Navy at the Bull & Dog (vintage black & white) pic

A historic connection

Established over 270 years ago, the Bull & Dog is the oldest pub in Burscough… and what a great story it brings with it. Despite being associated with the old pastimes of coursing, pigeon shooting and ploughing matches, the Bull & Dog was originally named after another ‘sport’ that was popular in the area during the 17th and 18th centuries. Can you guess what it is? The sport was bull baiting! During the late 18th century and early part of the 19th century, charities were distributed here at the Bull & Dog. Auctions were also held here in the first half of the 19th century! Not the type you’d see on TV with David Dickinson, but these were usually concerned with the selling of land and agricultural premises. Then in 1801, this pub itself was sold by auction to Richard Reynolds. Mr Cooper Tyrer became the licensee in the 1820s, before handing over the keys in the 1840s to Robert Edge – whose family held the Bull & Dog for nearly a century! In 1947, the pub was then sold for £20,000.

Rewinding a few years back to 1943, HMS Ringtail was built here in Burscough – a wartime operational Royal Naval Air Station. The main entrance to the air station was at the bottom of Lordsgate Lane, the road that runs alongside the Bull & Dog pub – making it a popular spot for Royal Naval personnel. In the pub today, you’ll notice a beam runs the length of the inside of the pub close to the bar, containing a number of coins that were put there by those in the Navy. It is said that they used the heel of their shoes as hammers! This tradition was first performed as a gesture of good luck in the hope that after returning from wartime operations, the coins could be taken back out to buy a drink! HMS Ringtail was then closed in 1946, and since then a growing industrial estate has been built on part of its site. The Bull & Dog pub is now the only substantial building to remain with links to the Royal Naval Air Station! In 2013, members of the Royal Navy returned here to hold a ceremony at the HMS Ringtail monument to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. The tradition of knocking coins into the beam was continued by Royal naval officers after the ceremony!