by local historian Nick Colley, chairman of Northwich and District Heritage Society

The imposing Angel Hotel once stood in a prime position on the part of High Street that has always been known as the Bull Ring.

It stood on the corner of Church Street, which itself has long since disappeared under the current road layout.

The earliest mention of it is in 1760, when Francis Hansell was the licensee and it was used as the venue for local property auctions.

Mr Hansell was entrepreneurial, and as well as running the business as a bar and hotel and hiring rooms out for functions he also offered a local taxi service - not as we know it today, but in 1764 he was advertising the services of a ‘very neat and new four-wheeled post chaise for hire with two or four able horses to travel any distance’.

A post chaise was a covered carriage the passengers sat inside with windows to the front and sides. The driver rode one of the horses instead of sitting on the carriage.

These carriages for hire were usually painted yellow and black, and were only used by those well off enough to pay the fare.

For many years it was one of the town’s leading hotels and coaching houses, with its three floors plus cellars and its extensive stabling to the rear.

Its commodious Assembly Rooms were used for regular property and timber actions, the meetings of various establishments and a venue for concerts.

From 1858 they were also used as a temporary County Court when the Town Hall, where the court was usually held, was deemed unsafe following the subsidence of its foundations.

As with so many of the town’s brick-built buildings subsidence from underground brine pumping eventually affected the hotel. From the mid-1880s it took on a significant lean to one side and the window and door frames eventually twisted out of shape.

The Bull Ring being so close to the Weaver and the Dane also suffered from flood damage, and in 1919 a flood covered the entire Bull Ring and surrounding area.

This was probably the final nail in the coffin for the Angel Hotel, and by the early 1920s it was in such a poor state it was deemed to be dangerous. It closed in 1921 and was demolished the following year.

In its 161 years of trading as a public house the Angel Hotel had fewer than 20 licensees. Joseph Gibson was there from 1807 until 1844, and the Edwards family ran it from 1864 until it closed.

In 1924 the building that now houses the Nat West Bank was built in its place.

More photographs of old Northwich can be seen on the Northwich Past and Present Facebook group