Cross Axes – Great Harwood

Home of Live Music and Entertainment


John and Toni came to The Cross Axes at the end of June 2005 and have tried to update the pub without forgetting that it is a traditional drinking house and that the building itself is pre-1780.  The garden was fully transformed in 2007, with on-going plans to repair and renew as and when funds and time allows.

Mike and Denise, the previous owners, are good friends of John and Toni.  Paul, their son, is actually John’s best friend!  They ran The Cross Axes for 8 years, having previously run The Jubilee in Glossop for several years.  They decided in 2005, to retire from the licensed trade.

Whilst 8 years is a long time in the pub trade, 22 years is almost forever!  But that’s how long Merv and Carol were at The Cross Axes:  from May 1976 to June 1998.  They went through many changes, not least the bar moving to it’s current position (it used to be along your right as you came in and you could walk around it into the lounge) and the demise of “The Blue Room”.  Many a tall tale is told by the patrons of this infamous room – no lights, just black light, use your imagination!

Merv recently got in touch and told us that from 1971 til 1976, a couple called Andrew and Doreen Walmsley were in charge.  They moved to The Four Alls in Higham when they left Great Harwood.

If you know who had The Cross Axes from 1969 to 1971, please let us know!
Mary and Geoff had the pub in the 60′s until they emigrated to Australia along with their children, Debra, Suzanne and twins Bryan and Robert, in 1969.  Debra actually came to visit in the summer of 2007.  She was amazed at the changes, remembering all manner of corridors and outhouses, plus a second cellar.  She remembered being terrified of the attic and was shocked that what had been the function room was now John and Toni’s lounge!

One of Deb’s best memories of The Cross is finding all the cash lost by the customers in the Blue Room.  As it was so dark in there, any money accidently dropped would stay dropped.  Deb found a fortune in there!  Quite a handy way to supplement her pocket money.

This visit was especially emotional as Debra is actually the cousin of our former regular Saturday night DJ, Luke Scarr.  Luke’s grandmother worked in the pub for Mary and Geoff, and remembers their very first day.
In 1825, Lawrence Rushton owned The Cross Axes and as there was no butcher in the town, he also sold meat.  Meat was also sold at The Queen’s Head.
The Cross Axes can be traced back to 1772, when the building was identified amongst the Lomax family papers as Jonathon Calvert’s tenement, with the address: The Cross Axes.

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