The Kings Arms pictured in the early-1930s. The shot was taken by Walkers as part of a pictorial review of their tied estate in the Bolton area. The old St Luke’s church is pictured to the right of the pub. Its foundation stone was linked by local dignitary Peter Ainsworth of Smithills Hall in 1869. The church opened by licence in 1871 and was consecrated in 1874. It was destroyed by fire in the early-1970s and was replaced by a single-story building. St Luke’s Street runs to the left of the pub. Note the separate entrance to the vault on the corner of the pub. That had long since been bricked over when this writer first drank there in the late-seventies.
The Kings Arms on Chorley Old Road dated back to the late-1870s. A small pub, its layout was similar to that of the Dog and Partridge on Manor Street: a small vault to the left of the main entrance, a pool room towards the rear and a large lounge running along the whole of the right-hand side of the pub.
The first recorded landlord was John Balshaw (1855-1894) who was already living at the pub in 1881 along with his wife Sarah. The couple married in 1876. Sarah’s family hailed from the Daubhill area and the 1871 Census has her living with her family on Swan Lane.
Oddly, the 1891 census has John and Sarah living around the corner in St Luke’s Street.
After John died in 1894, Sarah took over the pub. She met Walter Brown and the couple married in 1896, but they remained at the Kings Arms until at least 1911. However, the pub had earned the nickname of 'Balshaw's' by which it was known locally for many years after.
The Kings was owned by Robert Wood of the Prince Arthur brewery, but it was sold to Tong’s of Deane after wartime raw material restrictions forced Wood’s to cease brewing in 1917. Tong’s in turn sold out to Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool in 1923 and the pub fell into the hands of Tetley after they bought Walker’s in 1960. Admiral Taverns were the owners when the Kings closed in the summer of 2010.