Darwen pensioner cuts ribbon on Wetherspoons building where she got married

Annie Moran and son Brian open The Old Chapel, watched by pub staf, including manager Michael Johnson, far right.

Annie marrying Alec at the church in 1949

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PENSIONER Annie Moran has very fond memories of Darwen’s newest pub – because she got married there.

And the 91-year-old, of Kay Street, was guest of honour, cutting the ribbon as The Old Chapel opened its doors yesterday.

The building, which had most recently been disc-ount store A&M Bargains, was originally Railway Road Methodist Church, which closed in 1969.

Annie, who used to work at Belgrave Mill in the town, married Alec at the church in 1949.

Sadly Alec, who worked for many years at Thomas Knowles’ pipeworks, near Spring Vale, died four years ago.

Son Brian said she had followed the progress of pub chain JD Wetherspoon’s transformation of the old building through the Lancashire Telegraph over the past couple of years.

He said: “She was keen to go down and have a look at the building, and see what they had done to it.

“Mum was very impressed with the transform-ation, having seen it decline over the years since the church closed.

“She was thrilled to see it, had a wonderful day, and will remember the visit for the rest of her days.”

Brian said mother-of-two Annie, who has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, was a regular at the church, and he and his brother were christened there.

JD Wetherspoon finally opened the long-awaited pub after a £1.57million refurbishment, and a total investment of £2.2million.

The church, designed by Manchester architect Edward Bates, opened in 1866.

Now a Grade Two-listed building, it was bought in 1969 by F&AE Lodge, of Huddersfield, for £14,500, and traded as supermarket Lodges until the late 1990s, when it became A&M Bargains.

The discount store finally closed its doors in January 2012.

This left the way open for JD Wetherspoon to press ahead with its plans to open in the town.

Comments (9)

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4:46pm Fri 24 Jan 14

louderfasterlonger says...

Great place. The local memorabilia finish it off nicely and a pleasnt beer garden... the bar staff were a bit raw but that'll improve and I have to say I prefer a bit of piped music to chill to.. but thats just my personal taste.. well done to all involved.
Great place. The local memorabilia finish it off nicely and a pleasnt beer garden... the bar staff were a bit raw but that'll improve and I have to say I prefer a bit of piped music to chill to.. but thats just my personal taste.. well done to all involved. louderfasterlonger
  • Score: 8

6:33pm Fri 24 Jan 14

happycyclist says...

Lovely story. That's absolutely great that Wetherspoons asked her instead of some dignitary or celebrity. Well done Wetherspoons.
Lovely story. That's absolutely great that Wetherspoons asked her instead of some dignitary or celebrity. Well done Wetherspoons. happycyclist
  • Score: 17

7:20pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Darren1951 says...

Very nicely refurbished, and a good range of excellent real ales, as enjoyed on my visit there today (only actually tried one brand, but it was suberb). What does annoy me intensely is that most selfish and thoughtless group of customers, the smokers When I came out this afternoon, four of them were standing in the doorway pumping out their filth and almost totally blocking the entrance. A friend of mine, who works in a town centre shop, said that yesterday tea-time, the ground outside the front door was almost covered (possible slight exaggeration I suspect) with fag ends. And all this when a shelter and rubbish bins have been provided. PLEBS doesn't even begin to describe these excuses for human beings.
Very nicely refurbished, and a good range of excellent real ales, as enjoyed on my visit there today (only actually tried one brand, but it was suberb). What does annoy me intensely is that most selfish and thoughtless group of customers, the smokers When I came out this afternoon, four of them were standing in the doorway pumping out their filth and almost totally blocking the entrance. A friend of mine, who works in a town centre shop, said that yesterday tea-time, the ground outside the front door was almost covered (possible slight exaggeration I suspect) with fag ends. And all this when a shelter and rubbish bins have been provided. PLEBS doesn't even begin to describe these excuses for human beings. Darren1951
  • Score: 16

8:39pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Black Car Guy. says...

I hope to visit this place soon. Good luck with the new venture.
I hope to visit this place soon. Good luck with the new venture. Black Car Guy.
  • Score: 5

10:01am Sat 25 Jan 14

T.Wadman says...

yeah and on their grand opening forgot the longest running people of the street, my mum and dad have lived on that road for the longest and wetherspoons gave out invitations to everyone bar them, obviously they werent good enough
yeah and on their grand opening forgot the longest running people of the street, my mum and dad have lived on that road for the longest and wetherspoons gave out invitations to everyone bar them, obviously they werent good enough T.Wadman
  • Score: -9

11:29am Sat 25 Jan 14

Darren1951 says...

T.Wadman wrote:
yeah and on their grand opening forgot the longest running people of the street, my mum and dad have lived on that road for the longest and wetherspoons gave out invitations to everyone bar them, obviously they werent good enough
Are you talking about Railway Road, or Green Street East?
[quote][p][bold]T.Wadman[/bold] wrote: yeah and on their grand opening forgot the longest running people of the street, my mum and dad have lived on that road for the longest and wetherspoons gave out invitations to everyone bar them, obviously they werent good enough[/p][/quote]Are you talking about Railway Road, or Green Street East? Darren1951
  • Score: 0

3:57am Sun 26 Jan 14

Malthus says...

happycyclist wrote:
Lovely story. That's absolutely great that Wetherspoons asked her instead of some dignitary or celebrity. Well done Wetherspoons.
Also a lot cheaper to get a local in too.
[quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: Lovely story. That's absolutely great that Wetherspoons asked her instead of some dignitary or celebrity. Well done Wetherspoons.[/p][/quote]Also a lot cheaper to get a local in too. Malthus
  • Score: -3

12:51pm Mon 27 Jan 14

We'll win the next one says...

T.Wadman wrote:
yeah and on their grand opening forgot the longest running people of the street, my mum and dad have lived on that road for the longest and wetherspoons gave out invitations to everyone bar them, obviously they werent good enough
I drive up and down that street quite often and I never got an invite, I hear you brother ! lol.
[quote][p][bold]T.Wadman[/bold] wrote: yeah and on their grand opening forgot the longest running people of the street, my mum and dad have lived on that road for the longest and wetherspoons gave out invitations to everyone bar them, obviously they werent good enough[/p][/quote]I drive up and down that street quite often and I never got an invite, I hear you brother ! lol. We'll win the next one
  • Score: 1

9:32am Tue 28 Jan 14

Real Ale Up North says...

Darwen is blessed with some fine ale houses, and this new Wetherspoon's will add to the choice. The town also boasts some fine brewers. Hopstar, Snaggletooth and Three B's up the road. It's a cracking area for real ale choice - and value. Will review the Old Chapel , once it has 'bedded-in' :-).
Darwen is blessed with some fine ale houses, and this new Wetherspoon's will add to the choice. The town also boasts some fine brewers. Hopstar, Snaggletooth and Three B's up the road. It's a cracking area for real ale choice - and value. Will review the Old Chapel , once it has 'bedded-in' :-). Real Ale Up North
  • Score: 1

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