IN these pieces I have often documented pubs which, like so many in Bradford and indeed nationally, have closed.

This time I look at one which has survived - the Corn Dolly in Bolton Road. For much of its history, however, it was called the Wharf Hotel, a name derived from its proximity to the Bradford Canal, a branch of the Leeds and Liverpool from Shipley, which once came right into the centre of Bradford.

The Bradford Observer carried an advertisement for the pub in September 1837, when it is described as built just three years before.

It was ‘a well-accustomed inn or public house’ in the language of the day. There were six rooms on the ground floor: a tap room, two ‘neat Parlours’, two ‘good Kitchens’ and ‘a very convenient Bar’.

Upstairs were four bedrooms and ‘a large Chamber which accommodates a society of 135 members’ that is, a friendly society which commonly met at pubs.

In the attic were rooms for the servants. Outbuildings consisted of a butcher’s shop, brewhouse, gighouse and stabling, over which was another lodge room. It had cellars and ‘a never-failing supply of capital water’.

It was well situated, being close to the canal wharves, but also many factories and the fast-developing Bolton Road and Wapping districts.

The Dickinson family took the pub in those early years, when George moved there from the old Hope and Anchor Inn in Market Street. His son William succeeded his father there in 1845. In the 1851 census we find him and his wife Ellen, together with then widowed George, described as a retired innkeeper, and a young servant from Ireland.

The Dickinson family connection lasted then, with another George succeeding William, until 1880. Having long brewed its own beer, the pub was taken by brewers Warwick and Company of Boroughbridge in the 1890s and from them passed to John Smiths in the mid-1920s.

My photograph was taken in the mid-1980s. By that date, the Bolton Road and Wapping neighbourhoods and the factories were long gone. The pub had become a free house and been renamed the Corn Dolly. The canal had been closed at the Bradford end in the late 1860s and the rest of the canal to Shipley in the 1920s. I am afraid I do not know why the new name was chosen for the industrial city of Bradford.

I knew the pub quite well from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, it being not far from my then home. It had been converted inside into two halves: a games room and a lounge with a lovely open fire in the winter months, a friendly ‘local’. On those occasions later when I came to Bradford it was always pleasant to drop in for a pint before heading for the train. Indeed, it was one of the last pubs I was in before the first lockdown, one quiet afternoon. It has a nice display of Bradford City memorabilia, including a little portrait of ‘Ces’ Podd.

* Dr Paul Jennings is author of The Local: A History of the English Pub and Bradford Pubs.