Sunday, 10 December 2017

Railway / Quill and Pen / Donaghy's, 63-65 Great Moor Street, Bolton

Railway Great Moor Street Bolton
The Railway pictured around 1932. The  image was part of a set taken by Walker Cain  Ltd after the took over the Leigh company of George Shaw's. The splendid stone-carved name sign in the middle of the pub was visible until 1985.

The Railway was situated on Great Moor Street and took its name from the nearby railways station that was the terminus for the Bolton and Leigh line. The station stood less than a hundred yards away from the pub on the site of what is now Morrisons petrol station. It opened in 1831 less than three years after the opening of the Bolton-Leigh line itself and was in regular passenger use until March 1954. Tracks were lifted in 1964 and the station building was demolished in 1966.

The Railway pub dated back to the late-1840s with John Tong shown as the licensee on the 1849 listing of Great Bolton beerhouses. It appears to have been either a shop or residential accomodation prior to that. However, it doesn't appear as a pub on the Bolton Directory for 1848. John Tong was a little piecer living in Blackburn Street (now the bottom end of Deane Road) at the time of the 1841 census. He remained at the pub until the 1860s.

The Railway appears to have been sold by Mr Tong to a local shoemaker, Richard Hall, and he was to remain a part of the pub's history for over a decade. But while Mr Hall owned the pub he wasn't always the licensee. In 1869 he applied for the pub's license to be transferred from James Chadbond to a widow, Mrs Betsy Whitworth. Mrs Whitworth didn't last long and Richard Hall is listed as the licensee on the 1871 Census. By 1881 he had gone back to being a shoemaker and was living in Ashburner Street. However, he was soon back in the area and by 1891 he was at 67 Great Moor Street, right next door to the pub.

For a number of years towards the end of the 19th century the Railway was run by James Heyes. He had been at the Clifton Arms as far back as 1881 but by 1891 he had moved round the corner to Great Moor Street to run the Railway. He was still at the pub in 1901 when he is described as a retired beerseller.

By 1905 the Railway was in the hands of John Grime. John Nuttall and his wife were there according to the 1911 census.

Local brewer Magee, Marshall took over the Railway in the early part of the twentieth century. They subsequently sold the pub to another local firm, Joseph Sharman. Following Sharman's sale in 1927 it became a George Shaw pub until the Leigh-based brewery was taken over by Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool and Warrington in 1931. Walker's merged with Tetley's to form Tetley Walker in 1960.

The Railway had a reputation as a gay pub in the seventies and eighties. It closed down in May 1985 and was bought by a local pub retail company Regal Knight Hotels Ltd. [1] It underwent a refurbishment and re-opened as the Quill And Pen in December 1985. No longer a gay pub it was aimed at a more upmarket clientele. [2] Regal Knight later owned the Gypsy'sTent on Deansgate and the White Hart in Farnworth. They went out of business in the 1990s.

The Quill and Pen was sold by Regal Knight in 1990. [3] It was taken over by local councillor Martin Donaghy and its name changed to Donaghy's. The pub closed in 1999 and was demolished in December of that year. The skateboard park on Great Moor Street now stands on the site.

[1] What's Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinkers' magazine, June 1985.
[2] Bolton Beer Break, February 1986.
[3] What's Doing, the Greater Manchester beer drinkers' magazine, June 1990.

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