Thursday, 19 November 2015

Dog And Partridge, 22 - 24 Manor Street, Bolton


Dog and Partridge Manor Street Bolton
Dog and Partridge in 2010

On 31 August 2015 Neil Piper, the landlord of the Dog and Partridge, wrote on the pub’s website that the D&P would not be reopening and would soon be demolished. It had already been closed for ten months after a car drove through the traffic lights at the bottom of Kay Street and into a side wall narrowly missing Neil and some visitors who had been sitting in the vault just a few minutes earlier. The damage sustained in the incident and in a series of subsequent break-ins that easily ran into double figures meant the pub was uneconomical to repair. 

As Neil Piper locked up in the early hours of 29 October 2014 the last thing on his mind was that he was bringing down the curtain on 209 years of trading at the Dog and Partridge. But the incident later that day meant that a pub built in 1805 had served its last pint.

The Dog and Partridge was originally two residences both dating back to the early years of the nineteenth century, the original pub being the vault and the snug and numbered 24 Manor Street. It later expanded into adjoining premises, number 22. Early Bolton directories showed the following licensees: 

1818: J Hardman; 
1836 James Hayward – or Haywood – who later became a saddler. 1842: Richard Sharples, who moved from Turton to take over the pub. 
1848: John Duerden. 
1851: James Wardle. James left to become a cotton worker in Halliwell, but he was back in the pub trade by 1876 just a few yards up the road at the Hare and Hounds on Bank Street. 
1853 William Mercer. 
1869: William Parker. 
1876: William Mercer. 
1895: Edward Gaskill. 
1905: William Entwistle. 
1924: Mrs Ellen Hill.

“To Let with immediate possession, a well-accustomed PUBLIC HOUSE known by the name of “Dog & Partridge” Manor Street. Good reason for leaving. Apply on the premises.”

Bolton Evening News, 23 October 1869

Plans for alterations in 1930 can be seen here. They were uncovered by Vince Noir, to whom I am indebted. Other than a more open-plan look in the lounge that involved removing part of a wall in the 1970s the pub’s layout remained pretty much unchanged from these plans right up to the end. The bar was rebuilt as part of the 1930 plans – the curve is more pronounced on the newer plans. Seating backing on to the front wall was installed in the vault and remained in situ for the rest of the building’s existence. The Snug became a Smoke Room.

The plans also show an upstairs room which is described as a Club Room. The Dog had been known as a meeting place for clubs and societies as far back as 1869 and probably area. The Bolton Evening News for 26 June that year carried an advertisement on behalf of the George The Third Lodge of the National Independent Order of Oddfellows:

“Tea Party and Ball to be held at the house of Wm. Parker, Dog and Partridge, Manor Street, on Saturday July 3rd. Tea on the Tables at Four o’clock. Healthy young men from the age of 18 to 35 will be presented with a ticket on payment of their Entrance fee.

Tickets may be had from John Webster, 35 Churchgate, and Miles Sweeny, 32 Crown-street.”

A tea party AND a ball. That assumed there would be a live band – and all in the Dog’s upstairs club room. But as was seen for much of the latter days of its existence the pub became adept at shoe-horning in both punters and performers into a confined space.

The Dog was owned by Cornbrooks by the early part of the 20th century. The trail of takeovers meant that prior to that it was probably owned by Atkinsons of Commission Street. William Atkinson started the company in Water Street, just around the corner from the Dog, and by 1871 he had moved to premises across the road from the pub at number 1, Manor Street. Atkinson’s were taken over by Cornbrooks in 1895. Cornbrooks were taken over by United Lancastrian Breweries Ltd in 1961 and subsequently became part of Bass Charrington. Cornbrooks brewery was still in production in 1973 and the company’s products were still advertised on a window in the Dog’s snug right up to the pub’s closure.

By the early part of 1978 the Dog was run by an Indian couple, Mr and Mrs Patel, but when the Patels decided to leave due to Mrs Patel’s ill-health Bass put the pub up for sale. It was bought at auction by the Blackburn brewers, Thwaites. Under Thwaites’ ownership the D&P was unspoilt – much to the dismay of tenants who were constantly promised a refurbishment that never happened. But to its regulars it had a charm all of its own. It retained a traditional pub lay-out with a vault to the left of the main entrance, a lounge to the right. The Smoke room became a pool room and, in the late-nineties, was converted back into a Snug.

By 1997 the Dog and Partridge was struggling. It was taken on by Angus Crompton, one of the pub’s regulars and he was in charge until Neil Piper and Terry Fletcher took on the tenancy in 2000. Neil and Terry were also customers at the pub.

Under Neil’s 14-year stewardship the pub took off in a different direction as it began to cater for live alternative music. Hundreds of bands played in the pub's main room, which could fit 100 people with any comfort. The outdoor area to the rear of the pub staged an annual festival, Dogstock, attended by hundreds of fans each year. Along with the Alma, at the other end of the town centre on Bradshawgate and catering for heavy metal bands, the Dog and Partridge offered an alternative to the rest of the town centre and was often seen as an oasis of sanity.

Thwaites decided to sell in 2006 as the brewer withdrew from running smaller pubs that were often less profitable. The Craven Heifer on Blackburn Road and the Starkie Arms on Tonge Moor Road were also disposed of around this time. Having got the cash together to buy the Dog and Patridge outright Neil and Terry discovered on the day of completion that the pub had been withdrawn from the market. Thwaites had decided instead to sell it to Bluemantle, a company looking to redevelop the whole of the area bounded by Bank Street, Manor Street and Brown Street - the Church Wharf development. The development has yet to take place. Bluemantle lodged ‘outline planning permission’ in January 2013 and the demolition of the pub means one less property to worry about.

We’ve written over 200 of these lost pubs. Many of them are just long-forgotten names finally entering the public domain as a matter of record. But as the 21st-century has progressed some of the Lost Pubs of Bolton are the pubs of our youth. Pubs such as the Howcroft, the Sally Up Steps, the Clifton – great pubs in their heydays.

The manner of a pub closing is always sad, but with the exception of the Top Storey Club none has been as tragic as the end of the Dog and Partridge. It was a tragedy for Neil Piper. It was a tragedy for Angus Crompton and Terry Fletcher, both of whom stepped in to stop the pub closing in the past. It was a tragedy for the family and friends of Craig Durham, the driver of the car on that fateful evening in October 2014, who hung himself a few weeks later. It was a tragedy for the pub’s customers. The Dog and Partridge was a special pub to very many people, an unspoilt gem that had managed to reinvent itself and keep going against all the odds. To lose it was bad enough. To lose it in the manner that it went was heartbreaking on so many levels.

In 1993, the then landlord of the Dog and Partridge, Tony Thompson, announced he was leaving the pub due to ill-health. On his final evening he hosted a small gathering of the pub’s customers and he proposed a toast: “To the Dog – it will outlive us all!” Sadly, Tony died in 1998 but there can have been few present that night who didn’t believe that an establishment then heading for its bi-centenary would go on and on just as it always had done. The Dog and Partridge was to last for just 21 more years.

The Dog and Partridge pictured on 28 September 2015.

1 comment:

  1. It was a great place and sadly can not be replaced. I can not quite put my finger on it but it had a unique atmosphere and its own scene. Being more tolerant of non-metal bands, and lacking those unfriendly Metal elitist than its closest competition 'The Alma' it managed to create a scene of its own (or at least just about sustained the 'Bolton scene' after the closure of Hawthorns / Indigo). The location was great out of the way of all the mindless zombies in the franchise bars of doom. I will miss you D&P.

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