Old Images of Bolton, North West England

Old postcard of the junction of Chorley Old and New Road Bolton Lancashire England UK 1935

Enjoy a glimpse of history through old images of Bolton, in Greater Manchester, England, UK.

The former mill town of Bolton was traditionally in the county of Lancashire. It has ancient roots, with local Saxon archeological findings and several Norman deeds in museum archives. It became a market town in 1251, when King Henry III granted a charter to hold a market in Churchgate.

Flemish weavers settled here in 1337, beginning the area’s woollen cloth manufacturing industry. More Flemish weavers arrived in the 17th century, escaping the Huguenot persecutions. But it was the industrial revolution and the inventions of local men which made this a 19th century boomtown.

In 1929, Bolton was home to 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dyeing works, but this had all disappeared by the end of the 1980s.

Bolton Footballer Heroes 1923

The town turned out in force in 1923 to welcome home the cup winners.

The footage includes some of the buildings and a very fine lamp-post.

See The Conquering Heroes – Bolton (1923)- British Pathé on YouTube

Samuel Crompton Centenary 1927

Samuel Crompton was born on 3 December 1753 to George and Betty Crompton at 10 Firwood Fold, Bolton.

When his father died, the boy helped his struggling mother and sisters economically by spinning yarn on James Hargreaves’s spinning jenny machines, and in his spare time playing the violin at the Bolton theatre.

Over five or six years he worked on improving the snags in the spinning jenny design and came up with the mule jenny, later known as the spinning mule, a machine which spun yarn suitable for use in the manufacture of muslin.

His finances had a number of highs and lows over the years, but a survey in 1812 showed there were between 4 and 5 million mule spindles in use, showing how successful his invention was for mill towns.

Crompton died at his house in King Street, Bolton on 26 June 1827, and was buried at the parish church of St Peter’s.

A hundred years on, the town celebrated his life and work.

Samuel Crompton Centenary In Bolton (1927) – British Pathé on YouTube

King Feisal’s Visit 1927

King Feisal I was King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of Iraq from 23 August 1921 until his death in 1933.

In 1927, he visited Bolton’s cotton mills, watching cotton from his kingdom turned into cloth.

He received (real) red carpet treatment, with the Mayor to show him round.

It’s a shame we don’t see more of the streets, but there’s a nice shot of the tour inside the working mill, and the clothing of the girls and women is an interesting look at the fashions of the day.

King Feisal In Bolton (1927) – British Pathé on YouTube

Children’s Playground 1939

Apparently this extraordinary playground was made by the children. It’s a shame we aren’t told who provided the materials or instruction, or what project this was part of.

But the mill towers over them in the background, and they look like they’re all having great fun.

Kids Playground Aka Children’s Playground (1939) – British Pathé on YouTube

Queen’s Visit 1954

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bolton, Bury, Manchester, and Rochdale in a two day tour in 1954.

The newsreel includes the royal couple coming down the steps of Bolton’s Town Hall.

Lancashire Only – Queen Continues Lancashire Tour (1954) – British Pathé on YouTube

Bolton’s Cup Celebration 1958

On 8th May 1958, Bolton Wanderers, the heroes of Wembly, arrived from London on the train. They then stood on the top deck of a bus holding the cup to drive through the streets, amidst great celebrations from the crowds who came to greet them.

Includes Skipper Nat Lofthouse, the manager Bill Ridding, and shots of the streets and buildings along the route.

BOLTON RETURN WITH CUP- British Movietone on YouTube

Bolton in the 1960s

Many of the sites in this footage were later demolished. The narration is very informative. 

A walk around Bolton in the 1960s – Martin Grundy on YouTube

Bolton in 1990

This home movie recorded on 8th October 1990 shows a lot of people going about their daily lives in Deansgate and the town centre. 

There’s also a drive along Hulton Lane in the rain.

Bolton 1990: Deansgate, Town Centre – Air guns, Aircraft, Animation, Antiquity on YouTube

Bolton Town Centre 1992

In June 1992, a home video was made of a drive along Manchester Road into the town centre, and then a walk through the shopping areas.

Captures many homes, shops, businesses, cars, and local people going about their daily lives. Bhs, Thomas Cook, Burnden Park football stadium, old fountains, market hall, trees on Newport Street, so many things to spot.

Bolton Town Centre 1992 Part One – ishnum munshi on YouTube

More Pictures of Old Bolton

Old Bolton in Greater Manchester, England, enjoyed through historic photos, vintage pictures & archive film. Browse history in these fascinating old images of a bygone era on my Pinterest board.

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