Cottages and The Stags Head Pub, 'Dobble' 1907
by Jim Sant
This is the area from View Street to Hulton Lane, bordered by Willows Lane and St Helens Road. The soil around is of a clay and stony nature, hence they was brickyards around. Prior to the beginning of the 19th century there was little habitation, probably just moorland and fields, with farms between Deane and Bolton. There is little evidence of even handloom weaving and spinning, although some farmers may have done the occupation. After the industrial revolution it became one of Bolton's centres for the cotton industry, and as the population increased streets of house began to spring up around the mills that had been built.
Travelling up St Helens Road towards Bella Street and the Stags Head public house is a knoll or a small hill. Today the ground is grassed over, and Warburtons have a bakery near the site, but the stonewalls still exists. On this "Hill of Daub", which gave the whole area its name, stood a group of cottages, built in 1815 and demolished in 1969. These houses had stood for over 150 years surviving all weathers, without even a brick out of place. Strange to say that they were not made of local bricks, from Higsons brickyard near at hand, this brickyard did not open till 1883.
When the houses were built dabble (Daubhill) was a rural district, moving in to the age of steam with the opening of the Bolton, Leigh and Kenyon Railway in 1828, this line was closed to passengers in 1885, and only coal trains puffed and clanked across the road crossing by the side of the hill holding up early morning traffic, and acting as an alarm clock to the people who lived near by. A tollgate was once in operation the tollhouse being near the Stags Head. This tollgate was closed in 1879, one of the last in Bolton, all road becoming free henceforth and forever. Another feature of old dobble were the footraces that took place, and people came from all around to see them.
Three of the houses adjacent the road, had stone floors, but the one nearest the 'Stag' had a wooden floor and cellar suggesting that it may have been a beer or public house at one time. The street down the side and opposite to the railway, was Bertwine Street Why? Did a man called Bert own a pub on the corner, or was there a local character known as Bert who drunk a lot of wine? This has never been proved. These four houses had one large back area, not separate back yards for each house but two communal toilets one for the men and one for the women.
Eventually Daubhill became a place in it's own right with most of it's people needing to be-catered for in shops etc. of all descriptions. Alas nearly all these have gone over the years, with the decline of textiles. But the residents of Dobble were always friendly and kind natured, a real community.
DAUB is an old word meaning clay, for example: HaIf timbered houses of medieval times had wattle and 'daub' walls interlacing brances plastered over with clay.
At the bottom of the hill, nearest to Bella Street a man known as 'Cheap Jack' used to have a stall selling clothes, bedding and so on, at bargain prices.
In Bella Street itself were the Salvation Army, Barkers Sack, the Crucible foundry and Charnleys Pickle works. At the top of Walworth Street was Higsons Brick works.
The brick works came in handy. The children would build pretend houses out of bricks and warm them selves near the kilns in winter. While during the 1926 strike, the families collected cinders out of the kilns after firing, to help out with the home fires.
Other points of interest were the glass works, which used to be in Sherman Street off Blackledge Street and there was a tin works during the 1914 - 1918 war, which was in Whitby Street. At the bottom of Church Avenue, on St Helens Road was St George the Martyrs day school. Then there was the Oddfellows Arms, which used to be a four-roomed alehouse. While up in Rumworth (Willows) park, there used to be an open-air swimming pool for males only, and what is now the Majestic Filling station was a Skating Rink, it became the Majestic Picture House and was the second in Bolton to have talking pictures.
Daubhill had three brass bands, Daubhill Temperance, the Rechebites and the Salvation Army. It also had the British Champion Jazz Band, in Adelaide Street Jazz band. While at Christmas time, there was a prize for the best-dressed shop window in the district.
An interesting story was about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visiting the town in the 1920's. He was then the Prince of Wales and he came to visit Tootals Mill in Adelaide Street. A local character stepped out in front of the car and offered the Prince five Woodbines. Somebody took them and a photo just happened to be taken at the right time. The man got hold of a copy and sent it to Wills the makers of Woodbines and he got a free supply of fags for a while after that.