Old White Lion


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Old White Lion Hotel, 6 Bolton Street, Bury, BL9 0LQ


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Statutory Address:
Old White Lion Hotel, 6 Bolton Street, Bury, BL9 0LQ

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

Bury (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Public house with accommodation above, built in the late C19 on the site of an earlier inn. Extended to the rear in the mid-C20.

Reasons for Designation

The Old White Lion, a late-C19 public house with accommodation above, 6 Bolton Street, Bury, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * the relatively-restrained external classically-influenced design responds well to the surrounding architecture, while employing more distinctive detailing to the ground floor, first-floor windows and dormers;

* it retains good internal decoration and bar features including fixed seating, a carved-timber bar back, decorative ceilings and staircases, as well as the panelled ground-floor Oak Room which has a high-quality and remarkably well-preserved decorative scheme.

Historic interest: * as a good example of a late-C19 public house which also helps to illustrate the C19 development of Bury’s historic town centre.

Group value: * it has strong group value with several nearby designated sites including the listed 2 to 10 and 12 to 16 Market Place, the scheduled remains of a fortified manor house known as Bury Castle, the listed Castle Armoury (former drill hall) and the Two Tubs Inn.


There has been a public house on this site since at least the 1840s. The 1849 Historic Town Plan (1:1,056) depicts The Old White Lion Inn on this site with an irregular footprint. During the latter part of the C19 the premises was rebuilt as the Old White Lion Hotel. There is reference to the new name in newspaper articles from the 1880s and it appears on the 1891 Historic Town Plan (1:500) with the current larger and more regular rectangular footprint and an enclosed yard with outside toilets to the rear. The late-C19 ground-floor arrangement appears to have consisted of a central lobby and corridor with rooms to either side, including the bar to the left. The Oak Room, located in the north-east corner of the ground floor appears to date to the end of the C19 or the early C20. In the early C20 a revolving door was inserted within the entrance lobby and it may have been around this time that the walls in the south-west corner of the ground floor were removed to open up the drinking area to the left of the main entrance, and the original bar counter also appears to have largely replaced. At an unknown date part of the wall to the right side of the entrance lobby was also removed to create a large opening into the seating area in the south-east corner. The original room arrangement is still legible in the decorative ceilings and corresponding beams. In 1925 the business was sold to Crown Brewery, a Bury-based company which was later amalgamated into Whitbread Breweries; Whitbread later sold the business. During the mid-C20 a single-storey lean-to was added to the rear of the building, containing toilets and a rear entrance.


Public house with accommodation above, built in the late C19 on the site of an earlier inn. Extended to the rear in the mid-C20.

MATERIAL: brick-built with stucco detailing, under a tiled double-pitch roof with a glazed pyramidal roof lantern. The front ground and first-floor windows, and rear upper-floor openings are timber-frame; most of the other windows are uPVC.

PLAN: a rectangular footprint orientated south-north, with the south elevation facing onto the street.

EXTERIOR: the building has three storeys, plus an attic and cellar. It has a three-window front elevation with parapet, and the floors are divided by moulded string courses. The two end windows project slightly forward between first floor and attic level. The ground floor has a central entrance with a two-leaf panelled door, beneath a recessed arched and arcaded overlight supported by a pair of fluted brackets. The entrance is flanked by paired two-pane windows with arcaded overlights to match the entrance; the ground-floor openings alternate with rusticated stucco pilasters with bracketed metal lamps. The first-floor end bays each have an oriel window supported by pairs of fluted brackets; window frames are all two-pane sashes. The central window is set above a plinth with a sign reading ‘THE OLD WHITE LION’. The central second-floor window has a floating pediment. The attic has a small central full-dormer flanked by a large half-dormer to either side; these have squat pilasters supporting oversized pediments with raking cornices and raised cross-and-shield motifs within the tympanums. The rear (north) brick elevation has a mid-C20 ground-floor lean-to extension and tiered first and second floors with rebuilt parapets. The upper floors both have three openings with blue-brick segmental heads. Most of the windows are two-over-two horned sashes; to each level, one window has been replaced by a fire exit and attached are C20 railings and fire escape railings and ladders. The exposed part of the west elevation is largely blind.

INTERIOR: the ground floor consists of a largely open-plan public bar area to the front, and two partitioned rooms and a mid-C20 extension to the rear. The rooms on the upper floors are arranged around a square stairwell.

The main bar area is entered through a small entrance lobby with an early-C20 internal timber revolving door; above the door is a wooden plaque reading THE OLD WHITE LION and to the side is a later fire-escape door. To the left of the entrance is a former drinking lobby. Adjacent is a curving timber-panelled bar counter and brass bar top (the bar counter is largely a later replacement). There is a timber bar back with small and large recessed arches decorated by stylised keystones and panelling. To the right of the entrance is a large seating area with fixed seating along the walls; there is also a decorative timber fireplace (possibly a replacement in a late-C19 style), with tiles and a cast-iron grate which is flanked by two arched recesses with scroll detailing. The front part of the ground floor has been opened up to create an open-plan arrangement; however, various decorative ceilings and beams with egg and dart cornices and foliate plasterwork are retained which indicate the original configuration of rooms. The ceiling above the bar counter includes a rectangular recess located below the floor of the upper-floor stairwell; now (2019) boarded over, it is understood to have originally been glazed and lit from above by the roof lantern.

To the rear are two rooms; their decorative timber doorways have central panes of etched glass with room names and lion motifs. To the right is the ‘Oak Room’ which is lined with small-square timber panelling and a rectangular-panel frieze decorated with carved motifs. At the centre of the east wall is a four-pointed arch fireplace with carved-timber surround, brown-tiled interior, a copper hood, and topped by a row of timber segments with shield motifs and a carved mantle-piece. The overmantel has C17-style carved decoration with an arcade incorporating a shield in relief, and there is a rectangular, carved panelled frieze above. The decorative geometric plaster ceiling incorporates Tudor-rose symbols picked out in deep red with green leaves, unicorns, stags, cockerels, birds and coats of arms in relief. There is also a cornice of yellow and purple-coloured grapes and acanthus leaves. Fixed seating runs around most of the room, including a hinged baffle door at one end, and there are bell pushes above. In one corner of the room seating is absent, and here the panelling appears to be late C20. To the south side of the room is a large leaded stained-glass internal window featuring lions and swag designs, and to the north, there is a more modest leaded stained-glass window. Opposite the Oak Room is the ‘Commercial Room’ which is now the pool room; it has a large rear leaded stained-glass window that has been truncated by a false ceiling. Between the rooms is a central corridor with doors at either end, one reading 'Toilets' (the glass is an early-C21 replica) and the other, ‘Back Entrance’; beyond is the mid-C20 toilet block.

The main stairway, to the right of the bar, has a carved-timber arch; it has a glazed-timber partition to the left and a fluted column to the right. The curtail stairway has a large carved newel post, handrail and turned balusters; a modern metal gate has been added at half-flight level. To the floors above is a square stairwell lit by a roof lantern, with a timber cantilever stair which includes turned balusters and a decorative open string; the landings are enclosed by late-C20 glazed partitions and fire doors. The upper floors retain some four-panelled doors with architraves. There are two first-floor function rooms and a late-C20 bar: the front room has a moulded coving and panelling to the central window reveal, and the rear room has an inbuilt panelled cupboard. The upper floors contain further second-floor bedrooms and an attic-level manager’s flat.


Bury Town Centre Conservation Area Appraisal, accessed 21 January 2019 from https://www.bury.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=4322&p=0
Campaign for Real Ales Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors entry, accessed 3 April 2018 from https://pubheritage.camra.org.uk/pubs/historic-pub-interior-entry.asp?NatPubID=ROB/253&Detail=full
Plan Number: 393; Bolton Street/Market Place (Old White Lion), Bury. subject to lease 1880 to Hanson Hamilton, Conveyance 1. Derby, Earl of 2. Crown Brewing Co.Ltd. of Bury; 17 June 1925; held by Bury Archive
The Bury Times, Saturday March 28 1885


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

End of official listing

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