Pubs Of The Past – Memories Of Skipton


By Brian Stott

Recently on The Skipton Press there was an article about Skipton’s newest bars. It is great to see this new trend in Micro-Pubs adding to our thriving social scene.

Thinking about these new bars prompted me to recall some pubs that were around in Skipton when I was young and even before that. I wonder which of you remember drinking in any of these old establishments, which although they were in Skipton were typical of many a market town.

The King’s Arms

This Pub was on the High Street where there are now two shops: Just Jeans and Sea Salt.

The Pub was sadly demolished in 1967 and replaced with the building these shops are in today.

Here it is:


And here were the shops that originally replaced it:


Silvio’s was a bakers and cake shop but the building is of course still there next to Dorothy Perkins.

The Old George

This Pub stood where Rackham’s Department Store is now on High Street.

old george

Rackham’s used to be known as Brown and Muffs and was a smaller store than it is today. They were taken over I believe by House of Fraser and rebranded as Rackham’s. They acquired The Old George to extend their store. I believe this would be early 1970’s. They demolished the pub apart from the front façade and if you look at Rackham’s today you will notice the upstairs floors look exactly like those of The Old George. My guess is that the Council insisted that the High Street was not changed. The modern department store was built on the back of the existing frontage. On the picture, you can see to the left of the pub a small shop. This was Carruthers Jewellers shop, they together with Coopers Shoe Shop further up refused to sell to Rackham’s for many years and were enveloped by Rackham’s original shop on one side and the new part built where the pub was. They eventually sold out allowing Rackham’s the whole site.

The Brick Hall

This pub is still here but it has been metamorphosed into The Woolly Sheep. I guess some marketing type person felt this rebrand would be better for Skipton High Street.

Here is The Brick Hall


It would have looked like this in about 1900.

Compare it to this more recent photograph when it had become The Woolly Sheep. The door and windows are still the same as is the Café Nero next door.


Since this photograph was taken it has been refurbished again. Older Skiptonians will remember Tom and Maureen Corrigan who were the Landlord and Landlady for many a year before retiring when Taylor’s Brewery from Keighley took over the pub.

 The Chews : The Hole in the Wall and Chew’s Bar

No not a Cash Machine but another former High Street Pub. This was where FatFace have their shop today.


There was a pub on this site up until about mid 1970’s. The upper floors remain intact. Compare the window frames in the two photographs. When I started working for Skipton Building Society in 1976 the pub was just closing and Skipton rented the upper floors as office space whilst the building now known as Providence Quarter behind their office next door was being built as their (then) palatial Head Office.


 The Chews must have been a family involved in the Pub trade in town as until fairly recently there was a Pub known as Chew’s Bar on Swadford Street where Post Office/Subway is now, It became Breeze Bar for a while.


The Breeze Bar sign is still visible over the side entrance!]


The Ship

This one is long gone. It was not around when I was a boy in 1960’s

But you can see the upper floors which are apartments are still the same and the tunnel between William Hill and Bridal Shop is still there. Oxfam and Candle Shop make up the rest of the shops on this site.


The Unicorn

This has had two previous incarnations on the same site in Keighley Road now occupied by Yorkshire Building Society and Harrison Boothman. There is a hotel called The Unicorn on the upper floors but the pub at ground floor has gone.


This was the original Unicorn on the site in 1800’s and early 1900’s


This was then replaced with the newer pub. Anyone like me who went in this pub in the late 1970’s will recall that the foundations must have slipped as the floor sloped from one side to the other in a very uneven manner. Difficult to orientate yourself even before a pint of BYB as advertised in the photograph below! Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries!

The building was underpinned when the pub closed and converted to what it is today. Compare the photograph below to the one of the building today. The bay windows have been removed but the upper floors remain intact. The very large window on the Devonshire Place as you go down to Car Radio shop still has BYB engraved into the stone work and the same Unicorn stone art is still there.


The Royal Oak


This is now Ackroyd’s Wine Bar. It is on the end of Water Street opposite Stanforth’s Pie shop. It is currently being refurbished. This photograph was taken in 1966 by Alan Burnett when he was on a Geography Field trip to Skipton. Looks like they had their school uniforms on. The Landlord is called Streeting. The railings are still there to cling on to 



The Yorkshireman

The site occupied by Boot’s Opticians was a pub and at one time a disco/function room known as The Yorkshireman. It was called Anderton’s Wine Bar prior to a rebrand but I haven’t been able to find a photograph of either of these. Does anyone remember it and have a picture? Lots of Skiptonians will have had 21st Parties and Wedding “dos” there.


It has been said that virtually every building in Skipton Town centre has been a pub at some time so that gives plenty of scope for a further walk along Memory Lane.




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