Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Founders Arms, 18 St Georges Street, Bolton

Founders Arms St Georges Street Bolton image dated 28 September 2015

The Founders Arms pictured in September 2005 shortly after its closure. Note the blanked-out name of former owner Burtonwood.

The first week in September 2015 could have been one of the blackest in the history of Bolton’s pubs. The week began with the announcement that the Dog and Partridge would not be re-opening, it ended with the closure of the Daisy Hill Hotel, it was announced that the Rocket would be closing for conversion into a convenience store, and somewhere in the midst of all that the closure of the Founders Arms on St George’s Street had been sold and would be closing.

The Founders Arms opened in the 1830s in order to provide liquid sustenance for the Hope Foundry. Situated on the opposite corner of All Saints Street to the Founders the foundry was built for Thompson, Swift and Cole in 1807 and later became Moscrop’s Oil Works and the Temple nightclub. On the other side of St George's Street was Little Bolton Town Hall. Built in 1826 it was the scene of a Chartist riot in 1839.

The pub was a fully-licensed public house from the start and it was run for the first quarter-century or so of its existence by the Brownlow family. Christopher Brownlow founded the pub and when he went off to run the Ainsworth Arms in the late-1830s he was succeeded by Joseph Brownlow who is believed to have been his brother. Joseph Brownlow died in 1850 aged 45 and his widow Sarah took over until the 1860s.

By the 1880s the Founders was owned by Elizabeth Rostron. She also owned two other pubs in the Bolton area: the Bridge on Bridge Street and the Gibraltar Rock on what was then known as Pikes Lane but which was renamed Deane Road in 1896. Right up until the Founders’ closure “Rostron’s Founders Arms” could be seen etched into the window above the front entrance.

A later landlord was Joshua Porritt who was at the pub in 1905 and whose family went on to found the Gregory and Porritt department store on Manchester Road. The store later moved to Great Moor Street where it remained for many years.

The Founders Arms was bought by local brewer Joseph Sharman’s. It became a Shaw’s house when Sharman’s were taken over in 1927, a Walker Cain outlet when they bought out Shaw’s in 1931 and a Tetley Walker pub when that firm was founded in 1960. 

As the nearest pub to the Palais de Danse  (later Cinderella Rockerfella's, Ritzy and Ikon) it benefited from passing trade on the way to the nightclub and was namechecked as such on Bob Williamson's 1975 album Superturn.

It was sold to Burtonwood’s in the 1990s and was owned by Admiral Taverns when it was sold and closed in 2015. The plan on closure was for conversion into flats.

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