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   Knowsley Street      

23010 138.12 Angela Thompson 23020 138.15 Denis McCann skip to 155.5

Knowsley Street, Fifty Shilling Taylor on right corner occupies Knowsley House, the Palatine Building on the left corner is occupied by Redhead’s. The Palatine building was originally four storeys high. Picture posted on Facebook by Denis McCann.

On the left we have Alexandre’s tailors and on the right John Collier’s (the window to watch. The next block down on the left is Horrock’s department store, very popular in the 1950s and 60s, it sold bed linen, curtains and ladies’ accessories like white gloves.  Picture posted on Facebook by Angela Thompson.

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The Palatine Building retains its original feature above the ground floor. Some details are shown above. These pictures were taken 20 September 2016. The next block down (beyond Palatine Street), which was Horrock's and is now PoundStretcher was originally built in a style similar to the Palatine. How sad that it was replaced by the present concrete box.


Click on a picture above to enlarge, then navigate, then X.

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Knowsley Street, Picture from David Whenlock's collection.

On the corner is Burgons, groceries and provisions – the notice in the window is offering butter – but the building as a whole is Redhead’s, family drapers, silk stores etc. At this time the building next down the street still exists in its original form similar to the Palatine Building. Further on we see the tower of the Victoria Hall and the spire of the St George’s Road Congregational church and to the right, the tower of St George’s church.


The young lad behing the policeman is the "points boy". He changed the points to ensure each tram went in the correct direction. He has a stick to operate the point levers. In this picture and the next he seems to stick very close to the policeman. Perhaps this is because the policeman would tell him which tram he wanted to let through next. This job was given to a school leaver as a first job on the tramway.


In about 1910 the points were motorised and he would operate them from a control box outside what is now McDonalds, in the 1930s the points were fully automated.


Some information courtesy of "Bolton Trams".

Picture posted on Facebook by Angela Thompson.

This picture is earlier than previous ones. Note that the Palatine Building has its original four storeys.

The date is close to 9 August 1902 and the coronation of King Edward VII and his wife who became Queen Alexander, Edward having acceded to the throne on 22 January 1901 on the death of his mother Queen Victoria.

Knowsley Street. We note the signs placed very high up to Manchester, Preston and Blackburn. The corner extreme right of the picture was rebuilt as Knowsley House 1928-30. The buildings from there to Corporation Street including Dingley’s and Bay’s are rather more interesting than the  block that replaced them around 1930 even though that building, which still stands, is a reasonably attractive example of the pseudo-classical style used here and on Great Moor Street at that time. The first two premises have a frontage with a surprising amount of glass! Over the awning of Bays appears to be a seated figure. The writing either side of this could say “Bays for presents”.

Between the Market Hall and the mill building beyond it is a gap which is the course of the River Croal. We notice the man with the watch chain. At least a couple of people on the picture are aware of the camera.

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Another of David Whenlock's pictures. The policeman and the points boy again but looking west along Deansgate towards St Paul's Church.


The correct name for the "points boy" may possibly be "lines man".

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A very busy Knowsley Street, Electric tram though not a single other motorised vehicle to be seen.

Redhead's is in the Palatine Building, now McDonald's. Palatine Street is between that and the "TEA" shop (Black and Greens), now Poundstretcher.

c1960, note the buildings on the right dating to c1930. On the left, the Palatine Building has a new frontage at ground level but is unchanged above that. The building next down the street has been demolished and replaced by Horrock's, a typical department store specialising in fabrics, curtains, ladies accessories, very popular and well-known at this time.

Stylish and attractive buildings on the left. We can clearly see the Victoria Hall, The Congregational Church on the corner of St George’s Road with its spire and St George’s Church. The St George’s Boys’ School is at the top of Bath Street.

Who was I (Sol) Friedman on the corner of Palatine Street?  Then a barbers, then Smith & ?,. We have a marble type frontage which does not really match the surrounding buildings, then a building later occupied by Goldings with ornate dormers. It appears to be Boots before we reach the Victoria Hall. Picture posted on Facebook by David Whenlock.

c1950 A clearer view of the shops on the right – the Paragon Building is occupied by T Bullough and Co Ltd selling millinery, underwear, hosiery, costumes. Remelle is on the corner of the Market Hall. On the left Golding’s is still there.

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Spender worktown picture ? 1937?



A quick look back from Knowsley Street across Deansgate into Oxford Street. Tram N for Horwich (Chorley New Rd) Redhead’s on corner


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Black and Green is the TEA shop seen earlier.


The first street on the right as we go down Knowsley Street is Corporation Street where we will take a quick detour. On the corner at this time is the “Bon Marché” – a name that is familiar on the streets of our own time though there is probably no connection. It seems to sell a full range of clothing items rather than ladies fashion items, though the window display seems to concentrate on underclothes and straw boaters.

Mr Scholes, I guess, at the door of his shop.


I wonder if he, or the next generation, opened Scholes and Scholes in Nelson Square.

The same corner with Knowsley Street up to the right and Corporation Street to the left.

posted on Faceook by Angela Thompson and identified by Wes Halton.

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Corner of Corporation Street (right and across the picture) and Market Street (left and into the picture). A men’s and boys’ outfitters.

Below - ©Google Street view – the same corner in more recent times. As in other places we see the upper storeys of these buildings essentially unchanged though some minor change may have occurred at the roof line.

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Above - 16 July 2015 - looking further along Corporation Street towards Bridge Street.


Right - 1991 - Do, you remember the Bolton Journal and BEN offices in the heart of town on Corporation Street opposite the Market Hall? The building was the new branch office of the Bolton Evening News, where advertisements could be placed or accounts paid. It was also the new head office for the Bolton Journal. The offices were open all day Saturday, providing a six day-a-week service. (BEN picture and text.)


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A Picture from David Whenlock’s collection of an extremely busy Corporation Street, looking from Bridge Street towards Knowsley Street. R A Hurst poulterer and butcher on the corner, KB indicates a radio and television shop further along.







Now we will have a look at the Market Hall before we continue along Knowsley Street.

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24 Sept 2009 Somewhat different now that the Market Place has been tagged onto the Market Hall.

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corner of Knowsley Street and Corporation Street

1997 Knowsley Street, Market Hall, well remembered shops, Hampson’s bakeries, Oxendales locksmiths sadly missed! Stokes opticians with the Paragon Building just visible across Corporation Street.

An early picture of the interior of the Market Hall emphasising the ornate Victorian ironwork.

Marks and Spencer Ltd Bazaar which opened in the Market Hall in 1892.

                The Market Hall

The Bolton Market Hall was designed by architect G. T. Robinson, and opened on 19 December 1855. Measuring 294 feet in length and covering an area of 7000 square yards it was said to be 'the largest covered market in the kingdom'. It cost £50000.

A long procession led to the opening ceremony.


To complement the produce stalls and boost custom, a fish market was built next to it which opened in 1865 at a cost of £30000. The fish market was demolished in September 1932.


The market hall was modified in 1894 and further alterations were carried out at the turn of the 20th century. In 1938 the interior layout changed with roofed stalls in tightly packed islands replacing the long rows of stalls and in 1982 a competition brief to redevelop the site immediately to the north of the market hall into a shopping centre was won by Chapman Taylor Partners.


In 1985 Grosvenor Developments took over the Market Place project from Wimpey Property Holdings. The mall hall was refurbished in the 1980s to become the Market Place Shopping Centre and was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth  II. In the original Market Hall itself the familiar stalls with roofs (1938) were replaced by more modern brighter stalls in 1987.


Many stallholders had a long association with Bolton Market Hall. At the turn of the century Thomas Coupe set up his stall selling books and music. For a long time it was the only place in Bolton where theatre and concert enthusiasts could buy their tickets. Mr Coupe later opened a music shop in Knowsley Street. He would book a singer and a pianist to give shoppers a little light music as they looked at the stall and those nearby.


A later change to the Market Hall was the removal of the individual stalls to be replaced by big name chain stores along the east and west sides of the Hall with a wide north-south walkway leading from Corporation Street to the new Market Place. This change was met with almost unanimous disapproval at the loss of the individual, sometimes idiosyncratic local traders and such fundamentally useful places as Oxendales, Bobby’s clothes, Spencer Marris cake decorating stall (though the owner of this retired just before the changes) and their replacement by bland chain stores making our rather special Market Hall just like a Mall in any other town. However the latest change – breaking through the floor of the wasted walkway space to give access to the vaults with trendy bars and restaurants has met with much approval.


At one time the vaults were used as a large beer and spirits bottling plant. It was run by George Munro and Company – a firm set up in 1747 which had outlets in Farnworth, Wigan and Blackburn. Their drink was widely sought after at a time when Scotch cost four shillings a bottle and £3 would buy you a dozen bottles of good brandy.


In the 1950s the North West Electricity Board took over part of what had been an ice-making plant under the Market Hall and used it as a garage.


Marks and Spencer opened a stall in the Market Hall in 1892 and this was called Marks and Spencer Ltd Bazaar selling a wide range of small items.


Some people remember animals in cages, probably on the balcony and probably for sale by a local pet shop.


Bolton News (altered and added to)

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The interior c1938

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David Whenlock’s picture.

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Oct 1957 The Market Hall with the stalls erected in 1932 - how most of us still picture it.

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the 1987 renovation, maybe not to everyone’s taste, was quite nice and generally liked, certainly the previous stalls had become very dated. A view across the tops of the stalls makes them appear more tightly packed than they seemed to be at ground level.

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The 1987 stalls - picture from Google.

Picture from Wikipedia – the recent almost universally disliked conversion.

Picture from Google – the new use of the Market Hall vaults.

Picture needed of the way down through the floor to the vaults

The vaults under the Market Hall, June 1955 when the North West Electricity Board, Number 2 sub-area in Bolton had taken over the former ice-making plant for use as a garage.

Everybody stood absolutely still as instructed by the photographer - except the man in the middle. There's always one!

Now back into the open air to continue our progress along Knowsley Street.

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1900 An open topped tram on Knowsley Street D for Dunscar. St George’s Church is visible as is St George’s Road Congregational Church (more recently St Andrew and St George’s URC ) which of course has a spire, removed in 1969 (thanks for date, DD) when dangerous and too expensive to repair. The tram has a pole to connect to the electricity supply wire which cannot be seen, so date is after electrification, 1900 at the earliest.

September 2009 On the left all the frontages with different arrangements of windows with arched tops have been replaced with square boxes with square windows. St George and St Andrew’s URC has lost its spire. The trees along the pavement obscure St Andrew’s Church. The Boys’ School (no longer with that function) can be seen at the top of Bath Street and to its left construction of a new multi-storey car park has begun.


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Posted on Facebook by Peter Lodge. We note that Boots has a shop here. Golding’s (furniture?) was on Knowsley Street for many years – it has rather ornate dormers.

1951 Golding’s has updated its sign, it still has the dormers. The building next this way has taken on a completely new appearance. St George’s URC still has it spire.

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1952  The Market Hall is on the right but immediately beyond it where the telephone box is, is a lowish wall which you could look over to see the River Croal 30 feet below.

above left - 1980s

And looking over that wall, this is what you see!! Though shortly before this picture there was a large mill on the left bank. There was a flight of steps down from Knowsley Street to the street alongside the Market Hall which goes to the bottom of Bridge Street. The building is the co-op, now rebuilt and occupied by Argos. The River Croal was already underground for a short distance on the other side of Knowsley Street, but for most of our lives it was open to view at this point. It has now vanished underneath the Market Place. (Picture sent to Bolton Evening News by Brian Harris.)

1900       The opening of the Victoria Hall

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This is looking from Bridge Street along Brook Street to Knowsley Street, you can see the steps from this street up to Knowsley Street. What we now think of as ground level is actually built up substantially from the original ground. You can drive right under the Victoria Hall to the bottom of Ridgway Gate. We see the mill on the right.

24 September 2009 beyond the River Croal,

the top end of Knowsley Street, we can see the URC church, St George's Church which is once again being used for Christian worship, the building of the St George's Boys' School at the top of Bath Street and the new multi-storey car park under construction.

in the 1970s after the mill was demolished. You can now see quite clearly that the whole of Knowsley Street is 20 feet above true ground level on a series of arches. Presume the shops on the other side of the street are built on real ground and below street level must have basements.

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A clear view of the steps up to Knowsley Street from Brook Street and the roadway beneath Knowsley Street.

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These two pictures are of the cobbled River Croal –under the Victoria Hall and Knowsley Street looking upstream to Ridgway Fold.

This picture looks the other way towards the tunnel under the Market Place.

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Knowsley Street, the corner of Bark Street looking along to All Saints’ Church. The chimney is probably Flax Mill so this picture is before May 1972. Profitt’s slot television shop has closed and awaits demolition. The mill further down Bark Street is also due to disappear.

Corner of Knowsley Street and Bark Street. Compare this with the next (1972) picture. It may be that Bark Street was widened slightly. Look at the two chimneys towards the left. This seems to be before the St George Hotel was rebuilt so before 1927 but it may be that the angle is wrong to see it. The co-op drapery tower (later prescription pricing building) just peeps over the roofs at far right. Posted on Facebook by Gene Watts.

Profitt’s slot television shop on the corner of Bark Street. Slot television had been very popular, possibly because in the 1950s early 60s people did not have the money to buy a TV outright but in any case, many wanted to try out this new technology because they were not sure they would want it permanently. Picture posted on Facebook by Peter Haslam.

24 September 2009 beyond the River Croal,

the top end of Knowsley Street, we can see the URC church, St George's Church which is once again being used for Christian worship, the building of the St George's Boys' School at the top of Bath Street and the new multi-storey car park under construction.

The corner of Bark Street, 1972. This block has been rebuilt since the previous picture and is now on the point of being demolished again, this time to make way for the Market Place.

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Three pictures looking back down Knowsley Street. Not much changes though on the picture at top left in the distance the new Newport Street shops have not yet though the old ones have probably been demolished. This puts the picture around 1956,57. The picture top right is in the early 1960s and the picture on the right is May 1965.

We see Bark Street in both directions and see that in May 1965 the Slot TV shop was still in business.

On Knowsley Street we see Fryers, Proffitt’s, Norvic(?), Kiltie shoes which replaced William’s, Grey’s (television and radio), Doris Heywood (furrier), Vernon Hall (hair stylist), Britannic Assurance and at the top of the street on the left, Rothwell’s chemist. On the right, high up on the corner we seem to have “Medical Eye Centre”.

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Corner of Knowsley Street and St George’s Road, horse riders, sadly I seem to have no more information about this picture.

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a similar view 24 September 2009 ©WDC on the right the buildings have not changed but most of the shops have. On the left everything has been replaced by the Market Place. The part of Bark Street on the left no longer exists.

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The corner of Knowsley St and St George’s Road before rebuilding with the previous St George’s Hotel at the left end of the block.Green or Brown MPS dispensing and family chemist occupy the corner. The block towards the right of the picture beyond Bark Street, survived until demolition for the Market Place.

1927 Knowsley Street, postcard, showing the rebuilding of St George’s Hotel. Building is also taking place at the far end of street, this is Knowsley House on the corner of Deansgate.


The scene as many people remember it before the Market Place pictured in 1932. The building on the corner of Deansgate is now complete.

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George Hotel about to be demolished, picture posted on Facebook by Gene Watts , the pub had been rebuilt in 1927, it closed in January 1968 and the site was cleared in 1972 however  building of the Market Place did not commence until 1985/6. This corner is now occupied by Debenham’s.

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David Whenlock picture. Oswald Constantine’s shop on Knowsley Street in the block below Bark Street. We wonder if he was one of the Constantine Brothers whose shop was on Deansgate/Bridge Street later occupied by Woolworth’s.

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1975 Knowsley Street, whole area between Market Hall and St George’s Road cleared.


Picture posted on Facebook by John Westhead


Cross over St George’s Road into Bath Street.  We have a group of people outside St George’s Church

Clearance of left side of Bath Street being used as a car park, but the Clarence Hotel still stands. All the houses and shops gone. St George’s Boys’  School at the top of the street, built in 1847 is still there but was cut in half by Topp Way in the early 1980s.

24 Sep 2009 Bath Street multi-storey car park under construction. ©WDC

Move along  St George’s Road a little way, past the Regal Cinema we come to Palace Street. We are looking down the street and across St George’s Road to the top end of the Market Place.

In June 1987 conservatitonists  battled to save an historic Bolton church from the bulldozers. St Mary's RC Church in Palace Street was set to be pulled down after it had closed in July.

The owners, Salford RC Diocese, did not want the 142-years-old building to be left empty and risk becoming a decaying eyesore at the mercy of vandals. They applied to Bolton Council for a demolition order.

But The Victorian Society, which seeks to protect old buildings, urged councillors to refuse the application until possible alternatives had been considered. It has now been incorporated into the Holiday Inn.


One block further along St George's Road we reach Duke Street. we are looking down the street to St George's Rd, alongside Spinners' Hall and down to Thomas Ryder's on Bark Street.

8 Sep 2017 A similar view down Duke Street but the houses on the left have been replaced by the multi-storey car park and everything along Bark Street has been cleared.. ©WDC

Thomas Ryder & Son Ltd. was founded in 1865 by the brothers William and Thomas Ryder.

Originally, and typically, the company offered a wide range of products and offered their services as general engineers. By the 1870s William had set up a separate business in Bark Street as a producer of textile machines.

Ryder lathes were installed in many workshops throughout Great Britain and a significant number were shipped to empire and dominion countries.

The firm had roller coaster rides between the wars but by 1966 Ryders were winning orders from all over the world including China, Japan, Russia, Poland and South America and the number of employees had at this time increased to around 700.


In late 1982 the firm's main activities were those of service and the supply of spare parts. Not long after the company moved from its Bolton premises all trace of Thomas Ryders & Sons Ltd. disappeared.


When did it move to Turner Bridge and did it survive there after the town centre premises closed?


December 1949, The Spinners Hall. The banner reads "Trade Union Week" . The Operative Cotton Spinners and Twiners Provincial Association of Bolton and surrounding Districts took possession of this building 9n October 1886. In the 20th Century a number of trades Unions had offices in the building.

We note in passing that St George’s Road Congregational Church still has its spire.

8 Sep 2017  ©WDC The Spinners Hall. It is no longer a centre of Trade Unionism and now has multiple occupancy. A popular Chinese Restaurant, Noble House, is accessed from the side door.

8 Sep 2017 ©WDC From Duke Street, a view to St George's Church.

From here we will return to the start of Knowsley Street and continue our progress along Deansgate.

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A similar view in 1951. Shops include Zip, Joan Barrie, Goldings, Proffitt’s.

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above right - 1985


The culverting of the River croal prior to building the Market Place over it.


Picture ©J&T Davies - used with permission

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Another linesman / points boy. This time we seem to have an older one showing a younger one the ropes.


Picture from David Whenlock's postcard collection.

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Picture posted on Facebook by Carolyn Haslam.


Corner of Knowsley Street and Bark Street looking west as far as the Marsden Road (High Level) Bridge. The new Gregory and Porritt's building is under construction.