the mid 1800's, the British Queen was the third pub on the Dulesgate
Road. Its main competition was from the Blue Ball and the Bay Horse,
both situated further up the hill towards Bacup.
Barker was the man who gambled that a pub at the bottom of
the steep hill over to Bacup would pay off and take some of
the custom from the other two. He also caught the trade coming
over the Sourhall Road into Cloughfoot.
British Queen about 1900 left of centre
road can be seen snaking its way down in this photo, coming
out at the gap between the two terraces. This photo shows the building still standing, although the adjoining properties are now a pile of stones.
was only able to obtain a beer licence, as against the other two
pubs, which had full licences, so he was at a disadvantage. However,
the British Queen made inroads on the Blue Ball's profits, as a
stop at the bottom of the hill proved very popular with the carters.
They were a fickle lot and their allegiance to the old Blue Ball
counted for nothing. The Bay Horse managed to survive the additional
pub, and its trade stayed faithful. They more than likely also took
advantage of an extra stop at the bottom of the hill, after all
two stops are better than one when it means another drop of beer
can be consumed.
first known keeper of the British Queen was Joseph Barker in 1853.
He may have been the son of Robert Barker who was the later landlord.
Robert was born around 1795, one of the seven children of Charles
and his wife Susan, who was a Hamer before her marriage. This same
Charles Barker was involved for a time in the Stoneswood Mill. (story
was brought up to a farmer's way of life and it was never to leave
him. His father had farmed at Hangingshaw and his brother Charles
continued to farm there after their father's death in 1836. Robert
married Betty Mitchell in 1818, the daughter of William and Susan
of Gibbet. Betty's brother, John Mitchell, also married into the
Barker family in 1821, by marrying Robert's sister Sally. Robert
became a farmer like his father and moved to Midgelden before becoming
the landlord at the British Queen, where he was to be found in 1861.
eventually got a full licence for the British Queen when the Blue
Ball shut down, possibly some time around 1861. He won the battle
for trade and the Blue Ball sold their full licence to the British
died before 1861 and left Robert running the inn on his own. His
married daughter Susan and her husband Thomas Crossley are living
with him at the inn, and Robert is farming 20 acres. He has some
help from Jeremiah Thornton, who is working for him as a labourer.
Thomas and Susan have three young children, and it is more than
likely that the running of the pub would have been her job, whilst
the men folk were at work. Her husband was a manufacturing chemist
and they later moved to Manchester, spending only a short time at
were not uncommon, and on the 5th May 1863, the theft of two brass
candlesticks, the property of the landlord, Robert Barker, took
place. The thief was a local man, Robert Sanderson, who ran off
with the candlesticks, but was caught in Bacup by P.C. Turner, to
whom he confessed the theft. He was committed for trial when the
case was heard at the Magistrates office. Robert Sanderson was a
native of Bacup. He was a widower by the time he was 22 and a couple
of years before the theft he was boarding at Rise Lane. He worked
as a carter, so no doubt in the course of his work, would have had
cause to stop at the British Queen, and the temptation of the brass
candlesticks proved too much for him. It is not recorded what his
was still running the pub and farming 36 acres at the age of 75.
His youngest son Alfred had married by this time and he, his wife
Ann and their four young children, lived at the British Queen with
Robert. At his age, he would be grateful for the help.
Robert died, the British Queen changed hands, and by the early 1880's,
the landlord was Lawrence Lord from Padiham. He was only 27, but
he and his wife Ellen Ann did not stay for long before moving on.
By the late 1880's, James Law and his wife Mary had taken over and
were running the pub. Living with them for a while were widowed
sister-in-law Anna Earnshaw and niece Ellen.
James saw the advantage of
the nearby Cloughfoot Chapel, the pub being situated near
the bottom of Sourhall Road, very near to the chapel and a
convenient choice for many of the funeral teas needed when
a burial took place. Temperance of course.
He was shrewd enough to see
that advertising paid, and took out adverts in the local almanac.
James' wife Mary died in July 1895 and James remarried in
October 1897 at the Zion Chapel at Cloughfold, Rawtenstall,
to Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Feather of the Royal Oak, Bacup. A
case of like marrying like.
the turn of the century, the British Queen was still going
strong and the landlord was James Edward Livesey from Littleborough,
who took over from James Law in 1898. He was quick to advertise
his presence as a new landlord always attracted the nosey
customer, eager to see what changes he would make and see
what credit he could get, if any. Some landlords would be
more lax than others on this subject. It seems from the advert
that James Edward was keeping to the old traditions of offering
rooms, stabling and funeral teas.
so, the old Queen came into the twentieth century and continued
to serve as a welcome stop for passing travellers and workmen alike.
A succession of landlords followed, Frank Tidswell and William Thomas
1917, the pub had again come into the hands of a Barker, but this
time it was by the first name and he was Barker Earnshaw. Barker
came from the prolific Earnshaw family of Clough Foot. His grandfather,
Luke Earnshaw, had been in the area since his birth around 1795,
and he and his wife Mary produced a large family who lived variously
at Old Cote, Ousel Brink, and the cottages near the Bay Horse. The
children mostly stayed in the area and one son, George, married
and farmed at Midgelden for a while and later went to work at the
brick works in the area. George and his wife Emma's children can
all be found at Rock Nook in 1891, grown and with their own families
by this time.
also lived at Rock Nook and he married a girl from Bacup, which
is where they went to live after their third daughter Emma was born
in 1895. They lived at Top o' th' Lane where he farmed and
did some work as a carter for the brick works. His wife Emma died
in 1914 whilst they were still in Bacup and he moved back to Clough
Foot to become the landlord by 1917. He died at the great age of
80 in 1944 and is buried along with his wife at Clough Foot Chapel.
Barker had left the pub by 1922 and the next and final landlord
was William Jackson. As trade declined, so did the pub, and today
it is now a private house.
Sometime over the next few years the stable block and buildings attached to the old pub were demolished (this is the area where the pile of stones is now; stone that was later used to rebuild the gable and back wall of the building), and the building had been purchased by William Gadsby for use as a residential property.
In 1958, Harry and Marian Pemberton purchased the building and began converting it to their own requirements. They lived there with their two children until 1982, when they moved out because of building and re-roofing work.
In 1997, after the building had been empty for 15 years, the property was taken over by their daughter Sheila and her husband Richard. In 2003, after extensive renovation, they finally moved in, and continue to work on the building.
If anyone has any photos, external or internal, the couple would be very interested in them and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
With grateful thanks to Richard Hudson for his contribution