photo by Ian Stuart (Otley Camera Club)
Where we are:
Otley, LS21 3AB
Tel: 01943 858980
Web Site: The Bowling Green
Monday to Thursday 8am – Midnight
Friday and Saturday 8am to 1am
Sunday 8am to 11pm
What we offer:
Full menu served daily. See website for menus
Very large beer garden at the front of the pub
No dogs allowed inside or outside the pub
Public Car Parking nearby
The Bowling Green History
The Bowling Green, built in 1757 as a Court House was known as the Assembly Rooms. In 1821, the upper storey of 18 Bondgate was used as a place of worship by the newly formed Society of Independents, now the United Reformed Church. In 1825 it became an Inn when it took its present name. The inn’s earliest recorded licensees are Hannah Cawood in 1829 and Joseph Mallinson in 1834. According to the plaque on the wall, it was built in 1767, formerly a chapel, school, courthouse and assembly rooms becoming an Inn during 1866.” However, it would appear from records that it was an Inn before that date as in 1830 John Rowland was Innkeeper.
Notable landlords have included Bob Blemings (early 60s). Then Frank Wilkinson (aka Buggly Chuff!) and his wife Edith and barman Fat Vince (aka Shittly Poops). Thanks to Colin Tasker for the info – there must be some unusual stories from the time – especially those nicknames!
In 1963, Hammond United Brewers applied for planning consent to erect a porch to the front of the building which was passed but then later removed when Wetherspoons were altering the property.
The last Landlord was Trevor Wallis (and wife Judith) who had been there for just over 30 years and in 2006 he decided it was time for him to retire. Over the years he had collected a lot of memorabilia which could be seen all round the pub. This was sold off by auction in September 2006.
Memories of Trevor’s tenure are in this lovely You Tube video: https://youtu.be/LukVPxvE_7g
At the end of September 2006, it was announced in the press that the Bowling Green Pub had been saved from being turned into flats – by one of the country’s largest pub chains. It was feared that the listed building would be converted into homes after planning permission was approved, but it was then later revealed that the Pub had been bought by J. D. Wetherspoon.
However, in November 2006, Wetherspoons planned to re-open the Bowling Green pub which raised objections from the police as they were known for its cheap beer and long opening hours. The West Yorkshire Police objected to the application on crime and disorder grounds. Also, nearby residents were concerned about extended licensing hours and an increase in drunken and anti-social behaviour fuelled by cheap beer. In addition, the town’s MP Greg Mulholland had also written to Wetherspoon wanting assurance that it would open as a Wetherspoon outlet and not a Lloyds – a branch of the company with a reputation for music and a younger clientele.
Later that month, Wetherspoon were granted a licence to run the Bowling Green Pub but last orders would have to be earlier than what they would have like and several other conditions had to be observed. The building stood empty for a couple of years until it eventually re-opened on the 9th July 2010 and Wetherspoon retained its original name.
The plaque on the wall reads: This grade II listed building was erected in 1757 by Nathaniel Aked, hence the letters NA above the datestone on the west end. The bricked up doorway under the datestone was once reached by an outside staircase. The upper storey was used as the town’s assembly rooms and later as a place of worship. The Bowling Green Inn took over the whole of the building in 1825.
Thanks to JD Wetherspoon’s website for contributing to this history. Their full history of the pub and other interesting pieces of Otley history, depicted inside the pub, can be found here: https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pub-histories/england/west-yorkshire/the-bowling-green-otley