There has been a planning application made to demolish the “Old Hare and Hounds” pub in Breightmet, Bolton. Local residents have been campaigning to save it but it has been empty since 2008 so it does not seem to have much of a chance for survival.
The “Old H & H” has been a key focal point in Breightmet since the 1700s and two generations of my family were landlords from about 1770. It is strange in this day and age to see that the sale of spirits was of course expressly forbidden :
“ Twelfth Day of September; in the Year of our Lord, one Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty six. We His Majesty”s Justices of the Peace for the said county acting in and for the said Division (whereof one is of the Quorum) do at this General Meeting, under our Hands and Seals, allow and licence Josiah Phethean at the Hare and Hounds, Brightmet, in the said Division or Hundred, and County, to keep a common Ale-house ….. … to utter and sell Bread and other Victuals, Beer, Ale, and other excisable Liquors, by Retail; except Brandy, Rum, Arrack, Usquebaugh, Geneva, Aqua-Vitae, and all other Distill”d Spirituous Liquors, and Strong Waters, unmixed or mixed with themselves or any other Ingredients, and by whatsoever name or names they are or may be called. “
In addition to being an “ale house” proprietor and licensed victualler , Josiah Phethean was also a papermaker; local magistrate/JP; Overseer of the Poor and and reputedly proprietor of the Toothill Bridge bleachworks – which is enterprising to say the least !
Some of these duties were also carried out by Josiah’s eldest son Joseph. Joseph succeeded, on the death of his mother, Alice Phethean (1806), as tenant of the Old Hare and Hounds:
“To the Worshipful the magistrates of Bolton.- We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being respectable and substantial House Holders in the Township
of Brightmet, in the County of Lancaster, do hereby certify unto his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, acting in and for the Division of Bolton, in the said county, that Joseph Phethean, at the Hare and Hounds, in Brightmet aforesaid, is a person of good fame, sober life and conversation, and very fit to keep a Public House.- Brightmet, Sep. 12th, 1807.”
This seemed to start a tradition of publicans in my family – at The Old H & H; The Blue Boar in Deansgate; The Church Hotel, Crook St; The Boat House (Little Lever); The Fleece, Bradshawgate; The Boar’s Head, Churchgate (by marriage) and an unknown establishment in Ainsworth to name but a few. Sadly the tradition in my direct line of the family died out in 1907!
If the “Old H & H” does get demolished, as seems likely, it will be a sad day. From those early times Joseph and his brother John Phethean became involved in the counterpane weaving business. Subsequently the family became cotton millers and spinners first in Bolton and then later in the 19thC at Moses Gate, managing to keep John Phethean & Co Ltd running until 1932 against all odds.