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Friday, 18 January 2008

The Colliers Arms


On 2nd January I wrote about my New Year's walk around Hartshead, and this brought back memories for Jan of visits to the nearby Colliers Arms in Broadcarr Lane.

Ian, who calls himself "Ashtonian" (gettit? Ashton Ian?) has very kindly let me use these two photos of the Colliers taken in 2002. They are from his Ashton photo collection, which is well worth a visit! I didn't photograph it myself on my walk because the Colliers Arms is no more! Well, the building is still there but it is now a private dwelling.

There is a record of a licence being held by the Colliers Arms in 1857, but it is thought that it was licensed much earlier than that. At one time the pub belonged to the Earl of Stamford. The name is a reference to the small coal pits that were dotted around the Broadcarr area at one time. Presumably the miners used to call in to quench their thirst after a day's work. In more recent times the pub was popular with walkers who had been to Hartshead Pike.

The pub was essentially the small front room of the cottage, with drinks being served through the doorway from the back room. Outside was a stable and a gentlemen's toilet. Charlie Mills was the licensee here for over 45 years. Is this something of a record?


I'm afraid I didn't notice exactly when the cottage stopped being the Colliers Arms. Perhaps someone reading can tell me? I wonder whether Charlie Mills was licensee right up until the time the pub closed?

22 comments:

  1. The Beer Act of 1830 let anyone with two guineas (£2.10) sell beer and cider from their own home for six days a week. The act was brought in to help quell the Gin palaces but also to stimulate beer sales. Even young children drank beer (the saying "small beer" comes from the fact it was for youngsters).

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  2. I saw the link on Hyde Daily Photo, so dropping by to say hello.
    I have been in Canada over thirty years, originally from Bolton. I have been doing some family history and it looks like my father-in-law came from ashton.

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  3. As an Hyde lad I will be visiting here often.. great to see your pictures of this area... like above I followed the link from Gerald at Hyde DP.

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  4. There must have been a "Ladies" loo as well, Martin. Unless I sneaked into the Gents. The last time I went in the Collier's Arms must have been the late 60s. I remember the beer being served through the hatch. The 'toilet' was a hole in a wooden plank. Nice...!!

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  5. Yes Meg, I suppose there must have been a Ladies' loo as well, but I never had cause to look for it!

    Welcome to visitors from Hyde Daily Photo. Thanks for the link, Gerald - you will see that I have added one in return.

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  6. Your quite right about the 'hole' Meg! in fact when I was about 5/6 years of age, the 'ladies' consisted of one plank with 'two holes' LOL. I believe that Charlie Mills had the licence right up until the end. "What with the front room as the pub, along with newspapers from 1932 !! a 'new TV' (second hand) which was assembled in front of the old one that did not work. We have fond memories of that room and had many a good laugh growing up and walking the dogs. The Rack still hung over the fireplace and May used to ask you to "shove up" as Charlie was coming in for his tea!! The last time in there I nearly fell apart as I noticed that someone had tried to 'brighten' the room up a bit, but had distempered the beautiful oak beams running across the 'pub ceiling' Heaps of great memories in that little area, plus I believe the good neighbourly spirit continues.

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  7. I thought I remembered two 'holes' side by side in the Ladies at the Colliers, Maureen, but thought my memory must have been playing tricks. Was there also a piano in that little front room?

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  8. There WERE two holes in the plank of wood that served as a toilet seat. There was only one toilet though...no separate ladies, it was "unisex"!
    It wasn't a loo where you would want to sit and ponder your navel though (or even sit come to think of it) 'cos it was non too clean. Needs must though, it was either that or behind a bush in the pig field.
    Can't make my mind up which smelled worse now LOL
    June

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  9. I am glad that you two girls remember that 'quaint room' LOL
    Yes Meg, there was a piano and it stood there until all you could here was the 'thump' of damp cardboard (or something like that sound) nothing was to be thrown out LOL. I remember my husband picking up a newspaper and with a straight face said (this was about 1961)" Oh look Maffikin is in the news again.......somewhere in 1800...something or other to do with the Boer War. I think it was General Baden Powell who later became the founder of the Boy Scouts. LOL. I seem to remember that Charlie Mills (and everyone was called Charlie in that particular area at the time...still some there) when he passed on and May moved in with her daughter, the son who was a Uni Lecturer from Leeds retired became somesort of caretaker, he did not have the older generations approach to things, so, I am not sure what happened there in regards to licence. Thanks again. M

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  10. We used to go to the Colliers when I used to work at the Army Pay Office, but generally we used to go to the Odd Whim or the one that overlooks HartsheadPike and the golf club, the name escapes me

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  11. Lizzy...would that be "The Peaks"?
    June

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  12. groovingranny 015 February 2008 at 04:49

    if ever i came back to live in ashton ,i would love to live in an old farmhouse round about hartshead pike ,i would love it in any season ,out in the open air ,i remember the farmers always having a healthy looking tan ,their children with lovely rosy cheeks ..

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  13. We used to visit the Colliers during many a walk to the 'Pike'. I still live in Ashton and have done for all my 73 years.

    Charlie was a nowty (cantankerous)old soul who hated children and he'd glower at the most well behaved children and 'invite' the naughty to go outside.

    Yes, there was an old piano. I never saw it played - maybe Charlie wouldn't have liked that, lol

    As for the hole in the wood toilet I can't recall 'going' at the Colliers - maybe my mam's exhortation to 'go before you go out' was an influence. However, I did once go to Cub camp somewhere in Hollingworth - Silver Springs rings a bell but I stand to be corrected. The toilets there were unisex though I never saw any Girl Guides in there - maybe as well because I recollect maybe 8 'holes in the wood' in a row!

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  14. charlie mills was an old friend of mine, does anyone know if hes still alive and how many children he had? thanks.

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  15. charlie was an old friend of mine many years ago, after reading some of your comments I was wondering if anybody knows if hes still alive -he must be about 70 years now, thankyou.

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    Replies
    1. another old friend8 February 2013 at 11:39

      Charlie died in 2012 sadly.

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  16. What Happy Memories I have of the Mills family Mum Dad Auntie Lena, I think that was her name and their sons Norman and Charlie They were family friends and my brother's school mate. We were often found there on a sunday morning. They were the salt of the earth and we were welcomed into their back room for our dr inks. Norman was the Uni lecturer,always clever at school. This was the 1940's and 1950. We, my late brother and I took our children to see the pub. My nieces were horrified at the loos. If you read this Charlie, remember you christened me Susanna the beutiful pig, I chased you all around and punched you but, you just carried on. our parents were used to our teasing. Sorry to see the end of an era.. that place olds a special place in my heart. Thanks for the memories. Susan Buckley

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  17. I only visited the Collier's once and that was in 1972 at the age of 17. Having just passed my test and borrowed Fathers car to go to college in Ashton this was by way of a lunch time ride out. My mate and I had a pint and were served by what we took to be the Land Lady, she brought the beer in from the back room and then returned with a large pot which she put on the fire to boil. Suffice to say we were impressed as we've never been in a time machine before! That one visit has stayed with me all these years, I wish I'd seen the 'news' papers.. Ah happy days.

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  18. Charlie died around 12 years ago and the pub closed shortly afterwards. He was the longest serving licensee in Tameside, having taken over from his father in 1943. My wife and I were regular visitors after a Sunday walk to the Pike and used to chat with Charlie's son Norman who was the Sunday barman.

    Charlie certainly didn't like children but would often fill a bowl with water for visiting dogs. There was indeed a piano in the 'best room' at the rear but it hadn't been tuned since the second world war. The pub had a reputation of being the worst one in the country but it certainly had character and the like will never be seen again. We often met people from Canada or Australia who had heard about the Colliers and had decided to pay a visit while in the area.

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  19. I grew up on Hartshead and my parents still live there. About 8 years ago me and the wife popped in for a beer and talked with Charlie's son (I can't remember his name), he said he was keeping it open for his dad until he passed as it was his life and he couldn't imagine closing it. Unique place and part of Ashton history.

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  20. Jill Wolstenholme17 November 2017 at 08:22

    My husband, Woolly, and I were taken to the Collier's late in the 1970s by our good friends Dave and Hilary Lees from Mossley. We lived in Greenfield at the time and neither of us could drive. I remember it exactly as described by others in these comments. It was like walking back in time when you stepped over the threshold. Fond memories.

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