Saturday, 10 September 2016

Union Arms, 63 - 65 Deane Road, Bolton

The Union Arms on Deane Road, close to the junction with John Street which later became College Way (now University Way).

The Union Arms was a beerhouse situated at 65 Deane Road. the road was known as Blackburn Street until the 1880s.

The first record we have of the Union Arms is when it was run by John Allen. Born in 1829, John was a confectioner by trade. He married Jane Gibson in 1852 when he was already in the business of selling – and perhaps even making – sweets.

The couple had a shop not far from Blackburn Street in 1861 but the 1869 Bolton Directory had him down as a beerseller at 65 Blackburn Street. Selling sweets alongside beer wasn’t exactly common but it wasn’t unique. At about the same time another confectioner, Miles Pollitt, had turned his sweet shop on Folds Road into a beer house, the Duke Of Bolton and was selling confectionery alongside beer.

John Allen continued at the Union Arms until the late-1870s. By 1881 he was widowed and running a confectionery business in Church Street, off St George’s Road – though without the sideline of selling beer.

By October 1899 the Union Arms was owned by Walker’s Bolton Brewery Ltd whose Park View Brewery was situated on Spa Road. (Walker Street next to the Magnet kitchen outlet takes its name from the site’s former occupant). 

Walker’s were in trouble and they decided to sell up in order to pay off the company’s debts. They owned the brewery on Spa Road along with 19 pubs situated in Bolton, Preston and Walkden. The Red Lion at Four Lane Ends, the Three Pigeons on Wigan Road and the Church Hotel in Kearsley were among the company's other Bolton pubs. [1]

The auction was not a success. Despite a large attendance at Manchester’s Albion Hotel the sale was pulled. Bidding started at £50,000 and continued up to £73,000, but Walker’s owner, George Walker – who despite having built up a sizeable brewing business was still the landlord of the Wheatsheaf Hotel on Great Moor Street – decided not to proceed. [2]

The Union, its 18 stablemates and the Park View brewery remained in George Walker’s hands for a few more months until in June 1900, Walker was a shareholder in the Spa Wells Brewery Company Ltd, newly registered to take on the former Walker’s business. [3]

The Union was owned by Spa Wells for four years until the brewery and its pubs was taken over James Jackson & Co Ltd in 1904. The landlord of the Union at this time – paying the princely sum of £35 a year – was Joseph Goodlad who later moved to the Junction Inn  on Egyptian Street and the Windsor Castle on Halliwell Road. 

The Union became a Shaw’s house when that company took over Jackson’s in 1927. Shaw’s were themselves taken over by Walker Cain of Liverpool (no relation to the Walker’s on Spa Road).

It was during a review of pubs taken over by Walker Cain that the Union was deemed as surplus to requirements. Stand at the front door of the pub and you could see the Wheatsheaf on Deane Road,  the Weavers, the Gladstone  and Derby Ward Labour Club – all within 50 yards.

The Union closed in 1933 although the building survived as retail premises until the area was cleared in the mid-sixties. 

[1] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 14 October 1899.
[2] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 14 October 1899.
[3] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 18 June 1900.

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