White Lion public house


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
2 Market Street, Westhoughton, Bolton, BL5 3AN


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Statutory Address:
2 Market Street, Westhoughton, Bolton, BL5 3AN

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bolton (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A public house of the early C19 with remarkably intact 1920s improvements in the public and private areas.

Reasons for Designation

The White Lion public house, Westhoughton, a public house of the early C19 with remarkably intact 1920s improvements in the public and private areas, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

*Rarity: as one of a small number nationally of pubs whose internal planning and fabric has remained substantially unaltered since 1945, including the unusual survival of a publican’s office and bell pushes in all rooms; *Architectural design: for the well-planned internal layout and good quality features throughout including servery, wall and servery tiling, fireplaces, fixed seating, leaded windows and glazed doors; *Historic importance: as an example of a pub refit sharing the values of the contemporaneous movement for newly-built ‘improved’ public houses, a movement of national social and cultural significance.


The White Lion dates from the early C19 and was previously also Westhoughton's post office. The pub has been licensed since the early 19th century. It appears with more or less the same footprint on the 1:2500 first edition OS map (surveyed 1845-6), but the NE outshut is an extension. During the first half of the C20 there may also have been an extension to the western elevation, since removed but evidenced by a second skin, and the rear elevation shows signs of minor rebuilding and alterations. The corbelled chimney stacks have been shortened and a fourth chimney stack on the west gable removed. A smoking shelter has been erected on the W side of the building.

To the front elevation there has been alteration to and insertion of openings and replacement of the original sash windows, presumably associated with the 1920s internal refit. This has remained very largely intact despite some alterations including the opening out of the darts room and refitting of the lavatories.

A plaque was erected on the pub in 2012 to mark the bi-centenary of the burning of the mill opposite by Luddites in 1812 - the crime was plotted in the pub and straw from the (now demolished) stables was used to start the fire.


Public house of the early C19 with 1920s alterations.

MATERIALS: brick with painted scored render except to the rear, and grey slate roof.

PLAN: two-storey linear building four bays wide, with single-storey rear outshuts.

EXTERIOR: Situated at a crossroads next to the former Westhoughton Town Hall. The front elevation faces onto Market Street and has four evenly spaced windows at first floor. Wider windows sit beneath these at ground floor, except the left hand window which is offset to the left and largely boarded over. The first-floor windows are timber casements and at ground floor fixed timber windows with metal captive-opening true- leaded upper lights, and etched lower lights. Between (from the left) windows 2 and 3 and between 3 and 4 there are timber panelled doors with stone thresholds. Above the right hand entrance is a raised render panel, eared at the corners, with raised lettering reading ‘WHITE LION HOTEL’. A painted projecting sign sits above the left-hand entrance. At the right is a plaque commemorating a Luddite attack of 1812 on a mill opposite. Brick chimney stacks sit between windows 1 and 2, and between 2 and 3, with a double width stack aligned with window 4; the stacks are all capped. The eaves project with boarded soffits, and pvc box guttering.

The left hand gable has painted timber bargeboards and is blank except for a door at the left giving access to a lean-to metal shelter with glazed roof*, which spans most of the width of the gable and also the length of a short rear lean-to outshut.

The rear elevation is of soft red brick in English Garden Wall bond with five courses of stretchers between header courses, with some irregular vertical joints and later bricks. Single-storey outshuts project at the right and left, the right-hand one a lean-to, that to the left gabled.

The right-hand gable has painted timber bargeboards and, to the right, one window at each floor of the same type as the front elevation. To the left is a painted timber sign with a white lion and the brewery crest, with the name of the pub in applied letters.

INTERIOR: An entrance lobby leads into a wider drinking lobby. To the left is the centre-piece of the pub, the servery which has complete etched rising-sash screens and opens onto the drinking lobby, vaults and snug. The square posts between screens are treated as columns with neo-Classical detailing, and the cornice heavily moulded. The lobby dados and the length of the servery counterfront are tiled, edged in blue-grey with buff panels on a cream background, and vertical borders between of cream with a patterned tile at the top in a vermilion colour typical of Pilkington’s products.

From the drinking lobby a door to the left leads into the vault. This runs along the building and has the longest bar counter, curved at the left with matching curved servery screens. Beyond the bar there is a 1920s tiled corner fireplace with wood surround with a lion’s head motif. There is a (disused) central entrance lobby. A door at the west end gives access to a corridor linking with the outside seating area and a room now used for stock, with an Edwardian fireplace with Art Nouveau grate. This corridor also connects with the snug behind the servery. This is the so-called ‘ugly’ room with another curved section of counter with screens, and a fireplace with wood surround, tiling including a country scene with plough-horses, and grate. Across the drinking lobby from this room is an opened-up darts room and to the right the 'John Hyde Suite' named after a former local.

Fixed seating lines the walls except in the darts room, with bell pushes in all rooms, unusual in the vaults, for table service which operated right up to the 1970s. Original wooden doors have etched glass and Art Nouveau brassware, and there is embossed ceiling wallpaper throughout the ground floor. There is a polished water heater on the counter top, probably EPNS.

The 1920s tiling also lines the stair to the manager’s accommodation. The manager’s office at the top of the stair borrows light from the stair window via a part-glazed door and window (presently covered) onto the landing, as does a room overlooking the stair. The manager’s accommodation contains fireplaces and other features.

* The glazed shelter attached to the west gable of the pub is modern and is excluded from the listing.


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

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