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Bamber Bridge - Hospital Inn

Name: The Hospital Inn

Address: Back Lane (now Brindle Road), Bamber Bridge



The Hospital, or Hospital Inn as it was originally called dates back to the early 1800s.  There is speculation as to where the name comes from, as it's extremely unusual as pub names go. One line of thought is that it was named as a place offering respite for wounded soldiers returning from the Crimean War however this took place between 1853 and 1856 and the Inn's name pre-dates this by a few decades so this seems unlikely.

Another possible link was the isolation hospital for contagious diseases set up in the area called Bradkirk Hospital on Bradkirk Lane (off Back Lane) but early census records confirm that it was originally a farm (see 1841 & 1851 censuses below), the home of a Robert Slater, a "proprietor of land & house & farm". Local maps confirm the hospital existed in 1892 but the Inn predates the hospital by some time. 

Hospital Plaque courtesy of Gordon Small

Looking further back into the history of the Walton-le-Dale area reveals the likely source; the below excerpt is taken from British History Online: -

Robert de Molyneux, father of the Richard living in 1212, granted his two plough-lands in Cuerden to Siward (sic. Earl) son of Auti, who had married Robert's sister; and their son Henry held the same by knights' service in 1212. This Henry de Kuerden (sic. Cuerden), as he was called, was a benefactor to Cockersand Abbey, and his son Thomas also gave land to Cockersand and to the Hospitallers...Cockersand Abbey and the Knights Hospitallers therefore had lands in Cuerden.

It's believed that the Knights Hospitallers held the land in Cuerden until around the end of the 1500s so were an important part of the area's history and I believe the inspiration for the naming of the Inn.

1841 Census

Listed landlords at the Hospital Inn were Thomas Blackledge (1841), Henry Alty (1851-54), J Slater (1858), Joseph Craven (1861), Hugh Fowler (1866-92), William Brindle (1911), William Horrocks (1935) and Mr. Bernard C Smallbone (1955). 


1844 Map

Hospital Sign courtesy of Gordon Small

The Preston Chronicle 15th June 1850
Dreadful accident, on the East Lancashire Railway last night
- Yesterday evening, an accident, attended with the most awful results, occurred upon the East Lancashire Railway, between this town and Blackburn. From inquiries which we made at the North Union Station, and of passengers by the train from Blackburn, we learn the following particulars:- The train which should have arrived here at five minutes to eight o clock last evening, left Blackburn at the usual time. Nothing occurred to impede the progress of the train till it reached nearly half way between the Hospital Inn and the Bamber Bridge Station, when the engine slackened its speed, and the train shortly afterwards stopped. On the passengers getting out to ascertain the cause
of the stoppage, it was discovered that the engine had run against something on the line. Upon proceeding to the spot, the body of a man, horribly mutilated, was found lying stretched upon the line. The body was identified as that of a man named George Smith, a weaver, residing at a place called ‘Jack’s Green’ near Brindle. Beside the body lay a warp and a quantity of weft, which the deceased must have had with him at the time the accident occurred. The body of the unfortunate man was in a most awful condition. He was quite dead, and had both arms and both thighs broken. His brains lay scattered upon the line, one eye was completely torn from the socket, and his head was smashed into a mummy, his jaw-bone being also broken. The bone and a portion of the flesh of one of the poor fellow’s arms was protruding from the sleeve of his coat. From the position in which the various portions of the deceased’s body lay, it is supposed that he must have been lying asleep across one of the rails, with his arms folded and his head upon them. On some of the parties in the train making enquiries, it was ascertained that the deceased was seen a short time before the accident occurred. At that time he was far advanced in liquor. The driver of the engine states that just before the train ran against the deceased, he perceived something of a whitish colour upon the line, in front of the engine, which he imagined to be a sheet, and immediately afterwards the train ran against something. What the engine-driver observed was no doubt the warp and the weft which the poor fellow had with him, they body could not have been so easily perceived. After the fire-box caught the deceased, the body was dragged upwards of forty yards before the train could be stopped. No doubt death must have been instantaneous. On searching the pockets of the deceased’s clothes, half a sovereign and some silver were found in them, and a small amount of money wrapped up and directed to a Mr Sharples. He had a watch in his pocket, which was still going, notwithstanding that the glass had been broken in the shock. The body was removed from the line, and the train proceeded on its way, having been detained by the unfortunate event for about half an hour beyond its time.

1851 Census

1854 Mannex Directory - Henry Alty

1858 Post Office Directory - J Slater

1861 Census Pt1 - Joseph Craven

1861 Census Pt2 - Joseph Craven

Baptism: 25 Feb 1866 St Saviour, Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, England
John Fowler - Child of Hugh Fowler & Jane
    Abode: B. Bridge
    Occupation: Inn Keeper
    Baptised by: Wm. Wignall
    Register: Baptisms 1837 - 1880, Page 188, Entry 1497
    Source: LDS Film 1471151

1871 Census

Hospital Inn courtesy of Gordon Small

1881 Census

Marriage: 31 Dec 1889 St Saviour, Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, England
Hugh Fowler - 22 Farmer Bachelor of Higher Walton 
Elizabeth Sumner - 28 Spinster of Bamber Bridge 
    Groom's Father: Hugh Fowler, Publican
    Bride's Father: John Sumner, Farmer (deceased)
    Witness: John Fowler; Elizabeth Ann Fowler
    Married by Banns by: James Taylor Vicar
    Register: Marriages 1887 - 1900, Page 28, Entry 55
    Source: LDS Film 1471151

1891 Census

1892 Probate record for inn keeper Hugh Fowler

1892 Map showing Bradkirk House now a hospital for Contagious diseases 

Following the death of long-term innkeeper Hugh Fowler in 1892 the Inn passed to his son Hugh. Both father and son had also worked as butchers and by the 1901 census below, whilst Hugh Jnr is still residing near Hospital Crossings there is no mention of the Inn; he is working as a "cattle dealer and farmer".

1901 Census


1901 Census for Bradkirk Hospital

1909 Map

1911 Isolation Hospital

1911 Isolation Hospital

By 1911 William Brindle, originally from Chorley had taken over behind the bar.


1911 William Brindle

1911 William Brindle

1929 Map



1938 Map

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