The Town & Borough of Bolton In the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County
Bolton Town Hall
The Parish Church of St Peters, Bolton-le-Moors
Bolton Town Hall
The town of Bolton has one of the best and most expensive Town Halls in Britain – opened by the then Prince of Wales, (later Edward VII) in 1873, which, backed by the beautiful stone crescent behind, is reminiscent in many ways of the city of Bath. With its two guardian stone lions and columned Greek facade, its opening contrasted markedly with the slum poverty around it and it came in for much criticism on this account.
The adjacent concert hall, the Albert Halls, built in 1873, was destroyed by fire in 1981, but rebuilt and reopened in 1985; it features a beautifully ornate ceiling and a majestic organ, and took over £3 million to restore as an entertainments complex. After the town hall fire, the high ceilinged Albert Hall (singular) was divided, horizontally, into two, and is now known as the Albert Halls (plural). Here they host weekly dancing sessions, classical and big band concerts, amateur theatre productions, pantomime and children’s entertainments.
One of Bolton’s most celebrated natives is Samuel Crompton, inventor of the Spinning Mule in 1779. This invention was to increase output in the textile industry fivefold within a decade of its introduction, though Crompton himself, evidently a poor businessman, sold the rights to it for the sum of £60.
Bolton Parish Church, St. Peter’s, Bolton-le-Moors, virtually a cathedral, is well worth visiting. Consecrated in 1871 it cost £45,000.
One of Bolton’s oldest is Smithills Hall which dates back to the 14th century and perhaps much earlier. Over the years this old manor house has belonged to several different families. First recorded was one William de Radclyffe way back in the mid 14th century. It is recorded that in 1485 a Cecily Radclyffe married her second cousin John Barton, and thereby came into ownership of Smithills Hall.