Canal Tavern

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Canal Tavern
Address Leeds Liverpool Canal, Charlestown
Postcode BD17 7NN
Building Date
Early Licence
Licencee Richard Peter Dawson
Shipley canaltavern.jpg
Open Street Map
Other Links Google Maps

This was a pub between the canal and the river near Charlestown that has since been demolished. Access to the pub would have been from Oddies Bridge (AKA Metal Box swing bridge) - a swing bridge (No. 210) over the canal. This bridge would also give access to Cinder Ovens Farm from Windhill/Thackley.

It is marked on the 1909 Ordnance Survey Map and became known as “Wet Ole” and was closed in ….?[1]

The information shown below tells us that William Bradley was licencee from October 1907.

Canal Tavern on the 1908 map

Shipley Times and Express

The following are extracts from the Shipley Times and Express that mention the Canal Tavern.

Death on the Canal

28 December 1906[2]



Mr E H Hill, District Coroner, held an inquest at the Manor House, Shipley, last Saturday morning, touching the death of a man named John Dennison (32), who resided in View Croft Place, Shipley, and whose body was recovered from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near the Canal Tavern, Windhill, on the previous Wednesday. Mr Major Lightowler was foreman of the jury.


The first witness was the brother of the deceased, Thomas Dennison, who gave evidence of identification. Witness said his brother was employed as a waiter at the Royal Oak Hotel, Shipley. He left home on Sunday about three o'clock.

Did you know what he was going to do at the Canal Tavern?
Witness : No, I did not.
The Coroner : When did you get to know that your brother was missing?
Witness : On Tuesday morning.
The Coroner : When did you see the landlord of the Canal Tavern?
Witness : On Tuesday night.
The Coroner : What did the landlord tell you about your brother?
Witness : He said that he had assisted him to repair the beer pumps, which were not in working order. Deceased afterwards had his tea, and left his house about half past five, saying that he had to go to the Royal Oak.
The Coroner : Would the deceased have to walk along the towing path when he left the Canal Tavern?
Witness : Yes.
The Coroner : How wide is the towing path?
Witness : About three yards.
The Coroner : Is it lighted at all?
Witness : No.
The Coroner : How deep was the water where you found him?
Witness : It would be about six feet.
The Coroner : Could he swim?
Witness : No.


Edmund Barratt, landlord of the Canal Tavern, said the deceased came to his house on Sunday and assisted him to do some repairs to the beer pumps. Soon after he had gone, a boatman who came into the house remarked that there was someone in the “cut” just above.

The Coroner : Did you ask him how far off?
Witness : I did not.
The Coroner : Did you ask if he had tried to get him out?
Witness : No, I did not say anything to him ; he drank his beer straight off, and was out in a few seconds.
The Coroner : Did you know anything about the boatman?
Witness : No.
The Coroner : What did you do when he had gone?
Witness : I went out many a time, but it was so foggy that I could not see a finger before me, and I dare not go more than a yard from the house. I have only been in the place a week, and I was afraid that I might fall into the canal.
The Coroner : Could you not have taken a lantern?
Witness : The boatman never told me whereabouts he had seen the body.
The Coroner : Did you tell anyone about it?
Witness : No, not until his brother came to make inquiries.
The Coroner : Would you know the boatman again?
Witness : I do not think so.
The Coroner : Do you know how far it is from your house to where the body was pulled out?
Witness : About fifty or sixty yards.
The Coroner : You heard nothing after the deceased had left the house – no outcry or splash?
Witness : No.
The Foreman : Is there not a wall which runs right along the canal bank?
Witness : I believe there is one about forty yards from my house.
The Foreman : When the deceased came to your house, was he perfectly sober?
Witness : He was.

Eliza Ann Walton, who laid out the body of the deceased, said there were slight bruises on the side of his nose and on his brow.

In summing up, the Coroner remarked that the evidence of the landlord was of a somewhat curious nature, but the police had made inquiries, and so far as they could judge, his story was correct. There was no evidence to show that the pockets of the deceased had been touched, and there was nothing to lead them to think that he had been pushed in. He asked the jury to take into consideration that it was a night when an accident was extremely likely to happen. The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned, there not being sufficient evidence to show how deceased got into the water”.

Sunday Party



At the Bradford West Riding Police Court yesterday (Thursday) before Sir Theo Peel, Bart (chairman), Dr W H Ellis, Mr Asa Briggs (Clayton) and other magistrates, Fred Booth, labourer, Albert Metcalfe, mechanic, Fred Sugden, labourer, Benjamin Parker, boatman, Joseph D Smith, boatman, and Henry Hiles, all of Shipley, were summoned for being found on licensed premises during prohibited hours.

All the defendants appeared with the exception of Smith.

Police Inspector Warburton stated that on Sunday March 15th at ten minutes past three in the afternoon, he, along with Sergeant Thorpe and Constable Braithwaite, visited the Canal Tavern, Windhill. When they got within twenty yards of the front door, they noticed some men in the tap room jump up and rush towards the door. Witness found Hiles and Booth in the passage, and afterwards proceeded to the kitchen, the door of which he found to be fastened. He shouted to the men inside to open the door, and subsequently the landlord said, “Come out, don't give the show away”. Two of the defendants, Parker and Metcalfe, then came out of the kitchen and went into the tap room, where Smith and Sugden were also found. Witness took the names and addresses of the defendants, and afterwards found that they resided within a mile of the public house. He asked them what they were doing there, and Booth and Metcalfe said they had been to a football match at Leeds, and were just returning home. Parker replied, “It's a fair cop”, whilst Sugden, Smith and Hiles made no reply. Continuing, witness said he found the names of the defendants written in the book along with their addresses. One of the defendants had given his address as “Leeds”, and another “Australia”. (Laughter).

The Chairman : Were the addresses written opposite the names?
Witness : Yes.
Booth : Did I give you my proper name and address?
Witness : Yes.
Was my address down in the book? - Yes, it was given as Leeds.
Had we walked from Leeds? - I don't know.

All the defendants pleaded guilty. Metcalfe, Sugden and Hiles had nothing to say, and Parker remarked, “It is all true”.

William Bradley, the landlord, said he had kept the house since October last. On the date in question, the defendants visited the house, and on being asked where they came from, they gave various addresses. Witness told them the responsibility he was taking in having them in the house at that time of the day. The defendants were supplied with drink, he (witness) thinking that their statements were true. When the police came, he gave them every assistance.

Superintendent Morley : Did defendants try to get away?
Witness : Yes. Continuing, witness said that the defendants were strangers to him.
Booth : Didn't I tell you we had come from Leeds?
Witness : Yes, you did. I thought it was far enough.

The Chairman said that Booth, Metcalfe, Sugden, Parker and Hiles would each be fined 5s and the costs, or seven days, and Smith 7s 6d and the costs, or seven days.

Drinking out of hours

3 September 1909[2]



The sequel to a visit paid by the Shipley police to the Canal Tavern public house at Windhill on Sunday the 22nd ult was heard at the West Riding Police Court, Bradford, yesterday (Thursday). Dr W H Ellis was in the chair, and the other magistrates present included Councillors James Roberts and John Pitts. The defendants were George Potts, John Morgan, teamers ; Frank Butterfield, boatman ; John Thomas Whitefield, labourer of Windhill ; William Briggs, labourer, Shipley ; and Samuel Petty, warp dresser, Baildon, and they were summoned for being on licensed premises during prohibited hours. The landlord, William Bradley, was also summoned for keeping open licensed premises during prohibited hours.

Police-constable Stringfellow stated that at half past four in the afternoon of the date named, in company with Police-constable Beaumont, he visited the Canal Tavern in plain clothes. Beaumont went to the back door, and witness went in by the front entrance. When about twenty yards away from the house, witness observed the landlord standing at the door. As soon as he saw witness, he shouted out, “Police! Get outside”. Witness ran to the door and was about to enter, when a dozen men rushed out of the house, knocking him down. He recognised Butterfield, afterwards obtaining the names of the other defendants. There were five men in the passage, and he took them into the tap room. Three of them said that they were lodging in the house, and the other two gave addresses at Bradford. On the table were fifteen pints of beer. Witness afterwards saw Morgan and Potts, who stated that they went to the house and asked for two pints of beer, and that they were served by the landlord, who did not ask any questions. At ten minutes to six the same day, witness again visited the house, and found Briggs and Whitfield each with a pint of beer in front of them. When witness entered the house the second time, Whitfield was underneath the seat, and when discovered he became very abusive, stating that the first time he saw witness outside he would throw him into the canal. Butterfield stated that he lived at 4 George Street, Bingley, but it was afterwards found that his proper address was in Windhill.

In reply to Superintendent Morley, witness said that all the defendants lived within a mile of the Canal Tavern. Police-constable Beaumont corroborated, stating that there were several men in the house. He recognised Potts and Morgan, whom he knew personally. There were five men in the tap room with beer in front of them. The landlord told witness that he should summon him for trespassing, because he had come over a wall. Police-constable Spencer said he accompanied the two last witnesses to the house. Whitfield was underneath the seat, and the landlord was endeavouring to keep him from observation. Bradley : Did you see Whitfield get underneath the seat? - No.

The defendants had nothing to say, and Superintendent Morley said that Whitfield and Briggs had previously been before the Court for drunkenness.

Bradley was fined 40s and the costs, and the other defendants were each fined 2s 6d and the costs.

Bradley, Willie[3]

c1875 – ????

Willie Bradley was the son of James Bradley. James was born c1848 in Bingley. He married Selina Briggs 25 October 1869 at Bradford Cathedral. In 1871 they were living in Baildon with James working as a stone mason.

Willie, the third of six children, was born c1875 in Windhill. In 1881 Selina was living in Idle with her children but without her husband. By 1891 Willie living at 36 Mary Street in Saltaire, with his sister, Annie, who had married James Beaver.

Willie, working as a blacksmiths striker, married Rose Ellen Shaw 25 December 1895 at Bradford Cathedral. In 1901 they were living in Shipley with two children; Annie born 1898 and Lance born 1901. They had a third child William born 1906. By 1911 Willie was publican at The Roscoe in Leeds. Later he ran the Junction Vaults in Shipley and the Canal Tavern near Thackley. He played football for Manningham F.C.

Willie fought in and survived the war.

Willie, had a younger brother, Greenwood, who sadly lost his life serving his country.


  1. Arthur Edwick notes.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Shipley Times and Express
  3. Saltaire Village Info website