Inns and Alehouses of Oldham and their licensees 1714-1992, by Rob Magee

Inns and Alehouses of Oldham and their licensees 1714-1992, by Rob Magee
Booklet published by Neil Richardson in 1992, 94 pages. A4 size booklet (N7919)

From the foreword: It is eight years since the publication of my first book, "A Directory of Oldham Pubs", a brief account of public houses and beerhouses which have existed in the town together with listings of some of their licensees. Now, seven books later, I have collected much more information on each of Oldham' s pubs to provide fuller histories and much more comprehensive listings of licensees. Because of the amount of material now avail­able, this new history of Oldham's pubs is being published in two volumes, separating the public houses from the beer­houses. The public houses, which were mostly licensed as inns and alehouses in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, are the subject of this book.

The information contained in this book has been gathered from many sources, including licensing records, directories, newspaper reports, local diaries and personal recollections. The findings of three surveys have provided valuable detail. The first, in 1829, was carried out by Dunn when he was preparing his map of the town and notes the size and usage of buildings, their owners and tenants. The other two surveys were published in 1886 and 1894 by Oldham's Chief Constable after invest­igations into the ownership and condition of the town' s public houses and beerhouses.

Some inns and alehouses which closed very early, like the Nags Head, have not been given separate entries because little is known about them. They are referred to in passing under other pubs in the same location. One of the questions frequently asked about a pub's history is "What year did it open?" There are sometimes different answers, depending on where you look! The surviving local licensing records date from the latter
part of the nineteenth century, when borough magistrates were given more powers to control the numbers of licensed houses in their areas. Under the pro­visions of the Licensing Acts, magistrates were required to "To compile registers of their public houses and also to record the "first licensed" date of each of them.

In common with other boroughs, Oldham's licensing registers began about 1870 and it is in these that official licensing dates first appear. The dates were probably provided by the owners and tenants of the public houses at the time of the first licensing sessions under the new laws. However, in view of other surviving records, notably the pre-1823 alehouse recognizances at the County Record Office, it is clear that some of the dates given are wrong. Many of the official licensing dates probably came from consulting title deeds, local directories or other, post- 1823 records which are now lost. A date taken from a title deed may have been the year a house was built, or when a new lease was signed, rather than when it became a public house. The early local direct­ories are not always reliable, as the compilers sometimes missed out pubs which were then in the outer districts of the town. Added to this is the fact that some owners would have been more diligent than others in coming up with an accurate date.

In view of the discrepancies between official dates and those licensing dates I have estab­lished in the course of research, to avoid confusion I have only occasionally referred to official dates. The access to local and county records for a researcher in 1992 is far easier than it would have been for a busy licensee in Oldham in 1870!

Their are over 120 pubs listed in the booklet, and they are arranged in an A to Z format. They include the Abbey, Albion, Alfonso, Angel, Bath Hotel, Beaver, Black Horse, Boundary, brookside, Bulls Head, Carrion Crow, Cheshire Cheese, Coach and Horses, Commercial, Crown, Crown and Anchor, Crown and Cushion, Dog and Partridge, Friendship, Gaping Goose, George, Globe, Greenacres, Hartford, Hat and Feathers, Junction, Kings Arms, King William IV, Lamb, Magnet, Mare and Foal, Moulders, Old House, Old Mess House, Old Post Office, Old Soldier, Ordnance Arms, Pack Horse, Plough, Punch Bowl, Railway, Red Lion, Ring o'Bells, Robin Hood, Rope and Anchor, Royal Oak, Spinners, Stags Head, Star, Sun, Three Horse Shoes, Trap, Up Steps, and many more!

Condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covershave one or two very minor scuffs but are clean and bright, the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Has an old price printed on the front cover, a small price sticker on the rear side.