Echoes of the past: A look at the pubs of Brighouse’s past

Customers at the Stotts Arms Pub with a cheque in 1988
Customers at the Stotts Arms Pub with a cheque in 1988

These are customers at the Stott’s Arms public house, taking part in a cheque handing over ceremony at the pub in February 1988. I am sure these customers will all have some happy memories at the Stott’s Arms.

This was a nineteenth century pub that dated back to the 1870s. With an address at 17 Wakefield Road, a pub that was to be on the doorstep for workers turning out of the mills and factories, in and around the Mill Lane area. Customers were spoilt for choice with the Robin Hood, Malt Shovel, The Round House along with the Stott’s Arms, all within a couple of hundred yards from each other.

Today, all four of these well established pubs have gone. It was 1998 when mine host at the Stott’s hung the towel over the pumps for the last time. There it stood, effectively nothing more than a roundabout for traffic entering and leaving the town centre. For many years it looked a disgrace. For first time visitors driving into Brighouse seeing the old Stott’s did not give a good impression of the town.

The Malt Shovel closed in 1972, the Robin Hood closed more recently and placed on the open market, that advertisement has now been removed from the internet. Finally, the Round House which closed in 2000 and re-developed into office accommodation.

Since 2005 the old Stott’s Arms appearance has changed and looks much better. Having been redeveloped it is now occupied by the Subway sandwich shop and the Retreat Beauty Lounge, whose address is now ‘Stott’s Island’, Wakefield Road.

I wonder what James Maude Stott, the son of Jonathan Stott, the head of the cotton spinning family would think about the place today? James acquired the licence in 1874, and whilst the premises had never been licensed premises before, the magistrates thought it ideally situated to serve weary travellers.

On what we would describe today as being the motorway of its time, the Elland and Obelisk Turnpike Road. Records show that James died the following year and was interred in the family grave at Brighouse Parish Church.

Whether it is true or not but it used to be said that the Stott’s Arms had the longest bar in the North of England. It was not uncommon to see pints being sent from one end of the bar to the other, just like you would see on the old cowboy westerns.

Returning to our photograph - the cheque valued at £183 was handed over to Anne Walker (pictured left holding the cheque) who received it on behalf of the renal unit. I do recognise one or two of the customers. I wonder how many are still in the Brighouse area now, almost 30 years since that night at the Stott’s.