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