IN the latest of his articles looking back at Bradford pubs, Paul Jennings - author of The Local: A History of The English Pub - remembers the Prince of Wales in Bowling Old Lane.

"It was recently reported in the Telegraph & Argus that plans had been approved to convert 'an eyesore former pub', the Prince of Wales, into a house. This will represent a return, more that two centuries later, to its original use and offers a good opportunity to relate some of its long history. The little row of cottages was built towards the close of the 18th century and three of them were licensed as a public house soon afterwards. A later auction booklet claimed this was in about 1792 and certainly it appears in trade directories and registers from the early 1820s.

In addition to serving the community of Bowling, at that time separate both physically and administratively from Bradford, it also offered refreshment to travellers on what was then the main road to the south and Lancashire until the construction of the straighter Manchester Road later that decade.

Its best-known landlord was Albert Cowling. His parents had taken the pub in 1874 when Albert was three-months-old and he in turn became the licensee at the age of 21 after work in the textile trade and an apprenticeship in watch and clock-making. He was a local lad, having been born in Galloway Fold at the top of Bowling Old Lane. He bought the pub in 1914 and eventually also ran the Sir Robert Peel in Westgate, the Wine Lodge known also as the Iron Gates in Market Street and another Wine Lodge in Boar Lane, Leeds.

Although making his living from the sale of drink, Albert was a supporter of temperance and inaugurated the Cowling Temperance Trust to fund two sermons a year on that theme at nearby St Stephen's church. More practically perhaps for the cause, if a man called into the pub on his way home on pay day he would be allowed just one drink. He also offered jugs of water. He was a supporter of a number of local charities, including the Cinderella Club which provided holidays for children, and also served as a Conservative councillor for several years during which he was a supporter of economy measures.

The Prince of Wales was afterwards managed for him for 25 years to the close of the 1940s by Edith Crawley, who was in charge of the advertising which Cowling had pioneered, notably the slogan: 'Half a pint of ale, a meat pie, a packet of Woodbines and change out of sixpence.' He left her £500 on his death in 1952 at the age of 77, from an estate of over £60,000.

In that year, when it was sold to Tetley's brewery for £33,000, the pub comprised a smoke room, snug, hall and passage with a serving bar and music room known as the Scotland. The interior had been opened out by the mid-1980s when my photograph was taken on what was probably the last time I walked on Bowling Old Lane from its junction with Mayo Avenue towards the city centre. At that time, just beyond the Prince of Wales, was another pair of old cottages which were converted into what became the Old Lane Tavern, both pubs quiet but seemingly doing well enough that sunny day.