A SWEEPING trend towards modern pubs had sent a ‘back-in-time’ Horwich hostelry to the alehouse graveyard.

That was the verdict of landlady, Marjorie Wilkinson, as she prepared to call last orders for the final time at the 200-year-old Brown Cow, back in September 1989.

The stone-built Church Street pub - believed to be one of the oldest in the area - was set to close, leaving a hardcore of regulars sad and looking for a new local.

Ken Chaisty, a regular for two decades, said the closure marked the disappearance of another part of Horwich.

He said: “It is a lovely little community pub in a conservation area. Although everyone is upset and we are going to see it off with a bang on Saturday night.”

Mrs Wilkinson, who had been landlady for 21 years, described the Brown Cow, as an “old-style drinkers pub” which had not changed for 200 years.

She added: “It needs alterations and Greenall Whitley probably thinks it is not worth spending a lot of money on it. Trade has fallen off badly over the years but pubs like this are dying out these days with people going in more for modern pubs and bar meals. But you have to keep up with the times. Years ago you couldn’t get a seat after 8pm on a Saturday night. These days people only come in for the last half hour.”

Thankfully this was not the end of the story for the Brown Cow which did in fact live to drink another day.

Back in 2013, we reported that the pub was set to be renovated and redesigned ahead of a November reopening when it would be unveiled as the Bank Top Ale House. The new pub would follow in the footsteps of The Tap in Astley Bridge, which had won several CAMRA awards since opening in 2010, as the second real ale haven run by Bank Top Brewery.

Today, it remains open, offering nine cask ale hand pumps, eight of which rotate through the Bank Top range, the ninth being solely for a variety of guest beers from some of the country’s most popular breweries.

Hopefully a few of those regulars from 30 years ago are still around to enjoy the Brown Cow’s second coming.