Many ancient pubs, inns and hostelries in Ormskirk have now become lost pubs.

Few survived the various attacks on the livelihood of the 19th and 20th century innkeepers. The challenges the modern pub industry faces through national events are not a new phenomenon.

After World War I there were very few licensed houses left, by the end of the 1960s there were even less.

Many of the old names of these pubs will be unfamiliar for most Ormskirk residents now, the smaller pubs which shared the main streets with much larger licensed premises have faded into history.

The Bay Horse was a small inn situated in Burscough Street next door but one to the Wheatsheaf Inn. The yard at the rear shared a wall with the rear stable of the King’s Arms.

A larger piece of land was used by the Bay Horse as a carriage yard across Burscough Street behind the shops.

The Bay Horse changed its sign to the White Horse but it closed by the 1850s and the building became shops.

Burscough Street at that time consisted of very old buildings which were not easily converted to either retail or domestic premises.

Many of them were warehouse or market properties and space was at a premium, so the buildings were extended in the front elevation to give them a shop window and this caused a narrowing of the street from both sides.

The large Ormskirk Hall halfway up on the west side of the street sat back from the through road behind a neat walled front garden, with a very large garden area to the rear, which stretched parallel to Moor Street on its south side. The hall was home and surgery to several different doctors over the decades.

The Black Bull first on left

Opposite the Ormskirk Hall was the Swan Inn, (now rebuilt as the Nationwide), another ancient pub which was certainly thriving in 1740. A tall narrow building with no windows or doors on its south aspect, the inn became the target of the local magistrates and police who found it impossible to monitor for illegal activity.

Despite attempts to bring in trade from the market and sports groups, the Swan suffered because of the lack of space and access, despite having huge holding pens in the back for market livestock.

On the East side of Aughton Street, at number 65, used to stand the Black Horse Inn, trading mainly as a pub with a brewery in the rear from around 1800 up until the 1890s. It had previously been known as The Rainbow in the 1700s.

Ideally located on the wide turnpike road through the town, it would have been one of the first public houses passed by travellers on the Liverpool to Preston through road, although the business had strong competition from both the Bull’s Head across the road and the Black Bull a little further up on the opposite side of Aughton Street.

The crowds gather for another social occasion early 1930s when pubs were plenty and open all day

The Black Bull was the first of the three to close though during the development of the Coronation Park.

There were several successful beerhouses along the streets of the town: these operated without the need for licensing laws for as long as they could.

The Eight Bells; the Flag and Ribbon; The Foresters Arms; the Freemason’s Arms; The Griffin; The Rising Sun; The Joiner’s Arms and The Lamb were all operating throughout the 19th century and apart from the Foresters Arms, which was close to the Windmill, and which later was renamed The Greyhound, none of those beerhouses have really been identified location wise.

The Rising Sun is thought to have been on the East side of Burscough Street below Derby Street.

There is still much research to do to pinpoint where these places were and what is there now. Certainly there was a huge brewing and hostelry business in the town that at one time supported all these businesses.

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By admin