Gauxholme Viaduct

The Viaduct Tavern was built after 1837 by Robert Thomas as a replacement for the Old Mason's, which had to be pulled down when the railway was being constructed. He built it on the opposite side of the road and gave it the name of the viaduct that dominates the area.

Robert came from a family well connected with pubs. His mother had married for a second time to James Hill of Calf Holes, who once kept the Old Bird there. Her first husband, John Thomas was the father of brothers John and Robert, who were well known for their boisterousness when they were young and got into many a scrape, playing practical jokes and generally making nuisances of themselves with other lads joining in and following their leadership.


Young John became a farmer at Top of Fold and kept a beerhouse at Deanroyd that had the reputation of being a lively place. He later moved to Handle Hall in Calderbrook and became a schoolteacher. When he died, he was buried with his mother and stepfather at Holy Trinity in Littleborough. 

Robert, as has been stated, was the landlord of the Old Mason's Arms for many years, and married Mary Greenwood, the daughter of Robert and Fanny of the Black Swan Inn, so between them they had a good knowledge of the pub trade. The replacement pub was a substantial three storey building on the main Todmorden to Rochdale road, opposite the entrance to Bacup road. In the photograph, it can be seen through the arch of the viaduct.

They did not stay long at the Viaduct and some time in the 1840's they moved to the Triangle Inn near Ripponden, a large coaching inn with stables.


Thomas Law removed to the Viaduct from the Sun Inn in April of 1850, and he remained as the landlord after Susan (Sue Poppitt), his wife, died in 1853. Their story can be read in the Sun Inn account HERE. Thomas employed a servant, Mary Greenwood and he also had a boarder in 1861, young James Verity, only 14 and an apprentice stonemason. Thomas died in 1873 aged 77, after 23 years as landlord at the Viaduct. He is buried at Cross Stone Church.


Henry Whittaker then took over around 1877. He came from the Bacup area as did his wife Mary and daughter Elizabeth. It was during his time as landlord, in 1889, that the Viaduct came up for auction at the White Hart Hotel and sold for £1,522 10s. 0d. A substantial amount for those days and reflecting the busy trade of this popular beer house.


Henry died in 1893 aged 51 after 16 years as landlord. Joshua Cunliffe, who then took over, advertised that he was continuing to provide the same service that the Whittaker family had provided and he thanked the public for their support of that family for the time they had been the licensees. He advertised Baxter's Ales and Stout, and a selection of bottle beer, mineral waters of the highest quality and cigars and tobacco of the very best flavour. Joshua came from Strongstry near Ramsbottom, son of James and Margaret and one of five children.


The Viaduct continued to be open as a beer house until, on the last day of December 1965, it closed, bringing to an end the beer house era in Todmorden. The rest of them had either upgraded to a full licence, which was offered at a reduced rate if they complied with the standards outlined in the new licensing act of 1959 and brought their premises up to the required standard, or had they shut down altogether.


It is now a private house on the busy main road at Gauxholme little altered from the original building.