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   Bridge Street

21910 126 x201 Bridge St - Copy 21930 128.63 Bridge St Edw Thompson - Copy 21920 128.65 y4.3 Bridge Street 21940 128.61 XPP newly built 1960 - Copy

A view from the roof tops of Mealhouse Lane, Woolworth’s, Bridge Street, Flax Mill chimney, the prescription pricing building (ex Co-op drapery) St Georges Church and extreme left, the spire of St George's Road Church (now URC).

The top of Bridge Street, Staffordshire House selling “moulds”, china, glass and ? (They were having a sale)and Britannia House – probably still Constantine’s. Across Deansgate the corner of Mealhouse Lane can be seen without the bank building that stands there now. Posted on Facebook by Edward Thompson.

Looking up Bridge Street from the Market  Hall corner of Bridge Street and Corporation Street. The buildings which are standing are essentially the same as in the previous picture though the insert with the door in the blank wall at ground level has been changed slightly. Woolworths are about to extend into the building in the centre of the picture. This might be 1957. We look across Deansgate and into Mealhouse Lane where the bank building which currently exists now seems to have been built and Dunn’s hat shop (with the Capstan advert) is now there. Interesting roofs at top left.


Bridge Street, newly extended Woolworth’s. Bland and of its era but perhaps not actually ugly

21950 128.60 x133 1960 - Copy

Just before Christmas, 1960, the Co-op, then Woolworth’s, on  Deansgate at the top you see Dunne and Co before the site was redeveloped by Marks and Spencers. Special offers at the Co-op, New Zealand shoulder of lamb, 2/- a pound; leg and fillet, 2/6 a pound.

22010 128.45 y4.2 bridge street tjh990 22020 128.51 flax mills chimney

Looking down Bridge Street, we see a tram , Flax Mill chimney, the “Prescription Pricing Building” (old co-op drapery store) still has its turret.

The wall on the left side could be the wall of the cinema (see next page).

This is after the widening of Bridge Street, the Fish Market is no longer there.

Flax Mill chimney and St George’s Church

22030 128.50 x171 16 May 1972 - Copy 22040 128.20 x113 1980 - Copy

16 May 1972 The Flax Mill chimney comes down. Note that a lot of clearance has already taken place just this side and to the left of the chimney leaving one lonely building on the corner of Bark Street and Bridge Street.


Bridge Street, the familiar scene with the Market Hall but not the Market Place. The toilets are in use. The Co-op building on the right and the little shops that changed hands quite regularly, Phil and Carol’s fabrics (far right), what appears to be John Fane – I don’t remember this one, Alec’s second hand furniture at some point. (The chimney is NOT Flax Mill which was much nearer and has been demolished by this time.)

22070 128.43 22080 128.44 DW

From Angela Thompson's collection. After May 1972, no Flax Mill Chimney. Probably 1980.

22060 128.42 AT after May 72 no FlaxMillChim - Cop

We do not yet appear to have had any demolition on the left prior to the building of the Market Place at this time.

From David Whenlock's collection. Some more shops for you to remember.  Probably 1980. No Argos on the corner yet.

22050 128.40 x113 2002 - Copy


Now the Market Place has been built, Argos is on the corner of Bow Street, the Co-op is no more

22090 128.70 FishMarket - Copy 22100 128.80 x42 1931 - Copy

A view we do not remember, the old fish market which was demolished in 1932/3 so that Bridge  Street could be widened. What an excessively grand building for a fish market! And what a shame we have lost it. The fish market in Ashburner Street opened in 1932.  There are stories of huge swarms of rats leaving the building as the demolition started. We see the familiar frontage of the Market Hall with Corporation Street on the left.

Demolition for the widening of Bridge Street. The retaining wall for Rushton Street with which we were very familiar, where there were toilets and where a number of buses stopped appears to be nearing completion.

22110 128.81 Bridge St Fish Market 22120 128.82 book 1929 Peter Lodge 22130 128.71 DW1930s - Copy

Notice the lower advert. "The Book of Bolton?" Why "?" ?

Peter Lodge posted this picture of the 1929 edition in his possession.

c1931 David Whenlock picture – Bridge Street widening

22140 128.72 Bridge Street Mark Hampson 22150 128.66 XPP 22160 128.67 XPP Bridge St Bow St Pinterest

Bridge Street widening c 1931/2

Bridge Street Co-op at corner of Bow Street  1859 1909

Jubilee – of what?

(not my caption in the sky!!)

Corner of Bridge Street and Bow Street, the Co-op Butchery Department, part of the co-op buildings, offices on Bow Street, grocery and entrance to Co-operative Hall on Bridge Street. This corner is now occupied by Argos.


Note the Woolworth’s extension is close to completion.

22170 128.68 Denis McCann Bow St 22180 128.83 y4.5 Bridge Street Bark Street 22200 128.83 bs GW

Picture from Denis McCann

The Co-op frontage on Bow Street, a splendid building whose site is now occupied by Argos.

Bridge Street from the Bark Street junction.

The 1960s co-op building.

A similar view of Bridge Street, Flax Mill chimney from the north side, looking from just above Bark Street past the Market Hall to Deansgate.

John Prest (shoe shop) on the corner of Bark Street then Walker's wood shop though most people remember it a little higher up Bridge Street and on the other side of the road.

Part way through the demolition for the Market Place. John Prest’s shop still remains on the corner of Bark Street.

Just up Bridge Street from Bark Street we reach St George’s Road and the Palais. All that facia still remains under the modern cladding which names it Ikon. It closed early 2012 and was bought by the owners of the Market Place early 2016. Petitions against its demolition continued into 2017 but it seems like it is inevitable. We expect a hotel and carpark on the corner somehow integrated into the Market Place.

22225 128.85 1999 0760 IMG4_0074 - Copy

September 2009, the Ikon, clearly showing its position in the corner of the Market Place.

22085 DW1904BridgeSt Fish Market

1904 A picture from David Whenlock's collection of postcards.

Bridge Street with the old fish market, Flax Mill chimney and the Co-op drapery and menswear shop in the distance. Hoardings on the left probably shield recent demolition prior to the building of the Electric Theatre opened 13th August 1910.

22230 128.84d Temp Hall Denis McCann 22240 128.84e after fire 1902 - Copy 22250 128.84b XPP - Copy 22260 2016 07 05 29 Co-op Higher Bridge St - Copy 22270 128.84c ZPP coop drapery Creative commons li 22280 2016 07 05 30 Co-op Higher Bridge St - Copy

The corner of Higher Bridge Street and St George's Road, opposite the Palais.


1. Co-op  Central Tailoring Department, opened 30 January 1897. The stone was red terracotta style from a brick works in Rubin in North Wales. To the left is the Bolton Temperance Hall. This was the first place in Bolton to show moving films on a regular basis.


Bolton Evening News 13th March 1906

     Messrs Gale and Polden's Animated Picture Company are paying their first visit to the town this week and on Monday night the Temperance Hall

     was packed by an enthusiastic audience.

     The pictures, which were far above the average seen in Bolton, kept the spectators interested for over two hours, a striking feature being the rapidity

     with which scene follows scene. A speciality of the exhibition was a series of animated photographs entitled "The King's service ashore and afloat."


By the end of the first decade of the 20th Century “Temperance” was already losing the enthusiasm of the public and the building was sold in 1910 and given over entirely to the showing of films. It later became the Rialto. The cinema we are familiar with, pictured lower down the page, had a new frontage but the main structure was still the Temperance Hall.


2. The store burnt down 1 June 1902, three years after opening.


3. It was rebuilt with an overall similar appearance though it was different in every detail. The original building with the larger windows looked better. The new building was again given a “pagoda”. It reopened 27 Feb 1904 .


4.  (C) WDC July 2016. The building is almost unchanged except for the removal of the pagoda. Norweb owned the building from 1969 until the PPA (Prescription Pricing Authority) took it over in the 80s.


5 and 6. If you look closely at the top of the building the old co-op mottos are still there : "Industry and Thrift" and "labour and wait". There is also still a terracotta lion with the letters BCS(Bolton co -op socty) and there are numerous carvings in the stonework above the second floor, of scales, bee hives and sheaves of corn, all old co-operative symbols.

22290 128.86 I DW1908 - Copy 22300 128.86 1993.83.15.12[1]

Diagonally opposite the Palais was the Bridge Street Methodist Church. The picture at left is from David Whenlock's collection of postcards and was posted 1908. "This is our house and church". When the church closed its organ went to the Great Hall of the Girls' Division of Bolton Scholl. The building has been a casino for many years. On the right a picture probably from the Spender Collection (all rights Bolton MBC) so 1937.

22310 128.86 Higher Bridge St looking towards Meth 22320 128.88 Bridge St Bark St TalibDMcC 22330 128.87 y4.1 bridge street

The Methodist Church and the adjoining block of houses - form Angela Thompson's collection.

Talib's on the corner of BarkStreet is remembered well by the ladies (and the men who were dragged along).

Topp Way was built straight through the Peel Hotel. On the right is the art-deco showroom of Gordon's Ford dealers. Gordons became Bristol Street Motors in 2016 and the art deco building was demolished in 2017. The street on the left is Falcon Street.

22340 128.90 Market Place - Copy

The Palais corner but from the air at the time of the building of The Market Place. The Market Hall is at the left and the Palais is on the corner – and is still there in 2017 though its days are probably numbered. See also the Prescription pricing building, Congregational Church, St George’s church / craft centre, Bath Street car park which became a huge multi-storey car park in 2011.

22350 128.91 Phil Wadeson Bygone Bolton

Picture posted on Facebook by Phil Wadeson


Looking across the Market Place site from Bridge St to Knowsley St. Most people on Knowsley Street think they are at ground level and are unaware that they are actually on a viaduct about 20 feet above the River Croal. (More pictures of the river at this point on the Knowsley Street page.)


22360 1986 0810 IMG2_0475 - Copy 22370 1986 0800 IMG2_0474 - Copy

(C) W D C April 1986 from Bridge Street looking towards Knowsley Street and the Victoria Hall and Knowsley Street looking across to Bridge Street with the co-op, then the Bow Street car-park, then the Parish Church.

22380 152.6 tempHall D McC 22390 152.6 Rialto St Georges Rd for sale

The Rialto Cinema. 1. It is still in use but “gambling” on the far right poster?  posted on Facebook by Denis  McCann.

2. The building is now for sale. In both pictures St George's Church can be seen at the left.


In both pictures behind the Rialto facade is the original front wall of the Bolton Temperance Hall which opened New Years Day 1840. It was the venue for a "Promenade Concert"  on the occasion of the dedication of the Samuel Crompton statue in Nelson Square. It was the first place in Bolton to show movie films on a regular basis. By the early 20th Century the Temperance cause had lost much of its popularity and in 1910 the building was sold to a film screening company.

22400 152.3 1993.83.18.37 22410 152.5 x St George's - Copy

St George's Church, a fine brick-built Edwardian Church. It was  used as a Craft Centre from 1975 to 2008 and for a time housed Stuart Hall’s clock collection. It has been used again as a place of worship since around 2011.

      On the next page we will continue our journey along Deansgate.

22215 Next Page 22190 128.83 Bridge St GW - Copy 22210 128.83 22220 128.85 Palais - Copy

Co-op Central Tayloring Department, often wrongly said to be the Drapery Department which is on the corner of St George's Road. Compare this with the picture to the left and you will see this building on the corner of Bark Street just opposite John Prest.