CALLS have been made to stop the fast pace of pub closures — as one of Blackburn's landmark boozers is sold to become a gourmet burger restaurant.

At least 25 pubs have closed across Blackburn with Darwen and Hyndburn since 2010, according to the Lost Pubs Project website, while nationally 18 pubs are being lost every week.

Campaigners have blamed cheap supermarket booze, off-licences and a ‘crippling tax burden’.

They have called for business rates for small pubs to be reduced and for lower beer duty for a cheaper pint.

It comes as one of the first Blackburn boozers to close this decade, Pitchers, has finally been bought – but it will not reopen as a pub.

Of the closed listed online, Molloy’s, in King William Street, Blackburn, has re-opened as The Squire after closing in 2017, while in Darwen, the Swan, in 542 Bolton Road closed in 2010 but has now re-opened.

In Great Harwood, the Weavers, in Cross Gates shut in 2010 but has since re-opened.

In Oswaldtwistle, the Brewers Arms, in Thwaites Road, closed in 2010, but has now re-opened as Tricky’s pub.

Colin Valentine, national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), called on the government to ‘update the tax system to better support pubs’.

He said: “We can now look further afield for a new tax deal for the sector.

“This could include implementing the Australian model of having a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs, radically changing the business rates system, or charging a lower rate of VAT for pubs or, even better, all three.

James Newton, from the Blackburn Nightlife group, said he would like to see breweries cut the price of beer.

He said: “I would like to see the breweries put the money down on the drinks, so people can afford to go out, as this is the reason half the places are shutting down.”

Hyndburn’s MP Graham Jones said government needed to act to raise taxation on off-licenses.

“It should then use that money to cut taxes for pubs,” he said.

Ribble Valley’s MP Nigel Evans, who is president of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: “We’ve seen too many pubs close over the years.

“They’re at the heart of the community for births, weddings and for post-funeral get-togethers.

“The business rates small pubs are paying is galling for them and we need to see them cut.

“I would also like to see a differential rate of duty from beer pulled from a pump for things such as craft ales, so people can enjoy a cheaper pint and are more likely to come to pubs.”

Mark Briggs, Lancashire Telegraph’s real ale expert, pointed to a rise in the popularity of micro bars.

In Darwen, ‘Caskbar’, a new micro bar set up stall in the Darwen indoor market, which will offer a variety of real ale drinks and speciality gins for connoisseurs and traditional pub enthusiasts.

While a new micropub called The Vault opened in Oswaldtwistle last year.

He said: “We see a lot more bars as oppose to traditional pubs and we’ve also seen a rise in the popularity of micro bars, where there are cheap overheads as few staff are employed and business rates are lower.”

“There has also been a lack of investment by the pub companies, while extortionate business rates are charged and high rents from landlords.

“Cheaper discounted pubs such as Wetherspoon and cheap supermarket booze have left some pubs no longer viable and closing.”

Pitchers sold for £230,000 to become Frankies burger restaurant

Andrew Buchanan, Thwaites director of pubs and brewing, said: “The fact pubs have closed is because people live their lives in wildly different ways now.

“Many pubs in industrial towns like Blackburn opened in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when people worked in hot, physical environments.

“They had to rehydrate after work before going home and as there was little in the way of home entertainment, they tended to go back to the pub after dinner.

“Nowadays there are far fewer people working in physical labour roles, there are many more leisure options both in and out of the home, alcohol is more freely available in shops, and even the demographic make-up of the town has had an impact as younger people drink less alcohol.

“That’s why we have seen our pubs adapting – they continue to provide that traditional hospitality with food, drink and accommodation but they are used by various clubs and societies for things like comedy nights, speed dating and salsa, to name a few; and they serve a much broader range of drinks.”

A HM Treasury spokesman said: “The alcohol industry makes an important cultural and economic contribution to Lancashire and the North West, and that is why the government is supporting its pubs and their customers.

“Around 90 per cent of pubs across the country can benefit from the business rates relief introduced in last year's budget, which could save them up to £1,000 a year."

* Do you know of any other pubs which have closed since 2010. Let us know by emailing or send us a message at

IN PICTURES: 100 lost Blackburn pubs

PICTURE GALLERY: Gone but not forgotten, Blackburn's thriving club scene...

Pubs closed since 2010 according to the Lost Pubs Project website


The Bridge Inn, Church Street. Closed in 2014.

Bailey's Bar and Nightclub, Church Street. Closed in 2015.


Aqueduct Inn, 1 Ewood Bridge. Closed in 2013

Atlantic Hotel, Moseley Street. Closed in 2012.

Gibraltar Hotel, 1 Gibraltar Street. Closed in 2010.

The Hamilton Arms, Hollin Street. Closed in 2018.

Jubilee Hotel, Blakey Moor. Closed in 2017.

Molloy’s, King William Street. Closed in 2017. Now re-opened as The Squire.

Moorings, 106a Bolton Road. Closed in 2011.

Pitchers, Salford, Blackburn. Closed 2010.

Prince of Wales, Montague Street. Closed in 2010.

Pump House, 76 Whalley Banks. Closed in 2010.

West View, Revidge Road. Closed in 2014.

White Bull, Heyes Lane. Closed in 2010.


Stag Inn, Bank Street. Closed in 2012.


Oddfellows Arms, Whalley Road. Closed 2010.


Bowling Green Hotel, 386 Bolton Road. Closed in 2011.

Ellenshaw Arms, Kay Street. Closed in 2011.

George, 199 Blackburn Road. Closed in 2012.

Office, 2 Holden Fold. Closed in 2011.

Swan, 542 Bolton Road. Closed in 2010, now re-opened.

Great Harwood

Weavers, Cross Gates. Closed in 2010, now re-opened.


Brewers Arms, Thwaites Road. Closed in 2010. Now re-opened as Tricky's pub.

Rose & Crown, Union Road. Closed in 2016

Royal Oak, Union Road, 2014