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     Deansgate from Knowsley St to Moor Lane

24000 159.9 Barbara OzwytchCrossley 24005 138.01 DW Sept 1929 Knowsley House small 24010 155.6 late 1930s DavidWhenl small 24020 155.5 LisaDJWaring 24030 157 x136 small 24040 157 y 24sep2009 small 24050 156 x192 small 24060 156.1 1907 Woolworths opened here in 1912, moved to Constantines 1926, expanded down Bridge st 1959 closed 2009 small 24070 156.2 EdThom1962 24080 156.2 Oxford Street 9 May 2013 small pollock pollock pollock 24085 DeansgateOxfordSt GW small 24090 156.3 Alpha Toys Oxford St 1978 small 24100 156.4 1992 small 24110 156.5 Oxford St Boydell's 1982 - small 24120 156.1 PL Oxford St 24130 156.1 PeterLodge 24150 158 x179 Deansgate plus - small 24160 158.1 Lion's Paw Deansgate small 24170 158.4 GR small 24180 158.5 24sep2009 small 24185 158.6 24sep2009 small 24190 158.6b 24sep2009 small 24210 158.7 OldHallStreet c1900 small 24230 158.8 XPP Old Hall St c1950 24285 Whitakers 24220 158.8 WPP ridgG small 24240 2016 09 20 508 Ridgway Gate, Old Hall St N small 24241 2016 09 20 509 Ridgway Gate, Old Hall St N, Town Hall small 24250 159.7 XPP Ridgway Gates 1935 small 24260 159.8 small 24270 Whitakers DW small 24280 158.9 Deansgate 24Sep2009 small 24290 159.5 slide 3994 Aug 1998 small 24300 159.6 24sep2009 small 24310 159 x58 Deansgate small 24320 160.3 pre 1928 got Whitakers, Aspinall, not Knowsley House small 24330 160.1 Deansgate 1934 small

posted by Barbara Ozwytch Crossley


Deansgate looking east to the corner of Knowsley Street –Alexandre’s on near corner, Fifty(?) Shilling Tailor on far corner with Liverpool Victoria and Cooperative Insurance in the building.


The clock is probably at H Samuel’s. We see William’s Deacon’s Bank and a white marble fronted building (now Superdrug) with fancy work (which is no longer there) above the gutter line.

Posted by David Whenlock:  


September 1929 Bolton Civic Week.


We see that Knowsley House has just been completed and note the fancywork on the white building roof beyond the bank.

1930s interesting for the bus which looks like a trolleybus without the trolley. This was Bolton’s only AEC Q bus with the engine under-floor behind the front wheels.


Note Alexandre’s Tailors on the corner opposite where it was in the 1950s 60s.


posted on Face book by Lisa D J Waring.

pre 1968 Corner of Deansgate Oxford Street, Arndale House.


Comment from Mike Stephenson: Bit of history/mystery....the Arndale Centers were shopping "malls" built in the 60's by two blokes who combined their names Arnold and Chippendale, no really it's true. This building was obviously not Bolton's Arndale as that's where Crompton Place is as you know, so why is this building called the Arndale?


Comment from Peter Lodge: I have always assumed that either the offices of Arndale were located in here, or the council decided that owners of Arndale had actually done some good for the town of Bolton (what a laugh), and named the building in honour of them, in the same way that they name leisure centres after some 'here today gone tomorrow' Olympic competitor. The odd thing is that this photo pre-dates the opening of the Arndale centre.

The west corner of Deansgate and Oxford Street, Westminster Bank which had previously been Parr’s Bank.

Sep 2009 the same corner. We have the steam engine and the statue of Fred Dibnah on Oxford Street. Parr’s Bank, Westminster Bank is now the Nationwide Building Society. The original building with its diagonal corner (not round like two other corners at this junction) originally stretched from the door just to the right of Curry’s to the drainpipe on Deansgate. More on this later.©WDC

Above - 1907


Corner of Deansgate and Oxford Street, the Parr’s Bank building was set back from the existing shops in anticipation of their being demolished and rebuilt, Oxford Street having been widened. Parr’s Bank later becomes Westminster Bank and now Nationwide Building Society. On the bank building is “NS Kay” ?Kay and Foley photographers?

Above - 1907


A more restricted photograph from a slightly more direct angle shows “?? Fittings to be offered for SALE BY AUCTION on OCT” and the white notices at the top of the windows has “...fittings in this shop are to be sold by auction on Oct 9th. We must clear the stock before then. HENCE THE SLASHING REDUCTIONS”. “These shops are to be enlarged and rebuilt for Adamson and Barlow”. Woolworths opened here in 1912 and moved to Constantines on the corner of Deansgate and  Bridge St in 1926, expanded down Bridge St 1959 closed 2009. The building under the Town Hall clock is the George and Dragon, 13-15 Oxford Street, which closed in 1924 when the block was acquired by the Co-op and demolished 1924/5. The Oxford Street Co-op opened 1927 (1928?).


That is a slight puzzle. These two pictures are 1907 and are advertising the impending demolition and rebuilding but the block was not actually demolished until 1924.

Above - 1962

The Parr’s Bank building is at the right end of the block. Then  the rest of the block, built 1927, has two separate buildings, the Oxford Street Co-op and the building occupied at the date by Whitaker’s. We see the new Newport Street shops beyond the Town Hall.



Oxford Street 9 May 2013


The statue of Fred Dibnah is not there yet. ©WDC

posted on Face book by Gene Watts.


A fantastic view along Oxford Street from its corner with Deansgate. Some of the buildings on the left are still there. The gap beyond the first block is of course Victoria Square on the other side of which the Exchange Building can be seen.

Just off Deansgate was Alpha Toys.


“A NEW toy shop which promised to be a paradise for children of all ages and one of the largest stores of its kind in Europe opened in Oxford Street, Bolton, in 1978. Alpha Toy Centre, already a familiar name in Bolton town centre with another shop in Bridge Street, aimed to provide a vast selection of toys and games all the year round with lots of displays to enable children to see the toys in realistic settings.

But in 1982 the success story had turned sour. William Thornton, the 38-years-old owner of Alpha Toys shut down his chain of shops and filed a petition of bankruptcy. He claimed he had a £1 million turnover at his Oxford Street, Bolton, shop but his Manchester store "bled me to death". Mr Thornton said: "My Bolton shop never lost money. My customers and staff have been great."

Mr Thornton claimed he was the first businessman to bring cut-price toys to the North which helped to bring down toy prices generally. Our picture today shows the Alpha Toy Centre in Oxford Street, a real "world of fantasy" for Bolton children in 1978.” (Bolton News)

1992 The Boydell’s Toy Shop

Oxford Street job hunters at Boydell’s 1982

<<<<<A look along Oxford Street from the corner of Victoria Square.


Comments from Peter Lodge:- The Palatine building still has its top storey and is occupied by Burgon's store. This backs up my theory that Burgon's temporarily moved to the corner of Deansgate and Howell Croft while this was being dismantled, and then moved back around 1909. The shop between the bank and the George and Dragon is still there in this photo. It's not really clear but if you know what you're looking for you can see the boards high up on the wall between the pub lamps. This was demolished 1907/8, but I've no idea if the boards were a permanent feature, or a temporary one to advertise the auction prior to demolition, so it's not clear if it's 1907 or earlier. The tram no 84 was delivered in 1903, so the photo is 2 years either side of 1905.

Tate's (no.14) is on the right with its strange upstairs window configuration (still there today) suggesting it was once 2 different shops. You can see the sign closer to Deansgate for 'Holden's Vaults’ which was the alternative name for the Higher Nags Head, which had its main entrance on Deansgate.

Posted by Peter Lodge. Similar view but showing the shops on the left more clearly, slightly later since the Palatine Building has now lost its top storey.


24140 158 b Lion's Paw, ex Four Horse Shoes, Deans

Back onto Deansgate itself. Parr’s Bank is clear on the corner but the main subject of the picture is the Lion’s Paw which had previously been the Four Horse Shoes. Then in 1907 it was rebuilt and renamed the Silver Vat. Note that Parr’s Bank is built further back than the pub in preparation for its rebuilding and the widening of Deansgate.


On the extended picture we see Old Hall Street North to the right of the pub and the site where Whitaker’s is being built. The hoardings have an advertisement for a “moving” sale at Whitaker’s which at this time is at the other end of the block at the corner of Howell Croft North.

Lion’s Paw, Whitaker’s and Pare’s Chemist. Note that Whitaker’s has been built further back than the Lion’s Paw and the chemist, anticipating the widening of Deansgate. The pub will shortly be demolished.

The Silver Vat, was built to match the Whitakers building in 1907. This picture is immediately before the building was demolished in 1927. Parr’s Bank then extended its building to occupy the whole block between Oxford Street and Old Hall Street. Note that Deansgate is to the left and Old Hall Street North is into the picture on the right.

24 Sept 2009 The extended building now occupied by Nationwide; you cannot see the join, IT’S BEHIND THE DRAINPIPE. ©WDC

Sept 2009 Old Hall Street and Whitaker’s . ©WDC

Old Hall Street North corner with Deansgate before Whitaker’s was built,  c1900 – J Hodgkinson oils, varnishes, glass, paints, brushes, ? & cement Merchants. This building preceded Whitaker’s and has posters “removing” so is likely to be 1906/7

Old Hall Street North July 1984; the same corner; a queue of 200 bargain hunters had formed outside Whitaker’s by 9.00am. By lunchtime over 1000 people had gone through the doors.

20 Sept 2016 almost no change since the 1950s. ©WDC

c 1950 same as the previous picture except 25 years later and the back of the Oxford Street Co-op can be seen. Note the black and white building, the Fleetwood Fish Stores on the right.

View from Ridgway Gate across Deansgate c1925; we see the Silver Vat, demolished 2 yrs after this picture, the far buildings on Old Hall Street are being demolished to make way for the Oxford Street Co-op.

Georgian buildings in Ridgway Gates, The Old Cottage built 1777.

Ridgway Fold 1895. Down from Ridgway Gate, approximately where the back of the Victoria Hall is. The tall buildings in the background about 1/4 in from the left and 1/4 down from the top are Velvet Walks. The Croal is just behind the viewer. The building behind the houses is Albion Foundry.

24264 i13 p - Copy 24265 i13 Velvet Walks more 24266 i13 velvet walks 1927 24267 i13 maybe Velvet Walks back street 1927 - Co 24269 i16 croal as it passes under Knowsley St 24268 i15 - Copy 24268 i13 s Albion Ct off Central St. 1920s30s via Edward Thompson - Copy

9 May 2013, Ridgway Gate, behind the Victoria Hall, goes down to the Croal and gives access to cellars under the Market Hall and once passed under Knowsley Street to Brook Street. Ridgway Fold was down here.

Above and right

Velvet Walks 1927, west of Ridgeway Gate and higher up than Ridgway Fold.

9 May 2013, Ridgway Gate, behind the Victoria Hall, goes down to the Croal and gives access to cellars under the Market Hall and once passeunder Knowsley Street to Brook Street. Ridgway Fold was down here.

maybe Velvet Walks back street 1927

Albion Court off Central St. 1920s/30s named from the nearby foundry and remembered in the name of the public House on Moor Lane. Posted on Facebook by Edward Thompson.

9th May 2013 ©WDC - At the bottom of Ridgway Gate, just lower than where Ridgway Fold was, the River Croal passes under Knowsley Street and now under the Market Place.

above left - Aug 1998 Deansgate; Max Spielman on the near corner of Ridway Gate,  Foto Express replaces Fleetwood Fish, Sweeten’s Bookshop, Gibson’s Sports, Blue Boar, Apollo House, GPO ©WDC


above - 24 Sep 2009 ©WDC Some changes to the businesses but no change to the buildings.


left -  1959 A very familiar view of that side of Deansgate and the corner of Ridgway gates with Podmores; the King’s Arms still a public house, later Chapter and Verse, then Sweeetens Book Shop but currently empty; Fleetwood Fish.

Whitakers and the Aspinall Building, looking along Deansgate to St Paul’s Church. From the collection of David Whenlock

The same view August 1998 ©WDC

Ridgway Gates was named after John Ridgway, bleacher and dyer, owner of much property thereabouts and on the site of Market Hall. The Victoria Hall’s Walker Memorial Hall is on the site of Ridgway Gates Wesleyan Methodist Chapel  (opened by John Wesley 16th April 1777 which was the start of the Methodist group which later became Bolton Central Mission at Victoria Hall) which had its last service in March 1900 following the opening of Victoria Hall but continued to be used by the Methodist Central Mission until it was demolished in 1931 to make way for the Walker Memorial Hall.

We take a little look back where we have come from before continuing our journey west. This picture dates from before 1928 Whitakers and the Aspinall Buildings are there but  Knowsley House has not yet been built. The buildings on the left still stand in 2018.

Deansgate 1934, Knowsley House has now been built along with its mirror image (almost) on the opposite corner. Parr’s Bank now occupies the whole frontage between Oxford Street and Old Hall Street but you can see the old (dirty) and new (clean) parts of the Deansgate frontage.

24340 160.5 XPP 1938

Deansgate 1938, A slightly longer view. The buildings remain essentially unchanged today though just about every business is different. Love the bus.  Almost no traffic - love that too.

24350 160.2 Paul Berry BLBD c1950 24360 160 x58b c1965 small 24370 160 y 24sep2009 - zoom - small 24380 160 y 24sep2009 small

postcard posted on BLBD by Paul Berry. c1950?

Deansgate both sides looking East across Knowsley St / Oxford St junction. Whitaker’s have not yet extended into Aspinall Buildings. Not clear but King’s Arms is probably still open as a pub.


Looking back along Deansgate we have Podmores, well known to a whole generation of gardeners, The King’s Arms has by this date become Chapter and Verse, a Chrisitan bookshop and for a time headquartes of Operation Mobilisaton. On the corners of Knowsley Street are Alexandre’s and John Collier’s.


24 Sep 2009

24 Sep 2009 zoom out to include the long established firm of Whittaker’s shoe makers.

24390 161 x46 86Deansgate 24391 161 x46 small 24400 161.1 KingsArms 24405 2016 05 23 201 small

King’s Arms 86 Deansgate with Elizabeth Ashworth, the licensee of the King's Arms, pictured at the turn of the century.  Two different clips from the same photo.

A later picture

24404 sweetens

The building as Sweeten’s Book shop on its last day of trading – from flickr

23 May 2016 The King’s Arms

in a very sad condition ©WDC

The pub dated back to the 18th century but closed in 1962. It became the Operation Mobilisation bookshop (later Send the Light trust bookshop) and headquarters  around 1964 and opened as Chapter and Verse Christian Bookshop in May 1974. After OM left in 1980 (the bookshop moved to St George’s Road just up from Vernon Street) the Preston firm of Sweeten’s reopened the premises as a (secular, general) very popular book shop in December 1980. Two of Sweeten’s employees bought the shop in 1997. The shop was Bolton’s final independent bookseller but it closed in 2011.

(Includes some information from http://lostpubsofbolton.blogspot.co.uk/)

pollock 24410 161.5 David Whenlock 24420 162 x214 Deansgate 1910 24430 162 y 24sep2009 24440 163 x128 Deansgate 24450 163.5 1993.83.27.13 24455 167.5 XPP 1938 24490 163.6 XPP Deansgate corner with Spring Garde 24456 2016 05 23 200 small 24460 163.2 Deansgate HowellCroft 24470 163.6 Z PeterLodge 24480 163.6 YPP burgons 24500 163.7 XPP junc of Spring Gardens with Howell

Picture from David Whenlock looking back to the King's Arms. This will probably awaken some memories;  Oxford Florists, Podmore’s well-known to and well-visited by most of Bolton’s gardeners, The King’s Arms is behind the road sign.

From Whittakers towards St Paul’s, totally changed by the 1950s that we might remember. The low building at the end of the block is on the corner of Howell Croft North and was occupied by Whitaker’s before they moved into the black and white building.

Sept 2009 (C)WDC

A similar view in more recent times. The rest of the block beyond Whitaker's has now been replaced by the Aspinall Buildings now in line with Whitaker's so that Deansgate could be widened.


The Aspinall building was occupied by a number of separate shops but by 2009 Whitaker's occupied the whole block.


This is more how we remember it, again looking from Whittakers, along that block, Whittakers expanded the whole way along so all these shops closed, when? 1980s? This block was built by Edmund Aspinall who made his money in pork butchery and whose shop is on the picture. Upstairs, under the dome, was a well-known and well-used dance hall called the Aspin Hall (notice the play on words). Aspinall became mayor of Bolton 1923-4 .


©Bolton Council Humphrey Spender “work town” photograph 1937

Shoppers on Deansgate opposite Aspin Hall and Lloyd’s Bank.

Postcard of Deansgate 1938 almost all the buildings on the picture still stand.

May 2016 (C)WDC Deansgate with Howell Croft North on the right and Central Street on the left.

Buildings which preceded the Aspinall Building on the corner of Deansgate (to the left) and Howell Croft North (on the right).

Whitakers's occupied this corner before moving into their mock tudor building at the other end of the block.

Were they elsewhere previous to this - perhaps even in the building that the tudor style premises replaced.

Why Yorkshire House ?

Corner of Deansgate and Spring Gardens / Howell Croft North.

Burgon's also occupied this rather temporary looking building while their other premises (on the corner of Deansgate and Knowsley Street) were altered.


Is this alteration the removal of the upper storey?


It does not seem possible to compare the buildings to the left of Burgons with the houses on this corner in the rather older picture just above.

Deansgate with the Hippodrome just visible on the right. Spring Gardens going into the picture bends to the right with Howell Croft going straight on. Burgon’s shop is just seen on the left.

The Hand and Banner can be seen on Deansgate set forward of the corner shop.

The building on the right of the picture is the corner of Deansgate and Spring Gardens seen on the previous picture. Then we have Spring Gardens going off to the right with Howell Croft to the left of the building in the centre. This area was demolished 1910. The chimneys are for the Bolton Iron and Steel Company and the Bessemer Furnace between Moor Lane and Blackhorse Street.  ©  Bolton Archives

24510 164 x44 Deansgate 1909 small 24520 164.1 Back Spring Gardens behind ambulance stn 24530 164.2 Back Spring Gardens


Go a little further along Deansgate (to the left of the corner), this is Back Spring Gardens opposite the GPO, the street itself disappeared and the row of shops including the YMCA and the Christian Book Shop (was Wesley Owens now CLC) stands there now.


Back Spring Gardens; picture said to be behind the ambulance station, that is just south of Cheadle Square.

Back Spring Gardens (don’t know which end)

24540 164.3 Bk Spg Gdns 1908 small 24550 164.4 TomOpenshaw BkSpgGdns

Posted on Facebook by Tom Openshaw.  Druids Arms,  Back Spring Gardens, 1908

Posted on Facebook by Gene Watts


Back Spring Gardens looking down past the Druid Arms, we would see the YMCA building facing us now, and the Hippodrome further along Deansgate towards the right. On the near side of Deansgate to our right the GPO is about to be built.


24560 028.20 XPP Eagle & Child, Back Spring Gdns, behind crescent small 24570 164.5 queen st 24580 164.5 XPP Queen Street Aug 1962 - small

Aug 1962

Queen Street alongside the Hippodrome,

back door to YMCA,

back of Crescent.

Queen Street c1910

Queen Street c1934

picture taken from top of Queen St,  looking across Back Spring Gardens to the Eagle and Child. The building on the left is -Mission Hall & Ragged School – according to the 1891 map. It is Queen Street Mission which moved prior to this area being cleared to Central Street though it retained the name “Queen Street Mission”. We note the chalk grafitti even in those days.

That brings us to the Hippodrome.  My Grandma kept lodgers at her house in Grosvenor Street. She had various actors with her from time to time but one couple lived with her for years, Herbert Evelyn and Mrs Evelyn, stalwarts of the Hippodrome Repertory Company.Herbert was still living there, Mrs Evelyn having died some years earlier when my Grandma died and it took a lot of hard work to persuade him that he then needed to move somewhere else.

Aug 1962

Queen Street alongside the Hippodrome,

back door to YMCA,

back of Crescent.


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1. The Bolton Empire Theatre, built for Thomas Hay. It was a large good looking building, built opposite the Post Office on Deansgate. The building's façade had a large central entrance with two floors above featuring large central windows, with a grand pediment high above. At first floor level were two oval ornamental windows each side, and at each corner of the front façade was a domed tower, surmounted by a flag pole. The roof was pitched and does not seem to have had a fly tower over the stage.

It is recorded that within a month of opening part of the variety performance contained a section showing early cinematic film.

Eight years later in 1916 the Empire changed hands and became a full time Cinema, being taken over by the H. D. Moorhouse chain of cinema's, and now renamed 'The Hippodrome', under the Bolton Entertainment Co Ltd. By the late 1920's British Thomson-Houston sound equipment had been installed.

The Hippodrome continued as a cinema up until the early 1940's when it returned to theatrical use, becoming the home of the Bolton Repertory Theatre. Repertory productions continued until 1961 when the Theatre finally closed. The Theatre was later demolished, and a car park made of the Theatre's site. (Frank Ashton) ---Note a health centre was built here before the car park. ---Note the theatre was built BEFORE the GPO.

2. The Hippodrome.

3. The Hippodrome as the New Empire Theatre opened in August 1908

4. The Hippodrome.



5. The Hippodrome with the Hen and Chickens to the right.

6.The Hippodrome interior - posted on Facebook by Edward Thompson.

7. Programme with Herbert Evelyn (Bolton Archives)

8. c1950 A look back along Deansgate from near the Hippodrome and GPO to Aspen Hall and John Collier’s.

9. The Hippodrome on the left as we look along Deansgate towards St Paul’s Church. April 1952 B.E.N.

This page is now too large. The remaining pictures of Deansgate are on the next page - 27 Spa Road and Marsden Road


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1. The Health Centre on the Hippodrome site in 1997. The Hen and Chickens is still there.

2. Compare with picture 8 above. On the right, Queen Street and the YMCA building. This is probably new and has been built further back than the original building line as Deansgate is widened. The block further away is on the original building line and is about to be demolished. On the left the first building you come to is on both pictures and still remains now with Whittakers shoe shop. The nearer empty space is where the GPO is about to be built.  This is likely to be just after 1907 when the black and white Whitakers building was built.

3. Whittaker's shoe shop. Picture posted on Facebook by Edward Thompson.

4. 1935. The GPO on Deansgate opened in 1916, pretty much the same as now but this is Bolton’s first Belisha crossing, the studs are in place but the beacons have yet to be erected. A Belisha beacon is an amber-coloured globe lamp atop a tall black and white pole, marking pedestrian crossings of roads in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in other countries (e.g., Hong Kong, Malta) historically influenced by Britain. It was named after Leslie Hore-Belisha (1893–1957), the Minister of Transport who in 1934 added beacons to pedestrian crossings, marked by large metal studs in the road surface. These crossings were later painted in black and white stripes, thus are known as zebra crossings. Legally pedestrians have priority (over wheeled traffic) on such crossings.

5. 20 September 2016

5. 20th September 2016

March 2018, the post office proposed to move its services in Bolton Town Centre from the present GPO building, 124 Deansgate, to retail premises at 12 Oxford Street also offering Confectionery, Tobacco & News. It was said that this was part of the continuing modernisation of the Post Office branch network. The official notice continued: The vast majority of our 11,600 Post Office branches, large and small, are successfully operated in this way and we believe this is the best approach to keep Post Offices in main shopping locations and at the heart of communities. What was not said was that the Post Office had sold the Deansgate premises some years ago and was at present renting them from a property firm in Jersey. Clearly the premises are too big for the current retail operation and presumably this move will vastly reduce the rent the Post Office is paying, yet another example of the move some years ago for firms to monetise assets which has lead to a number of closures (including Beales) when businesses fail to negotiate a rent reduction with the present owners. There are worries by people including our MP that the shop premises in Oxford Street will be too small to cope with the number of customers though it will have six serving positions. It is also seen as a loss to Bolton as a whole that we will no longer have a grand prestigious GPO. It will also mean another large building in the town centre being empty.

6. A detail of the GPO building - the main door with the Royal Coat of Arms above.

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Note from Peter Lodge November 2018 - This photo has been on before. It is incorrectly listed on the museum website as being Velvet Walks, and though I knew that it wasn't there I couldn't place it. Now thanks to a discussion about another photo this morning, I can now say that it is Back Spring Gardens, looking North from behind the ambulance station, with the windows on the left belonging to Queens Foundry. The date of 1927 is correct though.

24485 Hand and Banner Denis McCann

Across Spring Gardens we have a shop on the corner then the Hand and Banner Hotel. Note James Hart, pork butchers, then some demolition. This picture (above) is slightly later than the picture below where demolition has not yet started.

The Hand and Banner was on the site of the house of Mr John Oakey.

See bottom of the page for more details.

24485 Hand and Banner Denis McCann notes 24585 DW1934