Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Royal Oak, 117 Kay Street, Bolton

 

Site of the Royal Oak, Kay Street in June 2018. Photo from Google Street View.



The Royal Oak was situated on Kay Street at the junction with Haigh Street not far from the site of what was later the Britannia Service Station.


The pub opened around the middle of the nineteenth century and in November 1869 the licence was taken on by Isaac Halliwell, a man who was later to gain notoriety for his part in the so-called Dilke Riot.


Born in 1836, Halliwell was the son of Ellen Halliwell and her husband Henry, a labourer in an iron foundry, probably Benjamin Hick's on Crook Street. The family lived nearby in Horrocks Court, roughly behind what is now the Achari restaurant (formerly the Painters Arms). Isaac followed his father into employment as a foundryman and by 1861 he was living on Croasdale Street which linked Kay Street with Waterloo Street. He was most likely employed at the nearby Globe Iron Works. In 1869, Halliwell succeeded James Clough at the Royal Oak, but it was the events of 1871 and 1872 that saw him make his name.


Sir Charles Dilke was a charismatic Liberal politician who was very much on the left of his party. In 1868, at the age of 25, he won the Chelsea seat at the general election but his views were somewhat at odds with his party's leadership. In 1870 he made a speech in Newcastle calling for the abolition of the Monarchy and for Britain to become a republic. There was a public outcry leading to Dilke recanting his remarks and over the next few years his views slowly began to reflect those of the rest of the Liberal Party.


In November 1871, Dilke was due to make a speech at the 900-capacity Bolton Temperance Hall situated on the corner of St George's Street and Higher Bridge Street. Days before the speech a poster appeared on Bolton's streets that announced the intention to de-platform Dilke. It read:


“To the Loyal People of Bolton – Sir Charles Dilke, the Republican, is coming to address you on Thursday night. Let it be seen that you are true born Englishmen and refuse a hearing to any man who preaches sedition and treason.”


The poster went on to accuse Dilke of attacking Queen Victoria “in an unmanly and odious way” and it called for the people of Bolton to put aside their political differences and to rally in support of the throne.


On the night of the meeting, 30 November 1871, a crowd estimated at 1500 people congregated outside the Temperance Hall and before long the mood turned ugly. One agitator, a local chemist named Thomas Teal, was seen picking up stones on Bridge Street. A prominent Liberal from Halliwell, John Atkins, who was also the landlord of the Swiss Hotel, later claimed in court to have taken two large stones from Teal's pocket. The rocks were distributed by Teal among the demonstrators who then proceeded to pelt the Temperance Hall. An estimated 158 windows were broken in the hall, which had only been rebuilt in 1869.


Inside the hall, Dilke – who was there to speak not about the Monarchy but on another of his interests, the reform of the House of Commons – was unable to take to the stage. As stones were thrown from outside, glass shattered all around and when there was no glass left to be broken, stones were flung through the empty window frames. One hit a 56-year-old labourer named William Schofield on the head and he died a week later having suffered a fractured skull.


Although the Liberals called for assistance from the police only half a dozen members of the local constabulary were on hand. Seventeen people were arrested, including Isaac Halliwell who had been seen entering the hall along with the rest of a mob of around 200 demonstrators.


Two months later, on 1 February 1872, the defendants appeared in court accused of rioting, damage to property and the manslaughter of William Schofield. The pro-Liberal Bolton Evening News pulled no punches in its reporting of the case. “Prosecution Of The Tory Rioters” was the headline in its edition of 1 February 1872. 


One of the defendants, Major Thomas Hesketh, was a Justice of the Peace. He was excused from sitting in court with the rest of the accused and was given a place on the bench. The prosecution then pointed out that one of magistrates at the hearing, W.H Wright, had also been present at the demonstration and had stormed the building with the protestors. He was alleged to have shouted to those present at the meeting: “You brought it upon yourselves; you deserve all you are getting.” The chairman of the bench, the Mayor Of Bolton, William Cannon – a muslin manufacturer whose firm Cannon Brothers built Stanley Mill on Cannon Street – stated that Mr Wright had denied making the remarks but despite what appeared to be a clear conflict of interest he was allowed to remain on the bench for the hearing. 


The magistrates decided that the case would have to be heard at Manchester Assizes which met every few months to deal with offences too serious for the local courts.


By the time the case was heard, in March 1872, charges had been dropped against nine of the 17 defendants but Isaac Halliwell was amongst the eight who stood trial. One of the nine let off was Major Thomas Hesketh. This was despite witnesses telling magistrates that he was one of the 200 people who broke down the east door to the Temperance Hall. He is alleged to have shouted: “Follow me lads, break this door. We have a right to be in and we will get in!” and he was given three cheers by the crowd for his efforts. The Heskeths came from humble stock – his father was a mere grocer when Thomas was born in 1838 – but the family had become textile manufacturers in the town and were now very well connected. The major was the eldest son of Thomas Manley Hesketh, the founder of T.M. Hesketh & Sons Ltd whose mill was a large employer at Astley Bridge. Major Hesketh was later chairman of the Astley Bridge Local Board and one of his brothers, George Hesketh, was Conservative Mayor Of Bolton for 1905-06.


Almost 40 witnesses were called over the two-day trial all of whom stated that there had been a riot. After the evidence had been heard the judge then addressed the jury and told them to put aside any political feelings they had over the issue. He then sent them to consider their verdict. At 3.40pm on 19 March 1872 the jury retired; however, after little over an hour they sent a note to the judge saying they could not agree and asked to be discharged. The judge refused and insisted they continue their deliberations. When they returned again at just after eight o'clock the foreman of the jury said that 11 of the 12 jurors were agreed on a guilty verdict but there was one juror who was flatly refusing to convict any of the defendants. The judge sent the jury out again but at 9.50pm they returned with the foreman saying once again that they could not reach a unanimous verdict. As the judge would not accept a majority verdict he discharged the jury and said the trial would have to be heard again when the assizes next visited Manchester in July.


With that the tide turned very much in favour of Isaac Halliwell and his co-accused. The judge made a remarkable statement in which he said he would have been sorry to have had to pass sentence on the defendants had they been found guilty, although he added that would have been his duty. He went on to say that he hoped the feeling in Bolton would improve in the meantime and that the prosecution would offer no evidence at the re-trial – which is exactly what happened. This was a remarkable statement for the judge to make and it completely failed to take into account the fact that William Schofield had lost his life as a result of the actions of the rioters. But Schofield was a simple labourer and in nineteenth-century England the life of a member of the lower classes wasn't given much value. When a demonstration was held in the town following Schofield's death local Conservatives met at the Gibraltar Rock  on Pikes Lane and said that while no one was more sorry about his death than they were they wouldn't be shedding what they described as “crocodile tears.”


After discharging the jury the judge warned against the prisoners returning to Bolton as heroes but his call fell on deaf ears. Isaac Halliwell and the rest of the accused left the court and returned to the town by train. The Evening News reported on their reception:


“The discharged men and their friends returned to Bolton at about twenty minutes past eleven at night. They were met at the station by a large number of people, who cheered and sang most lustily, and were escorted down Newport Street, by Great Moor Street to the Junior Conservative Club in Mawdesly-Street, where the cheering was continued for some time.”

Bolton Evening News, 20 March 1872.


No doubt the trial did wonders for Isaac Halliwell's reputation and the rest of the 1870s were a prosperous period for him. In 1875 it was reported he had bought the Three Crowns on Deansgate for £1200. This wasn't the Old Three Crowns, which still stands today, but another pub on the other side of the road on the corner of Mealhouse Lane.


The following year the Three Crowns was pulled down for improvements to the road junction and Isaac Halliwell applied to have the its full licence transferred to a new pub he had just built on the corner of Great Moor Street and Deansgate to be called the Balmoral Hotel.  Halliwell claimed to have spent £5000 on the new building. At the licensing hearing in May 1876 he said the Balmoral was several storeys high and contained an extensive billiard room. Some land had been bought nearby and the intention was to build stables there. He added that this was not a new location for a fully-licenced pub. Two long-established public houses, the Horse and Jockey and the Horse and Groom, had stood on or near the site until their recent demolition. Another old pub, the Shakespeare on the other side of Deansgate near the junction with Bolling's Yard, was also about to close. So the granting of a full licence for the Balmoral would see “a fine hotel put in place of three fourth-rate houses.” The magistrates granted the licence and the Balmoral opened shortly afterwards in the summer of 1876.


Perhaps spending £5000 on the Balmoral stretched Isaac Halliwell financially because within a few months he was on the move again. He moved to Blackpool in early 1880 where he and his wife Janet took over the Prince Of Wales Hotel in York Street. Adverts for the pub and its accommodation were a regular feature in the Bolton press that year.


Halliwell died at the Prince Of Wales in January 1881 at the age of just 44. His estate was valued at less than £400. Janet Halliwell continued running the Prince Of Wales until her death in 1898. The pub was demolished in the late-1960s. The Gauntlet (later the Jaggy Thistle) was built on the site but that closed in 2010 and was demolished the following year. A car park is now on the site.


Back at the Royal Oak, Isaac Halliwell was succeeded by John Farrar; however, the owner of the building decided to sell the pub and it was bought by the Alexandra Brewery of Stewart Street, Brownlow Fold.


During the 1880s James Grundy took over as landlord and the Royal Oak was run by members of his family for around the next 20 years. Grundy died in 1893. He was a keen bowler and on the occasion of his death the Bolton Bowling Association passed a motion of condolence to his family. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, William Shipperbottom. The 1891 census shows that Shipperbottom was living at the pub along with his wife, Elizabeth – James Grundy's daughter – and their four children. By 1910 they were at the Union Arms, Eskrick Street. 


Shipperbottom was succeeded by Joshua S Porritt who died at the Royal Oak in 1920. Porritt had previously run the Founders Arms on St George's Street and the Swiss Hotel, Southern Street, Brownlow Fold.


By 1924 the landlady was Emma Bolan. Born Emma Mayoh in 1865 she married an American, Frank Bolan, in 1900 and the couple were at the Nelson's Monument on Blackburn Road from 1902 onwards. She succeeded Joshua Porritt at the Royal Oak and was living at the pub when she died in 1937. By then she had handed over control to her daughter Grace Davies (later Grace Banks).


The Royal Oak was owned by Halliwell's Alexandra Brewery until that firm was bought by Magee, Marshall and Company in 1910. It isn't known whether the Halliwell family were directly related to Isaac Halliwell.


Magee's was taken over by the Warrington firm of Greenall Whitley in 1958 but the Royal Oak continued to be supplied from Magee's brewery on Cricket Street, off Derby Street, until the pub's closure in 1968. It was demolished although the site remained empty for many years. The extension to St Peter's Way, which was begun in 1987, now runs through the pub's former site.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Queens Arms - Flax Tavern, 42 Bridge Street, Bolton

 

Bridge Street pictured in June 2018 (copyright Google). Tuesday's Skate shop is at number 42, next to Bolton's last vinyl record store, X Records. Another pub, the New Market, was next door at number 40 until 1972. It was later pulled down and an advertising hoarding put on the site until Bow Street was widened.


The Queens Arms was situated at 42 Bridge Street – a building that still exists.


The pub was originally named the Flax Tavern and opened around 1860. Flax is a fibrous plant from which linen is produced. Nearby Bark Street Mill produced flax and was known as Flax Mill. Its chimney was demolished in 1972. There was a Flax Place on the other side of Bridge Street not far from the mill.


The pub's first mention is in an article in the Bolton Chronicle of 24 June 1865. The local council donated £5 towards a meal at the pub for workers on the new fish market situated just across the road. The fish market remained in place until 1932 when it moved to the newly-built market premises on Ashburner Street. It was demolished soon afterwards and the story goes that swarms of rats fled the building when demolition began.


In January 1870 the Flax Tavern was the scene of a bizarre incident involving landlord Joseph Hamer and his brother-in-law Samuel Wilson, a carter who lived in nearby Back Bow Street. One Sunday night Wilson went to the pub but over the course of the evening he became very drunk. Hamer tried to calm him down and the Bolton Chronicle of 24 January 1870 takes up the story:


“About ten o'clock he [Wilson] became very quarrelsome, and threw a dog at him [Hamer]. He then rushed at him and threw him to the ground, and a cry was raised that the prisoner was biting. He was taken off the prosecutor [Hamer], and it was then found that a piece of his left ear had been bitten off. The prisoner then ran away, and the piece of ear was found on the floor. Prisoner, who pleaded that he was very drunk at the time, was committed to the assizes for trial.”


Hamer died in 1872. He had previously worked as a stonemason and it is likely that he continued his work in that profession even while he had the pub. His wife Alice took over the licence on his death and she continued in the pub trade for at least 20 more years. She later ran two beerhouses off Bridgeman Street, the Coe Street Tavern and then the York Street Tavern where she was the landlady as late as 1895.


By 1881 the Flax Tavern had changed its name to the Queens Arms. In November of that year a laundress named Frances Hardman of Chapel Alley walked into the pub and asked to be shown the back yard. She was led through the kitchen and out the back door but after she had left, landlord Ellis Fletcher noticed that a shirt and towel were missing. Ms Hardman was also accused of stealing 12 brushes from a shop in Rushton Street and 50 yards of galatea cloth from a shop in Corporation Street. She had sold 16 yards of the cloth to the landlord of the George Hotel. Hardman admitted stealing the items and she was committed to the sessions for trial. [Bolton Evening News, 26 November 1881].


In 1899 the Queens Arms was one of a number of pubs put up for auction as part of the sale of its owners, Walkers Bolton Brewery Company Ltd. Pubs in Bolton and Preston as well as a brewery on Spa Road were included in the sale. The brewery was built in 1874 by George Walker, a pub landlord and brewer who had built up a small tied estate to be served by the brewery. However, the business had got into difficulties and in 1899 Walker decided to sell. Bidding started at £50,000 but the lot was withdrawn at £73,000. Instead, Walker formed the Spa Wells Brewery Company Ltd to buy the brewery and the pubs. By the end of 1903 that company was also in trouble and it was put up for sale. Walker appeared in the bankruptcy court claiming he had lost £7500 on the value of his shares in the Spa Wells Brewery.


The brewery and the Queens Arms, as well as a number of Spa Wells' other Bolton pubs, were bought by James Jackson who registered his business as a private company in 1913. That company was taken over George Shaw & Co Ltd of Leigh in 1927. The brewery was bought by the Bolton Free Brewery Co Ltd which became the Bolton and District Clubs Brewery Ltd in 1929. That lasted for eight years until it was bought by Howcroft's in 1937. It finally closed in 1969 after Howcroft's merged with B Cunningham Ltd of Warrington. Magnet Kitchens has been on the site for some years. Walker Street, next to the premises, are the only clue as to its former life as a brewery.


The end for the Queens Arms came in 1906 when its licence was objected to at the annual licensing sessions. Speaking for the council, Mr JH Hall stated that there were 11 fully-licenced pubs and three beerhouses within a radius of 200 yards of the Queens. One of those beerhouses was the New Market which was situated right next door. Police Inspectors Habgood and Clarke and Superintendent Lowe stated that the Queens was frequented by a large number of young girls and men as well as a number of “disorderly women”. In defence of Jackson and licensee William Singleton, Mr Russell said that the pub did a fair trade – five barrels a week plus bottles. In the few days since the announcement of the pub's impending closure, a petition against the decision had been signed by 200 people. Jackson, the pub's landlady Mrs Singleton and William Partington who lived two doors away at 46 Bridge Street gave evidence to the effect that the house was run in a straightforward manner. However, despite their best efforts the licensees orders its closure [Bolton Evening News, 9 May 1906]. Compensation was later set at £520. [Manchester Courier, 11 January 1907]


Since the Queens' closure the premises have been used by various enterprises. In 1924 it was Taylors pawnbrokers and according to the book Bolton Pubs 1800-2000 it has been partly rebuilt. It was Bolton Spinal Care for a number of years before becoming Tuesday's Skate Shop in 2016.



Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Pike View Hotel, 321 Derby Street, Bolton



The Pike View pictured in 2008

The Pike View Hotel was situated on Derby Street on the corner of Swan Lane*. There are two theories as to how the pub got its name. The most likely is that it was named after a view of Rivington Pike which was uninterrupted until properties were built on the other side of Derby Street. But there is also a theory that it was named due to its proximity to The Pike, Robert Heywood's former home not far away from the pub on High Street and which would have been clearly visible until the 1880s.


The Pike View dated back to the 1850s and the first mention we have is in a report in the Bolton Chronicle of 23 May 1857. Thomas Boardman, described in court as “half-witted”, was accused of causing a disturbance at the pub. However, it emerged that other customers would often torment Boardman after he'd had a drink. They would pluck at his hair and pinch him, much to his annoyance, and this disturbance was the result of such provocation. Boardman's father said he'd been run over at the age of seven and suffered from fits. He was blind in one eye and had lost the use of one arm. The landlord of the Pike View said he didn't know what to do and on the face of it the locals could be accused of behaving callously towards someone with obvious disabilities. While some people were in favour of Boardman being allowed in the pub others were against it. The magistrates decided there was no case for Boardman to answer and dismissed the case.


In 1862, landlord Samuel Partington applied for a spirit licence. He was refused and it was over 40 years before spirits were sold at the Pike View. When he applied again the following year a meeting at the Temperance Hall was told that eight of the 16 applications for new spirit licences came from pubs between the Pike View and the Flag Hotel as housing development continued along Derby Street and beerhouses applied for spirits licence to satisfy what they perceived as a demand for those drinks.


Samuel Partington died in 1872. His daughter Elizabeth Partington, a dressmaker by trade, took over the licence after his death but she sold the pub at an auction in 1875 shortly before her marriage to John France. An assumption could be made that Mr France wasn't interested in the licensed trade, hence the sale; however, by 1881 the Frances were living in Bollington and running a pub.


The purchaser at the auction was Robert Dobson of the Parkfield Inn  on Crook Street. The Parkfield had its own brewery and Dobson supplied the Pike View with beers from the Parkfield until his death in 1888.


Ads for the 1875 auction made reference to a club room at the pub and the Pike View was used as the meeting place of a number of organisations over the years. The Welcome Stranger Lodge Number 53 of the Loyal Order Of Female Druids met at the pub in 1859 and at least two early football clubs used it as its headquarters. In the 1881-82 season Pike View Rangers were based there. The Bolton Evening News reported in its edition of 20 March 1882 that the Rangers were involved in a local derby against a side named Willows Rangers. It was a home game for Pike View, although the location of their ground isn't revealed in the report. The visitors were triumphant by scoring three goals to Pike View's one goal and a disputed goal. A team was still active at the pub in the 1893-94 season although by now they were simply known as Pike View. The Evening News of 21 October 1893 reported that they were held to a 2-2 draw by Rumworth St George's which was most likely a church team based at St George The Martyr on Church Avenue. Although there was an organised league in Bolton at that time, made up mostly of church teams, most clubs played friendly matches and an extensive list of results in the paper show the teams that were active in the Bolton area at that time: Bolton Orlando, Bark Street Alliance, St Luke's Choir, Arden Street Rangers, Alma Swifts, Dixon Green Rovers, Deane Association and many others. By 1895, Daubhill Wednesday of the Lancashire Wednesday League were based at the Pike View and were active into the twentieth century.


The 1895 Bolton Directory shows that a Percy Orrell was the manager of the Pike View. Percy had been brought up in the pub business – his father was Thomas Orrell, a local councillor who ran the Railway Hotel on St Helens Road. Census records from four years earlier show that Percy was indeed a public house manager but that he was just 19 years old. He didn't live on the premises but in nearby Howcroft Street along with his wife Mary and their young son. Mr Orrell later left the Pike View and joined the Duke Of Lancaster's Own Regiment. He was killed in the Boer War at Faber's Spruit in 1900.


There was a large increase in the population of the locality around the Pike View towards the end of the 19th century. In 1885 the Bolton to Leigh railway, which for 57 years had run a couple of hundreds yards behind the pub, was re-routed with the opening of a new line that ran between Daubhill station and Great Moor Street via a cutting that ran beneath Crawshaw Lane (later Ellesmere Road) and Higher Swan Lane. The old railway line had followed an incline from Swan Lane down to town and the new route removed that. The old line was pulled up and houses built between Adelaide Street and High Street. Auburn Street, Essingdon Street and Bowness Road were among the streets that were constructed in the 1890s and all survive to this day. Employment in the area was boosted by the newly-built Swan Lane Mills. Number 1 mill was built in 1902 with Number 2 mill following three years later. This double-mill was the largest in the world at that time.


With the area booming the Pike View underwent alterations in 1898 but in 1904 another application was made for a spirit licence. By now the pub was owned by Magee, Marshall and Co whose Crown Brewery at Cricket Street was just a quarter of a mile away. However, in order for the application to be granted Magee's had to offer up the licences of one fully-licensed pub, one beerhouse and one off-licence. The fully-licensed Elephant and Castle on Blackhorse Street was sacrificed along with the Jolly Carter  beerhouse on the corner of Derby Street and High Street and an off-licence at 68-70 Rosamond Street.


Magee's owned the Pike View until they sold out to Greenall Whitley in 1958 although their tied estate was served by the brewery at Cricket Street until its closure in 1970.


The Pike View served real ale up to 1979. According to the issue of Greater Manchester beer drinkers' magazine What's Doing in July of that year, a refurbishment brought about the installation of cellar tanks and the removal of handpumps. The article mourned the pub's loss as a real ale outlet describing is as “a traditional, well-kept local”. A number of pubs went back to real ale over the ensuing years, but not the Pike View.


Plans were afoot in 1987 for the first-floor living accommodation at the pub to become a branch of the Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes. This followed the closure of the RAOB's former premises, the Crown Hotel on Derby Street which was demolished to make way for extra parking at Cambrian Soft Drinks, the Greenall's subsidiary that succeeded Magees in their occupancy of the Crown Brewery. However, the application was withdrawn and the Buffs moved instead to the Ram's Head on Derby Street.


Greenalls got out of brewing in the early nineties and the Pike View became part of Admiral Taverns. As with just about all the pubs on the so-called 'Daubhill mile' trade at the Pike View slowly diminished. It lasted longer than most with the end coming in 2009. The premises subsequently became a fast-food outlet.


* Not to be confused with Higher Swan Lane. Swan Lane used to run from Derby Street to Settle Street but when Bridgeman Street was extended from High Street to Adelaide Street at the end of the 19th century Swan Lane was split in two. The section from Derby Street to Bridgeman Street kept the original name but the section from Bridgeman Street was re-named Higher Swan Lane. It was extended to Lever Edge Lane as houses were built along the section beyond Settle Street in the early years of the 20th century.




Sunday, 29 November 2020

Rushton Arms, 28 Wareing Street, Bolton


This access road running off Deane Road between the STEM Centre on the right and the University Of Bolton's Motor Engineering Centre on the left is all that is left of Wareing Street. The original houses in the area were demolished in the 1960s and replaced by council housing. These were demolished in 2010 when plans were revealed for the conversion of the whole area into Bolton's education quarter.

The Rushton Arms was a typical back-street pub the likes of which have largely died out. It was situated at 28 Wareing Street (sometimes spelled Waring Street) off Deane Road.


Pubs were often named after prominent figures, whether they may be national or local, and it is likely that the Rushton Arms was named after Thomas Lever Rushton, a prominent town councillor. Rushton represented Exchange Ward from 1846 to 1852 and from 1868 to 1874. He was then an Alderman for the ward from 1874 to 1883. Rushton was a solicitor by profession but he also founded the firm of Rushton and Eckersley, an iron forging business whose works occupied land that was later the site of Moor Lane bus station. However, he is best remembered for instigating the construction of the Market Hall which opened in December 1855. That perhaps gives us a clue as to the age of the pub that bore his name.


The Rushton Arms opened in the middle of the 19th century and the first reference we have is in 1857 when landlord John Smith was up in front of the court accused of having his pub open at twenty to eight on a Sunday morning. Police claimed they had seen six or eight men wait at a side window at the pub and after waiting a short while they were given entry. When the police officers went up to the window a woman shook her head at them but they were given entry anyway. However, no beer was noticed when they entered the pub. The court heard from Jane Askew, John Smith's sister, who had been staying with him for the past three weeks. She claimed to have been cleaning the pub and opened the door to let in some fresh air. Six or eight men walked in but she refused to serve them. They then asked for their wedding glasses (Smith had got married during the week). Smith came downstairs and told them to return at opening time. They then left. Jane Askew then claimed that when she saw the two policemen she shook her head as she did not know them. She also claimed that one of the policemen went round to the back of the pub, let himself in, then let in the other policemen by the front door. The magistrates admitted that there was some doubt in the case and dismissed the charges. [Bolton Chronicle, 18 July 1857].


Smith had left the Rushton Arms by the time of the 1861 census. The pub was occupied at that time by John Cooling along with his wife and a lodger. Later in the 1860s, Thomas Blackley moved in. A former iron moulder he was there until his death in 1879.


A notice appeared in the Bolton Evening News of 24 February 1902 offering the Rushton Arms for sale. At that time the owner of the building had an agreement with the Manchester brewery of J. G. Swales and Co Ltd who leased the pub and installed tenants*. However, the lease was due to expire the following month and the owner of the building decided to sell up. It was stated in the ad that the pub had been under the same ownership for almost half a century. Properties numbered 49, 51, 53, 55 and 57 Wellington Street were also included in the sale. Although all the properties were nominally in separate streets they were effectively one block of buildings. The Rushton Arms' front was in Wareing Street but it was actually the side of the block. The ad describes the pub as a substantial three-storey building that had obviously been built as licensed premises:


The house has frontages of 41ft 6in and 28ft respectively, is of lofty elevation, good appearance and condition, well fixtured, prominently situated in favourable business position and contains centre lobby, Bar and Vault, Tap Room, Kitchen, Scullery, Assembly Room, six bedrooms, two Landings, five Cellars, Brewhouse, Yard and conveniences and is free from reproach. Apportioned chief rent £3 15s 0d, Contents of site 316 square yards.”


The pub was bought by the firm of J. Hamer who were based at the Volunteer Inn, Bromley Cross. Hamer's were in the process of expanding their tied estate and were always on the lookout for pubs. Their only other outlet in the area was an off-licence in nearby Ellesmere Street.


Hamer's ownership of the Rushton Arms was only brief. In 1913 the licensing justices referred six houses to the compensation authority on the grounds that the pubs were no longer needed and all six closed down later that year. The Rushton had the Corporation Tavern as a neighbour just a back street away along with a whole host of pubs along Deane Road.


The other pubs closed down at that time were the Harp Tavern on Moor Lane, the Foresters Arms on Blackburn Road, the Black Lion on Turton Street, the Phoenix Tavern on Phoenix Street, and the Mount Pleasant Inn on Mill Street.


* Swales supplied a small number of pubs in Bolton. Some of our senior drinkers may remember their products from the Prince William on Bradshawgate or the Lodge Bank Tavern on Bridgeman Street. The brewery and its 38 pubs was bought by Boddington's in 1970.



Saturday, 28 November 2020

Town Hall Tavern, 46-48 Victoria Square, Bolton


The Town Hall Tavern pictured shortly before it closed in 1925. At that time it was owned by the Bromley Cross brewery, Hamer's. After the pub closed licensee William Cole went on to run the Cheetham Arms at Dunscar. Pic: Bolton Library and Museum Service.

The Town Hall Tavern stood on Howell Croft on land that was to become part of Bolton's civic centre. The pub isn't to be confused with the Town Hall Hotel which stood not too far away on Old Hall Street. 


In 1861 George Cooper and his wife Sarah were living at the premises. George was described at that time as provision dealer so it is likely that at some stage during the 1860s he decided to sell beer as well as provisions. One reason could have been the construction of the new Bolton Town Hall just across the road from George's premises. Construction began in 1866 and the new building opened in 1873. In the meantime beer became George's main line of business and the beerhouse became known as the Town Hall Tavern.


In 1875 George Cooper decided to apply for a licence to sell foreign wines. Pubs tended to be either beerhouses or they had full licences which enabled them to sell wines and spirits, but a small number of pubs sold just wine as well as beer. By the 1870s it had become more and more difficult for beerhouses to sell anything other than beer and licences to sell spirits and/or wine had become difficult to get come by. Cooper applied at the annual licensing hearing, the Brewster Sessions – one of 13 beerhouses applying for licences to sell products other than beer. All were refused by the magistrates.


George Cooper died aged 51 later that year and his widow Sarah took over the Town Hall Tavern. Mrs Cooper applied once more for a licence to sell wine at the 1880 Brewster Sessions. She stated that people often came to her house after watching concerts at the Town Hall and they wanted something to drink other than beer. Once again all applications were rejected by the magistrates.


In January 1882 there was an outbreak of smallpox at a lodging house on Howell Croft a few doors away. The inspector in charge of the case, George Southern, visited the Town Hall Tavern and warned Mrs Cooper not to allow anyone from the lodging house to enter the pub. She pointed out one man from the lodging house and police told him to leave and go home. He was also warned not to go into the Town Hall Tavern again. He replied he would not as he had quarrelled with Mrs Cooper. The following day Inspector Southern met up with the man at Wood Street and walked him to the workhouse which was situated on land now occupied by the Royal Bolton Hospital.


The Town Hall Tavern was bought by local brewer Magee Marshall but was later sold by Magee's to another local firm, J Hamer, based at the Volunteer Inn, Bromley Cross.


The building of Bolton Town Hall was the beginning of the Town Hall Tavern as licenced premises in the 1860s. However, the need for more local government offices was to mark its end. Bolton Council earmarked land on Howell Croft and Victoria Square for the construction of a new civic centre. The Town Hall Tavern was bought by the council in 1925 and demolished soon afterwards.





Friday, 20 November 2020

Ploughboy, 97 Higher Bridge Street, Bolton



The Higher Bridge Street branch of Aldi. The Ploughboy once stood at the edge of the car park.



The Ploughboy was situated at 97 Higher Bridge Street, close to the junction with Prince Street.


The building was only a pub for about 20 years until its closure in 1870. It was owned by George Holden who decided to move to the another beerhouse, the Old Cottage – more commonly known as the Quiet Woman  - on what is now Bradford Street in 1870. At a hearing, Holden found the transfer objected to by the town's chief constable, Thomas Beech, who claimed Holden was fined 2 shillings and 6 pence for a breach of his licence about 20 years previously. Holden stated that he had never been fined in his life. Chief Constable Beech referred to the court's fines book which stated that George Holden, the Letters, Higher Bridge Street had been fined. Holden replied that his house was known as the Ploughboy and never “the Letters”. The magistrates admitted that perhaps there was another George Holden and sanctioned the transfer. [Bolton Chronicle, 4 June 1870]


The court then turned to the transfer of the licence of the Ploughboy from George Holden to his son, George Holden junior. One of the magistrates, Councillor Richard Stockdale, pointed to George junior and asked his father if “that lad” would be taking charge of the pub. Holden senior replied that he would to which Councillor Stockdale responding by asking how old he was. “Twenty-one in January” replied George senior adding that his son would only be in charge for another four months. Chief Constable Beech stated that as the pub would virtually be under the control of the father he had no objections to the transfer.


So why four months? The Ploughboy was situated right next to Dobson and Barlow's mill. The firm wanted to expand the mill and wished to purchase properties on Higher Bridge Street to facilitate the expansion. The Ploughboy was bought and closed in the autumn of 1870 and it was subsequently demolished.


George Holden's time at the Old Cottage was brief. The 1871 census has him living on Waterloo Street describing him as “a beerseller out of business”.


Dobson and Barlow's later became Osman Textiles. That closed in the early-nineties, The mill was demolished and an Aldi store was built on the site in 1993.  




Thursday, 19 November 2020

Standard Arms, 50-52 Hulme Street, Bolton



What was once Hulme Street is now a continuation of Cross Street. The Standard Arms would have been situated on the  left of the photo. Photo taken 2014. Copyright Google.



There were two pubs in Bolton called the Standard. The Standard Hotel stood on Gray Street, just off Prince Street. We're interested in the Standard Arms which was situated on Hulme Street, close to its junction with Dean Street.


The area bounded by Folds Road, Prince Street and Kay Street was built up in the middle of the nineteenth century and with new housing developments came the beerhouses. Like many beerhouses at the time, the Standard Arms only became licensed when a householder paid 2 guineas (£2.10) to allow himself to sell beer.


The first record we have of the Standard Arms is in the 1869 Bolton Directory when David Hilton was the licensee. Hilton actually stepped down from the pub for a short while and the 1871 directory has a Solomon Hilton – presumably a relative – as the licensee. Local directories were often compiled the previous year and in January 1871 David Hilton was back as the licensee. The Bolton Beer And Wine Sellers Association held their quarterly meeting at the Standard Arms that month. [Bolton Evening News, 12 January 1871].


Solomon Hilton went off to be a clogger working from shop premises in Folds Road. By 1881 he was living in Chew Moor. David Hilton later moved to the Middleton Arms, not far away from the Standard Arms, on Charles Street. He died in 1882. 


By 1882 the pub was owned by the Spread Eagle Brewery based at the Spread Eagle pub on Hough Lane in Eagley.


In 1901, landlord John Murphy was brought up in front of the magistrates on the charge of serving alcohol to a drunk. Two police officers went into the pub one night and saw a man named John McCormick who was seated in the vault in a drunken condition. In those days not all vaults had tables and it was common for customers to sit on benches and leave their drinks on the bar counter. McCormick went to the counter and picked up a pint pot containing beer and when challenged by the landlord insisted he had paid for it. One of the police officers suggested to Murphy that McCormick was drunk, something Murphy denied. McCormick was then asked to go outside. He staggered out and created such a commotion with the two policemen that he had to be taken to the town hall to be locked up. He was later fined for being drunk and disorderly. Both Murphy and his wife denied serving McCormick claiming that neither of them had even seen him enter the pub. The magistrates were having none of it and fined Murphy 10 shillings although they decided not to endorse his licence. [Bolton Evening News, 18 April 1901]


In 1908, landlady Mary Ann Walsh was the victim of a scam involving a 54-year-old man named Thomas Harvey Williams who entered the pub one day and asked to cash a cheque. He claimed to be a local councillor and that as he wasn't well enough to go to a bank he would like to cash a cheque for £2 and 5 shillings (£2.25) – the equivalent now of about £270. When Mrs Walsh came to cash the cheque it in her bank account it bounced. Williams was also charged with carrying out a similar fraud against the landlord of the Waggon and Horses, Bury Old Road, Heywood and against shopkeepers Mr Alston of Bridge Street and Mr Hornby of Higher Bridge Street. Williams was sentenced to four months in prison with hard labour. Since the offences had been committed he had spent three months in jail for another matter. He had been in and out of jail for much of his life albeit on minor offences. [Bolton Evening News, 13 January 1909].


The Standard Arms closed in 1911.The area around Hulme Street was knocked down in the sixties and new housing built on the site of the Standard Arms in the nineties. The stretch of Hulme Street where the pub once stood still exists but is completely unrecognisable from the early part of the twentieth century. It is now a continuation of Cross Street.