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   Church Wharf



1. Churchgate, the Grand Theatre. After the Theatre Royal we have the Legs of Man Hotel and then the Grand Theatre. The Grand (closed as such in May 1959 but the building being used in other guises for a while afterwards) was demolished along with the Legs of Man and the Derby Arms in 1963 to be replaced by Churchgate House.


2.Bolton Evening News advert for a show at the Grand, including Norman Wisdom and other names you will recognise, seats 2/-, 2/6, 3/-


3. A performance bill with at least one famous name.


4. A quick glance back to see the Grand and the Legs of Man. On the right hand side we see the National Benzole garage with the Boar’s Head, Sabini’s and the Capitol beyond it. Further away the market cross and Preston’s.


5. All change by 24 September 2009 except for the Pasty Shop.

1. Bolton Archives, pre 1962


Another look back towards Preston’s sadly undated, Booth’s Music is still to the left of the Golden Lion with Bolton School of Motoring above it, Olympus Grill is on the left, Churchgate is still a bus-route and the road to Bury, the three vehicle number plates visible do not have a year letter so the picture may be from 1960 or just earlier (before 1962 when Booth’s moved).


2. One of David Whenlock's postcards dated 1930. The publisher got the name of the street wrong. We note that the terra-cotta building exists at this time.


3. David Whenlock again, 1910.


4. And again. A hand coloured black and white picture of 1905. It is not quite clear but we seem to have the previous Preston's building on the corner of Bank Street (preston's moved there 1905). There is no market cross, of course, erected 1909. The cabbies' shelter is still there. We see the pasty Shop and on the near right we have the Boar's Head Hotel. We note that it is cement remdered, the familiar black and white details were a later addition. The name of the pub appears in raised letters on the rendering along with "Market Hall".


Now we move on again to Church Brow and Church Wharf.


5. The Parish Church School on the corner of Silverwell Street and Churchgate where the Bolton News offices moved to from Mealhouse Lane. Bolton News moved to Wellsprings in 2013 (2012?). The Parish Church school was built in 1819. It had served as a school for about ten years but its main use was for the Parish Church Sunday School which at its peak had 1400 scholars on the register with 110 teachers. On Saturday evenings it was used to teach the three Rs to poor boys and sewing and knitting to the girls.

1. The Parish Church school, built in 1819, is being demolished.  The Bolton News now moved to this site but moved again to Well Springs on Victoria Square in 2012.  


2. The view in 2009. Although this is September we appear to have the Christmas decorations on the lamps. The Bolton News Office is a bit bland but not unpleasant and not obviously out of place.


3. The present Parish Church was financed by Peter Ormrod (1795-1875) at a cost of £45,000 a Bolton mill owner (cotton spinner) and a Partner in the Bolton Bank, his father having been one of its founders. (He is remembered by Ormrod Street off Moor Lane along the side of the market.) The Parish Church tower is 54 metres (180 feet) high, said to be the highest bell-tower in the (old) county of Lancashire. The parish church was consecrated on June 29th 1871.


4. 2007 wedding


5. The previous Bolton-le-Moors Parish Church, demolished 1866 having been built around 1450 though a Saxon cross was found during demolition and the first record of a Vicar of Bolton dates to 1254. It was reported that so many people packed into the decaying building for the last service that it was feared the gallery would collapse. The structure on the left appears to be buttresses added fairly recently (relative to the date of the picture) to put off the inevitable collapse.

1. The old Bolton-le-Moors Parish Church


2. Bolton Archives picture

The new Parrish Church, presumably just completed and this is the opening ceremony. The placard advertises "Annual Sermons" with the Rev ? ? Lomax (or Lomas).


3. A look up Church Bank with the church on the left. We see the Grand Theatre then the Legs of Man pub closed in 1962, a pub of that name having occupied that spot since 1836. On the right the street name Church Bank can be seen, from that point we have numbers 1, 3, 5 and 7 Church Bank.


4. A more distant shot showing the top half of Church Bank.


5. Looking down Church Bank to Church Wharf.

1,2 November 1996

View down Church Bank similar to the previous one. Church Bank starts at the "Restricted Zone Ends" white sign. At extreme left - what an insensitive 1960s type building to put in ths "historical area" opposite the corner of the Parish Church. It must be admitted though that the buildings on Church Bank itself from an earlier era are not really any better. The four buildings on the left of Church Bank date back at least to the 19th Century, possibly earlier. Number 1 in red brick has been largely rebuilt but numbers 3, 5 and 7 are essentially unchanged except for the ground floor shop and garage fronts.


3. --- 1, 3 and 5 Church Bank. The shop on the corner later became Mrs Martlands antique shop until the late fifties.


4. The Imperial Hotel 3 and 5 Churchbank, closed 1934.


5. The New Bridge Inn, 15 Churchbank, closed 1907.

1. 1959

At the bottom of Church Bank the road curves round to Church Wharf. This was the original road to Bury, and was still used to go to Bury in 1959 though by this time many people would have been more familiar with the route taken by the 23 bus via Bridgeman Place and Bradford Street. Church Wharf seems to have been quite a thriving community, a little townlet  hidden away below the Parish Church. The shop on the corner is “consulting herbalist”. St Peter’s Way now crosses this scene a little short of the railway viaduct. The River Croal passed (and still passes) under the road jabout where the viewer is standing. Does it emerge behind the brick wall? Mill Street is up on the left. A garage is visible which enables one to locate some other pictures of this area. St Peter's Way was built straight across this scene and the only thing on the picture that remains today is the railway viaduct.


2. Aerial picture posted on Facebook by Tony McGuinness. In the foreground the round corner of the previous picture. Behind, a scene typical of many ares of industrial Bolton.


3. What a slendid and evocative picture, the whole of the Church Wharf area dominated by the Parish Church. The Bull and Wharf – probably the only pub ever, anywhere with this name. You can see up Church Bank to the Grand Theatre. The wharves at the end of the Bolton, Bury and Manchester canal are to the left across the front of the pub. Cora Scoble Fielding says, “The rooms above we're called the committee rooms and Lesley Baverstock and I played in them as kids. Her Mum used to bring us pop and crisps up. I loved the smells of the pub...smoke and stale beer!!! As a child living in The Haulgh I walked up Churchbank thousands of times. Used to go to Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe and eat a Pastie and a meat pie!! On the way home. Tasted oh so good.we never took the bus. It was near enough to walk.”


The Bull and Wharf was demolished in1966 in preparation for St Peter’s Way. Gordon Readyhough says that the area below the Parish Church appears on maps as Church Wharf BEFORE the canal and its wharves were built and suggests that the word was originally warth (wharth) a shore, strand or flat meadow close to a stream.


4. An earlier picture of the Bull and Wharf. The  Parish Church behind it seems to be the old church in process of being demolished So this dates the picture to 1866. The whole front of the pub was remodelled between this picture and the previous one.


5. Now we are on the wharves looking in the other direction across the front of the Bull and Wharf. The road across the picture is Church Wharf, the main road to Bury. The garage we remarked on is just out of sight to the right. The church at the top right is St John's, Latimer Street near Lum St gas works.

1. February 2014 The River Croal immediately to the left of picture 1 in the above set, as it approaches the bridge to go under Church Wharf. Church Wharf foundry is on the right, Church Bank is off the picture to the left. The tower in the distance is the lift shaft of the Bow Street multistorey car park.


2. May 2015 The foundry building have been demolished just a short time previously after years of wrangling about what to do with them.


3. May 2015 The bridge where the river goes under what had been the main road to Bury. Until the 1960s it emerged on the other side of the road into the canal basin. Now it is culverted and runs underneath St Peter's Way until it re-emerges on the far side of Haulgh Bridge (behind Burger King and Toys R Us).


4. May 2015 the bridge. What did those concrete pillars support? Could simply have been a footbridge or was it something more complicated to control the river flow?

1.  Bolton Archives picture, 1947

The photographer is stood under the railway arches looking back to the bend in the road at the bottom of Church Bank with the Bull and Wharf on the left. The road off to the left in the foreground is a short unnamed street going down to the wharves. Parish Church top left. Local businesses – Parker’s Garage (our landmark), Crompton’s plumbers (visible on the main picture of the Bull and Wharf and Parish Church), Wm Boyes and Son, and others. Cora Scoble Fielding says: "behind the hoardings there used to be carts belonging to Eckersleys. Their horses used to be hitched to them and they did all kinds of deliveries. We played on them as kids."


2. Bolton Archives picture 1958

Far end of Church wharf. The photographer would now be stood near the middle of St Peter’s Way. Our landmark garage is on the left. Under the railway viaduct we have Bury New Road to the left, Castle Street straight on with Dorset Street off to the right.


3. Bolton Archives picture 1958

Looking back to where we have come from with Bury New Road behind us and Castle Street up to the left.


4. Aerial picture posted on Facebook by Lee Johnson. View probably from Parish Church tower, Church Wharf, railway viaduct, Bury New Road, Castle Street. The garage is on the very bottom left.


5. 1961

Church Wharf itself looking from beyond the railway viaduct. The Bull and Wharf is  obvious. Once very busy, particularly unloading coal, but the canal had been closed some while by the time of this photograph, it never having reopened after a breach near Nob End.

1. 1959 Looking back towards Church Wharf canal basin from east of the railway viaduct.


2. A slightly more distant view showing the very substantial canal before it was filled in.


3. An old sketch of Church Wharf and the Parish Church. This is the new parish Church.


4. David Whenlock's picture.

Site of Church Wharf immediately before construction of St Peter's Way. Church Bank off to the left, Mill St into the picture, Church Wharf across the picture. The bridge shows the River Croal emerging from under the Church Bank / Church Wharf junction and is the other side of the bridge shown in the coloured pictures above. The Lum Street casholder is on the sky line.


5.David Whenlock's picture.

Site of Church Wharf immediately before construction of St Peter's Way. Church Wharf runs across the picture with our landmark garage in the centre and the railway viaduct to the right. We would have passed under the viaduct to reach Castle St and Bury Rd.




There are more pictures of the river and canal in this area on the Croal pages of this web-site.

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