The York Street Tavern was one of a large number of beerhouses and pubs – we’ve counted just under 30 - that stood in an area between Bridgeman Street and Lever Street.
The first mention we have of the York Street Tavern was in 1869 when David Sumner was the landlord (by 1871 he was at the Lord Napier on Bridgeman Street). That makes it one of the later pubs in the area. But nearby streets all had their own pubs. Coe Street had two and Foundry Street had two, while Sidney Street had no fewer than four.
York Street itself ran from Bridgeman Street down to Cochrane Street and it contained around 60 houses with Maxfield Street running across it about two-thirds of the way down.
David Sumner was succeeded by Robert Handley and by 1895 the pub was under the control of Mrs Alice Hamer. Subsequent directories list Richard Holt in 1905 and Joseph Wood in 1924.
The York Street Tavern was a rare outlet in the area for John Halliwell and Sons’ Alexandra Brewery at Halliwell, but they fell into financial difficulties in 1910 and had to be rescued by Magees, a much more local business less than a mile away up Daubhill.
It was as a Magees house that the York Street Tavern ended its days in the early sixties. Or to be accurate, a Greenalls house given they took over Magees in 1958 though the Cricket Street brewery didn't close until 1970.
The 30 pubs in the Bridgeman Street/Lever Street area had steadily diminished over the years, but the 1954 Ordnance Survey map still shows 21. There are now just three: the Park, the Queen Elizabeth and the Little John, along with the Irish Club in what used to be the Nightingale.
York Street itself didn’t fare too well following the clearance. Nile Street survived, as did Coe Street and Cochrane Street. Sidney Street was cut to less than half its original length, while Foundry Street was reduced to just a hundred yards or so. But York Street and John Taylor Street – named after the 28-year-old who became Bolton’s first borough coroner in 1839 – were completely obliterated.