Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Milestone Inn, 5-7 Deane Road, Bolton

Milestone Inn 5-7 Deane Road Bolton pictured in 1964

The Milestone, complete with Walker’s of Warrington’s prancing horse livery can be seen on this image taken on 14 May 1964, the year before the pub closed. Image from Bolton.org.uk where there are other images from the same year of the area now occupied by the university.

The Milestone was situated at 5-7 Blackburn Street, which became Deane Road in the mid-1890s. It was in one of Bolton’s most heavily-pubbed areas. The White Swan was next door at number 3 until 1908; the Woodman’s Cottage was across the road; the Britannia was just around the corner at number 2, Derby Street and there were more pubs all along Deane Road and down Moor Lane.

The first record of the pub is in the late-1860s. It appears on the 1869 Bolton Directory, though its address was given as just number 7 Blackburn Street. It had expanded into the premises next door by the end of the century. Thomas Taylor was the licensee but he was in trouble that same year when he was found guilty of being open at 11.35 one night. He was fined 15 shillings – the equivalent of just over £75 today.

Thomas left the pub shortly afterwards and he was succeeded by John Hardman who successfully managed to get his beerhouse licence renewed at a time when all the pubs in Bolton had to re-apply for their licences. However, Mr Hardman’s time at the Milestone was short-lived. The following advertisement appeared in the Bolton Evening News of 26 October 1869:

“To let, a good beerhouse with brewhouse attached selling from four to five barrels a week. Satisfactory reasons for leaving. Apply on the premises, Milestone Inn, Blackburn Street.”

But less than two weeks later, on 8 November 1869, Mr Hardman was in court charged with assaulting his wife. The couple had only been married in March of that year and had a child aged three or four months. On 2 November, Mrs Hardman asked her husband about rumours he was going to sell up and leave her, something which suggested he hadn’t told her about the ad he had placed in the Evening News. Hardman knocked his wife to the ground, kicked her, and turned her out of the house leaving the child behind. He denied the charge and accused his wife of robbing him and giving his money to her mother. He was found guilty and ordered to give up custody of the child to his wife. However, his punishment was a fine of just 10 shillings. In other words, assault was seen as a lesser crime than after-hours drinking. It wasn’t an isolated case. Crimes of violence – particular where the victim was a member of the lower classes – were regarded as less severe than opening at the wrong times. Pubs opening on a Sunday morning were even more severely punished and the police were always on the prowl on the Sabbath looking for people enjoying an illicit pint before opening time when they ought to have been in church.

John Hardman managed to find someone to take on the pub’s lease and Thomas Pinder was the licensee in 1871.

The Milestone gave up its brewery and by the end of the nineteenth century it was owned by Walkers Bolton Brewery Company Ltd at the Park View Brewery on Spa Road. Magnet now stands on the site but Walker Street, which runs down the side of Magnet’s showroom is a testament to its former occupiers.

By October 1899 Walkers was being wound up and the Milestone was one of 14 pubs in Bolton and Preston being sold by auction [2] (see note below for the other Bolton pubs). The business – including the Milestone - was bought as a going concern in 1900 with the formation of the Spa Wells Brewery Company Ltd. George Walker, the former owners of Walkers Bolton Brewery was one of the seven initial subscribers to the new company. It lasted for four years before being taken over by James Jackson and Sons. [3]

By 1911, the Milestone was being run by William Blackburn who moved in to the pub along with his wife Lydia a few years earlier. William died in 1912 and Lydia Blackburn ran the pub alone until she married William Foster in 1923.

The Milestone changed hands once again in 1927 when Jackson’s were taken over by Shaw’s of Leigh. Shaw’s merged with Walker Cain Ltd of Warrington in 1931 and although Walkers became part of the Allied Breweries conglomerate in 1960 it was a Walker’s house that the Milestone saw out its time. The pub closed in 1965 and was demolished to make way for the new Bolton Institute of Technology. It was part of a green sward of land in front of the college until Bolton One was built on the site in 2012.

[1] Bolton Evening News, 23 April 1869.
[2]Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 14 October 1899.
[3] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 18 June 1900.
The other Bolton pubs were: the Queens Arms, Bridge Street; Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Egyptian Street; the Waterloo Tavern on Folds Road;   the Sir Colin Campbell Road on Folds Road;  ; the Pilkington Arms on Derby Street; the Mere Hall Inn on Vernon Street/Lyon Street;  the Union Arms on Deane Road; the Red Lion at Four Lane Ends and the Church Hotel in Kearsley.

The area covered by the Milestone before and after the construction of Bolton One, seen below in 2008 and at the bottom of the page  in 2015. (Copyright Google Street View).

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