Saturday, 10 February 2018

Bradford Arms, 23 Bridgeman Place, Bolton

Bradford Arms Bridgeman Place Bolton
The Bradford Arms pictured around 1930 just a few years before it closed

The Earl of Bradford owned land around Great Lever, Farnworth and part of the area to the south-western part of Bolton town centre, so it’s no surprise that the name ‘Bradford’ features prominently in the town. The earldom itself refers not to the conurbation in West Yorkshire as one might assume, but to the area of Bradford in Shropshire. That’s where the Bridgeman family, who hold the earldom, originated. A baronetcy was created for the Bridgemans of Great Lever in 1660. The fourth baronet was named Sir Orlando Bridgeman while the fifth baronet, Sir Henry Bridgeman became Baron Bridgeman in 1794.

A number of street and pub names make reference to the Earls of Bradford: Bradford Street, Bradford Road, Bridgeman Street, Bridgeman Place and no fewer than four pubs in the area named the Bradford: three pubs in Bolton while a fourth, in Farnworth, is the only one to survive.

The Bradford Hotel (later the Bradford Arms) was situated on Bradford Street; there was a Bradford Arms on Foundry Street, off Thynne Street, and somewhere between the two, on Bridgeman Place, was another Bradford Arms which was possibly the earliest of the four.

The pub began in the late-1850s when it was opened by a man named James Seddon Hulme. James was born in Little Lever in 1819 to a single mother, Alice Hulme. He was brought up by his grandparents but he appears to have had at least one child – and perhaps as many as six - with a woman named Margaret Barlow although the couple weren't married until much later. Certainly, the eldest child, Harriet Barlow was living with James Hulme and his grandparents at Grundy Fold in Little Lever by 1851. By then, Margaret Barlow was living in lodgings at Taylors Lane, Ainsworth.

James Hulme married in June 1854 – not Margaret Barlow but a widow named Mary Seddon (nee Henry). Oddly, he took her previous married name as part of his own name and became known as James Seddon Hulme.

Mary had previously run a pub on Churchgate and shortly after they married the couple moved to premises at 23 Bridgeman Place and opened it up as a beerhouse. The Bradford Arms, as it became known, would be run by members of James Seddon Hulme's family for the next 80 years.

Mary Hulme died in January 1876. James remarried in December of that year. He turned to his old flame and married Margaret Barlow at Holy Trinity church.

James and Margaret Hulme died within weeks of each other in 1892. James died on 24 May and Margaret on 13 July. The pub business had been good to him and he left an estate worth £871 – around £105,000 in today's money.

The Bradford Arms was taken over by the family of James and Margaret's daughter Hannah. She had moved to Radcliffe with her mother in the 1860s and in 1881 she married a neighbour, Philip Eastwood. The couple moved in to the Bradford Arms on their marriage and they took over the running of the pub after Hannah's parents died.

The Eastwoods were to remain at the Bradford for the rest of its time as a pub with Philip taking over as landlord.

Hannah died at the Bradford Arms in November 1918. Philip Eastwood died in December 1935 at the age of 83. By then the Bradford was owned by Walker Cain's having previously been sold by the Eastwoods to a Bolton brewer Joseph Sharman's. Sharman's was taken over by the Leigh firm of George Shaw in 1926 and they were in turn taken over by Walker Cain Ltd of Liverpool and Warrington in 1930.

The Bradford closed in 1936 although it is likely to have shut on Philip Eastwood's death with the licence formally rescinded weeks later. On closure, the pub was converted to a private residence but it was to remain standing for over 20 years after it ceased to be a pub. It was demolished in the early-1960s and a service station and bus lay-by was built on the site.

An intriguing set of photographs from the Bolton Museum collection shows the building in 1957 just a few years before the building and the rest of the row were demolished. The pub signs have been removed but it's unmistakably the former Bradford Arms.

Two of the photos are reproduced here with permission of Bolton Library and Museum Services (copyright Bolton Council).

Bradford Arms Bridgeman Place Bolton in 1957

Bradford Arms Bridgeman Place Bolton 1957
Note Carlton Street - which still exists - where the car is standing

Philip Eastwood (seated left) pictured in 1910 along with the rest of his family. Mr Eastwood ran the Bradford Arms from 1892 until his death in 1936. The pub was opened by the father of his wife Hannah (seated right). 

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