Bolton Live Music Venue.
22 Manor Street, Bolton, BL1 1TU.
01204 388596.

Monday, 31 August 2015

A Message From Neil

Hello friends. This is a message I was hoping I'd never have to write. The Dog and Partridge is to be demolished. I wanted to tell people when I knew the date of when this is going to happen. But the weight of this has grown too much and its ripping me apart.

The landlords of the pub has taken the decision to take down the building due to it not being economically viable. The landlords have looked at the damage that has been caused by the crash, break ins, the weather and the fact that the pub is an old building. They see it as a Pandora's box that when they start work on the building they will find more and more problems that have to be fixed. The refurbishment alone would cost tens of thousands on its own. The place it’s a wreck, throughout the whole building. The damage caused by the break-ins is huge, every door kicked in, nearly every window and frame broken. Her infrastructure ripped out. Even finding needles in what was once my bedroom. It takes a piece of me every time I walk through the door.

I'm still fighting my landlord, as well as the drivers insurance company, plus the council.  But the fight to keep the pub open is one I just can't do any more. I don't have any grounds to do it. At the end of the day it’s not my building. They bought the building 8 years ago with the aim to level the whole area. I've no idea if that's ever going to happen, probably not.

I've been trying to keep the doors open for the last twelve years. At times it’s been very hard, I've poured my heart and soul into the pub.  I had a lot of help throughout the years. I wouldn't dare to say that it was just down to me because the truth is that without the hard work and dedication from a lot of you we would not have made it this far.  I'm not going to name people in the huge fear of missing someone out. You know who you are and how much of yourselves you poured into the pub. From staff, organisers, bands, drinkers and friends made through other businesses. It takes a great crowd to make a great pub.

The point I knew I wanted to run the Dog and Partridge was during the first Dogstock. Angus needed to create a festival to raise enough money to keep the pub going. That's when I saw the pubs regulars’ band together and work ridiculously hard and over many hours for nothing but to keep their pub alive. That's when I knew this was the place for me.

People even now are rallying around me from the pub, those who helped clear the pub, the ones who are still looking after my stuff. Thank you so much. I cannot thank these good people enough. I hope one day I can repay this huge kindness that people have shown to me.

I grew up within the walls of the pub and I got to see a lot of other people do the same. I've seen people at the lowest, worst and at their greatest. It’s been an honour to be part of it and see the relationships, marriages and children that have come from people meeting at the pub. I've made some amazing life-long friends along the way. We brought bands from around the world and helped local musicians find a place to express themselves and grow. I'm proud to have been a part of that. I've always loved music but have never been able to play a thing.

My heart is broken of the thought of not standing behind the bar again. I've no idea what the future holds for me as at the moment I find it hard just to put one foot in front of the other. I'm currently suffering from depression but I'm working through it and will eventually sort myself out. I know I have a lot of good people around me.

Running a pub isn't just a job. It’s a way of life and becomes who you are. Other landlords will know this feeling well. I now have no idea who I am or what I should do with myself.

All I can now say is THANK YOU. Thank you for your support over the last 12 years. I hope other pubs get the same love and support that the Dog and Partridge has received. It’s a hard trade to work in now and they need people like you to make them stronger and better.

I'm hurt, pissed and I've got to find a new job and somewhere to call home.

Neil Piper, still just about landlord of the Dog and Partridge.


  1. I have just read this out to my partner and found it difficult to talk, I cannot imagine what you're going through, we weren't there every Sat night, but adored the place and the mix of folk from all ages, the ale was cracking too. There is nothing I can say to help, only let you know, even if you do already, that the Dog, to a lot of us, was/is the best in Bolton. I hope you find your way, take the spirit of the Dog with you, we look forward to your next venture. Apologies for going on x

  2. Keep strong Neil. The memories and friends will keep the dog alive!

  3. My heart goes to you Neil- I can imagine how lost you feel and all of us have been a bit like aimless souls for the past few months; wandering round bolton looking for a fix via a cheap substitute. All those couch surfers that I took there as well and had their best night of the UK- no more! Good luck old bean and worry ye not- if you had the drive to make the Dog work then you'll use it to get somewhere again.

  4. I'm totally gutted for you mate, I had some random good times there, the Pub will be missed.....but you'll land on your feet, stay head strong Niel.

  5. Although I haven't been in the Dog and Partridge for years. (For which I apologise) I can't imagine how you must feel. Your heartfelt thoughts, feelings and obvious love for the place and clientele (friends) are there for all to see. Myself and my girl (Gillian) both wish you all the best for the future and when you finally get another Pub/Home (If that's the road you choose to go down) we will certainly give you our patronage. We wish all the best for you. Colin and Gillian. x

  6. I was so distraught reading this, I live in Australia now, but the Dog and Partridge will always have a place in my heart, I was going in there 30 years ago, loved it along with the Man and Scythe and the Swan rock cellar, you have worked very hard to keep yours and every other D & P devotee's dreams alive. Your determination will see the Dog rise from the ashes in another manifestation which you will surely make a huge success, keep the spirit Neil, you have a large following :)

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