AT a time when pubs are closing at an alarming rate, it seems remarkable to think that, in the early 20th century, the Government introduced a scheme to reduce the number of pubs thought to be no longer needed.

One of them was Bradford’s West End Tavern on Morpeth Street.

Here Paul Jennings - author of Bradford Pubs and The Local: A History of the English Pub - takes a look at the old pub.

Writes Paul: “The West End Tavern in Morpeth Street, off Listerhills Road was typical of a once common sight in industrial cities: the small back-street pub.

Today almost none remain. The Listerhills district was being developed from the mid-19th century along the road from Thornton Road to Legrams Lane and on eventually to Lidget Green and Clayton.

According to the title deeds, it was at first a house and shop built by one Simeon Roe, a provision dealer, but soon converted into a beerhouse, in what was originally Percy Street.

Roe’s widow Lydia later remarried Thomas Wheater, who also owned properties in nearby Bright, Cobden and Villiers Streets.

Their names, like Morpeth to which Percy Street was renamed, illustrate the common contemporary habit of naming streets, and indeed pubs, after politicians, in Bradford’s case Whig-Liberals, above all Gladstone, who had several streets and pubs in Bradford and its surrounding districts named after him.

Lydia sold the pub in 1872 to brewer Alfred Holmes, who with his father and brother worked at the Old Brewery at the bottom of Great Horton Road, where the New Victoria cinema, latterly the Odeon, was later built.

These three eventually, in 1890, set up their own brewery, J R Holmes and Sons, by the canal at Dowley Gap, Bingley.

They sold all their pubs to Hammonds Brewery, of Manchester Road, in 1919, from around when my photograph dates.

It had then not long to go.

It closed in 1924 under a government scheme, introduced in 1904, to reduce the number of pubs deemed to be no longer needed, which paid compensation to the owner and tenant.

In a typically uneven ` split, Hammonds received £2,635 whilst the tenant got a rather less generous £365.

As the saying had it at the time: ‘The brewer will get the corn and the publican the sack.”

Hammonds then sold off the now unlicensed property. That same year, two other nearby pubs also closed under this scheme: the Milton Arms in the street of that name, and the Gardeners Arms in Melville Street.

The area then was largely cleared after the Second World War, and Bradford Council bought it in 1957, under the Listerhills compulsory purchase order.

Today only fragments of the neighbourhood remain.

The Waterloo Hotel, on Listerhills Road itself, also closed but the premises became a shop.

One pub though does still trade: what had been the Preston Hotel in the street of that name, as the Fighting Cock, a real ale pub.”