Saturday, 3 December 2016

Old Hen and Chickens, 90 Deansgate, Bolton

Not that Hen and Chickens! This was the original pub of that name. As we have written previously, it wasn’t uncommon for there to be two pubs of the same name, often within yards of each other. There were two Millstones, two Three Crowns, two Nags Heads and there were two Hen and Chickens, both on Deansgate.

It was quite common for the older of two pubs with the same name to add the prefix ‘Old’, ‘Olde’ or ‘Ye Olde’ and that’s what happened in this case. The Hen and Chickens that survives to this day is officially known as the Higher Hen and Chickens.

The Old Hen and Chickens was situated further down Deansgate at number 90 and appears on the licensing register of 1778.  Seth Hitcroft was the licensee.

By 1821, it had been joined by its neighbour further up Deansgate. However, both clubs were named the Hen and Chickens on local records. It was only in the 1830s that the more ancient of the two hostelries became known as the Old Hen and Chickens.

Around 1850 James Fletcher became the landlord of the Old Hen and Chickens. He was to remain at the club until he died in 1868.  James Fletcher’s wife Lydia took over the running of the pub on his death but by 1876 it was in the hands of Ralph Entwistle.

Ralph Entwistle died in 1885 and the Old Hen and Chickens closed in 1888. Its full license was transferred to the Railway Shipping Inn on Crook Street. That pub was owned at the time by local brewers Atkinson’s which suggests that the Old Hen and Chickens was bought by them soon after Ralph Entwistle died. 

The Old Hen and Chickens had a full licence which made it attractive to Atkinson’s. It was also on the same row as two other pubs: the Kings Arms was next-door-but-one in one direction. The Blue Boar was three doors along in another. The Railway Shipping Inn’s proximity to Great Moor Street railway station also made it a prime candidate for a full licence rather than permission to sell only beer.

The Old Hen and Chickens premises were sold to a firm of dyers and cleaners named George Wright Ltd. By 1924 the building was occupied by a seedsman named William Southern.

The old pub building still stands. For some years it has been a furniture store as the image from 2015 shows (Google Street View).

Old Hen and Chickens 90  Deansgate Bolton

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