Bolton Town Hall
Bolton shown within Greater Manchester
|Population||139,403 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan county||Greater Manchester|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Bolton North East|
|Bolton South East|
|List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester|
Bolton ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a town in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. Close to the West Pennine Moors, it is 10 miles (16 km) north west of the city of Manchester. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the administrative centre. The town of Bolton has a population of 139,403, whilst the wider metropolitan borough has a population of 262,400.
Historically a part of Lancashire, Bolton originated as a small settlement in the moorland known as Bolton le Moors. During the English Civil War the town was a Parliamentarian outpost in a staunchly Royalist region, and as a result Bolton was stormed by 3,000 Royalist troops led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine in 1644. In what became known as the Bolton Massacre, 1,600 residents were killed and 700 were taken prisoner.
Noted as a former mill town, textiles have been produced in Bolton since Flemish weavers settled in the area during the 15th century, developing a wool and cotton weaving tradition. The urbanisation and development of Bolton largely coincided with the introduction of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. It was a boomtown of the 19th century and at its zenith, in 1929, its 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dying works made it one of the largest and most productive centres of cotton spinning in the world. The British cotton industry declined sharply after the First World War, and by the 1980s cotton manufacture had virtually ceased in Bolton.
Bolton has had notable success in sport; Premier League football club Bolton Wanderers play home games at the Reebok Stadium (Reebok, the sportswear company, is based in the town) and The WBA World light-welterweight champion Amir Khan was born in the town. Bolton also has several notable cultural aspects, including The Octagon Theatre and the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, as well as one of the earliest public libraries established after the Public Libraries Act 1850.
The name Bolton derives from the Old English bothel and tun, meaning a "settlement with a special building". The first record of the town dates from 1185 as Boelton. It was recorded as Bothelton in 1212, Bowelton in a charter granted by Henry III in 1251, Botelton in 1257, Boulton in 1288, and Bolton after 1307. The town's motto of Supera Moras means "overcome difficulties" (or "delays"), and is a pun on the Bolton-super-Moras version of the name meaning literally, "Bolton on the moors".
Man has lived on the moors around Bolton for many thousands of years evidenced by a stone circle on Cheetham Close above Egerton and Bronze Age burial mounds on Winter Hill. A Bronze Age mound was excavated in Victorian times outside Haulgh Hall. The Romans built roads from Manchester to Ribchester to the east and a road along what is now the A6 to the west. It is claimed that Agricola built a fort at Blackrod by clearing land above the forest. Evidence of a Saxon settlement exists in the form of religious objects found when the Victorian parish church was built.
In 1067 Great Bolton was the property of Roger de Poitou and after 1100 Roger de Meresheys. Eventually it became property of the Pilkingtons who forfeited it in the Civil War and the Stanleys who became Earls of Derby. Great Bolton and Little Bolton were part of the Marsey fee, in 1212 Little Bolton was held by Roger de Bolton as plough-land, by the service of the twelfth part of a knight's fee to Randle de Marsey. The church in Bolton has an early foundation although the date is not known, it was given by the lord of the manor to the Gilbertine canons of Mattersey Priory, in Nottinghamshire, which was founded by Roger de Marsey.
The town was given a charter to hold a market in Churchgate on 14 December 1251 by King Henry III of England. It was made into a market town and borough by a charter from the Earl of Derby, William de Ferrers, on 14 January 1253. Burgage plots were laid out on Churchgate and Deansgate in the centre of the medieval town near where Ye Olde Man and Scythe dating from 1251 is situated and a market was held here until the 18th century.
In 1337 Flemish weavers settled here and introduced the manufacture of woollen cloth. More Flemish weavers fleeing the Huguenot persecutions also settled here in the 17th century. This second wave of settlers wove fustian, a rough cloth made of linen and cotton. Digging sea coal around Bolton was recorded in 1374. There was an outbreak of the plague in the town in 1623.
During the English Civil War, Bolton supported Parliament and the Puritan cause. There was a parliamentary garrison in the town which was twice unsuccessfully attacked but on 28 May 1644 Prince Rupert's army along with troops under the Earl of Derby attacked again. There were 1,500 dead, and 700 taken prisoner and the town plundered. It became known as the Bolton Massacre. At the end of the Civil War Lord Derby was tried as a traitor at Chester and condemned to death. When his appeal for pardon to parliament was rejected he attempted to escape but was recaptured and executed outside Ye Olde Man & Scythe Inn at Bolton on 15 October 1651 for his part in the Bolton Massacre.
A tradition of cottage spinning and weaving and the mechanisation of the textile industry by local inventors, Richard Arkwright and Samuel Crompton led to the rapid growth of Bolton in the 19th century. Crompton, whilst living at Hall i'th' Wood, invented the spinning mule in 1779. It revolutionised cotton spinning by combining the roller drafting of Arkwright's water frame with the carriage drafting and spindle tip twisting of James Hargreaves's spinning jenny, producing a high quality yarn. Self-acting mules were used in Bolton mills until the 1960s producing fine yarn. The earliest mills were situated by the streams and river as seen today at Barrow Bridge, but steam power led to the construction of the large multi-storey mills and chimneys that came to dominate Bolton's skyline, some of which survive today. The streams draining the surrounding moors into the River Croal also provided the water necessary for the bleach works that were a feature of this area. Bleaching using chlorine was introduced in the 1790s by the Ainsworths at Halliwell Bleachworks. Bolton and the surrounding villages to the north had over 30 bleachworks including the Lever Bank Bleach Works in the Irwell Valley.
Growth of the textile industry was also assisted by the availability of coal in the Bolton area. By 1896 John Fletcher owned coal mines at Ladyshore, Little Lever; The Earl of Bradford had a coal mine at Great Lever; the Darcy Lever Coal Company had mines at Darcy Lever and there were also coal mines at Tonge, Breightmet, Deane and Doffcocker. Some of these pits were close to the canal providing the owners with markets in Bolton and Manchester. Important transport links also contributed to the growth of the textile industry; Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, constructed in 1791, connected the town to Bury and Manchester providing transport for coal and other basic materials. The Bolton and Leigh Railway was the oldest in Lancashire, opening to goods traffic in 1828 and to passengers in 1831. This railway was connected to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, an important link with the major port of Liverpool for the import of raw cotton from America. Local firms built locomotives for the railway, in 1830 "Union" was built by Rothwell, Hick and Co. and two locomotives, "Salamander" and "Veteran" were built by Crook and Dean.
By 1900 Bolton was Lancashire's third largest engineering centre after Manchester and Oldham. About 9,000 men were employed in the industry, half of them working for Dobson and Barlow in Kay Street. The firm made textile machinery. Another engineering company was Hick Hargreaves, based at the Soho Foundry. This firm made Lancashire Boilers and heavy machinery.
In 1899 William Hesketh Lever, later Lord Leverhulme, bought Hall i'th' Wood to be a memorial to Samuel Crompton the inventor of the Spinning Mule. He restored the dilapidated building and presented it to the town in 1902, having turned it into a museum furnished with household goods typical of early domestic family life in the 16th and 17th centuries. Lever re-endowed Bolton Schools, giving land and his house on Chorley New Road. He also presented the town with 67 acres of land for a public park which the Corporation named Leverhulme Park. In 1911, Lever consulted Thomas Mawson, landscape architect and Lecturer on Landscape Design at the University of Liverpool, regarding Town Planning in Bolton. Mawson published "Bolton – a Study in Town Planning and Civic Art" and gave lectures entitled "Bolton Housing and Town Planning Society" which formed the basis of an illustrated book "Bolton – as it is and as it might be". In 1924, Leverhulme presented Bolton with an ambitious plan to rebuild the town centre based on Mawson's designs funded partly by himself. The Council declined in favour of extending the Town Hall and building the Civic Centre.
During the night of 26 September 1916, Bolton was the target for one of the first aerial offensives in history. L21, a Zeppelin commanded by Oberleutnant Kurt Frankenburg of the Imperial German Navy, dropped 21 bombs on the town, 5 of them on the working class area of Kirk Street, killing 13 and destroying 6 houses. Further attacks followed on other parts of the town, including three incendaries dropped close to the Town Hall.
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council is divided into 20 wards, each of which elects three councillors for a term of up to four years. As of January 2010 the Council has no party in overall control. The seats are divided, Labour – 28, Conservative – 23 and Liberal Democrats – 9.
Until the early 19th century, Great Bolton and Little Bolton were two of the eighteen townships of the ecclesiastical parish of Bolton le Moors. These townships were separated by the River Croal, Little Bolton on the north bank and Great Bolton on the south. Bolton Poor Law Union was formed on 1 February 1837. It continued using existing poorhouses at Fletcher Street and Turton but in 1856 started to build a new workhouse at Fishpool Farm in Farnworth. Townleys Hospital was built on the same site which is now Royal Bolton Hospital.
In 1838, Great Bolton, most of Little Bolton and the Haulgh area of Tonge with Haulgh were incorporated under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 as a municipal borough, the second to be created in England. Further additions were made adding part of Rumworth in 1872 and part of Halliwell in 1877. In 1889, Bolton was granted County Borough status and became self-governing and independent from Lancashire County Council jurisdiction. In 1898, the borough was extended further by adding the civil parishes of Breightmet, Darcy Lever, Great Lever, the rest of Halliwell, Heaton, Lostock, Middle Hulton, the rest of Rumworth which had been renamed Deane in 1894, Smithills, and Tonge plus Astley Bridge Urban District, and part of Over Hulton civil parish. The County Borough of Bolton was abolished in 1974 and became a constituent part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester.
Under the Reform Act of 1832, a Parliamentary Borough was established. The Bolton constituency was represented by two Members of Parliament. The Parliamentary Borough continued until 1950 when it was abolished and replaced with two parliamentary constituencies, Bolton East and Bolton West, each with one Member of Parliament. In 1983, Bolton East was abolished and two new constituencies were created, Bolton North East, and Bolton South East covering most of the former Farnworth constituency. Also in 1983, there were major boundary changes to Bolton West, which took over most of the former Westhoughton constituency.
The early name Bolton le Moors described the position of the town amid the low hills on the edge of the West Pennine Moors south east of Rivington Pike (456 m). Bolton lies on relatively flat land on both sides of the clough or steep-banked valley through which the River Croal flows in a south easterly direction towards the River Irwell. The geological formation around Bolton consists of sandstones of the Carboniferous series and coal measures, in the northern part of Bolton the lower coal measures are mixed with underlying Millstone Grit.
|Horwich||Egerton and Chapeltown||Tottington|
|Aspull and Blackrod||Little Lever and Radcliffe|
|Westhoughton||Atherton and Tyldesley||Farnworth and Kearsley|
|2001 Census||Bolton||Bolton (borough)||GM Urban Area||England|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
At the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001, according to the Office for National Statistics, the Urban Subdivision of Bolton was part of the Greater Manchester Urban Area and had a total resident population of 139,403, of which 67,823 (48.7%) were male and 71,580 (51.3%) were female, living in 57,827 households. The settlement occupied 4,446 hectares (17.17 sq mi), compared with 2,992 hectares (11.55 sq mi) in the 1991 census, though it should be noted that the 2001 Urban census area contains a large rural area to the south of the town. Its population density was 31.35 people per hectare compared with an average of 40.20 across the Greater Manchester Urban Area. The median age of the population was 35, compared with 36 within the Greater Manchester Urban Area and 37 across England and Wales.
The majority of the population of Bolton were born in England (87.10%); 2.05% were born elsewhere within the United Kingdom, 1.45% within the rest of the European Union, and 9.38% elsewhere in the world.
Data on religious beliefs across the town in the 2001 census show that 67.9% declared themselves to be Christian, 12.5% stated that they were Muslim, 8.6% said they held no religion, and 3.4% reported themselves as Hindu.
|Between the 1801 and 1891 censuses, given population figures are for the former townships of Great Bolton and Little Bolton.|
|Sources: Local population statistics. Great Bolton Tn/CP: Total Population. Little Bolton Tn/CP: Total Population.|
|Between the 1901 and 2001 censuses, given population figures are for the total area of Bolton.|
|Sources: County Borough 1901–1971 Urban Subdivision 1981–2001|
|2001 UK Census||Bolton||GM Urban Area||England|
|Full time employment||37.0%||40.1%||40.8%|
|Part time employment||11.7%||11.2%||11.8%|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
Bolton is one of the more deprived boroughs in England according to the Indices of Deprivation 2000. It is the 28th most deprived in England in terms of numbers of people who are income deprived. A third of the borough's population lives in seven wards which are amongst the 10% most deprived in England. At the time of the 2001 Census, there were 56,390 people in employment who were resident within Bolton. Of these, 21.13% worked in the wholesale and retail trade, including repair of motor vehicles; 18.71% worked within manufacturing industry; 11.00% worked within the health and social work sector and 6.81% were employed in the transport, storage and communication industries.
In the last quarter of the 20th century heavy industry was replaced by service-based activities including data processing, call centres, hi-tech electronics and IT companies. The town retains some traditional industries employing people in aerospace, paper-manufacturing, packaging, textiles, transportation, steel foundries and building materials. Missiles are produced at the British Aerospace (BAe) factory in Lostock where the workforce has been reduced to 300 people working for BAE Systems subsidiary MBDA. Missile systems produced include ASRAAM, Rapier and Storm Shadow for the RAF and other forces. The Reebok brand's European headquarters are located at the Reebok Stadium. Bolton is also the home of the family bakery, Warburtons, established in 1876 on Blackburn Road. On 13 February 2003, Bolton was granted Fairtrade Town status.
Bolton attracts shoppers to the town centre and the newly developed Middlebrook retail park, the Bolton Arena, leisure facilities, shops, pubs and restaurants. Tourism plays a part in the economy, visitor attractions include Hall i' th' Wood, Smithills Hall and Country Park, Last Drop Village, Barrow Bridge and the Bolton Steam Museum. There are several regeneration projects planned for Bolton over the next ten years including Church Wharf by Ask Developments and Bluemantle costing £226 million, Merchants Quarter by local developer Charles Topham group costing £200 million, Bolton Innovation Zone(BIZ), a large £300 million development with the University of Bolton at its core. The central street development, by Wilson Bowden Developments Limited is a retail lead development costing £100 million.
Situated in the town centre on the site of a former market, is the Grade II* listed Town Hall an imposing neoclassical building designed by William Hill and opened in June 1873 by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. In the 1930s, the building was extended by Bradshaw Gass & Hope. Within the Town Hall are the Albert Halls and several function rooms. The original, single Albert Hall was destroyed by fire on 14 November 1981. After rebuilding work, it was replaced by the present Albert Halls, which were opened in 1985.
The Great Hall of Smithills Hall was built in the 14th century when William de Radcliffe received the Manor of Smithills from the Hultons, the chapel dates from the 16th century and was extended during the 19th. Smithills Hall was where, in 1555, George Marsh was tried for herecy during the Marian Persecutions. After being "examined" at Smithills, according to local tradition, George Marsh stamped his foot so hard to re-affirm his faith, that a footprint was left in the stone floor. It is a Grade I listed building and is now a museum.
Hall i' th' Wood, now a museum, is a late mediaeval yeoman farmer's house built by Laurence Brownlow. Around 1637 it was owned by the Norris family who added the stone west wing. In the 18th Century it was divided up into tenements. Samuel Crompton lived and worked there. In the 19th Century it deteriorated further until in 1895 it was bought by industrialist William Hesketh Lever who restored it and presented it to Bolton Council in 1900.
Other town centre landmarks in Bolton include Le Mans Crescent, Ye Olde Man & Scythe, Little Bolton Town Hall, The Market Place, Wood Street and Holy Trinity Church. Outside the town centre can be found Mere Hall, Firwood Fold, Haulgh Hall, Park Cottage, St Mary's Church, Deane, Lostock Hall Gatehouse and All Souls Church. Notable mills still overlooking parts of the town are Falcon Mill, Sir John Holden's Mill and the Swan Lane Mills Complex. Many of these are listed buildings.
Bolton is well served by the local road network and national routes. The A6, a major north–south trunk road, passes to the west through Hunger Hill and Westhoughton. The A666 dual carriageway (sometimes referred to as 'The Devil's Highway' because of the numeric designation), is a spur from the M61/M60 motorway interchange through the town centre to Astley Bridge, Egerton, Darwen and Blackburn. The M61 has three dedicated junctions serving the borough.
A network of local buses, coordinated by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and departing from the bus station in the town centre or Bolton Interchange, serves the Bolton district and beyond. Buses operators include Arriva North West, First Manchester, Bluebird and Maytree Travel. Bolton is served by the National Express coach network.
Bolton is located on the Manchester loop of the West Coast Mainline which was served by Virgin West Coast trains passing through Manchester Piccadilly station. Bolton railway station, managed by Northern Rail, is town-centre transport interchange with services to Manchester, Wigan, Southport, Blackburn and intermediate stations operated by First TransPennine Express and Northern trains.
Bolton School is an independent day school, whose Boys' Division originated around 1516,endowed by Robert Lever in 1641 and by William Hesketh Lever (later Lord Leverhulme) in 1898. It was rebuilt alongside a new Girls' Division in Chorley New Road. Another nearby school, Lord's Independent School, was established by Mr Lord, a local eccentric, in 1906.
The town's other secondary schools include Canon Slade School, Ladybridge High School, Sharples School, Smithills School, Thornleigh Salesian College, Turton High School Media Arts College and Withins School. Bolton Community College provides further education from sites throughout the borough. Bolton Sixth Form College comprises the North Campus and Farnworth Campus, with a third campus which is due to open in 2010. The Bolton Teaching and Learning Centre serves schools as a central point for online materials.
|Religion in Bolton 2001|
|UK Census 2001||Bolton
|Religion not stated||7.28%||7.23%||7.69%|
Today, the parish of Bolton-le-Moors covers a small area in the town centre, but until the 19th century it covered a much larger area and was divided into eighteen chapelries and townships. The neighbouring ancient parish of Deane once covered a large area to the west and south of Bolton, and the township of Great Lever was part of the ancient parish of Middleton.
The Parish Church of St Peter, commonly known as Bolton Parish Church, is an example of the gothic revival style. Built between 1866 and 1871 of Longridge stone to designs by Paley, the church is 67 ft (20.4 m) in width, 156 ft (47.5 m) in length, and 82 ft (25.0 m) in height. The tower is 180 ft (54.9 m) high with 13 bells. The first church on the same site was built in Anglo-Saxon times. It was rebuilt in Norman times and again in the early 1400s. Little is known of the earlier churches, but the third building was a solid, squat building with a sturdy square tower at the west end. It was modified over the years until it fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1866. Fragments of stone and other artefacts from these first three buildings are displayed in the museum corner of the present church.
St Mary's Deane, once the only church in a parish of ten townships in the hundred of Salford, is a church established in Saxon times. The current building dates from 1250 with extensions and restoration in the 19th century and is a Grade II* listed building.
The red-brick St George's Church was built between 1794–96 when the Little Bolton area was a separate township. Built by Peter Rothwell it was paid for by the Ainsworth family. After the last service in 1975 it was leased to Bolton Council and became a craft centre in 1994. For many years Stuart Hall housed his clock collection in the craft centre, but the building has now returned to the Church of England and the Grade II* listed building remains closed.
The oldest football club in Lancashire, Turton F.C., was formed in nearby Chapeltown in 1871 and is reputed have introduced the Association Football to the county. It is claimed that their original ground is the oldest surviving football ground in the world and that matches were played there since the 1830s. The most significant club in the Bolton area, Bolton Wanderers F.C., the English Football League club, was formed in 1874 and has played at the Reebok Stadium in Horwich since 1997. For 102 years prior to that the club played at Burnden Park. The club has won four FA Cups, the most recent in 1958, and spent 69 seasons in the top division of the English league – more than any club never to have been league champions.
Bolton is home to one of North West England's largest Field Hockey Clubs, Bolton Hockey Club. There are two local cricket leagues, the Bolton Cricket League, and the Bolton Cricket Association. Bolton also has a rugby union club, Bolton RUFC formed in 1872 situated on Avenue Street. The club operates 4 senior teams, as well as women's and junior sections. Bolton Robots of Doom is a baseball club started in 2003, playing home games at The Ball Park at Stapleton Avenue. In addition to the adult team there is a junior team, Bolton Bears. Baseball in Bolton dates back to 1938 with a team called Bolton Scarlets. Bolton is also home to the Bolton Bulldogs, an American football team which plays home games at Smithills School operating varsity and junior varsity (JV) teams. Speedway racing, known as Dirt Track Racing, was staged at Raikes Park in the pioneer days – 1928 – but the venue was short lived.
According to a survey of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Boltonians are the friendliest people in Britain. Humphrey Spender photographed Bolton calling it Worktown for the Mass-Observation Project, a social research organization which aimed to record everyday life in Britain. His photographs provide a record of ordinary people living and working in a British pre-War industrial town.
Bolton has several theatres including The Octagon and independent groups such as Bolton Little Theatre, Farnworth Little Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre Company. Inside the Town Hall there is a theatre and conference complex, the Albert Halls. Le Mans Crescent, home to the central library, museum, art gallery, aquarium, magistrates' court and town hall, is to be the centre of a new Cultural Quarter. The library and museum are to be extended into the area now occupied by the Magistrates Court. Bolton Museum and Art Gallery has a fine collection of both local and international art. Bolton Central Library was one of the earliest public libraries established after the Public Libraries Act 1850, opening in October 1853 in the Exchange Building on the old market square (Victoria Square) before moving to Le Mans Crescent in July 1938. The Bolton Symphony Orchestra performs regular concerts at the Albert Halls and Victoria Hall in the town centre.
The town's daily newspaper is The Bolton News, formerly the Bolton Evening News. There is a weekly free paper, the Bolton Journal and Bolton Council's monthly newspaper, Bolton Scene. The town is part of the BBC North West and ITV Granada television regions, served by the Winter Hill transmitter near Belmont. Local radio is provided by Tower FM which broadcasts across Bolton and Bury and a new radio station, Bolton FM began broadcasting in 2009.
The industrial village of Barrow Bridge became Millbank in Benjamin Disraeli's novel Coningsby. Spring and Port Wine by playwright, Bill Naughton was filmed and set in Bolton and The Family Way based on Naughton's play All in Good Time was also filmed and set in Bolton. Peter Kay filmed comedy TV series That Peter Kay Thing in the town.
Bolton buildings have stood in for other towns and cities. Le Mans Crescent has featured as a London street in the Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes and a Russian secret service building in the 1990s comedy series "Sleepers". The 1990s BBC drama "Between the Lines" also filmed an episode in Victoria Square.
Bolton has produced actors, comedians, musicians, sports personalities, engineers, inventors, politicians, authors and other notable people who made a mark in different periods of time, whether at local, national or international level. Among them were Protestant martyr George Marsh, Samuel Crompton, 1753–1827, the inventor of the spinning mule that revolutionised the textile industry, and industrialist William Hesketh Lever, 1851–1925, Lord Leverhulme of Bolton-le-Moors. Playwright and author Bill Naughton was born in Ireland but lived in Bolton from an early age. Fred Dibnah was a "Lancastrian steeplejack who became a much-loved television historian of Britain's industrial past" was born and lived in Bolton. More recently Bolton is known for world champion boxer, Amir Khan, and Peter Kay, comedian, actor, writer and producer.
There's more than one place called Bolton.
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BOLTON (BOLTON-LEMOORS), a municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Lancashire, England, 196 m. N.W. by N. from London and 11 m. N.W. from Manchester. Pop. (1891) 146,487; (1901) 168,215. Area, 15,279 acres. It has stations on the London & North-Western and the Lancashire & Yorkshire railways, with running powers for the Midland railway. It is divided by the Croal, a small tributary of the Irwell, into Great and Little Bolton, and as the full name implies, is surrounded by high moorland. Although of early origin, its appearance, like that of other great manufacturing towns of the vicinity, is wholly modern. It owes not a little to the attractions of its site. The only remnants of antiquity are two houses of the ,6th century in Little Bolton, of which one is a specially good example of Tudor work. The site of the church of St Peter has long been occupied by a parish church (there was one in the 12th century, if not earlier), but the existing building dates only from 1870. There may also be mentioned a large number of other places of worship, a town hall with fine classical facade and tower, market hall, museums of natural history and of art and industry, an exchange, assembly rooms, and various benevolent institutions. Several free libraries are maintained. Lever's grammar school, founded in 1641, had Robert Ainsworth, the Latin lexicographer, and John Lempriere, author of the classical dictionary, among its masters. There are municipal technical schools. A large public park, opened in 1866, was laid out as a relief work for unemployed operatives during the cotton famine of the earlier part of the decade. On the moors to the north-west, and including Rivington Pike (1192 ft.), is another public park, and there are various smaller pleasure grounds. A large number of cotton mills furnish the chief source of industry; printing, dyeing and bleaching of cotton and calico, spinning and weaving machine making, iron and steel works, and collieries in the neighbourhood, are also important. The speciality, however, is fine spinning, a process assisted by the damp climate. The parliamentary borough, created in 1832 and returning two members, falls within the Westhoughton division of the county. Before 1838, when Bolton was incorporated, the town was governed by a boroughreeve and two constables appointed at the annual court-leet. The county borough was created in 1888. The corporation consists of a mayor, 24 aldermen and 72 councillors.
The earliest form of the name is Bodleton or Botheltun, and the most important of the later forms are Bodeltown, Botheltunle-Moors, Bowelton, Boltune, Bolton-super-Moras, B olton-in-yeMoors, Bolton-le-Moors. The manor was granted by William I. to Roger de Poictou, and passed through the families of Ferrers and Pilkington to the Harringtons of Hornby Castle, who lost it with their other estates for their adherence to Richard III. In 1485 Henry VII. granted it to the first earl of Derby. The manor is now held by different lords, but the earls of Derby still have a fourth part. The manor of Little Bolton seems to have been, at least from Henry III.'s reign, distinct from that of Great Bolton, and was held till the 17th century by the Botheltons or Boltons.
From early days Bolton was famous for its woollen manufactures. In Richard I.'s reign an aulneger, whose duty it was to measure and stamp all bundles of woollen goods, was appointed, and it is clear, therefore, that the place was already a centre of the woollen cloth trade. In 1337 the industry received an impulse from the settlement of a party of Flemish clothiers, and extended so greatly that when it was found necessary in 1566 to appoint by act of parliament deputies to assist the aulnegers, Bolton is named as one of the places where these deputies were to be employed. Leland in his Itinerary (1558) recorded the fact that Bolton made cottons, which were in reality woollen goods. Real cotton goods were not made in Lancashire till 1641, when Bolton is named as the chief seat of the manufacture of fustians, vermilions and dimities. After the revocation of the edict of Nantes the settlement of some French refugees further stimulated this industry. It was here that velvets were first made about 1756, by Jeremiah Clarke, and muslins and cotton quiltings in 1763. The cotton trade received an astonishing impetus from the inventions of Sir Richard Arkwright (1770), and Samuel Crompton (1780), both of whom were born in the parish. Soon after the introduction of machinery, spinning factories were erected, and the first built in Bolton is said to have been set up in 1780. The number rapidly increased, and in 1851 there were 66 cotton mills with 860,000 throstle spindles at work. The cognate industry of bleaching has been carried on since early in the 18th century, and large ironworks grew up in the latter half of the 19th century. In 1791 a canal was constructed from Manchester to Bolton, and by an act of parliament (1792) Bolton Moor was enclosed.
During the Civil War Bolton sided with the parliament, and in February 1643 and March 1644 the royalist forces assaulted the town, but were on both occasions repulsed. On the 28th of May 1644, however, it was attacked by Prince Rupert and Lord Derby, and stormed with great slaughter. On the 15th of October 1651 Lord Derby, who had been taken prisoner after the battle of Worcester, was brought here and executed the same day.
Up to the beginning of the r9th century the market day was Monday, but the customary Saturday market gradually superseded this old chartered market. In 1251 William de Ferrers obtained from the crown a charter for a weekly market and a yearly fair, but gradually this annual fair was replaced by four others chiefly for horses and cattle. The New Year and Whitsuntide Show fairs only arose during the 9th century.
Bolton Abbey >>
Barry Bolton. English myrmecologist.
The world's leading expert on classification, systematics and taxonomy of ants. Worked in the British museum of Natural History (London).
Bolton shown within Greater Manchester
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan county||Greater Manchester|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Bolton North East|
|Bolton South East|
|European Parliament||North West England|
|List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester|