Tuesday 5 January 2010

The Vulcan Hotel - Nab Lane

A couple of shots of the Vulcan Hotel on Nab Lane. The top photo is taken from the Blakey Moor side and the photographer was probably stood by the railings at the side of the Technical School (Victoria Centre of Blackburn College) and at a guess, I would estimate the date at being late 1960's or maybe sometime in the 1970's.
The second photo was taken lower down Nab Lane, approximately where the motorbikes are parked in the first photo, and was taken in 1950, as they cleared the site to build the first phase of the new Municipal Technical College (The Feilden Centre nowadays).
Everyone has their own memories of the Vulcan, mine date from the mid 1970's - 1980's. Always a great (and very loud) jukebox throughout the years. I can remember being in there during power cuts and drinking from bottles (the pumps were off) by candlelight. Health & Safety regs would never permit that now.
For quite a number of years, the Vulcan, the Courts, the Peel and the Queens had their own, very unique clientele. People that just seemed to wander between those four pubs all night and then ventured up to the Millstone (above the Dirty Duck / Castle) after hours.


  1. Greetings from 'Old Clitheroe'..

    Yeah Colin like yourself spent many a happy night and indeed day in The Vulcan.

    In fact when I was at Blackburn College, I think I spent more time in there than actually in College!

  2. barbara thompson jackson21 October 2011 at 14:01:00 GMT-7

    That was the route we used to take every weekend on our nights out. ohh how how i loved those times.

  3. yea used to go in with my mates in 70s

  4. I go right back to the 'birth' of the Vulcan, as when we first ventured there it was not what it became to be!
    Myself and about 5 or 6 others most notably Brian Rossall and Chris Howarth, started going in as we got a bit miffed at waiting a fair old time getting re-fills at Courts, Ribby, Queens, Peel etc.
    Memory is fading now but, the new landlord was Mike Mc Goldrick (pretty sure it was Mike), ex landie of the Dolphin (next t'fishmarket sidings up Foundry Hill) My first ever pub pint place! He was also an ex near neighbour of mine from Wensley Fold, ex Telecom man I seem to recall.
    Anyways, at that time there were only a couple of tables in there and a few chairs. There probably was limited wall seating as well. More of a front/parlour room with a bar top. But, there was a Juke box with an awful selection on it. Because we loved beer AND good music, we asked him if we could add 'our own'. He said sure why not, as we were pretty much his only regular clientele (virtually all 'passing trade' heading for the above).
    At that time we always perused what was on offer at the record exchange on the 3 day market, and this was the time of the 45 rpm disc where the centre could be 'popped out' for a mandrel mounting (as on a jukebox). More importantly, also imports.
    Pretty quickly we 'replaced' all of the old original 'crap' and had our own personal cool vibes pub!
    Only trouble was, being then allowed to crank it up 'a few notches', volume wise, it then caught the attention of the 'passing trade', and over about 6 months or so we found that we then were sharing 'our pub' with throngs of newcomers. Then within maybe 12 months we were back to queuing for re-fills once again!
    I don't recall Mike complaining much though!
    Once it was really up and running, he sold on/made way to a guy, I cant remember the name of, but was busy buying the more 'lively' places in town.
    From there on it achieved legendary status, and quite right too.
    As for us, we then started using more often, the then lesser busy Courts, Ribby, Peel etc. (Queens by then unfortunately declining).
    I am guessing that our first 'visit' would be approx. 72 ish.
    Two of my mates at that time both Brian and Rob Rowlands then went on to end up behind the bar, mainly I seem to recall in the Jubilee. Once that took off, on the back of the eventual demise of the Vulcan - RIP


    1. Thanks for that Bernie. Interesting stuff. I didn't start drinking until 1974 (when I was 16), but the Vulcan and Peel were always among the the pubs we visited, along with the ones on the Barbary Coast. I started my apprenticeship when I was 16 too and we were sent to the college on day release one day a week and we used to go into the Vulcan after college too, as well as in the little cafe that was just a bit further up Nab Lane.

      I was never a regular in the Vulc, but we would always include it in a crawl around town on a Friday or Saturday night, right from 1974 when I was 16, through to when it closed in 93 (?). Though I have to admit, I thought it had gone a bit crap in the year or two before it finally closed.

      It was a brilliant pub throughout the 70's and the 80's though, that's for sure and it will always remain one of my favourite pubs. I'm sure it remains one of the best pubs in town in lots of people's memories.

      I'm not sure if you're on Facebook or not, but there's a group on there called 'I drank in the Vulcan'

      Yeah the Queens was on the decline when I was 16 - 19 ish. We would still pop in from time to time, but it wasn't a regular inclusion on a Fri / Sat. It was included sometimes (intermittently) a bit later, when it had a revamp. We went in a bit more often then, but we soon got fed up with it again.



  5. I've got 5 yrs on you then!
    My first pint was on my 14th! as advertised above (with I recall two mates, one being Rob Rolands. Mike never let on he knew me, but when I asked for a pint of beer, he asked with a put on stern face and said 'Fine, what kind'?
    When I blurted out 'a pint of bitter', he said that's ok, but I want you lads out by 7. It was a well known pub for under age drinking, and I at least did not look remotely 15 even.
    Two pints later we rolled out chuckling like idiots back to our neighbourhood.
    Forward to 70's and unlike like you, infrequently in Vulcan, I might as well have bunked there. I would not like to calculate just how much Wonga I put over that bar and others mentioned, pretty much a 7 night week man. At w'end it was day and night.
    But so many happy, if not blurry memories.
    As said, our town was one hell of a place to be a young lad into ale and music circa 70 - 85. For me it sort started to taper off (for the worst) around about mid 80's.
    But then again, that was just maybe me getting older and more sensible!


    1. For me a night out in the seventies was Peepers, the Vulcan and the Regent for pub bands.Remember Manc Group james appearing with a huge folllwing of Mancs filling the Regent ..Then came punk at the Lodestar,an early days venue for Sexpistols and the Boomtown rats.but for me it was therVulcan..Remember the posters and the jukebox.I would like to make a download compliation of reords fromthe Vulcan jukebox and Peepers..Anyone remember the tracks..?..

    2. If you go onto Facebook and find a group called 'I drank in the Vulcan', I'm sure someone the other year was compiling a CD of tracks that were on the Vulcan jukebox at one time or another, tracks from the early 70's right through to the early 90's when it closed down. I'm not a member of that particular group, but I'm sure if you went on there and asked, someone would point you in the right direction for the person that was putting the CD together. I think they were making it for a reunion 'do' and making copies for people.



  6. My Grandmother told me that in the early twentieth century she had links with the Vulcan when it was also a lodging house and had a disinfectant works in the back yard. Don't know how accurate this was but I remember her telling me about some of the characters who lodged there