Time and tide wait for no man. Or pub. Work is now well under way to transform the Old Blue Bell on the corner of Wash Lane and Bell Lane, Bury. This was a solid, multi-roomed, Victorian boozer with an appealing taproom in which a friend of mine would happily sup Holts Mild whilst hiding from those at work.
The OBB appeared in the Good Beer Guide for many years and most contemporary drinkers only ever remember it as being a Joseph Holts pub. However, this photo from 1951 shows it in an earlier incarnation as a Wilsons house. There has been a Bluebell pub on the site since at least 1800 when Bell Lane was a toll road and it’s thought the name of the area derives from the bluebells that used to grow there.
The current building dates back to 1899 when it was built by Alfred Crowther & Co Ltd who had their brewery across the road. Formed in 1897, AC & Co were bought out by Wilsons in 1925 who acquired 24 of their houses along with the OBB. On the old Crowther site on Brook St there now stands a brothel.
Brothels and mosques now outnumber pubs in the area. So it seems that the OBB, like many in that area, has fallen victim to post-industrial decay, changing demographics and changing drinking habits. Time and tide wait for no man.