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    More of Bolton's Elephants    

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The traditional police helmet, in the days when the County Borough of Bolton had its own police force, had a badge containing the Bolton coat-of-arms which of course was surmounted by an elephant. This helmet belonged to Bobby Hughes and the picture was put on Facebook by his son.

 

The splendid uniform button is from Bolton Corporation tramways and of course also displays an elephant. This picture belongs to Henry Lisowski and the button is part of his collection.

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The first picture is the drive up to Mere Hall in Thomasson Park, Brownlow Fold. It is flanked by two quite grand gate posts. though I doubt if they were ever intended to have gates hung on them. They bear the date 1890 which is when the house and its grounds were given to the town by J P Thomasson. The posts have plaques, one of which is a portrait of JPT and the other the County Borough coat-of-arms with the elephant.

John Pennington Thomasson was the fourth in the family line of Bolton cotton mill owners, born in 1841, died 1904. He followed his father’s example with many public benefactions. By 1876 he had given 100 scholarships to the value of £25 each for three years. In 1881 he financed the building of the Haulgh Board School, gave £1,000 towards the founding of the Chadwick Museum, and built the Folds Road gymnasium. In all it is calculated that he gave over £30,000 to the cause of education in the borough. In 1890 he gave Mere Hall, built in 1836 by and previously the residence of Sir Benjamin Dobson, to the town as a public park, library, museum and art gallery together with £5,000 towards alterations.

He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Bolton at the 1880 general election. He served for 5 years

He was made a freeman of the borough in 1902. Although his family background was with the Quakers, he was a Unitarian and a keen supporter of Bank Street Chapel. He was an early supporter of the Women's suffrage movement.

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Now we go to Halliwell Road. On the right hand side immediately after you have turned into Halliwell Road is a tall cast iron pole. The text on the picture below tells you what this is. After trams stopped running most of these poles were left in situ for many years. On Derby Street / St Helens Road they became the poles supporting the trolley bus wires. On all main roads they were used as lamp posts. Over the years they have of course been removed or replaced by more modern lampposts but this one is preserved. On the collar round its base is moulded a coat-of-arms of course with the elephant. I do not know whether all or most of these pole had the fancy collar. My attempts to find posts on old pictures and zooming in has failed to find any others - without proving conclusively that they are not there.

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The part of the ring road between Wigan Road and Chorley New Road. Beaumont Road crosses the River Croal and the Bolton - Preston railway at Heaton Bridge. This was constructed in 1924 and plaques on both sides of the road giving this commemoration of course carry the coat-of-arms with the elephant. Volunteer required to do a better repainting job!

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At the corner of Church Road and Captain's Clough Road is Church Road Primary School. It is similar to a number of other schools in Bolton but this one has one of the best and best preserved elephants.

At the edge of Bolton Town Centre, just beyond where Bridgeman Place and Lower Bridgeman Street join and become Bradford Street, was a pair of bridges, one over the River Croal and the other over the Bolton, Bury and Manchester canal. It is a pity that the lower two pictures don't quite join up, they both show part of the same advertisement hoarding. We are looking upstreamfrom the Haulgh towards the Parish Church. Springfields paper works is immediately behind us where the Trinity Retail area is now (Kids R Us and Staples until they closed down). When these bridges were built (more likely rebuilt) in 1902 they had a plaque (or two, or four?) as did other bridges we have already seen. When St Peter's Way was built all evidence of the canal disappeared and the Croal was culverted. The bridges were replaced with a single modern structure. But the plaque was preserved and has now been placed at the side of steps  leading down to Trinity Retail. quite close to the left side of the pair of pictures.

Next a few elephants which sadly are no longer with us. First we go back up Lower Bridgeman Street and turnning left on to Manchester Road would once have immediately found "The Tech".

Two pictures (C) Karl Gregory, with permission.

Retrace our steps past Lower Bridgeman Street and onto Bradshawgate to the Transport offices. Over the door on the Bradshawgate side of the building is a panel. Offices picture is from the collection of David Whenlock. Frieze detail is from Halliwell Local History Society.

The society has a terra-cotta elephant said to have come from this building (or possibly the tram sheds opposite) but there seems to be no evidence of its precise location.

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We could proceed along Bradshawgate, past Preston's Corner, down Bank Street and straight on at the bottom up Kay Street. On the left we once would have passed Kay Street Primary School, probably built 1888 on the site of the Old Chapel House. It has terra-cotta embellishments. The centre of the LH picture bears the detail of the RH picture (unless this is a similar entrance at the back of the building.

If instead we had turned right into Folds Road instead of up Kay Street we would eventually have reached Tonge Moor Road. On the left opposite what used to be the Tonge Moor Library is Lansdowne Road. Along here when we reach the railway is a piece of community art. This metal sheet has outlines cut into it including a clog, a weaving shuttle, a cotton mill and an elephant.

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There is more community art nearby and more still round the corner, tile work that is well worth having a look at, but no more elephants,

There are a few more elephants scattered around Bolton; some local sports clubs have used the elephant. We will track them down soon.

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