ONE of the oldest pubs in Leigh has had to call last orders for the final time.

The Bull and Butcher, on Westleigh Lane, is the second oldest pub in the town but the decision has been made to close it down.

Tom Ford, who ran the pub on behalf of the new owners Hawthorn Leisure, says the pub has been underperforming and the age of the building has made it difficult to maintain.

He said: “It is very sad but it is just one of those things.

“The building has been neglected for many years and the cost of keeping it in an essential condition for health and safety is too much.

“It has been under performing for quite a while. As far as I am aware it is the second oldest pub in Leigh.

“I believe only the George and Dragon is older but that is all new apart from the front.

“The Bull and Butcher is the original building which may be why it is falling down. I’m not sure what will happen to it now but it is no longer viable as a business and I doubt it will be run as a pub again. It is sad to see it go – there’s one old guy who has been coming here for 77 years.”

When the pub was built is unclear, but it was originally called The Bull until Thomas Isherwood, a butcher, took over the tenancy in 1792.

The drinking haunt, which closed for the last time on Wednesday night, was regularly frequented by dominoes and darts players.

One regular Kevin Devine said: “People have been going there for 50 years. We regularly play darts and dominoes in there but we’ve had to find another pub.

“I heard that it was going to be demolished to make way for a housing development.”

Wigan Council, however, has not received a planning application regarding the pub or confirmation of its rumoured demolition.