Brown Bull, Chapel Street, Salford. (c) deltrems at flickr.
The dodgy looking Copperheads Hotel on opposite the Salford Arms was not long ago a fine looking pub. The Brown Bull's history is well covered, so here is an extract from one of Neil Richardson's last books before he sadly passed away - Salford Pubs, Part One: The Old Town, including Chapel Street, Greengate and the Adelphi (2003):
'When the Brown Bull first opened, diagonally opposite across Chapel Street from the Salford Arms, it was on the edge of town. New Bailey Street and the bridge over the Irwell had yet to be built and the western end of Chapel Street resembled a country lane, with hedgerows, cottages and gardens.
'Licensees of the Brown Bull, also recorded as the Pyed Bull and Red Bull, can be traced back to Charles Mills in 1766. Thomas Rylance took over in 1781, followed by John Rylance until 1880. Samuel Arrowsmith was in charge for several years until the 1820s, then in 1824 William Wood took over. Two years later he was bankrupt and his lease was for sale. The pub had been rebuilt with a curved frontage to the corner and according to the advertisement, its situation was 'equal to any in town'. On the ground floor there were three entertaining rooms, a spirit vault and a kitchen, plus a taproom and vaults with an entrance in Gore Street. On the upper floors there were eight good lodging rooms and a large dining room, and the cellars were lofty and extensive.
'John Lyon, son of the licensee of the Dog Inn, took over and he changed the name, briefly, to theSalford Tavern. Several directory entries for the pub show that the Gore Street vaults were sub-let and were sometimes listed as the Brown Bull Tap or Salford Vaults.
'Another of the Brown Bull's tenants made a name for himself in a spectacular way. In October 1837 James Veysey was the first Salford publican to take to the air. The ascent was made in the 'Royal Nassau' balloon from the gasworks yard behind the Lamb Inn. He was one of four fare-paying passengers, the trip lasted almost an hour and the balloon came down a few miles from Wakefield.
Phoebe Veysey took over from James about 1847 and Peter Okell was the licensee in the 1850s. Richard Ackley took over about 1860 and while he was there the Brown Bull had to be rebuilt again, as a result of the Corporation's street widening programme.
'In 1847 Mr Ackley applied for a provisional licence for new premises, costing an estimated £15,000, to replace the old pub and the adjoining shops on New Bailey Street. Two years later the Salford Weekly News noted that there was now 'a handsome block of buildings' on the corner, which had been 'considerably widened at a point where it was much needed'. A plan drawn for the rebuilding shows four shops fronting New Bailey Street, Mr Ackley's vaults on the corner, with a parlour at the back, and another shop fronting Chapel Street. Twenty years later some of the shops had to be pulled down when Salford Station was enlarged and Gore Street rebuilt.
'Ralph Baker was running the pub in the 1880s and he was followed by his son about 1898. At the age of twenty-one, Ralph Baker junior was the youngest licensee in the borough and a few years later he represented Islington Ward on Salford Council. Ralph died in 1916 and Mrs Mary Baker took over until the 1940s. William Williams was there in the 1950s. During that time the Brown Bull was owned by Taylors Eagle Brewery and the company's eagle trademark could still be seen in the etched windows until the 1980s. By then it was a Marstons house and it closed in 1993. Seven years later and under new ownership, the building was refit and reopened as Copperheads Hotel .'
Copperheads Hotel, Chapel Street, Salford. (c) googlemaps.
1. Salford Pubs, Part One: The Old Town, including Chapel Street, Greengate and the Adelphi, Neil Richardson (2003).