A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

old map of bridge street

crown vaultsThis detail from the 1875 Chester OS map features the junction of Grosvenor and Lower Bridge Streets. It shoes five old pubs that no longer survive- and one that does.

At bottom left is The Crown Vaults (illustrated right, 1930s?) which stood at no 22, the west side of Lower Bridge Street. It was listed in the 1890 Kelly's Directory of Cheshire and also in the 1910 edition when the licencee was William Deacle.

Up the street was The White Bear Hotel which was situated next door but one to the still-thriving 17th century Falcon Inn. It was listed in Cowdroy's Directory in 1789 when the licencee was Mrs Evans. Pigot's Directory shows the Lower White Bear trading in 1828 at 12 Lower Bridge Street, its landlord being Thomas Jones. It appears in The Post Office Directory of Cheshire in 1856 (called simply The White Bear) when its licencee was Mrs E Onslow, and Kelly's Directory, 1902 lists Robert Smith as the licencee. David Thomas was there in 1880 and William Donworth in 1914.

Past the Falcon, on the junction of Grosvenor Street is a building marked simply 'P.H.' This was the premises of Brooksbank's Wine Merchants and beneath it was the The Old Lamb Stores, popularly known by its habituees as 'The Dive Bar'. Visit our special feature about this fascinating, and much-altered, corner of our city.

The widening of Pepper Street as part of the Inner Ring Road did away with the pub and the entire corner where it had long stood, together with the equally-venerable Red Lion which just appears, unmarked, at the very bottom of the map.

kings head innFinally, at the top right of the map we see The King's Head Hotel, sadly closed and demolished in 1986. The site of this handsome building is now occupied by Jessop's camera shop and insurance offices within a 'Tudor Lego-style' development by the name of 'Friarsgate'. More pictures of it may be seen in our gallery.
It was listed in Pigot's Directory for 1818-20 when the licencee was William Roberts. The landlord in 1840 (when the house was also listed as a coaching office) was Thomas Onslow, in 1850 John Roberts, in 1857 P J Bedson, in 1880 John Parry, in 1902 Thomas Bridge, in 1910 John Sampey, in 1914 Alexander McLean, in 1934-5 W Dodsworth and, in the early 1970s, Jack Blackwell (see below).

The King's Head- or an earlier inn on its site- was previously called The White Horse, and prior to that was called The Horse and Baggs.

In November 2007, Graham Blackwell wrote to us as follows, "My uncle Jack Blackwell was the landlord of the King's Head Hotel, which must have been around the early 1970s. He was well known in publican circles around Chester and I remember after his funeral, when licensing hours meant closing at 3pm, that all attendees were cordially invited to spend the afternoon in a variety of establishments all over town! I think it ended in the sadly demised Commercial. Jack's last 'post' was running the bar at the Gateway Theatre. Since embarking on family history and knowing nothing about my own family (and sadly now no one to ask!) I have often wondered how many other establishments Jack had been involved in. I know he got the sack from many due to his liking for the drink. Nothing to do with Chester I know but the list also includes Hawkstone Park Hotel in Shropshire, the Equestrian Club in Raby Mere and hotels in Blackpool and the Isle of Man! I think I have some of his genes!"

There were very many more inns trading in Lower Bridge Street over the centuries. Go here to learn a little about them...

Chester's Vanished Pubs parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | gallery

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