Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Royal Hotel, 189 Derby Street

site of Royal Hotel 189 Derby Street pictured in 2015

Number 189 Derby Street, the former Royal Hotel pictured in August 2015 (copyright Google Street View), situated in between the ginnel and the entrance to Sass Beauty.

The Royal Hotel was relatively short-lived pub which ran from the early-1850s until the early-1870s.

The first record we have is when Edward Wroe applies for a full licence for the pub, which was situated at 189 Derby Street, just a few doors up from the Albert Hotel.

Edward Wroe was at the Wheatsheaf on Blackburn Street (now Deane Road) in 1851, but by 1854 he was at the Royal Hotel. At the annual licensing sessions in August of that year he applied for a full licence to serve wine and spirits alongside beer. There were no fewer than 22 other such applications, seven of which were for pubs either on Derby Street or nearby. The magistrates received a petition of some 3000 signatures opposing the granting of any further licences and the chairman of the bench, Robert Walsh, a staunch teetotaller who was strongly opposed to the sale of alcohol, calculated that there was one pub for every 106 people in Bolton. “One for every thousand would do,” he insisted. All 23 applications failed.  [1]

By 1869 the Royal Hotel was in trouble. On 31 March that year the following advertisement appeared in the Bolton Evening News:

“To Let, that Well-Accustomed BEERHOUSE and BREWERY, known as the Royal Hotel, Derby Street. Fixtures, Brewing Utensils, etc, to be taken at a valuation. Apply to Wm Horrocks on the premises.”

William Horrocks had placed a similar advert a couple of months earlier on 28 January in which he referred to a “change in occupation”. He was soon able to take up his new job as Abraham Ogden, a 25-year-old turner from Thynne Street answered the ad and took over the pub. We know this because by August of that year he was up before the court accused of selling beer outside licensing hours. Opening times were quite liberal at that time, but the police were always on the lookout for licensees opening illegally on a Sunday morning. Mr Ogden was caught and was fined 10 shillings plus costs. [2]

This was bad news especially as, like all Bolton’s beerhouses, the Royal had to re-apply for its licence the following month. The magistrates were looking for any excuse to close pubs and in the case of the Royal they had the police on their side. Constables Dearden and Greenhalgh were the bane of pub landlords in Bolton. It was this duo who frequented pubs – often on a Sunday morning- and together they brought numerous landlords to court, including poor Abraham Ogden who had only been at the Royal for a matter of months.

When the Royal’s application was heard, Constable Dearden described the pub as “objectionable” and complained about the low walls to the rear. Low walls enabled easy access, especially on a Sunday morning. He also claimed to have seen cards being played in the tap-room on at least two occasions. Card games were usually played for money. Constable Greenhalgh weighed in by saying the house was “troublesome”. That was it. The Royal’s fate was sealed and the pub closed down later that year. [3]

By 1876, the Royal was a tripe shop. By 1905 it was the premises of a clogger, Albert Rooney. By 1924, Mr Rooney was sharing number 187 Derby Street while 189 was owned by a rubber dealer, Miss Emma Brooks. By the seventies, numbers 187 and 189 were occupied by Lindley’s Removals and in the eighties the whole of that property became the Bantry Club. It is currently a cosmetic laser clinic.

[1] Manchester Courier. 2 September 1854. The other unsuccessful pubs were:

Flash Tavern, Weston Street
Albert, Derby Street
Robin Hood, Ashburner Street
Buck and Vine, Kay Street
Peel Hotel, Higher Bridge Street
Windmill, Blackburn Street
Queen’s, Bradshawgate
Albion, Moor Lane
Derby Arms, Derby Street
Queen Elizabeth, Pitt Street
British Queen, Trinity Street
Oddfellows Arms, Trinity Street
General Sale, Crook Street
Three Tuns, Great Moor Street
Greengate, Hammond Street
Elephant and Castle, Kay Street
British Oak, Derby Street
Anchor, Bright View [Bury Old Road]
There were also applications for one un-named beerhouse in Derby Street, two proposed new pubs in Derby Street and a proposed new pub in Lum Street.

[2] Bolton Evening News, 12 August 1869

[3] Bolton Evening News, 17 September 1869.

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