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Horwich - Bridge Inn

Name: The Bridge Inn

Address: 121 Church Street, Horwich

John Calderbank's Bridge Inn c.1880

The Bridge Inn was built sometime in the early 1800s and was originally called the Bridge Tavern. It occupies a prominent position at the bottom of Church Street on the junction with Bridge Street and would undoubtedly have benefited from trade from the Bleach Works located behind it and the nearby railway station. It was named after nearby Horwich Bridge, which was built over Pearl (Purl) Brook and was rebuilt at some time in the 1870/80s, which is the building we see today.

The first landlord was John Calderbank, a local man whose main occupation was a Blacksmith. He is recorded as early as 1823 in the town at the time of his son's Baptism and it is possible that he was already running a beer house then although I suspect he only did so in the 1830s. 

Baptism: 7 Dec 1823 Horwich Chapel, Horwich, Lancashire, England
John Calderbank - [Child] of John Calderbank & Ellen
    Abode: Horwich     Occupation: Blacksmith
    Baptised by: S. Johnson, A.M. Minister
    Register: Baptisms 1813 - 1841, Page 69, Entry 552
    Source: LDS Film 2113121

This was a revolutionary time for pubs brought about by the Beerhouse Act of 1830, which liberalised the regulations enabling anyone to brew and sell beer on payment of a licence costing two guineas. The intention was to increase competition between brewers, and it resulted in the opening of 56,000 beer houses across the country by 1836; the rapidly expanding industrial centres of the North of England saw their fair share and the Bridge was probably one of the early beer houses to spring up in the area following the enactment.

The 1841 census records John and his family living at Bridge Foot. His son John also trained as a Blacksmith and went on to take over the Bridge following his father's death in 1852.

1841 Horwich Census
Address: Bridge Foot
 John Calderbank 55 Blacksmith
 Ellen Calderbank 55
 John Calderbank 15
 Maria Calderbank 20
 Elizabeth Calderbank 15
 James Calderbank 5
 Joseph Calderbank 2
 Thomas Bibby 30 Blacksmith
 Thomas Markland 15 Ap  
 Jeremiah Hart 15 Carter
 Roger Worsley 60 Carter

1845 Map

The 1845 Map above shows there was a building on the site of the Bridge Inn at the junction of Church Street and Bridge Street in Horwich. 

On 30th March 1844 the Bolton Chronicle recorded that John Calderbank, of Horwich, beer-seller, was fined 40s. and costs, for having company at his house, at three o’clock in the afternoon, of Sunday. 

Listed landlords were John Calderbank Snr (1830-52), John Calderbank (1852-89), Betty Calderbank (1889-90), Thomas Edwards (1901) and John Barton (1911).

1851 Census John Calderbank Snr

1855 Slater's Directory John Calderbank

1861 Census John Calderbank jnr

1871 Census John Calderbank Jnr

1876 Post Office Directory

In 1876 the spirit license from the Sportsman's Arms was transferred to the Bridge Inn, Horwich. I suspect that the Bridge Inn was only licensed to sell beer at this time and given its prime location in the centre of town it made sense for the landlord to transfer the spirit licence from the Sportsman's; at that time both Inns were under the control of the John Calderbank Jnr, the landlord at the Bridge Inn and over the next decade the original Inn was to be demolished and the building we know today was built. 

The Bridge Inn c.1903

John and brother Joseph grew up at the Bridge Inn when their father was the landlord so it's therefore unsurprising that they both went into the pub trade, Joseph running the Bee Hive Inn around the same time. There were a select number of families that seemed to hold a monopoly over the licensed premises during the mid-late 1800s and the Calderbanks were one. There was also a strong link between the Calderbank and Bromilow families as John Jnr married twice, to Ellen Bromilow (1857) and Betty Bromilow (1864); Peers Bromilow was also an early landlord of the Bromilow Arms (Lostock) and the Bee Hive.

1881 Census John Calderbank Jnr

John Calderbank and his second wife Betty died within a year of each other bringing to an end almost 50 years of the family running the Inn.

1891 Census Thomas Edwards

1895 Kelly's Directory Thomas Edwards

1901 Census Andrew Parr

1907 Map

1911 Census John Barton

Description from
The Bridge pub in Horwich is full of grandeur both internally and externally. Located on a busy A road the pub commands a prominent location and is well-known in the local area. The pub has had a very successful history and still has a regular and loyal customer base. The successful publican will have a great opportunity to drive the pub forward and make their mark in the community. Pubs of this calibre do not come along very often so this is a fantastic chance to get a great business.
As you enter the main entrance you pass through a Victorian style lobby with floor tiles and ceiling cornices to match. On the left is a large pool room with wooden slatted fixed seating around the perimeter. In the centre of the main room is a large servery which houses some food preparation equipment. There are two further rooms, a decorative lounge with round booth style seating and another pool and darts room which is similar to the first one but has cloth fixed seating. On the first floor is a top quality function room offering over 74 covers with a separate bar and trade kitchen. The pub does have some live music which is usually provided in the function room with parties.
There is no external trading area but the front of the pub is furnished with some chairs and tables which is a great feature for the summer months.

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