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Dates  relevant to the pictures of Bolton


1644 28 May, Prince Rupert’s army overcome the Bolton defences resulting in the “Bolton Massacre” of the civil war.

1651 15th October, Earl of Derby beheaded in Churchgate

1721 Boar’s Head on Churchgate built (closed 1992, demolished 1998)

1777 16th April John Wesley opens Ridgway Chapel, predecessor of Victoria Hall

1777 St Helena Mill built

1796 St George’s Church opened

1808 Great Moor Street /Mawdesley Street Congregational Church founded

1813 Nelson Square, a small health office opened – no in patients at this stage (see 1838)

1818 11th February, Bolton Gas Company established

1819 BGC supplied gas lighting and household gas

1819 Parish Church School built on corner of Silverwell Street and Churchgate

1824, July 30th the Trustees of Little Bolton held their first meeting in the partially completed town hall which officially opened Feb 7th 1828

1827 26 June. Samuel Crompton died

1828 Bolton Leigh railway opened but no evidence of a regular passenger service until joined with Manchester Liverpool railway 1831

1828 7th February Official opening of Little Bolton Town Hall. Little Bolton became a Parish in 1662

1831 the original (ground level) Great Moor Street railway station opened

1835 Greater Bolton most of Little Bolton, and Tonge with Haulgh amalgamated as a Municipal Borough, the second to be created in England, part of Rumworth added 1872, part of Halliwell 1877, Breightmet, Darcy Lever, Great Lever, the rest of Halliwell, Heaton, Lostock, Middle Hulton, the rest of Rumworth which had been renamed Deane (in 1894) Smithills, and Tonge plus Astley Bridge Urban District, and part of Over Hulton in 1898

1835 The Wheatsheaf built on the corner of Newport Street and Great Moor Street

1836 Legs of Man on Churchgate first opened

1837 Queen Victoria accession to the throne

1838 Nelson Square health office – from this date some patients were given beds in an emergency but some time after this about sixty beds were provided

1847 Bridgeman Street baths opened (built 1845, closed 1976)

1851 William Hesketh Lever born at 16 Wood Street

1853 Magee’s Crown brewery was founded in 1853 by David Magee, Derby Street Crown Street

1855 Church Institute, Silverwell Street opened, became Canon Slade School in 1946 (moved to Bradshaw 1959) demolished 1969

1855 19th December, Market Hall, Knowsley Street opened

1856 Bank Street Unitarian Church original building opened.

1861 Bolton Institute workhouse built at Fishpool farm on the Farnworth border to replace a workhouse in Fletcher  Street and a “Casual or Tramp Ward” on Kings Gate (King Street in the Bolton town centre?). This was not at this stage a hospital or infirmary.(see 1875)


1862 Statue of Samuel Crompton dedicated in Nelson Square

1865 Bridge Street Fish Market opened alongside the Market Hall.

1868 (1866?) old Parish Church demolished

1869 Preston’s opens on Bradshawgate

1871 29 June, The new Bolton parish church was consecrated

1872 Bolton Corporation take over Bolton Gas

1873 Town Hall constructed; opened 5th June 1873 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later Edward VII and Queen Alexandra

1873 The Bolton Royal Infirmary was built just off the bottom of Chorley New Road to replace the Nelson Square facilities, originally with 84 beds but eventually around 224.

1874 Bolton Wanderers formed

1875 Great Moor Street Station rebuilt and reopened. The station closed for regular services in 1954 though was used at holiday times for North Wales until 1958. It was finally demolished in 1970.

c1875 – The Hollins Cottage Homes were set up adjacent to Fishpool but separated from it with its own access to Plodder Lane. The purpose was to accommodate orphan or pauper children who might otherwise have been placed in the Workhouse which was essentially for adults. It was later extended. (see 1910)

1878 17th January, One of the first telephone lines in the world connected the Gas Offices with the gas works.

1878 Marsden Road High Level Bridge opened

1880 tram lines laid (for horse drawn trams)

1881 Bolton Wanderers signed James McKernan from Hibernian and to get round the amateur/professional ruling they installed him as publican of the Britannia Inn in Derby St; for some considerable time the Britannia was the headquarters of the Wanderers after they left Christ Church, Pikes Lane.

1883 Bolton Royal Infirmary opened

1886 Silverwell Street Drill Hall built, attached to front of Silverwell House

1887 Victoria Golden Jubilee year

1889 Bolton became a County Borough

1892 Marks and Spencer opened a stall in the Market Hall

1893 The lending library SW corner of Victoria Square (now replaced by Wellsprings) opened

1895 Albert Ward sports shop established on Bradshawgate, closed 1974

1897 Town Hall Square renamed “Victoria Square” for the Diamond Jubilee

1897 Co-op drapery on corner of Higher Bridge St / St George’s Rd opened 20 Jan  (fire 1902 reopen 1904)

1899 School in Parish Church grounds (behind Church Institute) moved the Chorley New Road and became Bolton School.

1900 trams electrified

1900 Victoria Hall opened

1902 White horse on corner of Mealhouse Lane and Shipgates, closed

1902, 1st June Co-op building at corner of Bridge Street St George’s Road destroyed by fire

1902 9th August Some buildings in Bolton decorated for coronation of Edward VII

1903 High Street Swimming Baths opened (closed 1985)

1904 Trinity Street station opened

1905 Preston’s acquire the site on the West corner of Deansgate / Bank Street

1905 16 Wood Street becomes the home of Bolton Socialist Club

1907 King’s Hall, Bradshawgate opened

1907 Whitaker’s opened on corner of Deansgate and Old Hall Street North, then Lion’s Paw on opposite corner was rebuilt in imitation and opened as Silver Vat

1908 The New Empire Theatre later the Hippodrome opened

1909 new market cross erected

1909 Whiteheads buy the block west of “Prestons” as far as Crown Street and renovate to the form

         known thro C20. Closed 2000

1909 Olympia skating rink opened, becoming the Regal Cinema, then Nevada skating rink, burned down by an arson attack in 1985. Now Bolton Lads and Girls Club Bolton Lads Club having changed its name and moved into a new purpose built building here in 2002

1910-1913 The original wards A to E of the new hospital were built on Townleys Farm adjoining Fishpool, the new hospital being built because the population of Bolton had increased considerably and the Infirmary was not big enough

1910 The Electric Theatre, later the Imperial Playhouse and finally the Embassy cinema opened at corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street (closed 1947)

1912 Woolworth’s opened in Oxford Street

1913 Prestons rebuild on the corner in style of Whitehead’s into form known through rest of C20.

1920 Cenotaph in Nelson Square to commemorate Bolton Artillery

1920 Trustee Savings Bank opens in Hotel Street

c1920 The Queens Park cenotaph was erected to commemorate the Soldiers & Officers of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

1924 Moss Street baths opened (closed 1988)

1925 In Victoria Square, the ornate gas lamp and the circular trough surrounding its base were removed so it would not detract from the planned cenotaph and to avoid future interference with traffic.

1925-7 The Bessemer forge east of Moor Lane, between New Street and Deansgate dismantled

1926 Woolworth’s moved to Deansgate / Bridge Street corner (Britannia House, replacing Constantine Bros)

1927 St George’s Hotel at corner of Knowsley Street / St George’s Road rebuilt. Closed Jan 1926.

1928 unveiling of Cenotaph in Victoria Square for WW I without statues.

1928 Civic Week  - a pair of semis built in Queen Street.

1928 and 1930 June, demolition underway for the building of the Civic Centre Crescent

1929 13 February, Capitol Cinema opened, became ABC August 1962, closed as a cinema October

          1977, replaced by Stone Cross House in 1991

1931 the statues put in place on the Victoria Square Cenotaph.

1931 Construction of Civic Centre Crescent begins

1932 Fish Market in Bridge Street demolished

1932 Ashburner Street market opened

1932 work on extending the Town Hall and building the Crescent began

1937 March LIDO opened (building started 1936)

1937 21st August  The Odeon’s first night with the first Battalion of the Royal Scots band

1938 Individual stalls constructed in the Market Hall to replace the open area and what were not much more than trestle tables.

1938 The visit of Queen Elizabeth (wife of King George VI, later Queen Mother)

1939 Extension to Town Hall and Civic Centre opened by Earl of Derby (though parts had been in use since 1937).

1946 Church Institute, Silverwell Street became Canon Slade School

1947 29th March, last tram route in Bolton (Tonge Moor route) was closed.

1948 Foundation of the NHS, Fishpool and Townleys hospital were amalgamated

1950 Singer and Manchester on corner of Victoria Sq

1952 3rd March Daubhill Station closed

1954 29th March Great Moor Street Station closed for normal use but holiday services to North Wales continued.

1956 March trolley buses to Four Lane Ends ceased running (The last trolley bus Service in South Lancashire stopped 31 August 1958)

1957/8 Demolition of one side of Newport Street and north side of Victoria Square

1958 Great Moor Street station completely closed

1958 New shops (Battersby’s) built on Newport Street opposite Ault’s

1958 the Trinity Street station canopy is demolished

1958 Bolton Wanderers FC win FA Cup

1959 Canon Slade School moved from Silverwell Street to Bradshaw Brow

1959 May - Grand Theatre closed but used for other purposes for a time afterwards

1959 new shops on Great Moor Street are in use, the Wheatsheaf has not yet been demolished

1961 Timothy Whites and Taylors on corner of Victoria Square / Hotel Street has been built (when?) but rest of the block remains as yet unchanged

1961 May Top Storey Club fire disaster

1961 Gas Offices closed

1961 Hippodrome closed

1962 Capitol became ABC August 1962

1962 Booth’s Music moved from number 11 to number 17 Churchgate

1962 The Wheatsheaf is demolished

1962 Legs of Man, Churchgate closed

1962 King’s Arms, Deansgate closed, later headquarters of Operation Mobilisation, then their bookshop Chapter and Verse finally Sweeten’s Bookshop

1962 November the rebuilt Wheatsheaf on the corner of Great Moor Street and Newport Street was opened.

1963 Gas Offices demolished

1963 Elim Chapel on Moor Lane demolished

1963 March, Great Moor Street / Mawdesley Street Congregational Church demolished

1963 Churchgate – Grand Theatre, Legs of Man and the Derby Arms replaced by Churchgate House.

1964 King’s Hall, Bradshawgate, demolished – closed 22 Jun 1958

1964 demolition in preparation for Arndale Centre

1965, railway from Great Moor St to Daubhill, Chequerbent, Atherton and Leigh ceased all operation.  [[The last goods train to use Crook Street Goods Yard was in 1967, the line from Atherton remaining open as far as Hulton Sidings until January 1969. William Nightingale]]

1964 demolition on corner of Hotel Street, Mealhouse Lane already done in preparation for M&S extension

1966 frontage of Great Moor Street Station demolished. Whole site levelled early 1970s

1966 Bull and Wharf, Church Wharf, demolished in preparation for St Peter’s Way

1966 Arndale partly complete, partly under construction, buildings on corner of Hotel Street, Mealhouse Lane have been demolished in preparation for M&S extension (still there 1957).

1968 Victoria Sq still through traffic with buses but new shops on north side of Newport St

1968 Howell Croft North demolished to make way for Paderborn House

March 1969 Pedestrianisation of Newport Street.

March 1969 Blackhorse Street widened at junction with Deansgate

1969 Church Institute in Silverwell Street demolished

1970 Sabini’s on Churchgate becomes the Sandwich Inn

1970 or 1966? Great Moor Street station demolished

1972 St Peter’s Way open (December 1971 quote “ready for traffic” but some pictures suggest it is not quite.)

1972 Parish Church School on corner of Silverwell Street / Churchgate demolished

1972 16 May Flax Mill chimney demolished

1972 St George’s Hotel and block between Bark Street and St George’s Road demolished ready for building of Market Place 13 years later

1974 Commercial demolished and Mothercare built

1974 May, Chapter and Verse Book Shop opens in King’s Arms building Deansgate after Operation Mobilation had used the premises for some time as headquarters.

1974 Bolton County Borough abolished and Bolton (with Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich,  Kearsley, Little Lever, South Turton, Westhoughton) became Bolton Metropolitan Borough

1977 Capitol closed as a cinema October 1977

1978 Ambulance Station moved from Cheadle Square

1985/6 Market Place building commenced

1980 December, Sweeten’s Book Shop opens in King’s Arms building

1980? New fire station

1983 Odeon became Mecca bingo

1985 Co-op build Normid Supermarket at embankment end of Burnden Park.

1985 Oct/Dec Nevada burned down

1985 April major restructuring of Moor Lane bus station begins

1985 High Street baths closed

1986 The Wheatsheaf is renamed Serendipity’s

1987 Newport Street shops opposite Town Hall have now been rebuilt, the Samuel Wigglesworth fountains

1987 Trinity Street bridge has been rebuilt and widened, the station clock has been rebuilt on the other side of the road but the old station remains

1988 Moss Street baths closed

1988 HM Queen Elizabeth opens the Market Place and the Water Place

1991 Capitol cinema replaced by Stone Cross House

1992 Boar’s Head on Churchgate closed

1996 After a considerable amount of building at Townleys - more correctly the Bolton District General Hospital the name Townleys having been officially abandoned years before but still used by much of the population - the Infirmary was closed.

1997 April Bolton Wanderers  v Charlton Athletic, last game at Burnden Park before move to  Reebok Stadium.

1997 Southeast side of Nelson Square redeveloped

1998 August; Burnden Park demolished to be replaced by ASDA etc.

1998 Bolton Royal Infirmary closed (patients    

         removed 1996) and demolished. It was flat by  

         August  1998

1998 Boar’s Head on Churchgate demolished

2000 Whitehead’s closes.

2001 Marsden Road Fire station is demolished, gone

        May 2001

2002 Bolton Lads’ Club became Bolton Lads’ and Girls’ Club in its new purpose-built building on the site of the Nevada, Spa Road.

2003 Water Place demolished

2007 Odeon scheduled for demolition (actual date demolished?)

2008 Thurs 24 July 2008 Copyplan fire

2009 Woolworth’s closed

2014 Reebok Stadium renamed Macron

here ..

          Victoria Square and Howell Croft North

021.5 Victoria Sq, Commercial 1952 021.2 x14a Commercial - Copy 021.1 x14b Commercial - Copy 012 x205 Victoria Square - Copy 12.5 XPP 1958 021.30 Bolton Archive 2107 1954 - Copy

MATERIAL WORLD: Naisby's shop, which stood on the corner of the Town Hall Square and Hotel Street for many years.  According to an advertisement, it was established in the 18th century, and was described as "Merchant Drapers, Manufacturers, Linoleum Fitters, Carpet Planners, Wholesale Shirt, Skirt, Jacket and Window Blind Makers.

A reliable firm with experts in every department.".

Above: Naisby's windows on Hotel Street.

Left: Hotel Street / Victoria Square corner with the Gas Offices at the left and some contemporary transport.


Looking across Victoria Square from near the Grapes Hotel; taken in 1952 by Bolton News reader, Bill Shaw,  

Jaguar Mk VII

1950s, still cobbles, still horses and carts, now bus stops. Headscarves are in, but so are hats with bows and trilbies. We have a foreshortened view along Knowsley Street with the Victoria Hall visible and beyound it the tall steeple, now removed, of St George's Road URC (Congregational?).

The Commercial Hotel, thought to have been built in the 1790s in open fields. This picture early 1900s, tram tracks, Oxford Street, horses and carts, toy shop on far right. Note the pub is Brandwood's.


In its heyday, as many people remember it.

It is now Magee's.

022 x14c Commercial - Copy 022.5 x - Copy 022.5 y 24sep2009 - Copy


the Commercial Hotel has been recently demolished despite many protests and the building of Mothercare is in progress. Victoria Square now pedestrianised (yes 40 years ago) with the prize winning cement flags. The Co-op is still the Co-op??  The Hick Hargreaves machine is there in its glass case.

Work in progress on the new Mothercare store on a wet January afternoon in 1973. Another storey was added in 1974. The store closed in ??2006 and  is now Barclays Bank.

24 September 2009

023.3 Howell Croft North - Copy 023.4 XPP victoria sq iaabp 023.1 XPP 1955-1961 - Copy 023.5 1955 - Copy 023 x68 Howell Croft north - Copy


Similar but wider view. On Victoria Square, Timothy Whites, the Northern Clothing building, Thomas Cook. Shortly before the Arndale Centre was built, now Crompton Place.

Photographer took advantage of the scaffolding while work was being done on the Town Hall. This is before any large scale clearance in that area. Gas Offices (demolished 1963) and Commercial Hotel still there. There is an unexpected chimney attached to the Bolton Evening News offices, a chimney is marked on the 1939 map attached to the “printing office”.


A snowy evening scene just before Christmas, looking past the Co-op to the Commercial, Naisby’s and the Gas Offices

between 1955 and 1961

1,3,5 Victoria Square demolished

Looking back where we came from down Hotel Street, Gas Offices on the right. The Co-op building is the most obvious feature, still there though sadly no longer a co-op.  The street on the left is Old Hall Street North. Where the flags are is now Paderborn House. Date not specified but obviously the time of the Coronation in 1953.

023.2 Howell Croft N - Copy

Howell Croft North towards Hotel Street, the garden on the left became Paderborn House with the GPO the Register Office and motor taxation office. Later Whitaker's extended into it,  now Beales, empty since 2016. The pillared doorway is the Co-op Department store, now Sports Direct and Costa Coffee. Across is the Commercial Hotel, later Mothercare, at present Barclays Bank. On the right of Hotel Street the Gas Offices.  The parish Church is to be seen dimly in the distance.

023.5 XPP - Copy


Taken from the top of the Town Hall not long after the Gas Offices were demolished to make way for the Arndale Centre. There has been demolition on the near corner of Mealhouse Lane but we are some time off the building of the new Marks and Spencers. There is a clear view down Fold Street.

024 x107 Old Hall St N - Copy

A view down Old Hall Street probably from a Town Hall upstairs window

025 x7 Howell Croft North rep b - Copy 025.2 1993.83.19.15[1]


Howell Croft North. This whole area had once been Howell Croft, but the Town Hall and Crescent cut it in half so we have Howell Croft North where the Police Station used to be and Howell Croft South where the Library and the Deane and Daubhill bus terminus were.


The Aspin Hall still stands, though it is many years since the dances for which it was well known. In this block you might remember Betty’s sweet shop and the La Casa coffee bar, less likely to be remembered, H Lee, grocer;  Hughes drapery and household; Civil Defence Headquarters; Health Food Store. Paderborn House now stands here

Howell Croft North,

Bolton Archives picture, probably from the Spender  Worktown collection, 1937

025.2 1993.83.19.15[1] 025.2  24sep2009

Howell Croft North


<<< Bolton Archive picture probably just pre-war


24 September 2009>>

The block on the right has been replaced by Paderborn House (Victoria House before the twinning with Paderborn). The police station was on the right, now out of town at Scholey Street. The Magistrate's court is still on the left but there is talk of moving it.

025.3e 025.3f

Howell Croft North from Deansgate with a good view of Betty's. The flags on the right hand picture might date it to 1953. The Aspin Hall is on the left edge.

25.4 025.5 Howell Croft North 026.5


The former Civil Defence Headquarters, Howell Croft North in the process of demolition.

1968 The shops have been demolished and in their place will be a new building, the ground floor will be the central Post Office, the GPO on Deansgate to be used for administration purposes, corporation departments will occupy the upper floor. It also accommodated the Registry Office before this moved to Mere Hall.The GPO of course later moved back to its home on  Deansgate. When it was originally built in 1976 it was named Victoria House. The name Paderborn House was of course given when Bolton twinned with Paderborn in Germany.   It eventually became Whitaker's extension.

026 x174 Crescent c1950


The Crescent, horse and cart still a standard means of transport, but getting quite busy with cars




The last picture looked quite summery. The same place a few years later in the depths of Winter (mid 60s?  compare Morris 1000 with cars of previous shot).

On the next page we continue round Howell Croft / Le Mans Crescent seeing it through the whole 20th Century.

Next Page 012.6 Ross Munros Hotel St 1961 small

That corner has been rebuilt and is now occupied by Timothy Whites. Next to it (Double Diamond sign) is Ross Munro's licensed premises moved from Victoria Square when Naisby's extended.


Page 16 has information about Ross Munro