Bolton Library and Museum Service acquires architectural archive

Bolton Town Hall

Bolton acquires the archive of famous Bolton architects, Bradshaw Gass & Hope.

Successful applications were made to both the Arts Council England / V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Art Fund.

Bradshaw Gass & Hope was founded in Bolton in 1862 by Jonas James Bradshaw (1837-1912).

The firm initially rose to prominence as designers of cotton mills, but later gained recognition for a succession of large civic and commercial buildings, a high point being the rebuilding of the Manchester Royal Exchange in 1921.

Locally, they are best-known as the designers of Le Mans Crescent, which was completed in 1939.

Bradshaw Gass & Hope has worked from the same offices on Silverwell Street since 1871.

In 2022, the firm celebrates 160 continuous years of service in Bolton. 

The Bradshaw Gass & Hope Archive spans the full breadth and nature of the work undertaken by the practice between 1862 and the 1960s.

From large perspective drawings created for architectural competitions to business correspondence, the archive covers several thousand architectural commissions.

Sam Elliott, Head of Bolton Library and Museum Service, said:

“The acquisition of the archive by the library and museum is a cause for celebration. Bradshaw Gass & Hope are responsible for some of Bolton’s best loved buildings including the iconic Le Mans Crescent. 

“Thanks to the support of the funders, local people, researchers and students can now explore the complete history of this notable Bolton firm.”

Architectural historians, Jane and Timothy Lingard, have said: “The Bradshaw Gass & Hope Archive is not only of local importance, but also of significance at a national level.” 

Highlights from the archive will go on show in a special exhibition at Bolton Museum. 

“Building Bolton: The Bradshaw Gass & Hope Story” opens on Saturday April 2, 2022 and runs until Sunday June 26, 2022.

Published: 1st April 2022