IN the latest of his look-backs at Bradford pubs, DR PAUL JENNINGS puts the spotlight on The Royal Engineer Hotel at Dudley Hill.

Dr Jennings, author of The Local: A History of the English Pub and Bradford Pubs, writes: I often think of the richness of the history that is obscured when neighbourhoods are obliterated. One such was Dudley Hill, for the creation of a massive road interchange.

My photograph here shows the Royal Engineer Hotel at the crossroads of Wakefield Road, Tong Street, Sticker and Rooley Lanes. This public house dated back to around 1830 and was built on land which formed part of the Bolling Hall estate. One of the partners in the Bowling Iron Works, from which the pub no doubt derived its name and which had bought the estate, John Green Paley, then living at Oatlands in Harrogate, sold the pub to its licensee, John Scholefield, in 1850.

It was an important meeting place in Bowling, which was a separate township until brought within the new Borough of Bradford in 1847. In the general election of 1835 we find both the unsuccessful Radical candidate George Hadfield and one of his successful Whig opponents, Ellis Cunliffe Lister, father of Samuel of Lister’s Mill, addressing meetings there.

Scholefield had succeeded a previous licensee, George Oddy, who had gone bankrupt in March 1848. The resulting sale of Oddy’s effects included those of the rope-making business which he also carried on with the pub, a piano forte among other furniture, spittoons and other pub items, plus brewing equipment and stock including 400 gallons of strong ale, London porter, wines and spirits. He also had to sell a bay mare, a ‘hay hearse’ and a spring cart, together with a quantity of manure.

In 1869, Martha Scholefield sold the pub to Michael Stocks of the Shibden Head Brewery which was located between Queensbury and Halifax. Joseph Stocks (the brewery’s founder) and Company eventually owned several pubs in the Bradford area, including hereabouts the White Hart, also on Rooley Lane and the Moulders Arms further on Sticker Lane. Joseph Stocks was absorbed by Websters of Halifax in 1933 but it was the Stocks name on the conveyance, which I viewed courtesy of Bradford Council, when they bought the pub in 1967.

I do not know the exact date of this photograph from its Stocks days, but as may be seen, the stables had now given way to a garage, as the sign over the entrance and the Shell and Pirelli advertisements make clear. The closed doors and the waiting men suggest shortly before opening time. In the inter-war years Dudley Hill was a thriving locality with mills, housing, shops, chapels and schools. It had its own railway station plus trams and trolley buses. For recreation there was the Picture Palace on Tong Street, built before the First World War, and Greenfield Stadium, opened for greyhound racing in 1927. The Picture Palace ceased to operate as a cinema in 1967 but was later listed Grade II. Greenfield closed in 1969, by which time the Engineer had gone. I am too young to have known the pub but perhaps someone reading this has memories.