THE pub is still a traditional part of Christmas, and many of us will be gathering in one over the coming week.

In his book The Local: A History Of The English Pub, Paul Jennings remembers The Melbourne on White Abbey Road.

He writes: "During the 1920s and 30s a great deal of slum property was demolished in Bradford, as in other cities. One such district was that along White Abbey Road, described by the deputy town clerk at a public inquiry in 1923 as 'a festering sore eating into the lives of the inhabitants’. Accordingly it was cleared, although many who lived there were reported as reluctant to move to new council housing at Longlands or Lower Grange.

With the neighbourhood went most of its pubs, such as the Scott or Springfield Hotels. However for the inhabitants of the new council housing now completed was built an imposing new hotel - the Melbourne, by Leeds and Wakefield Breweries Ltd, whose trade name it was. It replaced an older inn, the Victoria, built in the late 1830s when the area was first developed, much of it on land owned by Job Wood, one time landlord and still remembered in the street that bears his name.

The Victoria was a substantial pub, which boasted in its travellers’ room, according to an inventory of 1857, two ‘splendid engravings of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Albert in rosewood frames’. Its lodge room had hosted four years earlier the dinner and half-yearly district meeting of the masters and lodges of the Grand Protestant Association of Bradford and District, which must have attracted comment at least from the many Irish Catholics who lived hereabouts and for whom Saint Patrick’s opened nearby that same year.

Its replacement was a ‘Beautiful Modern Hotel’, according to the Telegraph and Argus report of the opening on July 3, 1935. Designed by Bradford architects James Young and Company, it was built with ‘brick with terra-cotta and rustic brick facings’ in a style employed in several of the company’s pubs.

It featured a public bar, smoke room, music room and snug, furnished with mahogany and leather-upholstered seating. The entrances were graced with mosaic floors and it boasted ‘modern electrical fittings’ and central heating throughout, although retaining a fireplace in each room.

My photograph was taken in 1995, at a time when I frequented it. By this time, its name had been modified slightly to the Melborn, as may be seen, as it no longer belonged to Tetleys who had acquired the Melbourne name along with the company.

Under Irish landlord Eamon Halloran and his wife Anita it had become a popular music venue, I recall in particular a band called the Howling Whippets performing covers of Dylan and Eagles numbers. Several of us in the public bar enjoyed the Republic’s World Cup victory over Italy in 1994. It closed finally at the beginning of 2006, when its history was also detailed in a piece in the Telegraph and Argus of 14 January, and converted to other retail uses."