IN the latest of his look backs at old pubs in the city, Dr Paul Jennings, author of The Local: A History of the English Pub and Bradford Pubs, focuses on the Lilycroft Hotel:

The same research at Bradford Council’s Housing Department many years ago which found the photograph of the Fitzgerald Arms in my recent piece also turned up this one of the Lilycroft Hotel in Manningham.

Its location is instantly recognisable from Lister’s colossal mill chimney in the background. Samuel Lister sold a plot of land to Thomas Cowling, a manager at the works, in 1871. That was the year in which the old Manningham Mills burned down, following which the present vast premises were constructed.

Cowling built five houses and a shop at the junction of what was originally Lilycroft Lane, later Road and what was at first Japan, but later Beamsley, Street. Like other streets hereabouts it showed its connection with Lister and his business. Beamsley and Farfield were Lister properties in Wharfedale; Silk, Chassum (silk waste) and Patent referenced his use of silk and the importance of patents to his success.

Lister then supported the grant of an off licence there to one Maria Hey. Even though the deeds to the property contained a covenant that it should never be used as a public house, it did indeed become a beerhouse when another licence was removed there.

It continued, however, as a shop for some years until the licensing magistrates put a stop to this practice.

I had a look at the last census open to view, of 1911, and found the Lilycroft Hotel had 10 rooms and was run by a George Robinson and his wife Gertrude. He had been a miner, born in Methley, Leeds.

Ten years earlier he was lodging at a pub in Wakefield, so the dream of running one of his own may have developed there. The pair were aided in the business by 16-year-old servant Amanda Marsden, also from Methley.

A good picture of an old-fashioned pub is conveyed by an inventory of the premises of 1927. In the smoke room was a large photo in an ebony frame of Bradford City and a pair of buffalo horns. Screens above the seating had glazed panels with prints in them.

The filling bar and vaults also had a painted and panelled counter on which was a four-pull beer machine in a mahogany case with brass and china handles. Customers’ needs were also catered for by boards for dominoes, draughts and shove halfpenny and also earthenware and iron spittoons.

The bar parlour, finally, was graced with stag’s and ram’s heads and more prints of battleships and hunting scenes.

The copper-framed lamp and iron work and a flagpole no longer graced the exterior by the time this photograph was taken at the beginning of the 1960s.

By then it was a Tetley’s pub, having come to them from Bradford’s William Whitaker and Company, which bought it in 1937.

It was taken as part of the preparations for the clearance of the area. Tetley then built a new Lilycroft, which thrived for a time, but in turn later sold it and it was converted to other retail uses.