IN the latest of our occasional look backs at Bradford pubs, Dr Paul Jennings, author of The Local: A History of the English Pub, remembers the Fox and Pheasant on Little Horton Lane.

He writes: “These are of course very testing times for the pub, and it is likely that some will not survive, but the number of pubs has been declining for years.

I pondered this recently as I drove up Little Horton Lane - up and down which in my younger days I must have walked hundreds of times and which was full of historical interest.

Until quite recently there were 10 pubs along its route. There was the Crescent in its modern version in Wardley’s block with the ice rink. Then, through what had been built as a middle-class Victorian suburb just Rafters, a modern conversion, to the Armstrong Hotel at the junction with Park Road. From here you passed the old workhouse buildings, now a car park for St Luke’s Hospital which the workhouse became.

Then beyond All Saints Church was the Red Lion. Up the hill you had the Black Bull on the left and opposite the Old House at Home, the original 17th century premises later replaced by a modern ‘Old’ House.

Then, having passed the former Brigella Mills, there was the Fox and Pheasant on the right, the subject of this photograph (courtesy Bradford Local Studies) taken around 1900 when John Benn was the landlord, the men, sadly, unknown.

It had been a public house since 1777, when it had been built by one Joseph Bonnell originally as the Hare and Hounds, according to the deeds which I looked at when it was a Tetley’s house.

Like so many pubs, it played its little part in the town’s history. It hosted, for example, a commemorative dinner in 1849 for the Repeal of the Corn Laws or, tragically, in January 1862 was the scene of a brawl following an all-night drinking session from which a man from Low Moor later died, although the resulting inquest at the Black Bull returned a verdict of death from natural causes.

At the close of the 1950s the old building, including a cottage to the side, was modernised, the cottage becoming a TV room, the main part of the pub having music- and tap rooms and snug.

By this time, the Canterbury Avenue estate had been built on land stretching from Little Horton Green to Southfield Lane and the pub and the New House at Home opposite both seemed to be doing well when I was last in them in the early 1980s. Both are now closed, although like all but two of the other pubs noted here, the building remains.

One of those demolished was the Old House at Home, for a medical centre. The other, where Little Horton Lane becomes St Enoch’s Road, was the Black Horse, whose imposing 1876 building once dominated the junction. Across the road finally, the Brown Cow still displayed its sign but was closed that recent sunny autumn morning when I stopped and looked around. The crossroads I remembered from the 1960s as full of busy little shops now looked desolate, those remaining mostly shuttered, few people about, just the traffic grinding past.”