A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

old map of frodsham street

This detail from the 1875 Chester OS map shows the Frodsham Street area and a few of the inns that once traded there.

hoppole hotel advertOpposite the still-thriving Blossoms Hotel on Foregate Street may be seen The Hop Pole Hotel. This was first mentioned in 1642 when it was built by Alderman Edwards and also called The Globe Tavern. This, however was soon afterwards destroyed during the Civil War seige and rebuilt a decade or so later bearing the same name (it was recorded as such 1n 1725), which it would retain until 1782 when its name was changed to The Hop Pole Inn, the licencees at the time being John Axon and William Hassall.

The inn was recorded as such in Cowdroy's Directory in 1789 when the licencee was still John Axon, apparently now alone. Curiously, a second entry for the inn appears in this directory, giving the licencee as John George. The licencee in 1822-3 was Daniel Williams, in 1828 David Williams, between 1850 and 1860 (when it was called The Hop Pole Commercial Inn) Mrs Elizabeth Bell, in 1873 A. C. Lockwood, in 1898, Thomas Wooliscroft and in 1902 Jas. E Riley.
The first edition of Thomas Hughes' Stranger's Handbook to Chester (1870) refers to the Hop Pole as "a superior traveller's inn". In 1921, shares were offered for a proposed Scala cinema on the site of the inn- which was never built. The licence was withdrawn nontheless and the building became part of the premises of Stead & Simpson.

Up in the top right of our map is The Golden Lion Hotel (no 24 Foregate Street). This inn was listed in Cowdroy's Directory in 1789, when the licencee was Joseph Boyer. In 1818-20 it was John Woodfine (one directory spells it Woodfive), in 1840 Thomas Bentley, in 1840 William Tempest (this directory entry says 'Golden Lion and Turf Hotel'), in 1850 William Foulkes, in 1857 T Phillips, in 1880 Thomas Watkins, in 1898 Miss Ellen Watkins (Thomas's daughter?), in 1902 Miss Alice Beck Watkins (another daughter?) who was still there in 1914 (when she was listed as 'Mrs'). 240 years earlier, in 1658, the will of Thomas Heath stated, "my messuage in Forrest street (former name of Foregate Street) called The Golden Lyon, to my wife for life".

duke of york advertAn inn trading in Foregate Street called The Little Golden Lion was recorded in Pigot's Directory in 1828 when the licencee was William Phillips, and in the History, Gazetteer & Directory of Cheshire in 1850 when the licencee was Thomas Phillips. Where they the same inn?

On the corner of Frodsham and Foregate Streets was Ye Olde Bear's Paw (no. 21) Illustrated below, just before its demolition in 1956. Its landlord in 1818-20 was John Lawson, in 1828 George Halley, 1840-50 Robert Bentley, in 1858 A Street, in 1880 John Taylor, in 1898 Fred Jones, in 1902-10 Edward Stanley Dawson, in 1914 John Frederick Davies.

This ancient establishment was demolished to make way for an exceedingly utilitarian building currently housing H Samuels' jeweller's shop. According to the staff who work there today, it has managed to retain its ghost, 'George', however. (most Chester pub ghosts seem to be called George..)
After demolition, the pub's licence- and name- was transferred to a new-built premises in Dickson's Drive, Newton. A much older picture of The Bear's Paw may be seem in our gallery.

Next door to The Bear's Paw was The Duke of York (no 2), whose licencee in 1818-1828 was James Davies, in 1840-50 William Minshull, in 1857 R Denson, in 1880 Thomas Harper, in 1902 William Lewis, in 1906-10 William Higginson, who had previously had The Muggeries in Northgate Street (later to become Quaintway's). In 1910, he moved on to The Castle Inn in Nicolas Street. This advertisment for the place has the splendidly-named Henry Onions as licencee. We're unsure of the date at the moment..

bears pawAcross the road and up a bit was The Raven, a small seventeenth century inn that disappeared when the entire west side (the left, looking from Foregate Street) of the street was demolished for road widening between 1904 and 1912. Licencees: 1781-4 Thomas Fairclough, in 1785 Thomas Pinnington (Cowdroy's Directory, under the street's old name, Cow Lane), in 1822-28 John Rowe, 1840 John Radcliffe, 1846 Mary Radcliffe, 1850 Nathaniel Dyson, 1857-60 Joseph Mason, 1874 Frederick Green, 1880 Joseph C Harris, finally 1902-4 Samuel H Jennings. Used as a polling station in 1809.

After John Rowe senior (landlord of the Raven from 1790) died in 1830, his son John Rowe took over for a short time (the licence was actually in the name of his father’s executors James Rowe and A. Gamon). He advertised in the Chester Chronicle (19 September 1830):

JOHN ROWE, (Son and successor of the late Mr. John Rowe) BEGS leave to return thanks to his numerous friends and the public for the support and patronage experienced for a long series of years by his late father, as TANNER, MALSTER and BREWER, and to announce that he has succeeded to the Business in each of those branches, in which he solicits a continuance of their favours.
Raven Inn, Chester, 10th Sept. 1830."

Cross the road again and we soon find The Shrewsbury Arms. A certain Mary Fildes, the famous orator and Chartist injured at the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester (16th August, 1819), and also grandmother of Sir Luke Fildes the Victorian portrait painter, ran two taverns in Chester during the mid 1800s, one being the Shrewsbury Arms.

Next door to this was The Ermine Vaults. Hilary Moore wrote to tell us that "a distant ancestor, Peter Moore was a baker and publican at the Ermine Vaults in Chester, given as 14 Frodsham Street in the 1871 census." Over the road from that was The Three Tuns Tavern (no 7) whose landlord in 1840 was John Jonas, in 1880 Joseph Bromley, in 1902 William Henry Clucas.

One final crossing and march up the road brings us to The Lord Raglan Inn (no 28/20). Its licencee in 1857 was D Davies, in 1880 John Henry Hawkins, in 1902 to at least 1910 Frederick Tilston Holland.

Many more inns have traded in Frodsham Street over the centuries. Go here to learn more about them...

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

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