Tuesday, 14 October 2008

New Inn - Thorn - (Broken Jaw) and its Courtroom and the Police Lock Up across the road

The Mary Hindle Resource Centre originally was The New Inn which later became the Thorn Hotel (nicknamed by some "The Broken Jaw"). In the old days when it was the New Inn it also served as a Courthouse in the upper room, and across the road was the Police Lock Up (used to be Driver's Newsagents 1960s-1980s). They do say there is a tunnel under the road linking the lock up and courthouse, where they used to bring in the prisoners, ....Below is a photos of the old newsagents/police hold. The Old photo shows the shop in full bunting in celebration of the 1911 Coronation...

I remember working on the roof of this pub many years ago for Wilsons Brewery and I am sure then that it was a flat roof (asphalted) and that the pitch roof and apex fronts where put on in more recent times eg: 1980's... (Click over photos to enlarge).

Photo kindly sent in by Keith Burton, showing what was Drivers Newsagents,
and also at one time, within its cellars there had been cells used for a "Police Lock Up"
whilst they held prisoners ready for the court across the road in the upper floor of the New Inn

"Notes from Michael Mullaney 6th August 2014"
Hi Bryan,
Small comment on Drivers Newsagents shop. "Before it was a shop it was the local lockup.  I delivered newspapers for John Driver in 1957/58 and in the cellar there were still the remains of some of the cells and chain links fixed to the walls.
Johns father old man Driver who had the shop previously also held the position of issuing Hawkers Licences which allowed so many Irish immigrants ply their trade as Hawkers.
The shop wasn't like a modern day shop it was simply a galley style passage with counters on three sides.  His customers in the 1950's were mainly local and mill workers always in a hurry,
to accommodate this he knew what all his early morning customers wanted and how much money they would tender, so he would put out ready their daily paper of choice with a packet of 10 cigarettes and the right change.
The customer then just came in, put down the money,  and took their paper, cigs and change without having to bother John who would be busy making up the many paper rounds ready for the paper boys arriving by 6 o'clock.
Slick or what!

Email received from Andrew Bridge on 8th April 2015.

Hi Bryan
Firstly, can I say what a brilliant job you do on the blog - it's a fantastic resource for anyone with any interest in the history of the town.

Recently I was reading the page about the Old Thorn pub, which became the Mary Hindle Resource Centre and is now the VIC Centre.

Between 1996 and 2004 I was chairman of the Haslingden Community Forum, later Community Action in Rossendale, and I was involved in preparing the funding applications to refurbish the former pub, and project managing the construction work.  You mention on the page that you remember a flat roof on the property - that's very true.  When the Forum bought the pub in 1998 for £40,000 it did have a flat room and leaked dreadfully.  In fact, it was so bad that the upper floors couldn't be used for anything because they were so damp.  Whilst I have some internal shots of the pub when we bought it in 1997, I don't have any of the roof (I might have an external shot and, if I do, I'll email it to you).

The Forum was lucky enough to secure the services of the Borough Architect (Doug Newton) and his team at Rossendale Borough Council (as part of the matched funding for the project and the Action for Haslingden Single Regeneration Budget programme in the late 1990's and early 2000's).  The architects advised us that it would be cost effective to fit a pitched roof on the building to avoid any future problems, and we got agreement from Howard at the adjoining property that the roof would cover both the old pub and the butchers.  The building opened in summer 2000, complete with the new pitched roof.

I understand, and have seen a photograph to confirm, that the building actually had a third storey with a pitched roof from when it was originally built until some time in the 1960's or 1970's - the actual date I don't know.

I hope that helps viewers of your blog get some background to the roof and why it was fitted.
Keep up the good work!
Best wishes
Andrew Bridge

Email received from Michael Mullaney on 9th April 2015.

Hi Bryan,
The original New Inn was built possibly in the early 1700s of the water shot construction method as a three storey property the upper level was removed at sometime in the late 60s as a cheaper option to repairing the roof.
The New Inn was possibly one of the most important public houses along with the White horse in Church Street.  Later the New Market Hotel in Marsden Square became the venue to be seen at.
The upper level was designed like all the major public houses or hotels of the time as one big open room in which meetings and functions for the numerous organisations in the town
could be accommodated as there were no supporting walls obstructing the open space, plenty of room for feasting on long tables and dancing. 
It was probably in the upper room that the court would have been convened as the only room capable of accommodating all the people who showed interest as well as the officials and their entourage. 
Being the top storey the roof was supported by trusses only which is possibly why it failed due to age and the weight of the stone or grey slates quarried locally being used.
In the 60s and the big open function room was no longer an economical space as no one hired rooms in pubs opting for the more up market country venues for special occasions with many now having their own car.
It was deemed more economical to remove the pitched roof and obsolete upper level replacing it with a new modern image flat roof than to replace like with like.
In the 60s there was a fad with designers and flat roofs. A fad that proved to be ill advised and why later the new flat roof having failed to protect against Haslingden finest rain and wind was replaced with a new pitched roof.
Lacy Court at the other end of Bury road fell foul of the same design fault.  In reality any local builder would tell you that you need a steep pitched roof in Haslingden to shed the rain not a flat trap which will doubtlessly give endless trouble and cost.


The Thorn, Bury Road.

Sisters Mrs. June Atkins and Mrs Vera Ball on the right who ran the pub for a time.