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The Packet House Inn (Formerly The Queens Head). 137.Bridge Street (Formerly 139. Bridge Street).


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Perhaps this potted history of "The Packet House Inn" I have compiled may be of interest to members.

The Packet House Inn (Formerly The Queens Head).
137.Bridge Street (Formerly 139. Bridge Street).
One building of historical interest situated in Warrington town centre, standing empty and neglected needs to be saved for future posterity, that building is “The Packet House Inn”, built in 1764 it stands on the south east corner at the lower end of Bridge Street, it is the last remaining commercial link that our town has with the river Mersey. The Inn served as a ticket office and waiting area for weary passengers awaiting the arrival of packet boats enabling them to make the eight hour journey from Warrington to Manchester or Liverpool via Runcorn where they would board the steam ferry to continue their journey across the river Mersey .
Long distance travel in those times would entail travelling by stage coach and the journey to and from Liverpool when available would generally only be affordable to affluent people also the road to Liverpool was notorious for its poor condition between the city and Prescot being badly rutted and impassable after rain had softened the ground, leaving the less fortunate folk the alternative method of travel by the river and this is where the Inn played it’s part in provided shelter, food and drink for some of those weary and exhausted passengers who may have walked many miles to reach the packet stage situated across Mersey street.
Owner or Licencee.
1764. The Packet House had originally been built as a private dwelling with the first occupants recorded as living there was a Mr Joseph Dennett a surgeon, also recorded as living there was Mr John Boardman the Clerk Rector of Warrington.
1799. Occupied by John Foster and his wife Mary, Nicholas Gremshaw is also recorded as living there.
1818. Licensee. John Winchurch. The building is now a licensed public house called “The Queens Head”.
1820. Licensee. David Summer.
1821. The Inn has a change of name from the “Queens Head” to the “Packet House Inn”. The reason for this name change is that inn was being used as a depositary for packages and parcels being deposited there from the packet boats travelling up the river from Liverpool where they were loaded on to the coaches to continue their journey to Manchester.
1823-1836. Licensee. Samuel Eyton.
1828. The owner Anthony McGovern dies, John Rylands is executor of the will and the pub is sold to a William Fairhurst.
1844. Licensee. John Newton.
1848. Licensee. John Blythe.
1852/3. Warrington Council announce that plans have been drawn up to widen Bridge Street with the first phase having a direct affect on the buildings of lower Bridge Street, the “Packet House” would be one of them.
1854. All plots of land at the lower end and front of Bridge Street are under the ownership of George Preston which are leased to a William Wood as tenant who has a certain pump and house in the area known as the “Queens Head” yard, the areas affected include the shop on the corner of Bridge Street with Mersey Street this being part of the site known as the “Packet House Inn” and occupied by Frances Blythe, the Licensee appears to have rebuilt part of the Inn resulting in the shop on the corner of the building being removed thus causing the “Packet House Inn” to have a distinctive bowed corner (part of which has been retained to date although with the removal of the doorway on the corner and replaced by a window only the upper part of the bow remains). With the removal of the shop the Inn became the last building on the north corner of Bridge Street with Mersey Street.
1857. Licensee. Mrs Frances Blythe.
1857. Licensee. Leonard C Smith.
1861. Licensee. Ethel Smith.
1864. William Wetch (the surname may not be correct as the record is written in pencil and barely legible) . The Packet House had a name change to “The Railway & Packet House Inn”.
1871-1875. Licensee. William Atherton. Name of the Inn recorded as “The Railway & Packet House Inn”.
1876. Licensee. Elizabeth Lightfoot.
1881. Licensee. Thomas Clare.
1890-1895. Licensee. John Monks.
1901-1907. Licensee. Elizabeth Monks (wife of John Monks).
1908-1912. Licensee. Arthur E. Denham.
1913. Licensee. J. H. Fair.
1921. Licensee. S. Fair.
1929-1948. Licensee. Louise Fair.
1949-1957. Licensee. Leonard C. Smith.
1961-1976 Licensee. Ethel Smith.
Little is known about the years after 1976 other than in the 1980’s “The Packet House Inn” name was dropped and it became the “Continental”, later another change in ownership took place with the name again changed to “TigerToo” and then Bar Zero. The establishment finally closed its doors in the 1990’s.
June 2022 the Packet House is put up for sale, who knows what its future will be?.
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  • 2 weeks later...

That was all very interesting Algy, and I’m amazed how you manage to dig up so much old information. It is a shame that the building (like many others in the town) has been allowed to fall into such a sorry state and sadly, I think it may have gone a bit too far now for anything to be done with it.

My feelings on this are while it may form part of the town’s history, it’s not a very pretty building and we need to consider whether the bricks and mortar are worth keeping or if it makes more sense to simply allow it to become part of the town’s history. At least your actions here have highlighted it and may have already helped somewhat  to preserve its history.


Bill 😊

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks Algy - I suspect it will become an apartment block when the developers can come up with a viable scheme the council will allow - but something needs to happen soon as it is a tragic eyesore at the gateway to our town!

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8 hours ago, algy said:

Thanks for your reply Gary and I totally agree that some action should be taken, would there be any point publishing the article in Warrington Worldwide at least it may raise some interest as I honestly think that most townspeople see it as it is and not for the history of the building.

The Packet House Inn - History.docx 15.29 kB · 0 downloads

I could if I can credit the report to you as a concerned person - can you email me garys@warrington-worldwide.co.uk your interest in the history and I will do a report to help raise awareness and hopefully prompt some action - it will make a good article for our local history section.

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