Pub with links to the Yorkshire Ripper, Preston North End’s Invincibles team and stalled apartments plan set to bite the dust
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The Balmoral Hotel in Manchester Road, once described as "a highly disreputable place," is in such a dilapidated state that the owners have been instructed to knock it down.
Preston Enterprise Ltd has submitted plans to demolish the eyesore building and clear the site. The company says on its planning application that the work is being "demanded by Housing Standards, Preston City Council."
The 130-year-old pub was once owned by Preston North End defender Bob Holmes, a member of the famous Invincibles side which won the League and FA Cup double in 1888/89 without losing a single game. Holmes was the oldest survivor of that great team and lived until 1955 aged 88.
He was landlord of the Balmoral between 1901 and 1904 and was fined £3 in 1903 for selling brandy "not of the nature and quality demanded."
It was also linked, tenuously, to the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, following the murder of Preston prostitute Joan Harrison in 1975 who had been drinking in the Balmoral on the night she was brutally killed.
The pub, with its distinctive blue-tiled frontage, was built on the site of another ale house, the Black Swan, which dated back at least to 1828.
In later years it was renamed the Beat Street Cafe Bar, but that is believed to have closed down in 2001, leaving the building open to vandals and the elements for more than two decades.
A plan to demolish the pub was hatched in 2005, with Preston Enterprise Ltd unveiling a £2m scheme to build a 4/5 storey apartment block on the site with two shops on the ground floor and a gym with jacuzzi.
At the time a report to the planning committee said: "With nits new city status, Preston is looking for trendy apartments to attract young professional people.
"It (Manchester Road) is an area of Preston which is in dire need of regeneration."
But the project never happened, leaving the building to continue decaying. The plan now is to flatten the old pub and level the site, starting next week, pending the announcement on it future.