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Horwich - Black Dog

Name: The Black Dog

Address: 171, Winter Hey Lane @ Chorley New Road, Horwich


The Black Dog started out in life as the Greyhound in the early 1800s. It was a coaching inn, which can be seen below on the 1845 map of Horwich below, the only property at the junction of Winter Hey Lane and Crown Street (later to become Chorley New Road), which was an area known as "Pearl Brook" after the brook that runs between Lee Lane and Crown Street. 

The signage was originally that of a black greyhound and sometime in the 1870s the name was changed to the Black Dog, which it remained until the hotel closed in the 1970s.  It was later converted into residential flats, which remains the case to this day.

1845 Map
Listed landlords were Mary Schofield (1841), William Foster (1851), Joseph Beddows (-1858), John Haslam (1861), George Rawlinson (1871-81), John Chadwick (1881), Thomas Cooper (1890-95), Mr. Folpy (1893), James Gooden (1901), Charles Nolan (1905-11) and Wilhelmina Nolan (1911-24).

Mary Schofield was listed as a "beer seller" in 1841 although the next landlord, William Foster was simply listed as a "lodging house keeper" so occupations varied and the occupants often had other job, such as John Haslam in 1861 who was a "brewer" as well.

1841 Census

Address: Pearl Brook
 Beer Seller
 Stone Mason

Strangely, the inn does not appear on any of the directories in the early to mid-1800s and the first reference I can find is on the 1869 Slater's Directory where the landlord, George Rawlinson is recorded as a beer seller.

1869 Slater's

1851 Census


1861 Census

1871 Census

1877 Post Office Directory

1881 Census

1891 Census
1895 Slater's
Thomas Cooper is recorded as a beer seller on the Slater's directory of 1895.

1892 Map

1897 Map

1901 Census

1905 Kelly's

Charles Nolan was the landlord for only a short period before his death, leaving wife Wilhelmina at the helm for the 20 years or so. They moved to Horwich in the early 1900s having previously run the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel on Charles Street, Manchester (1901 Census).

1911 Census

1924 Kelly's Directory

1938 Map

The 1911 Landlady Wilhelmina Nolan stayed in the business until her death in 1940 remaining in Lancashire.

The Black Dog finally closed its doors for business in 1979 although it opened shortly afterwards as Nimbler's Bar and restaurant until around 1981 when it was taken over by professional snooker player, Tony Knowles, operating a snooker club over two floors and a nightclub in the basement; during this period it was officially known as "TK's" although many locals still referred to it as Nibbler's.

Local CAMRA magazine in 1981 reported the following...

What’s Doing readers with long memories will recall that back in January 1979 the Black Dog in Horwich was renamed Nibblers and admittance was restricted to gentlemen over 21 wearing ties or smart casual attire. After two years spent searching for a suitable CAMRA member to tread boldly, one was found. He would like it to be known to other suitable gentlemen that Bass Cask Bitter is on sale inside.

In 1980 it briefly became the home of the Horwich Folk Club and was also the venue to other social functions in he cellar bar, including stand-up comedians, the likes of Phil Cool who reports in his book "Stand up Chameleon" said, "I knew it would sell out because I was well known and liked in Horwich after playing regularly there at a cellar bar called 'Nibblers'...". 

By 1990 further plans were bubbling when an application went in for conversion of the first and second floors to office accommodation whilst Tony Knowles remained in charge of the premises.

Bolton News 7th November 1998
SNOOKER star Tony Knowles put his reputation on the table yesterday...and lost.
Knowles, aged 43, had an application for a licence to sell alcohol on the ground floor of his Horwich club turned down by Bolton magistrates.
He was also refused a special hours certificate for the basement of the premises to sell alcohol after 10 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for live music, disco and meals in a night club setting.
He said that the club had its licence revoked earlier this year for various allegations involving youngsters drinking under age, drug taking and after hours drinking in the premises at the junction of Chorley New Road and Winter Hey Lane, Horwich.He said that food was not available late at night and there was public disorder on the premises.
Mr Alan Walsh, for Knowles who learned to play snooker as a youngster when his father was a steward at Tonge Moor Conservative club, said that previous staff had been dismissed and the club would be run as a sports bar with customers able to watch events on televisions.
Knowles said that he had bought two snooker tables which had been played on during World Championships and had imported a pool table from America which had been used by a world class players.
Knowles said that the club would be screened by security cameras and he would employ a security firm to help control the club. 
He added that he had taken part in events to raise money for charities around Britain with stars such as Jimmy Tarbuck and Roy Walker and he hoped to attract them to Horwich.
Snookers stars he hoped would visit the club included Ronnie O'Sullivan and Jimmy White. Knowles said that he had made mistakes in running the club in the past but he had now successfully obtained the initial Licensee Certificate.
He said that he would give coaching and guidance to any promising young snooker players in the hope that he would find a future world champion. Knowles estimated that having to close the club had cost him £40,000.

Bolton News 1st April 2000
Flats plan for snooker star's former club
A BUILDING which used to be owned by snooker star Tony Knowles looks likely to be turned into 16 flats.
Planning permission for the scheme was granted by Horwich Town Council, though it still has to be approved by Bolton Council's planning committee.
Councillors were keen to stress that the authenticity and character of the Edwardian building -- at the Chorley New Road-Winter Hey Lane junction -- should be retained.
It was built more than 100 years ago to house the first people who moved to the area to work at Horwich loco works.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said: "It is important that the fabric of the building remains as it is because it is a historic building.
"And at the moment it is suffering rather than thriving so it needs this development."
The planning application was lodged by Wiggett Construction.
As the BEN reported, the original plan was to open a pub on the ground floor of the premises, with flats on top. 
However, a deal with Wetherspoon's brewery fell through at the 11th hour with Wetherspoon's claiming that the cost of opening a pub -- estimated at around £800,000 -- would be too high for the size of the town.
In light of that, Wiggett Construction decided to use both floors for flats.
Cllr Barbara Ronson added: "We should welcome this because it means there is more accommodation in Horwich and that can only be a boost for everyone."
The building used to be known as Tee Ks club, owned by former world number two snooker star Tony Knowles.
But it has been empty and boarded up for nearly two years since magistrates refused to grant Mr Knowles an alcohol licence after allegations about under-age drinking and drug taking. Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.

2001 saw JD Wetherspoons considering a conversion as the following press release confirmed but sadly this never developed further.

Bolton Evening News 16th July 2001
Pub chain set to snap up old Co-op
A GROWING pub chain which serves cheap pints and has a no-music policy could soon be moving into a former Westhoughton supermarket.JD Wetherspoon is currently in talks to buy the old Co-op Pioneer store on Market Street, which closed last year.
The company already has the Spinning Mule in Nelson Square, Bolton town centre, as well as the Sir Robert Peel in Bury. It opened nearly 100 new bars across the country last year, adding to its existing 337 outlets.
Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, confirmed the pub chain was hoping to move into the premises in Westhoughton.
He said: "The ball is rolling. We are in talks with the owners, but nothing has been signed so far and anything could happen. Although we have pubs in Bolton, there are whole areas which we have not moved into." 
Last year, JD Wetherspoon pulled out of a £800,000 development on the site of the former Nibblers nightclub and snooker hall on Chorley New Road.The company felt that the cost of converting the £800,000 Edwardian building would prove too expensive for a town the size of Horwich. At the time Mr Gershon said the firm would continue to look at other sites throughout Bolton.
JD Wetherspoon pubs have become popular with their policy of cheap drinks, no music and smoke-free areas. The Co-op Pioneer store closed last year after it was targeted by arsonists. The building, in a prime town centre spot, has remained empty for several months.

"A group we used to follow, mainly around Blackrod, Horwich and Bolton were Blue Arcade from Horwich. The line up being Mark, Pat and Laddie. They played a residency at The Black Dog Pub in Horwich which was on the traffic lights crossing Winter Hey Lane near Horwich Loco' Works. The pub has been numerous things since like a snooker club once owned by Tony Knowles the snooker player and his father and is now an apartment block."

Dave Darbyshire: April 2011

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