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This pub is named after Wallace Hartley, the bandmaster of the Titanic, who was born in Colne in 1878. According to reports at the time, Wallace and the band played on as the Titanic sank. Hartley's body was returned to Colne, where he was buried on 18 May 1912.
Until the mid 1990s, this building was the long-standing King's Head Hotel. Extensively altered in 1963/64, it was built during the 1920s, replacing an earlier King's Head which stood virtually on the same site. The original inn was first recorded in 1710; in its day, it was one of the most important hostelries in Colne. For around 200 years, the old building was a meeting place for local people and travellers. Across the road is the old Colne District Co-Operative Society Hall. The plaque records that the hall was built in 1888 and renamed Shackleton Buildings, in 1949, to commemorate fifty years' service to the Colne Society by Alderman JW Shackleton JP.
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