Pub nicknames are funny things. Some are blindingly obvious. Others are so obscure no-one remembers their origin. It seems as if this was just as true in pre-war Bolton.
"Besides the official names, many pubs have nick-names. These are of several sorts. Here are some:
The Greyhound — Clem Dug. (Hungry Dog)
The Great Eastern — The Ship
The Grey Mare — Kicking Donkey (ref. to sign on window)
The Golden Lion—Brass Cat.
Others are based on physical characteristics of the pub:
Wheatsheaf — Roundhouse.
Junction Inn — Smoother (i.e. smoothing iron, because of the shape of the pub).
School Hill Hotel — Skennin Door (squint door, two doors set on angle).
Stanley Arms — Sally up Steps (five steps up to the pub door, and landlady Sally).
Names of landlords and landladies are used also, and often remain after they have died or gone somewhere else:
The King's Arms — Balsher's or Balshaw's.
Nelson Hotel — Owd Flickie's.
Stanley Arms — Pat's Hotel (after ex-landlord Patterson).
British Queen — Owd Pomp's (landlord called Pomfret).
The Old Oak — Owd Kit's.
Other nick-names are connected with the type of customer:
Spakeaisy (this is where Irish labourers go).
Little Lad's pub (this was a place where little piecers drank).
Swine Lodge (people who don't drink there don't like those who do).
Pap Show (reputed to be on account of its being a midday drinking place for miners' wives who came into town with their babies in the afternoon, and would sit there suckling them. Observers have seen this done in local mining village pub).
Then there is the Dog and Kennel, a literary reference, the name by which everyone knows the Park View Inn, some people indeed thinking that that is its only name. Its origin is to be found in the local dialect writings of Allen Clarke, a Worktowner, who wrote, among other things, a number of funny dialogues based on the regulars of this pub, which he re-christened the Dog and Kennel.
Other names, such as the Romping Kicker, for the Nelson's Monument, the Red Rag for the Ninehouse Tavern, the Mop for the Weavers' Arms, Pig and Whistle for the Blue Boar, Sparrow's Tooth or the Boatrace for the Duke of Cambridge, and, most obscure, the War Office for the Recreation Tavern (centre of local pigeon racing, see Sport chapter), are the result of local jokes and allusions, mostly obscure now."
"The Pub and the People" by Mass Observation, 1943 (reprinted 1987), pages 89 - 90.
Pap Show - what a great name for a pub. I'll have to remember that for when I start building my chain of tied houses. Romping Kicker isn't bad, either. I can use that one, too. Now all I need to do is build a brewery. And get the money. That's quite important, having the dosh.