THE recent refusal by planners for more flats at the former Mowbray Arms pub in Manningham has prompted our regular contributor, DR PAUL JENNINGS, to take a look at its history.

Dr Jennings, author of The Local: A History of the English Pub and Bradford Pubs, writes:

The Mowbray Arms was built by one Thomas Walton, together with other houses and a shop and with stabling for three horses, where Lily and Church Streets meet, at their junction with Conduit Street and Skinner Lane.

It received its licence from the Bradford Borough magistrates in 1852, along with three other substantial pubs characteristic of their time, which may be remembered: The Undercliffe Hotel, later the Peel Park, on Otley Road, Firth’s Hotel, later the Queen, on Lumb Lane and the Royal Hotel at the bottom of Wakefield Road. The last was demolished many years ago and the other two also are now closed, although the buildings remain.

The Mowbray was first called the Dragon but its name was soon changed to that of the Vale in the north of Yorkshire.

By 1864 it was let to Halifax brewer Thomas Ramsden and Son and later bought by Joseph Stocks and Company of the Shibden Head Brewery between Bradford and Halifax.

In the 1891 census we find it was run by William Summers from Newark and his wife, aided by an Irish-born servant. Their son, in a perhaps now little-known occupation but then a part of Bradford’s textile trade, was a ‘slubbing dyer’.

This photograph of the Mowbray Arms was taken in its Stocks’ days when Isaac Newton was the landlord. He had taken the pub in November of 1901. In the half-century since it was built Manningham had grown from an older settlement into a densely populated largely working-class district.

It was home too to several churches and chapels, beginning with St Paul’s, built in 1847, and to important public buildings like the Children’s Hospital or St Catherine’s Home for Incurables facing it on St Mary’s Road. In 1933 it became a Webster’s pub when the Halifax brewer took over Stocks.

I knew the area well in the 1960s and early 1970s, having family in nearby Westbourne Road, but the pubs rather later when I lived for a time in Manningham at the beginning of the 1980s. Both it and the New Inn directly opposite both seemed to be busy enough local pubs then. I remember chatting to one or two people who had lived in Manningham since before the war. But both later closed. The New Inn building is still there, now put to other uses, but the Mowbray fell into dereliction, a process aided by several fires, the last in 2018. It was auctioned early in 2020. The planning application, whose refusal was recently reported, is then the latest twist in the building’s story.

* Finally, may I correct a mistake which I inadvertently made in my piece on the Fountain at Heaton. The pub was at Heaton Syke, hence Syke Road as may be seen in the photograph; Carr Syke is in another part of Heaton: Frizinghall. Apologies for any confusion caused.