MY recent piece on the Fire Brigade in Southfield Lane prompted Malcolm Toft, who has kindly passed to me much information about the district’s former breweries, to remind me of the other Fire Brigade in Stott Hill, which runs behind the Cathedral down to Bolton Road.

My photograph, which the former Bass North permitted me to copy, shows the pub in its Hammonds days.

The building had been bought by the founder of the business, James Hammond, in 1864 and opened as a beerhouse, which it remained for the century of its existence.

The Bolton Road/Wapping district was rough in those days. One October Sunday morning in 1874, three police constables were attacked by a crowd with stones and bricks when attempting to arrest Dennis Kirwan during a raid on an illegal drinking house. He was convicted of being drunk and riotous and Julia Delaney for using obscene language and trying to rescue him from the police.

Three months later the Bradford Observer reported how labourer James Smith was given a month with hard labour for refusing to leave the Fire Brigade and another two months for an assault on the landlord John Swindells, who had been trying to ‘turn him out’ for being drunk.

The year after that, another landlord was heavily fined and his licence endorsed for harbouring prostitutes, that is for longer than was deemed necessary for ‘obtaining reasonable refreshment’.

James Hinchliffe took over in 1888. He was originally from Royston, just north of Barnsley, where his wife Jane was born, and was formerly a coal agent. His family was at the pub for many years. In the 1891 census we find him with his wife, four daughters and 13-year-old son, James Herbert, described as a bar assistant. He succeeded his father as landlord in 1897 and was also there a long time, although in the 1939 register he is described as a foreman in a wool warehouse, whilst his wife Mary is the hotel manageress. She had lived in Undercliffe Street, and is described as a barmaid at their wedding at St Clement’s in Barkerend Road in 1898.

In 1906, the police attempted to have the pub closed on the grounds that its accommodation was ‘inferior’ and that it was bad for police supervision. It was indeed a tiny pub. A lovely lady I used to chat to back in the late 1980s in the Airedale pub about the district in times past told me it was nicknamed the Firecat. When you went in, the bar was on the left and there were some seats to the right and a room which could hold only about 15 people. Men and women shared the same toilet.

The pub was eventually closed in 1963, under a law which paid compensation if this was because it was deemed to be redundant or not structurally suitable. James had died in 1953. The last landlord, Adolfas Krugsda, got £127 but Hammonds received £2,412.

Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the couple in the photograph. I would be delighted if any reader can let the Telegraph and Argus know at

* Dr Paul Jennings is author of The Local: A History of the English Pub. Available at Waterstones, WH Smith and online.