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Backgroundinformation on Bolton
Bolton, 15 milesnorth-west of Manchester, is one of the UK's largesttowns.
Famous as acotton producing town, Bolton has had a long and interestinghistory. It originated as a small settlement in theLancashire moors known as 'Bolton-le-Moors'.
During the CivilWar the town was a Parliamentarian outpost in a staunchly Royalistarea. In 1644 Bolton was stormed by 3,000 local Royalisttroops lead by Colonel Rigby. This attack, which later cameto be known as the 'Bolton Massacre', resulted in 1,500 residentsbeing killed and 700 taken prisoner.
The first woollen'cottage industry' was established here in the early 14th centurywhen Flemish weavers settled in the town, bringing with them theirweaving and clog-making skills. By the 1640s cotton was beingproduced here on hand looms.
In 1779 one ofthe town's residents, Samuel Crompton, invented the 'Spinning Mule'which produced a finer and much stronger cotton yarn. Thisinvention helped to achieve a fully mechanised spinning process andrevolutionised the cotton industry. The first spinning millwas built in Bolton in 1780 and within a decade cotton productionhad increased five-fold in the town.
Bolton boomed inthe 19th century and at its peak in 1929 the town boasted 216cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dying works. However, afterWorld War I the British cotton industry declined sharply and by the1980s cotton manufacture had virtually ceased in Bolton.
Today Bolton isnoted for its excellent shops and nightlife. Top classfootball can be enjoyed at the Reebok Stadium, home of BoltonWanders FC.
In the town issome stunning architecture including one of the finest town hallsin Britain. This classical building, with a spectacularcentral clock tower, was was opened in 1873 by the Prince of Wales(later Edward VII).
Other places ofinterest in the town include the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, theHall I' Th' Wood Museum (where Samuel Crompton invented theSpinning Mule) and Smithshill Hall.
Famous "sons" ofBolton include Fred Dibnah (1938 - 2004) the steeplejack andtelevision celebrity and the comedian Peter Kay.
BOLTON, atown, two townships, three subdistricts, and a district inLancashire. The town is in the parish of Bolton-le-Moors, andsometimes itself bears that name; it consists of the townships ofLittle Bolton, Great Bolton, and Haulgh, excepting the higher ordetached part of the first; and it stands on the rivulets Croal,Bradshaw, and Tonge, 1 mile NNW of their joint influx to theIrwell, and 11 NW of Manchester. A canal connects it withManchester and Bury; and railways go from it in six directionstoward Manchester, Bury, Blackburn, Chorley, Wigan, and Leigh. Itdates from the time of the Saxons; became a market-town, by royalcharter, in 1256; and made some figure at several points ofhistory. The manor belonged, in 1067, to Richard de Poicton;passed, in 1100, to Roger de Merehaya; went afterwards to Ranulphde Blunderville, Earl of Chester; belonged, in the time of EdwardIII., to the Ferrers; passed to the Pilkingtons, till forfeited bySir Thomas for his adherence to the cause of Richard III.; was thengiven to Lard Stanley, who became Earl of Derby; and is now dividedinto four parts, one belonging to the Earl of Derby, another toLord Bradford, another to S. Freeman, Esq., and another to variousparties. The seventh Earl of Derby besieged and stormed the town in1644, in the cause of Charles I.; and was beheaded in it in 1651,in terms of a military sentence, after the battle of Worcester. HisCountess also acted as a heroine; and was the Charlotte deTremouaille who figures in "Peveril of the Peak." The town made astart in manufactures in 1337, when a number of immigrant Flemingssettled in it; and it displayed such vast enterprise in them duringthe sixty years preceding 1862 as to have become a great provincialtown. No fewer than about 400 dwelling houses and shops, besideswarehouses, factories, and other erections, were built in it duringthe year 1858.
Much of the ground now occupied by the town,and by environing villages, was, not many years ago, all bare orrural, without a single dwelling. Part of the site is a hill; andthis commands a good view of the valley below, studded withfactories and print-works. The town presents strongly the aspect ofa great seat of manufacture; yet has several long and broadstreets, and contains many good private houses, and some finepublic buildings. The exchange, with free library, was erected in1825. The market-hall, a very fine structure, was built in 1855, ata cost of about 80 000. The new townhall was in progress in 1866,at a cost of about 30,000. A public park of about 46 acres wasopened in 1866, and cost about 60,000. A mechanics' institute, amonument to the Earl of Derby of 1651, and several other publicerections also are recent. The waterworks were constructed at acost of 40,000. A spacious ornamental cemetery, at Tonge, wasopened in 1856. The grammar school dates from 1641; possesses 486a year from endowment; and had Ainsworth, the lexicographer, forboth pupil and master. The Church of England institute was built in1853; and is a fine edifice, with main frontage of 150 feet. Twoother schools have endowed incomes of 82, and 24; and charities,additional to the schools have 1,017. There are numerous publicschools, a temperance-hall, assembly rooms, a theatre, and publicbaths. The places of worship, in 1851, were 36, with about 23,000sittings; and twelve more were built prior to 1869, also tworebuilt and enlarged, giving an addition of about 12,000 sittings.St. Peter's church, the mother one of Bolton-le-Moors, was erectedin 1424; was a large structure, with very beautiful east and southwindows; and, in March 1865, was about to be taken down andrebuilt. Holy Trinity church, in Bradfordsquare, was built in 1825,at a cost of 13,413; and is a handsome edifice in the laterEnglish style, with a tower. St. Paul's church, at end ofDeansgate, was built in 1863; St. James' church in 1869; and eachhas a tower and spire. The Congregational chapel, at the junctionof St. George's road and Bath-street, was built also in 1863, at acost of 7,000; and is in the decorated English style, with a spire130 feet high. The Wesleyan chapel, in Park-street, was built in1864, at a cost of 11,000; and is a very beautiful edifice, withfine carvings.
Textile manufactures in Bolton were greatlyaccelerated by the inventions of Arkwright, who resided here when abarber, and of Crompton, who, when a weaver, lived atHall-in-the-Wood, an old timbered seat of the Starkies in theneighbourhood, still extant. Cotton velvets and muslins began to bemade about 1760; and muslins, cambrics, counterpanes, dimity, andginghams came to be the chief productions. About 17,667 personswere employed, prior to the juncture of the cotton-distress of1862, in cotton-mills, print-works, and bleach and dye works; andabout 5,514 were employed in ironfoundries and engine-works. Thenumber of factories, in 1865, was 70, and that of foundries 33; andone of the machine-works has a brick chimney 368 feet high. Vastquantities of coal are mined in the neighbourhood; and the trade inthem contributes to the local traffic. The town has a head postoffice, two telegraph offices, three banking offices, and eightchief inns; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; andpublishes two weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Monday andSaturday; fairs on 4 and 5 Jan., 30 and 31 July, and 13 and 14 Oct.The town was invested with the franchise by the act of 1832, andincorporated in 1848; and it sends two members to parliament, andis governed by a mayor, twelve aldermen, and thirty-sixcouncillors. Direct taxes, in 1857, 31,087. Electors in 1868,2,293. Pop. in 1841, 50,583; in 1861, 70,395. Houses,13,129.
Little Bolton township includes a detachedpart, called Higher End, not within the borough; and contains thevillages of Horrocks-Fold and Eagley-Bank. Acres, 1,450. Realproperty, 78,877. Pop., 25,891. Houses, 5,128. Great Boltontownship is wholly within the Borough. Acres, 820. Real property,137,070. Pop., 43,435. Houses, 7,767.-The three subdistricts ofBolton, are Little Bolton, Bolton-Eastern, and Bolton-Western; andthe first consists of the portion of Little Bolton township withinthe borough, while the other two are simply subdivisions of GreatBolton.-The district comprehends also Sharples subdistrict,containing Sharples township and the detached part of Little Boltontownship; Edgeworth subdistrict, containing Edgeworth, Entwistle,and Quarlton townships; Turton subdistrict, containing Turton,Bradshaw, and Longworth townships; Tonge-with-Haulgh subdistrict,containing Tonge, Haulgh, Breightmet, and Harwood townships;Horwich subdistrict, containing Horwich and Lostock townships;Halliwell subdistrict, containing Halliwell and Heaton townships;Westhoughton subdistrict, conterminate with Westhoughton township;Hulton subdistrict, containing Little Hulton, Middle Hulton, OverHulton, and Rumworth townships; Farnworth subdistrict, containingFarnworth and Kersley townships; and Lever subdistrict, containingGreat Lever and Darcy Lever townships and Little Lever chapelry.Acres, 43,896. Poor-rates in 1866, 39,825. Pop. in 1861, 130,269.Houses, 24,944. Marriages in 1866, 1,314; births, 5,640,-of which408 were illegitimate; deaths, 4,122,-of which 1,914 were at agesunder 5 years, and 39 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the tenyears 1851-60, 11,232; births, 50,712; deaths, 32,924. The placesof worship in 1851 were 26 of the Church of England, with 19,614sittings; 2 of the Presbyterian Church in England, with 850 s.; 14of Independents, with 5,971 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 540 s.; 2 ofQuakers, with 652 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 1,014 s.; 22 ofWesleyan Methodists, with 8,150 s.; 2 of New Connexion Methodists,with 600 s.; 9 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,690 s.; 1 of theWesleyan Association, with 500 s.; 1 of Calvinistic Methodists,sittings not reported; 5 of the New Church, with 786 s.; 1 ofBrethren, with 70 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 140 s.; 2undefined, with 700 s.; 2 of Roman Catholics, with 600 s.; and 1 ofJews, with 14 attendants. The schools were 58 public day schools,with 7,956 scholars; 92 private day schools, with 3,682 s.; 103Sunday schools, with 25,729 s.; and 18 evening schools for adults,with 522 s. The new workhouse stands at Fishpool, and is a largeornamental edifice, with excellent arrangements.
Industrial history of Bolton
As with many earlysettlements, the river and valley was the main reason for settlersto choose Bolton. Agriculture was the chief occupation of theresidents, the moors ideal grazing land, the fleece of the sheepweaved for its local population. Although initially the textilesmade were for local use, word spread about the quality, and ataround 1100 A.D., government officials of Richard I were appointedto measure and mark the cloth. This reputation attracted Flemishweavers to settle in Bolton about 1337. They introduced spinningand weaving, and also clog making. It was still a cottage industryand the town gained a reputation for quality, with more textileworkers drawn to the industry, producing wool garments. In around1540 John Le'land, antiquary to Henry VIII wrote "Bolton Mooremarket stands most my cottons and coarse yarns. Divers villages inthe moores about Bolton do make cottons. They burn at Bolton somecanale, but more se cole, of which the pittes be not far off".(Reference to 'cottons' was in fact wool, cotton came around 100years later). Evidence indeed that coal was used in Bolton, and theexistence of an industry in the villages about Bolton.
Cotton was first produced in 1641, and thetextile trade continued with fulling, the washing, shrinkingand thickening of cloth. Velvets made from cotton were first madein around 1756 by Jeremiah Clarke, muslins and cotton quiltings in1763 by Joseph Shaw. The industry was still cottage based, anddevelopment was slow but helped by the inventions of JamesHargreaves' Spinning Jenny in 1768, and Richard Arkwright's (Abarber from Bolton) Water Frame. A year later in 1769 James Wattpatented the steam engine, used to drive machinery from coal duglocally. Mechanisation took a big leap forward with the inventionof the spinning mule, by Bolton-born Samuel Crompton(1753 - 1827) in 1779, permitting a much finer and stronger yarn tobe made. A statue of Crompton was erected in Nelson Square in 1862.The first spinning mill was built in 1780. More information onBolton's part in the industrial revolution can be found at http://www.cottontimes.co.uk.
The original water supply for Bolton camefrom wells 1792, but the growing population needed a bigger supply,and in 1824 the Belmont Reservoir wasbuilt. in 1938 there were 11 reservoirs providing on average 73.5million litres (16.5 million gallons) of water per day.
Bolton Gas Company was formed on February11th 1818, and Bolton's streets were first lit by gaslamp on May1st 1819. This private company passed under the control of BoltonCorporation on June 30th 1872. By 1938 there were 7674 gas lamps,478 sodium vapour lamps, 19 mercury vapour lamps and 117 gas filledlamps within the borough.
Churchgate was thesite of the first markets, however in 1824, the market was too bigfor this area so moved to the Market Square, (today called Victoria Square). Themarket was transferred into the Market Hall in 1855, andthe town hall was built on the site of the old market.
The railways brought manyother industries to the area, including a major railworks atHorwich. One ofthe worlds first railways open was the Bolton and ManchesterRailway, opened on May 29th 1828. Bolton to Leigh Railway, built byGeorge and Robert Stevenson and opened on July 1st 1828, with oneof Stephenson's own locomotives, called "The Witch". From Bolton,Britain's coal industry was supported by ancillary manufacturers,machine making and general engineering. The Bolton to Manchesterpassenger rail service opened April 1st 1875.
The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal wasbuilt between 1795 and 1810.
A paper industry brought prosperity to thetown, Thomas Bonsor Crompton patented a method of continuouslydrying paper in 1820 which was a significant breakthrough for theindustry.
On September 1st 1880 municipal transportstarted with horse drawn trams, but in 1899, the first electrictram service started. In 1928 there was 60 miles of tramwayscarrying 58 million passenger - journeys per year. By 1938 tramswere giving way to electric trackless trolley buses, as well aspetrol and oil buses.
By 1850, Bolton's industry comprisedbleaching, calico printing, coal mining, heavy chemicals, heavyengineering, leather tanning, papermaking, rope making, textilesand many other smaller industries.
An estimate from 1838 stated that 8,621 wereworking in the cotton trade. In 1911, there were 15,000 men and21,000 women employed in the textile industry. In the 1921 census,33,000 were employed in textiles, 7000 in commercial and financial,4600 in transport and communications, 4000 in coal mining andquarrying, 2200 in woodworking, 2000 in building trades, 900 inpaperworks, 900 in agriculture, 800 in painting, 700 in leatherworking, and 500 in electrical industry. Of the number of mills, inthe 1950's there were still 103 cotton mills, in 1966 there were34, by 1979 just 8 remained.
There were railways of a sort before the 19thcentury in Britain. Tracks made of stone and iron carried wagonsfrom mines and quarries under horse power. The invention of thesteam engine changed things dramatically.
Trevithick and Stephenson.In 1804 RichardTrevithick first harnessed a steam engine to a wagon. Hisengine was unsuccessful for transport, but the die wascast.
Just a few years later GeorgeStephenson's Rocket became the first steam locomotivepractical to use for pulling rolling stock (train cars to you andme). Stephenson applied the new technology to his Stockton andDarlington Railway in 1825, although in those early yearshorses still did some of the work.
The L & M. The first truly successful steam railway was theLiverpool and Manchester Railway (1830). The L&M sparkeda feverish boom in railway building that lasted twenty years. By1854 every town of any size in England was connected by rail,though Wales was less well served.
The gauge problem. One of the major problems of these early boom years was thelack of standardization (the same difficulty encountered by canalbuilders earlier). There were at least 5 different gauges (thedistance between the rails) in use in the 1840's. This meant thattrains made for one line could not use rails on another line, sogoods would have to be unloaded and transferred to a new train ofthe proper gauge. This problem was not completely solved until the1890's.
Rail was the most popular means of transportfor goods and people throughout the Victorian era and well into the20th century. In a sense, rail set the tone for 19th century"progress" and made possible the entrepreneurial successes andexcesses of the Industrial Revolution.
What to see. Some prominent Victorian railway stations are still in use,notably Paddington (the building, not the bear of the same name),St. Pancras, and York. Many rail lines that fell into disuse in the20th century are now resurrected and enthusiasts like my 4 year oldson can take rides on coaches pulled by steam locomotives. Majorrail museums also exist at Didcot and York.
British Waterways and Canals
The vexing problem oftransportation. Pretend for a momentthat you are the abbot of a monastery somewhere in Britain. Theyear? Any time between the Dark Ages and the 18th century. You havesent your holy relics on a road trip to raise money for a new abbeychurch. But the best stone for your new church lies over 100 milesaway. A hundred miles over roads that are impassable in wet weatherand beset by brigands. How do you transport the building materialsyou need?
The river solution. By river, that's how. Until the 18th century most heavygoods were transported within Britain by river. And it isn't hardto see why. A healthy horse could pull a cart laden with two tons.That same horse could pull a river barge weighing one hundred tons.But by Tudor times the navigable rivers were gradually silting up.Several acts of Parliament were passed to keep the rivers clean,but by the 18th century the rivers could not keep up with thedemands of the burgeoning Industrial Revolution. It was time for achange, and canals provided that change.
A canal aquaduct over the Irwell
The Canal solution. The most influential early canal was built by the Duke ofBridgewater in 1759 to carry coal from his mines at Worsely toManchester. The Duke's engineer, James Brindley, became the 'popstar' of the canal set, and for the next dozen years he was inconstant demand to create canals for otherentrepreneurs.
Towpaths and locks. Many of these early canals were powered by men, who pulledthe barges with ropes from the banks. Later, towpaths were builtbeside the canals to allow horses to do the work. Most canalssimply joined rivers or navigable streams. To counter changes inwater levels between these rivers, locks were used, sometimes inflights (there is a flight of 30 at Tardebrigge on the Worcesterand Birmingham Canal and 29 at Devizes on the Kennet andAvon).
Narrowboat on the Shropshire UnionCanal
Narrowboats. One of the major difficulties of canal transport was thatthere were no standards. Canals were built by individualentrepreneurs to take local goods, and each canal was built to itsown width and depth. Boats from one area could not fit the canalsin another area. To keep costs down many canals were built withlocks only 7 feet wide, and the boats just 6 inches narrower thanthat. These 6'6" boats are the classic British "narrowboats" thatwe still see today.
The death of canals... andrevival. Railways killed the canals.By the late 1800's canals were no longer viable, and many fell intodisuse. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest incanals for pleasure use. Vacationers in search of the slow lane canrent a narrowboat (don't worry, they are very easy to pilot) orstay on a hotel boat for a leisurely cruise - top speed 4 mph! Oneof the pleasures of canal travel are the lock keeper's cottages. Itwas traditional for lock keepers to try to outdo each other increating beautiful gardens; there is now a national competition forthe best lock-keeper's cottage garden.
Canals to visit. A few of the major canals you may wish to visit includeRegent's Canal in London, the Kennet and Avon, the ShropshireUnion, and the Grand Union Canal, among dozens of others. Andhere's one final tidbit of canal trivia you can use as anice-breaker at your next party : there are more miles of canals inBirmingham than in Venice! Remember, you heard it herefirst.
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
This was formed in 1847 from a number ofsmaller railways in the two counties from which it is named. TheManchester and Bolton opened in 1838 from a terminus at Salford(present day Salford Central) to Bolton. The Manchester and Burywas promoted by a company which became the East Lancashire Railway(ELR). It ran from Clifton Junction on the Manchester and Bolton toBury and on to Accrington. The Manchester and Leeds was first ofthe Transpennine railways and one of the easiest in terms ofgradients. The route is through Rochdale and Hebden Bridge. Theline opened throughout in 1841 from a terminal station in OldhamRoad. Oldham Road became a goods station after Victoria opened.Later it closed completely and has now been demolished, it wasabout 800 metres or half a mile from Piccadilly Gardens. By 1842there was a steeply graded branch from Middleton Junction to OldhamWerneth, extended to Oldham Mumps in 1847. In 1863 a line from theeast end of Rochdale via Shaw to Oldham was opened. The CheethamHill loop line from Victoria to Thorpes Bridge Junction was builtin 1877 avoiding steep gradients on the Miles Platting line. In1879 a new line opened from Cheetham Hill, via Prestwich, toRadcliffe on the former ELR route to Bury. A more direct line fromThorpes Bridge Junction to Oldham opened in 1880. In 1904 the LYRopened a new short line to bring trains from the Bury line into theterminal platforms on the south side of VictoriaStation.
In 1825 WilliamHulton appointed GeorgeStephenson as chief engineer of the proposed Bolton & LeighRailway. Where the route was very steep, the line incorporatedcable-hauled sections. George and his son RobertStephenson were asked to produce the company's firstlocomotive, the LancashireWitch. The Bolton & Leigh was opened in 1828 and following yearthe Kenyon & Leigh Junction Railway was incorporated to extend theline to meet the Liverpool &Manchester at Kenyon Junction.
BOLTONIN THE 19TH CENTURY
Fromthe late 18th century Bolton was transformed by the industrialrevolution. It grew very rapidly. Samuel Crompton, a native ofBolton invented the spinning mule in 1779 and opened his firstcotton mill in 1780. The cotton industry then grew at a tremendousrate and came to dominate Bolton.
In1773 a survey showed the population of Bolton was 5,339. It thenbegan to grow rapidly. It reached 17,416 in 1801 and rose to168,000 in 1851.
In1792 an act of parliament formed a body of men called theImprovement Commissioners. They had powers to pave, clean and lightthe streets. After 1819 the streets of Bolton were lit by gas. In1824 a water company was formed.
In1814 a dispensary was opened where the poor could obtain freemedicines. The Royal Infirmary opened in 1883.
Boltonwas made a borough in 1838.
Thefirst public library in Bolton opened in 1853. The Market Hall wasbuilt in 1855. The Town Hall followed in 1873. Queens Park openedin 1866.
ChadwichMuseum opened in 1884.
Thefirst railway from Bolton to Leigh opened in 1828. A railway toPreston followed in 1843. A railway to Blackburn opened in 1848.From 1880 horse drawn trams ran in the streets ofBolton.
Thefirst electricity was generated in Bolton in 1894.
Cottoncontinued to flourish in 19th century Bolton. Other importantindustries in Bolton were papermaking and bleaching. Coal miningstarted in the Bolton area in the Middle Ages but it boomed in the19th century and many new pits opened. There were also ironfoundries in Bolton.
BOLTONIN THE 20th CENTURY
In1901 the population of Bolton was 168,000. It had grown enormouslysince the beginning of the century and it continued to growrapidly.
From1900 electric trams ran in the streets of Bolton. However busesgradually replaced them. The last tram ran in 1947.
Halli'th'wood,a 15th century house opened as a museum in 1902. The first cinemain Bolton was built in 1910.
During1916 a Zeppelin bombing raid killed 13 people in Bolton. In 1932 aWar Memorial was built.
Inthe 1920s and 1930s the council began building houses in Bolton andin the 1930s it began the work of slum clearance. Many more councilhouses were built after 1945.
In1941 a bombing raid killed 11 people in Bolton.
Inthe 1920s the cotton industry in Bolton declined. Many cottonworkers were lost their jobs in the 1930s. The cotton industryrevived a little in the late 1940s and early 1950s but it thenbegan a relentless decline. Coal mining also began to decline inthe 1930s. It ended 30 years later. Today there is still a textileindustry in Bolton along with some bleaching and papermaking. Thereis also a considerable engineering industry. However manufacturingindustry has been partly replaced by service industries such asretail and leisure.
TheOctagon Theatre was built in 1967. In 1974 Bolton was made aMetropolitan Borough. Crompton Place Shopping Centre opened in 1971and Market Place Shopping Centre opened in 1988.
WaterPlace, the fun swimming pool also opened in 1988. Reebok Stadiumopened in 1997.
Todaythe population of Bolton is 261,000.