MY previous piece on the Beehive showed its connection to the Albion Brewery at Clayton. Another pub they owned was the Fire Brigade in Southfield Lane, Great Horton. I looked at the deeds to the property when it was a Tetley’s pub, which showed that a row of a dozen cottages was built there at the beginning of the 19th century. Whether these were rebuilt or converted was not clear, but by the 1850s the future pub on that site comprised three houses and a grocer’s shop.

The property had been bought by Walter Bentley, a local butcher and innkeeper of the old Fleece Inn, who converted it into a beerhouse in July 1867, with Joshua Ormondroyd as the first landlord. It took its name from the nearby Great Horton police and fire station.

He in turn sold it in 1870 to brewers Joseph Hardy and John Schofield Briggs of the Albion Brewery, Clayton for £715. They had it until 1924, when the Hardy family now sold it to Bradford brewers Waller and Son, along with the Albion Hotel, Clayton and four cottages and shops. Wallers in turn sold out in 1935 to the Leeds and Wakefield Brewery, trading as Melbourne, and their trademark courtier decorated the pub’s windows.

There was a trio of pubs here, with the Southfield, an imposing fully licensed pub opened in 1856 and the Wheatsheaf on the opposite side of Southfield Lane, another beerhouse. The Southfield had something of a chequered history, with one landlord convicted in 1890 of indecently interfering with a little girl in Horton Park, another fined for opening outside hours and still another for falling foul of wartime closing regulations in 1914, compounded by attempting to bribe a constable. The Fire Brigade’s landlord was convicted of permitting gambling in 1904.

But perhaps one shouldn’t take these incidents as typical. Convictions were in fact comparatively rare and pubs generally well run.

The Fire Brigade was not a pub I knew as a customer. My photograph was taken in the mid-1980s, still clearly showing its origins as a shop and houses. It was also the time of a rare, and as it turned out, the last occasion I was there. One evening, I had been showing two friends some of the old houses in Great Horton and we stopped for a drink. There was a pub quiz about to begin, so we took part, only to face some hostility when we won.

Just recently I went back to have a look and saw that the Fire Brigade was for sale. At some point, the windows of my photograph had clearly been replaced, but two courtiers retained. The faded Wallers advert that you once could see on the wall had gone, Sky Sports now instead. The Wheatsheaf similarly once showed an advert for the Horton Old Brewery but that too no more. Both it and the Southfield had closed and been converted to other uses. I remember Great Horton as an attractive little village almost from the sixties and seventies, but it looked down at heel that grey, wet morning, with shuttered and barred shops, overflowing bins and run-down buildings.

* Dr Paul Jennings is author of The Local: A History of the English Pub (new revised third edition), Bradford Pubs and Working-Class Lives in Edwardian Harrogate. Available at Waterstones, WH Smith and online.