Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls
Brooksbanks and The Old Lamb
The Old Lamb Stores and the Falcon Inn, Lower Bridge Street
Reader Keith Rhodes kindly sent us several of these fascinating photographs of a much-changed corner of Chester and the long-vanished Bridge Street businesses, wine merchants P L Brooksbank and the public house John Rowe Duttons.
Keith wrote to us, "My father was the manager of P L Brooksbank, who also ran John Rowe Duttons in Bridge Street, I worked for my father there for two years after he took over as manager, this was after the company was bought by the Ind Coope Brewers of Burton on Trent. He was asked to manage the company for them and moved from Burton to do so. We lived over the shop of P L Brooksbank for a while till he bought a house in Christleton.
Rebuilding the Lamb Inn c 1900
|The John Rowe Dutton pub, uniquely in Chester, had a licence with allowed them only to open six days a week (closed on Sundays) and then only until 9pm. Their extensive crypt and cellar later housed the Chester Chronicle's printing presses and paper store. You can see the Chronicle's office on the left of the photograph. Today the site is occupied by Cafe Uno-Italiano.
"John Rowe Dutton was the first pub in Chester to sell keg draught beer, they had Watneys Red Barrel. This was in a keg (11 gallons) housed in a wooden cabinet standing at the end of the bar. There were two, one at each end of the bar, with a gas CO2 bottle strapped to the inside of the cabinet. I think most pubs served what we now call real ale, keg was a new thing then. I don't like it now any more than I did then- give me real ale anytime. I served behind the bar at John Rowe Duttons on many occasions. I could tell you stories about the cellars at that time, berore the Chronicle decimated them for newsprint."
The Lamb or Ye Olde Lamb, popularly known as 'The Dive Bar', was situated in the basement of Brooksbanks and separated by a narrow lane, Little Cuppin Street, from the ancient, but still-extant Falcon Inn.
Visit our gallery of pictures of Old Lamb Row here.
The photograph below by Chris Langford shows, presumably, the Lamb's landlord standing before its entrance. Does anybody remember his name or anything about the place?
Detail of a painting showing the Falcon Inn and Old Lamb by Louise Rayner
An extremely shabby Pepper Street in the rain in 1959. Brooksbank's may be seen in the distance
Brooksbank's is in shadow on the right in this rather murky photograph from the 1950s.
Everything in the picture has now gone with the exception of St. Michael's Church.
|This interesting photograph, remarkable even to those who thought they knew this area well, shows the Lamb's final days in 1961, just before it was demolished to make way for the widening of Grosvenor Street as part of the Inner Ring Road scheme and its site is now lost beneath the busy road junction we know today. The photographer was apparently standing in ruins next to the 17th century Red Lion Inn, which would in turn be pulled down in 1968, to be replaced by a soulless modern office block/hairdressers known as Windsor House.
Reader Paul Adamson wrote to tell us that "I used to participate in a game of darts in the Red Lion, and the occasional jar of course. The elderly couple that ran the place up to its demise in 1968 were named Swallow. I used to go to school with their grandson Melvin who was a canoeist of some repute and who, I believe, was up to Olympic Standards in the early 1970s. In turn his parents ran The Albion Hotel opposite the General Station- now called The Town Crier".
This is the end: one final corner of the building remains standing as preparation work for the Ring Road gathers pace...
Right: Advertisment from The Visitor's Chester Guide 1884
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