Monday, 2 March 2015

Pineapple, 117 Bridgeman Street

The Pineapple at 117 Bridgeman Street is unusual in that it bore the name of a fruit. But it was one of no fewer than four Bolton pubs of that name. The one at Astley Bridge survives, but there also Pineapples at Darcy Lever and on Water Street, off Manor Street in the town centre.

The one on Bridgeman Street dates back to the 1860s. The first reference we can find is in the 1869 Bolton Directory when it was being run by James Smethurst. The 1871 census shows James, aged 58, who is described as an iron moulder and beer seller. His wife Mary, 56, is also a beerseller, though in all probability that would mean she ran the pub while he had a job elsewhere. Certainly, James is described as an iron moulder on the baptismal certificates of eight of the couple's children going right back to 1835.

The Smethursts remained at the Pineapple until James’s death at the age of 70 in 1882. Mary went off to live in Little Bolton where she died in 1902, aged 87.

The licensing authorities tried to shut down the Pineapple in 1903, citing it as a ‘disorderly house’. [1] By that time it was owned the Manchester Brewery Company. It had been bought by the Bolton brewery of Wingfield’s in the 1890s, but Wingfield’s were taken over by MBC in 1899 and MBC were a company in crisis. A series of takeovers had financially stretched the company and tied houses such as the Pineapple were seen to have been neglected. The company put Thomas Delaney in charge after winning the fight to remain open. Indeed, it remained open for another 33 years.

In the end, the Pineapple closed due to financial pressures in 1936. The premises, which were situated on the corner of Coe Street, remained standing until the whole area was cleared in the 1950s.

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

Bridgeman Street in September 2014 (copyright Google Street View). Coe Street runs off to the right. The Pineapple stood on the corner visible in the shot.

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