Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911



From the Town Hall Square we look quickly at Back Cheapside and Back Acres before going under the Grapes Hotel bridge into Exchange Street and exploring the area round Bowker's Row, Acresfield, Market Street. Hotel.Street and Mealhouse Lane.

Then it's back past the Commercial Hotel and round the Crescent to Howell Croft South, Ashburner Street and Coronation Street.

From there we go the whole length of Newport Street to Trinity Street. After a quick look down Bridgeman Place We explore Bradshawgate taking in Nelson Square and Silverwell Street on the way.

Churchgate, Church Wharf, Bank Street, then along Deansgate. From here we take quite lengthy detours onto Bridge Street and Knowsley Street before we reach the GPO and White Horse Brow.

From here we take Moor Lane and the west end of Ashburner Street to look at the bus station and the market before reaching the trolley bus terminus at Howell Croft South.

Perhaps we will find time to explore Great Moor Street and Derby Street. Eventually we might take a trip up Deane Road.

Grapes Hotel bridge, Exchange Street, Acresfield, Bowker's Row, Hotel St  ...

Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 Bolton 1911 014.6 XPP Vic Sq, very late 50s or early 60s, was Grapes demoled 1960 014.5 XPP Vict Sq, very late 50s or early 60s, was Grapes demoled 1960 014.4 GR Grapes Bridge 014.7 Back Cheapside 016.2 c1896 prob not Back Cheapside main entrance on Exchange St Walter Parkinson, also a barber prob looking North from Exch St, maybe Back Acres - Copy

We take a last look at the southeast corner of Victoria Square before going under the bridge. First a very old picture of Grapes Hotel

late 50s or early 60s

Looking from Jack’s Bargain Store to the Commercial Hotel.

Grapes Bridge and Exchange Street with Jack’s Bargain Store on the corner

Before going under the bridge look to the right between the Grapes Hotel and the old Library Building into Back Cheapside. This runs all the way along the back of Newport Street to Bold St. There has never been a (front) Cheapside in living memory but Newport Street between Exchange St and Ashburner Street  was formerly Cheapside. This street still exists but Bell's is only a memory. Many people remember it for the bus staff social club. Poster, probably 1982 posted on Facebook by David Whenlock.

c1896     looking left:-

Sometimes thought to be Back Cheapside but it almost certainly is Back Acres looking north from Exchange Street. The shop is Walter Parkinson's Umbrella shop  whose main entrance was on Exchange St almost in the same place as HMV was in recent times. Back Cheapside is straight and didn't have steps to the back doors, whereas Back Acres did. The evidence is compelling. (Peter Lodge) Walter Parkinson also a barber.  

015 x5 Grapes bridge - Copy


Exchange Street looking back under the bridge to Victoria Square. The street across is Back Mawdesley Street.

016 x13 Exchange St - Copy 016 y 24sep2009

Back off a little, still Exchange Street, on the left is Mawdesley Street, on the right Acresfield along which we travel shortly.

24 September 2009


The scene in more recent times though sadly HMV has now disappeared. Acresfield has been totally covered by the Arndale, now the Crompton Centre.

015 y 24sep2009 - Copy 016.1 XPP Exchange St - Copy

Back off a little more. Exchange St looking across Chancery Lane towards Grapes Hotel Bridge

2009 again

016.5 Exchange Street - Copy

April 1972

About turn; looking down Exchange Street away from the Town Hall Square, across the end of Mawsdesley Street.  The Arndale Centre is on the left and Exchange Street  seems to be pedestrianised, though in April 1972 the driver of the Ford Anglia is perhaps in some doubt about that.

016.8 Bowkers Row 1960,62

1960 or 62

Bowkers Row with St Andrew’s Church

As we progress down Exchange Street we cross Acresfield and Mawdesley Street, then Chancery Lane, then Bowker's Row pictured here.  The tiny bell tower is on St Andrew's Church, still remembered by St Andrew's Court, a small shopping centre on the corner of Mawdesley Street and Exchange Street.

017 x1 Acresfield - Copy (2)


Acresfield looking to Hotel Street and the Victoria Hotel. This street is now covered by Crompton Place. Marks and Spencers has replaced the Victoria Hotel. My memory of this is walking along in the early evening and seeing on the front of the VH a large illuminated OBJ. It is not on this picture but if we continue along and turn into Hotel Street, we see it on a picture just lower down the page.

017.5 XPP Acresfield Nov 1948 - Copy

Nov 1948   Looking back the other way:-

Acresfield - much of the town's legal and financial business here - looking towards Mawdesley Street and Great Moor Street.

017.4 XPP

The end of Acresfield looking to Victoria Hotel on Hotel Street, no large OBJ but small ones on painted sign.

018 x2 Hotel St mod - Copy 018.30 C&A Hotel Street - Copy 018.31 XPP white horse hotel mealhouse lane 1901

Hotel Street, C&A, Shipgate which originally went through to Bradshawgate via the site of the demolished Ship Hotel was closed so that Tillotsons (or Reed or whoever then owned it) could extend their building to install a huge new printing press. Not too long after, printing moved to Wingates and a little later still the offices moved to Churchgate and then to Wellsprings on the Town Hall Square.

June 1961

Hotel Street looking towards Shipgates and Mealhouse Lane where the Tillotson’s, Bolton Evening News Office still was. The Bolton Evening News founded in 1867 was the first halfpenny evening paper in England. The left is now M&S. The right is Crompton Place. On the left is the corner of the Trustee Savings Bank which is still there though now Lloyds and the Victoria Hotel with its OBJ sign, which is no longer there.

Before Tillotson's, that corner of Mealhouse Lane and Ship Gate was occupied by the White Horse dating back to 1788.

018.35 XPP Mealhouse Lane

Mealhouse Lane,  looking towards Deansgate. The White Horse closed 1901 board with posters to the right screens the site of the pub and adjoining shops. Note Britannia on what became Woolworth’s. More of this later.

018.36Mealhouse Lane Crown and Cushion - Copy

Mealhouse Lane, Crown and Cushion, probably 1960s from cars. Pubs of this era were veritable palaces - a luxurious and comfortable change from the homes that most people lived in. In previous times there were small pubs on every street, just converted houses, sometimes brewing their own beer in the back yard.

018.36 XPP 1957 Mealhouse Lane 018.37 Mealhouse Lane - Copy


Corner of Hotel Street and Mealhouse Lane and looking down to Deansgate and Woolworths. M&S now occupy the whole of this block.


Mealhouse Lane shops to Makinson's Haywood chemist and Dunn’s hatters

018.32 XPP Arndale, Hotel St 1966 - Copy


We return to Market Street on our way to Le Mans Crescant.

Hotel Street looking towards Victoria Square,  building of Arndale Centre is going on but British Home Stores seems to be already open, Ross Munro is beyond it. On the right buildings have been demolished in preparation for the M&S extension.

018.40 x30 Market St - Copy


We retrace our steps to Hotel Street as we make our way back to Victoria Square. We take a quick look down Market Street while we pass, it goes down to the Market Hall which was built long before the Ashburner Street Market though Market Street had that name long before the Market Hall was built. Looks like there is a wedding reception in Seddon’s Cosy Cafe.

018.72 Market St 1945 - Copy 018.70 x30b Market St - Copy 018.70 y Market St 24sep2009 - Copy


Five years later, not too different but one way traffic now, not as clear a picture but Seddon’s Cosy Cafe is still there.Tognarelli’s was on Market Street, up stairs to a large room which went above Burton’s.


Market Street at the end of WW II

Market Street 24th September 2009

020.20 XPP 1964

Fold Street 1964. This originally came from Bradshawgate to Acresfield but when the buildings between Acresfield and Victoria Square were demolished this view through to the Town Hall was revealed. Chancery Lane crosses in the foreground. The warning signs were in position to  alert motorists to the road works connected with the installation of a new sewer which had already been started in Mealhouse Lane.(Bolton News)

019 x3b Hotel St - Copy

Look along Hotel Street to see the Victorian Gothic Gas Offices, the home of the Bolton Gas Company established 11th February 1818. Bolton was at the forefront of telephone technology, with the link between the Gas office and the gas works being one of the first phone lines anywhere. Apparently the phone line from the Gas Works to Gas office was installed on 17th Jan 1878, only 18 months after Bells first phone conversation, and at the same time that Bell demonstrated the telephone to Queen Victoria.The offices closed in 1961 and the building was demolished in 1963 the site now being occupied by British Home Stores.


Gas lighting and household gas supplies arrived in Bolton in 1819 supplied by BGC, (??becoming the Bolton Gas Light and Coke Company in 1820??) taken over by the Corporation in 1872. The gas industry was nationalised in 1949 and privatised by the Thatcher government.

020 x3a Hotel St - Copy

Hotel Street and the Gas Offices, looking past Naisby's onto the Crescent.

020.10 XPP Hotel Street

Similar, rather later

020.10 y  24sep2009 - Copy

24th September 2009

On page 3 we will return to Victoria Square to have a quick look at Naisby's and the Commercial before looking at Le Mans Crescent and what came before it.

David Whenlock - Copy

Another picture at the bottom of the page.

P7 20_439x348


Picture posted on Facebook by Denis McCann


Date? late 1950s


Shops on Victoria Square opposite the Town Hall immediately prior to demolition and the building of the present frontages.

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