The Blue Ball was built in the hope that it would catch some of the trade from the older Old Banks pub, which was higher up Bacup Road on the same side of the road. The Old Banks had never had any competition, being the only pub on the road before the coming of the Blue Ball. The strategy may have paid off for a while, as by 1837, the Old Banks had closed and it's owner had built a new pub, the Bay Horse, slightly higher up than the Blue Ball, but on the opposite side. A tactical move that was to pay dividends.

The pub would have been near to here on the left hand side, which is just a little further down than the Bay Horse and nearer to Cloughfoot.

The first indication of a landlord comes in 1813 when William and Sarah Crabtree had a son baptised at St. Mary’s and William was named as the innkeeper at the Blue Ball, but by 1833 it had been taken over by John and Ann Chadwick.

Ann Chadwick was the daughter of David and Sarah Hollinrake, and as such was no stranger to pub life. Her father had kept the Freemasons Arms at Bottoms, near to Myrtle Grove Chapel, Eastwood. John and Ann decided to use John’s local church of St. John The Divine at Cliviger to baptise their four children and when John died in 1840 he was buried there.


Ann continued on her own at the pub with her young children, and with these to look after as well as run the pub, she needed some help and Alice Haigh was just the girl to provide an extra pair of hands. Alice’s family lived nearby at Rock Nook and were all workers in either coal or bricks.

The ruins of Rock Nook


Ann married again in 1848 to Henry Maden. She knew Henry as he and his brother Joshua ran BANKS MILL in the early 1840’s, which was near to the Blue Ball, but he had left the area and at the time he married Ann he was living in Whitworth as a cotton manufacturer and farmer. So Ann left the work of being an innkeeper and became the wife of a prosperous man and for once perhaps enjoyed a bit of luxury after all her hard work.

The next keeper was James Graham and his family. James came from Whalley and had married locally. He worked as a blacksmith as well as innkeeper, no doubt trying to make a better living than relying on what the pub could provide. It was a useful trade, as many of the carters would no doubt put business his way and take advantage of a welcome drink in the process. With four children at school and one a babe, the extra income would be very much needed. James and his family moved on to Bacup where he and one of his sons got trade in the blacksmith business, that is more profitable.

By this time, the Blue Ball was struggling to provide a living for its tenants and it may be that James Graham was the last keeper. With competition form the Bay Horse and the British Queen, which had opened near the bottom of Dulesgate around 1840, one of them had to suffer and it was the Blue Ball that conceded defeat, sold its full licence to the British Queen and closed its doors.