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  Silverwell Street

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Silverwell Street c1970  


On the right the drill hall (sports centre)  then the Hospital Saturday office. Lower down the street on the left Georgian houses with archways through which you would have driven your horse and carriage.


One such archway accessed the rear of 16 Wood Street.

The front of Silverwell House pre 1886 before the garden was roofed in for the Drill Hall. It was the home of Bolton High School for girls, 1880-1 which eventually became Bolton School Girls’ Division.


It looks pretty much like that again now.

On the right as you go down Silverwell Street from Bradshawgate was the drill hall, or the sports centre as some will remember it.


The Drill Hall was built 1886, and was still in use by the TA in 1960, probably later. It hosted the Dog Show every New Year, Ideal Home Exhibitions etc and became the Silverwell Sports Centre. There was a great outcry when it closed for that purpose before Excel at the Manchester Road College was ready. Now the Tech has been demolished and you cn use a gym at  Bolton One – the Sir Jason Kenny Centre.


It always seemed odd that the inside wall at one end was in fact the outside wall of a house – Silverwell House and the Drill Hall had been its garden. There is now a new building fronting onto Silverwell Street but the site behind has been cleared and the front of Silverwell House has been restored and is again the front wall of a house. Silverwell House was built in 1790 for John Pilkington, a cotton manufacture

Silverwell Street c1950


Old cars, No waiting his side today, there were a lot of those, somebody had to come round and swap them over early every morning so parking could be on opposite sides of the street on alternate days. Georgian houses, the arch ways were for horses and carriages to the back of Silverwell Street and Wood Street. The building on the corner of Bradshawgate is the old GPO occupied from about this time by Ordnance Survey

20 September 2016 (C) WDC


Silverwell House was restored. It has regained its former grandeur but has lost its garden which is now occupied by apartments.

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This picture is from the 1880s. This building seems to be slightly further away from the Church than the older building and they could both have existed together.

The school moved to Chorley New Rd in 1899 and became known as Bolton School with the Bolton Girls' Grammar School joining it as part of Lord Leverhulme's foundation.


This building is not visible in the previous Church Institute two pictures.  It may have been replaced by the Church Institute School or simply demolished before those pictures above were taken.


There is a stump in front of the left hand gable. This may be the original Bolton Market Cross which currently stands in the grounds of the present Bolton School.

This later became Canon Slade School named after the Vicar of Bolton, 1817-56.


The Church Institute became Cannon Slade School in 1946; the School moved to Bradshaw Brow in 1959.

At the bottom of Silverwell Street as it bends towards Churchgate is the Church Institute building in the grounds of the Parish Church.  It was designed in a Gothic style by R.H Potter and opened in 1855.

The same building a little later, not the same picture, all the pointy bits have been removed. It is still Canon Slade School at this time. The grounds are used as a free car park - presumably just at weekends. The building was demolished in 1969.

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Also in the parish church grounds at some time was Bolton Grammar School (for boys).


In picture 1 the new Parish Church can be seen close to completion. So this is earlier than the Church's Consecration in 1871, Pictures 2 and 3, interior scenes of boys in class, it can be verified that these are in that building by comparing inside and outside views of the large gable window. Picture 4 - playtime.


Pictures 2,3 and 4 were supplied by Ged Melia and have probably not previously appeared on-line.

The Church Institute School in Silverwell Street was founded in 1855 by the Reverend Canon James Slade to help the poor. It was re-named Canon Slade Grammar School in 1946 when it had about 350 students. It moved to Bradshaw Brow in 1956(?) and is now a comprehensive school with 350 sixth form students from a total enrolment of 1700.