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  Nelson Square

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Bradshawgate with Nelson Square on the left. The widening of Bradshawgate and the rebuilding of all the right hand side appears to be complete so this is after 1909. But in any case the cars suggest a date in the 1920s.


What is the car in the foreground doing? Perhaps the driver wants a word with the cyclists. Perhaps he is doing a three point turning in the middle of the main road. Any other suggestions written on a £10 note to my usual address please.

Turn from Bradshawgate into Nelson Square and we see Scholes and Scholes the upper class men's outfitters in its hey-day. Next door - Heirs Apparent?




That block shortly before demolition

April 1997


Nelson Square, Scholes and Scholes, derelict before redevelopment.




24 September 2009. (C) W D C


Redevelopment was started 1997. We have the Olive Press and Wetherspoon's "The Spinning Mule".

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1930s Nelson Square with statue of Samuel Crompton who died 26th June 1827. The statue was unveiled in 1862. The terrace on the right contains the Lever Arms Hotel demolished in 1949 to make way for extensions to the Pack Horse completed in 1952. The lamp-post has made way for the cenotaph.


More about the statue lower down the page.

At the far end of Nelson Square, the Provincial Building which had been Bolton's Infirmary (more details later). The Pack Horse was rebuilt in this form in 1904 and does not yet have its later extension. Samuel Crompton has pride of place but the centre of the Square is graced by an  ornate lamp-post and we do not yet have a cenotaph (erected 1920).  There are railings all round the Square.

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December 1949


The Pack Horse had previously been extended as far as the Townson sign and is now about to take over the whole block.


THE Levers Arms Hotel, on the corner of Nelson Square and Bowker's Row, was probably built around 1830 and it was claimed to be the scene of balls for tradesmen and bachelors.


The demise of the hotel came when local brewers Magee Marshall & Co, owners of the Pack Horse, gradually expanded along the row and they finally bought out the Levers Arms to continue with the extension. The new Pack Horse opened in 1952 and the Levers Arms became the Regency Lounge. In later times it became Shawgates Cafe-Bar, but in 2009 the Pack Horse closed its doors and three years later became student accommodation. Photograph shows the start of the demolition work on the Levers Arms in December 1949.

29 September 2009    (C) WDC


On the left a glimpse of the new building which replaced the Education Offices.



The Pack Horse now has its extension, we have a clearer view of the Education offices, there are no railings round the square.

20 September 2016    (C) WDC


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A view of the Crompton statue and the cenotaph with the new building at the top of Nelson Square. Note the small pillars either side of the statue and plinth (far right of the first picture; there is an identical one just on picture on the extreme left). These have plaques marking the "opening of Nelson Park (not Square) 23 March 1893 The date of the "Park" opening after being laid out as a park. At either side of the statue's plinth are plaques showing Crompton at the Spinning Mule and Hall i' th' Wood, Crompton's birthplace.

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Looking at the cars, probably 1960s, view across to Scholes and Scholes. The railings have disappeared except at the steps down to the toilets. The Infirmary / Education Offices have not yet been demolished.

24th September 1862


Unveiling of the Samuel Crompton Statue in Nelson Square. Samuel Crompton received almost no recognition in his lifetime even though there were ten times more "Mules" installed in Lancashire cotton mills than all other spinning machines combined. He died a poor man in Queen Street in 1827. Finally in 1862 his home town provided him with the recognition he should have had so much earlier.


This was the first civic statue in Bolton.

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Two pictures and text from Denis McCann:


Gilbert James French local textile merchant and antiquarian researched Crompton and lectured on him at Bolton Mechanics Institute, concluding that Crompton had been shamefully neglected by the town. The lecture sparked discussion and debate in the press with proposals including a Crompton literary and scientific institution, the purchase of Hall it's Wood, and the erection of a statue. The institution was favoured but was eventually abandoned and the statue idea revived in 1860. The William Calder Marshall statue was made of electroplated copper by Elkingtons in Birmingham.

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At the top end of Nelson Square, the Provincial Building with Infirmary Street to its right.


A public dispensary had been established in Mawdesley Street in 1814, then an infirmary in Nelson Square a decision to build it having been taken in 1827. It was built with seven beds but was eventually extended to have 40. It closed when the Bolton Infirmary (later Bolton Royal Infirmary was opened in 1883. In the mid 1900s it was the Education Offices but was demolished and re-developed  around 1980 as offices, restaurant and Tandy’s. Tandy’s closed and in 2011 was “the bar”.

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20 September 2016 (C) WDC


Top corner of Nelson Square. Infirmary Street is to the left and the side of Nelson Square adjacent to the Packhorse on the right. Straight on is Bowker's Row and with St Andrew's Church, now St Andrew's shopping boutique. Bowker's Row once ran through to Fold Street. On this picture it stops against the Crompton Place shopping centre on Exchange Street.

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The Cenotaph built in 1920 to commemorate Bolton Artillery has now replaced the lamppost. The gardens are still surrounded by railings.


The licensed premises are now the Red Cross Hotel licensed by Magees. This building was demolished in 1964.


The Packhorse has, of course, been rebuilt.


Look down Silverwell Street to the Church Institute School, which became  Canon Slade School until its move up Bradshaw in 1955/6.


In 1936 the Transport Committee wanted to turn Nelson Square into a bus station.

1904 Postcard from the collection of David Whenlock


A clearer view from the centre of the square.


The notice says "W Tong and Sons Ltd, Brewers, Bonders, Wine and Spirit Merchants". This is not yet obviously the Red Cross Hotel.


On the left corner of Silverwell Street is the old GPO.


Opposite it, on this side of Bradshawgate note the single storey of the original Packhorse.

Old postcard (from the collection of David Whenlock?) from the top of Nelson Square (probably from the infirmary)


At the far end of the block on the left is a single storey building which is the Packhorse before its rebuilding in 1904.


Above the block can be seen the top of the Parish Church tower. On the corner of Bradshawgate and Silverwell Street is the old GPO. Dimly at the far end of Silverwell Street is the Parish Church Institute.


The Prudential Building (Now Nelson House) still has its hat on.  The cenre piece of the Square is the ornate lamppost. Bolton had a number of these, on Victoria Square, and at the junction of Blackburn Road and Belmont Road are two examples.

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The Packhorse on the corner of Bradshawgate and Nelson Square 1902. It had originally been a three storey building but the upper storeys had been removed.

29 September 2009 (C) WDC


The gardens from the top of Nelson Square. Pity I could not take the picture from the roof.


The Red Cross Hotel and the other building on that corner of Silverwell Street have been replaced by the building behind the cenotaph. On the right we catch a glimpse of the Prudential Building and the Wetherspoons pub which replaced Scholes and Scholes.

March 1960


The Red Cross still bears that name.


The Prudential Building is still occupied by the Pru.

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29 September 2009 (C)WDC


A look down that side of Nelson Square before we cross Bradshawgate into Silverwell Street.

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