Not to be confused with the Lord Napier on Bridgeman Street, the Napier Tavern was situated at 149 Blackburn Street. The address was changed to 149 Deane Road when the boundaries of Bolton were expanded in 1896 to include Little Bolton which already had a Blackburn Street.
The first mention we have of the pub is when William Kay was the landlord according to the 1869 Bolton Directory. When the directory was next published, in 1871, John Parkinson was the landlord. Information in these directories was usually out of date by the time it was published and by the time the 1871 census was taken in the spring of that year John Parkinson was already out of the Napier and was living at Albert Street, Halliwell. He later moved back to the area and was at the Milestone near the junction with Moor Lane in 1881. Bolton One now stands on the site.
James Hayes was landlord in 1876 and according to the 1881 census the 50-year-old James was still at the Napier with his 32-year-old wife Maria, four children and three lodgers. James was originally a weaver in Chancery Lane in the centre of town, but after leaving the Napier later in the 1880s he moved to Daubhill and went back to working as a weaver before becoming a tripe dealer on St Helens Road.
In the 1890s the Napier was bought by Wingfield’s whose Silverwell Brewery was situated on Nelson Square where the Pack Horse now stands (more on Wingfield’s can be seen here). Wingfield’s were bought by the Manchester Brewery Company, an ambitious company whose rapid expansion led to its collapse in 1912. It was taken over by the Salford firm of Walker and Homfray’s and it was as a Walker’s house that the Napier ended its days in 1940.
The building was converted into retail use and indeed it is still used as a retail outlet today. The shot below was taken in August 2015 (copyright Google Street View) and shows the Napier as two shops. While the outside of the building has been renovated we believe this is the original pub building. Defence Street still runs down the side of the pub. Back Defence Street used to run down the other side. The former Derby Ward Labour Club can be seen in the distance. The White Hart – now a medical centre – is behind the camera in this shot.