Wednesday 7 November 2018

Toby Inn, Broadhead Road, Edgworth

Extract from Pubs in Turton 1 by John Barlow, pages 31-33, Chapter 2.  Edgworth

The first record dates back to 1825 when Richard Ward was the Licensed Victualler. During its long history it has had several names starting with the Dog and Moor Game in 1825. In 1851 Edmund Taylor changed the name to the Dog and Grouse and this remained until 1871 when Thomas Orrell changed its name to the Dog and Partridge. After Thomas Orrell retired, the name and reverted to the Dog and Grouse, which remained until 1941 when it acquired the name we know today – The Toby Inn.

In the 1880s the Dog and Grouse was leased to the Blackburn Brewing Company which was acquired by Thos. Dutton’s in 1921 and then Dutton’s Brewery, as it became, was subsequently acquired by Whitbread in 1964. For reasons that remain unknown the licence for the Dog and Grouse was not applied for in 1928 but was renewed on March 4 1929.

The population of Broadhead was much higher in the mid-19th Century than it is today and it is interesting to note the Broadhead National School shown on the 1850 map.

In 1939 ownership transferred to Cornbrook Brewery, who claimed award-winning beers but were said to indulge in some unsavoury practices. It was alleged that returned beer was sterilised, mixed with fresh product and sent out again. They were pioneers of delivery by tanker wagons, hence the so-called ‘tank beers’ of the period.

Dog & Grouse, Edgworth
Mrs Orrell, Thomas and sister Dorothy at the Dog & Grouse, late 1800s.

The brewery produced a little booklet in the 1960s, describing a number of their outlets, and had this to say about the Toby - “No Cornbrook house is more completely a moorland inn than the Toby Inn, which has Edgworth for its postal address while being situated way up beyond the village quite by itself with far views across to Turton Heights. What a surprising house the Toby turned out to be – so spacious within that it obviously catered for large numbers. Where on earth did the customers come from? – the purely local customers would hardly fill an ingle nook. Well, they come out from the cotton towns by car, coach and cycle, for a breath of moorland air – and something besides.”

The Toby in 2016
The Toby in 2016.

In 1850 the Lancashire Evening Post of 24 August, carried the following notice:
“Two Valuable Freehold Estates, known by the names of Whewell’s and Knowsley Barn, in the township of Edgworth, in the parish of Bolton, together with all that well-accustomed PUBLIC HOUSE called the Dog and Grouse: FARM HOUSE, Cottages and Buildings erected thereupon, in the occupation of Joseph Entwistle, Edmund Taylor, and others. And also, the COAL MINE, now working, and other Mines of Coal, Quarries of FLAG and STONE under the said Estates; containing in the whole about 126 statute acres. The Estates combine the advantages of commanding views of the surrounding country, of great diversity, extent and beauty, proverbial for its celebrity; and an easy distance from the Bolton and Blackburn and the East Lancashire Railways. There is a good Preserve of Game on the property. Details of where to apply provided.”

Trade was tough for licensed premises during World War I with many young men away. An advert in the Lancashire Evening Post of 18 January 1918 reads “Wanted, Tenant for Dog and Grouse Inn, Edgworth, free house. Low rent during war”. In WWII Reginald William Stephens of the Toby Inn was fined £1.00 plus costs for failing to obscure a headlight and not having a rear light in the blackout.

Holcombe Hunt at the Dog & Grouse.
Holcombe Hunt at the Dog & Grouse.