Bolton’s wonderful industrial heritage lives on through its canals, coal, cotton, railways and of course it’s people, famous names include The Duke of Bridgewater, Gilbert Brindley, Richard Arkwright, Samuel Crompton, William Hesketh Lever and others whose inventions helped to forge and shape the industrial revolution.
Bolton’s Industrial Heritage Town Centre Walking Trail has 12 sites of interest including historic buildings, statues and more unusual stopping points like Samuel Crompton’s tomb. All of the sites are easily to get to and within close walking distance of each other in Bolton town centre.
We hope you enjoy the trail and finding out something new about Bolton town centre’s fantastic industrial heritage.
Download the trail in a printable format below
1. Bolton Town Hall
Victoria Square, BL1 1SA
Designed by the architects William Hill of Leeds and George Woodhouse of Bolton. The sculptures in the pediment are by Calder Marshall R.A. and represent Bolton, Manufacture and Commerce.
Tours are available, commencing with a reception with the Mayor in the Mayor’s Parlour and including where possible, visits to the Council Chamber, Hall of Memories and Banqueting Hall.
Tel: 01204 331090
2. Statue of Lieutenant Colonel B.A. Dobson
Victoria Square, BL1 1SA
Descendent of Isaac Dobson, founder of Dobson and Barlow Ltd, (formerly of Blackhorse Street, later of Bradley Fold), engineer, Mayor of Bolton and chairman of Dobson and Barlow,a major manufacturer of textile machines.
3. The Corliss Engine and Fred Dibnah Statue
Oxford Street, BL1 1RD
The engine was built in Bolton by Hick Hargreaves and Co in 1866 and was in use in a mill in Yorkshire until 1966. It was donated by the firm and was set in motion in 1973.
The statue of Fred Dibnah was sculpted by Jane Robbins and unveiled on what would have been his 70th birthday (29th April 2008). Fred’s house on Radcliffe Road is now open as a heritage centre, whilst Bolton Steam Museum has a collection of other working steam engines.
4. The Bank of Bolton
NatWest Bank, 24 Deansgate, BL1 1BN
This building was, in 1888, the Bank of Bolton and the Coat of Arms can be seen on the outside of the building and in stained glass in the interior. The bank
was established in Bolton in 1836 as a joint stock bank with a capital of £300,000. The bank was acquired by Manchester & County Bank Ltd in 1896, which eventually became part of the Natwest Bank.
5. Arkwright’s Barber’s Shop
17 Churchgate, Bolton, BL1 1UH
Now occupied by Booth’s Music Shop, this was the site of Richard Arkwright’s wig making business in the 1750s. Arkwright invented the water frame spinning machine and founded his famous mill at Cromford in 1771. A plaque commemorating him is visible above the doorway of the newsagent’s next door.
6. Samuel Crompton’s Tomb
Bolton Parish Churchyard. Silverwell Street, BL1 1PS
Crompton died at his house in King Street on 26th June 1827, at the age of 74. Crompton rests at the Church where he married his wife Mary. He died a poor man and his original gravestone was very simple. It is said that a large number of people attended his funeral, including some of Bolton’s factory owners. In 1861 a garnite monument, paid for by workers from Dobson and Barlow Ltd, was placed over the grave and this is what you see today.
7. Bolton Parish Church
St Peters Bolton-Le-Moors, Churchgate, BL1 1PS
This beautiful parish church, consecrated in 1871, is a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture. The architect was E.G. Paley of Lancaster and it was paid for by Peter Ormrod of Halliwell Hall whose father founded the Bank of Bolton (4) Its tower is said to be the tallest in Lancashire with spectacular views across the area. The spacious interior contains many items of interest including fine stained glass windows, carved woodwork and a museum corner. Guided tours must be pre-booked.
8. Birthplace of William Hesketh Lever (Lord Leverhulme)
16 Wood Street, BL1 1DY
Industrialist, politician and public benefactor, Lord Leverhulme was born in this house on 19 September 1851. Lever started work at his father's grocery business in Bolton but as a businessman he is noted for founding the soap and cleaning product firm, Lever Brothers with his younger brother James in 1885. At Port Sunlight on the Wirral he built his works and a model village to house its employees. Lord Leverhulme was asked to become Mayor of Bolton in 1918 and for some time worked with town planners on a grand architectural revival for Bolton.
9. Samuel Crompton Statue
Nelson Square, BL1 1JT
Samuel Crompton, one of Bolton’s most famous sons, revolutionised the Cotton Industry when he invented the Spinning Mule in 1779. In honour of this contribution a statue paid for by public subscription was unveiled on 24th September 1862 and still stands proud today.
10. The Exchange Building
1 Newport Street, BL1 1NE
Built in 1826 by the Bolton Exchange Company. In 1853 the upper rooms became the Bolton Free Library, Bolton’s first public library and remained the reference library until 1938. It has since been a building society and is currently a Coral betting shop.
11. Bolton Museum and Art Gallery
Le Mans Crescent, BL1 1SE
Bolton’s place of inspiration, enjoyment and learning. Enjoy the fascinating story of Bolton, its places and people, alongside brilliant displays of Art, Egyptology, Archaeology, Botany and Zoology. The aquarium is the only public place of its kind in Greater Manchester. Here you can meet exotic fish, creatures and wildlife from all over the world, including flesh eating piranhas from South America.
Tel: 01204 332 211
12. Queen’s Park
Park Road, Bolton, BL1 4RU
Queen’s Park was originally opened in 1866 as Bolton Park, but was renamed by the Town Council in 1897 in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was constructed not only out of a desire to create a much needed public amenity but to give employment to men who had lost their jobs in the textile industry as a result of the Cotton Famine in the 1860s. It was the original site of the Chadwick Museum, which eventually became the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery (11).
Bolton town centre industrial heritage trail map
If you liked this trail, why not follow the life and times of Bolton's beloved son, Samuel Crompton.
The Crompton Trail, Bolton