A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

old map of linenhall street area

This tiny detail from the 1875 Chester OS map shows the junction of Linenhall, Nicolas and Watergate Streets as they were before the coming of the Inner Ring Road.

To the far right is the (at least) 200 year-old Axe Tavern, (no 75 Watergate Street). This inn has changed it's name often: The Old Axe Tavern in 1828, back to The Axe Tavern in 1840 when Mrs Andrews was in charge, simply The Axe in 1850 (wich it remained in 1880 when Edward Greenwood was the gaffer) to The Axe Tavern again in 1914.
In the 1990s, as part of the Firkin brewing chain, it was for a while known The Falchion & Firkin but is now re-named Bar Lounge.
It appeared on a list of polling stations in 1809. Its landlord in 1818-22 was William Maylor, in 1828 Richard Brayne, in 1850 Michael Foster, in 1902 John Vernon. In 1910-14 Mrs Sophia Vernon was in charge, in 1934-5 A Foulkes, in 1942 Harry Carter.

The Ring Road demanded the radical widening of Nicolas and Linenhall Streets (the latter, including its name, vanishing in the process), resulting in the destruction of numerous buildings, including, sadly, the venerable Yacht Inn.
the axe tavern and yacht innIts landlord in 1749 was Thomas Hart, in 1780-81 Simeon Leet, in 1782 Mrs Leet, in 1818-28 Benjamin Powell, in 1840 James Osborne, in 1850 John Heppel, in 1880 Daniel Miller, in 1902 Henry Ellison Ostle, in 1910-1914 William Henry Lucas, in 1935 Mrs Barlow. Recorded as being used as a polling station in 1809.
This advertisement for the old Yacht appeared in Adams’s Weekly Courant, 7th March 1780:

"YATCH INN, Chester. SIMEON LEET, OF the PY’D BULL, in Northgate-street, Chester, humbly begs Leave to inform the Public, That for several Reasons, particularly the great Distance of his present House from the Center of the City, which rendered it very inconvenient to Travellers, he has taken that compleat and old-established Inn, the YATCH, and intends entering on it by the 25th of this Inst. March, where he hopes to be honoured with the Countenance of his Friends who have resorted to the Py’d Bull, as well as those Gentlemen who have usually bestowed their Favours to the Yatch.
The Yatch will be fitted up in a very commodious Manner, and the utmost Endeavours will be exerted to give the fullest Satisfaction to all his guests, and to prove himself their very gratefully obliged and obedient humble Servant, SIMEON LEET.
N. B. Good Post-Chaises and careful Drivers at the shortest Notice".

Both The Axe and The Yacht may be seen in our photograph.

You can read more about the venerable Yacht Inn and see a few more pictures of it on its own page in our 'lost pubs' gallery...

Finally, we see The Linenhall Tavern which is recorded in Pigot's Directory as trading here in 1818-20, licencee Jane Britain. She was still the licencee in 1828, Later came Samuel Peacock (also a cooper) in 1840-50, James Whitlow in 1880, Henry Peat in 1902. It also appears in this detail from the map.

Linenhall Street once bore the name of Lower Lane ("the street leading to the Crofts"). In 1836, the Chester author and guide Joseph Hemingway described it as "a miserable receptacle of vice, chiefly inhabited by the lowest order of people".

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