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Bolton has been a market town since the’ rear 1256, and Sir George Stanley, (about the year 1483) claimed a weekly market for Bolton, to be held on the Friday, and a fair annually, of two days duration, on the eve of Saint Margaret. For a long period after the removal of the Market cross from Churchgate, the market continued to be held about the place where it stood; and in 1826 the square now denominated the market place, was completed, and that part of the town, which until then was a waste piece of land, is now covered with buildings. The great spirit of improvement existing in Bolton is fully exemplified by a magnificent New Market House, now being erected in the town. This immense structure was commenced on the 5th of April, 1852, under an act of parlia­ment obtained in 1850, entitled, “ The Borough of Bolton Act,” and the cost of its erection is estimated at about £30,000. The principal front is 219 ft. 9 in., and another is 294ft. Sin. The outline of the ground plan forms a rectangle, of 294 ft. 5 in., and 219 ft. 9 in. The viaduct which was commenced on the 18th of February, 1852, contains six arches, 24 ft. span each, with piers of 4 ft. to the Great Bolton side of the river, and was constructed by Mr. John Evans, of Darwen. The contractors for the works are the Messrs. Tomkinson, of Liverpool, and the architect is Mr. G, T. Robinson, of Wolverhampton.

Prior to the charter of incorporation which was granted to the borough on the 11th of October, 1838, the town was within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, and its internal government and general regulations were managed by officers appointed at the courts leet, held under the lords of the manor; but when the municipal act came into operation, these powers were transferred to the corporation, and the borough is now governed by a mayor, twelve aldermen, and thirty-six councillors. Bolton is included in the fifth circuit of towns under the county court act, for ad­judicating claims under £50. The Reform Bill conferred upon Bolton the elective franchise, with the privilege of returning two members to parliament. The limits of the borough are defined by the boundary act, and comprise the township of Great Bolton, the chapelry of Little Bolton, (except that detached portion of it which is situated to the north of the town,) and the township of Tonge- with-PIaulgh. The representatives of the borough are Joseph Crook, Esq., of Bolton, and Thomas Barnes, Esq., of Halshaw Moor.

Let’s start, though, with Bolton’s standing as the home of England’s only full-distance Ironman – that’s a 2.4-mile swim at Pennington Flash, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and finishing, almost unbelievably, with a full marathon that ends in the town’s Victoria Square.

This gruelling event is amazing to spectate, with athletes battling it out along streets through the town centre. Less punishing, but no less ambitious, is the annual Bolton Food and Drink festival, one of the UK’s biggest. Winner of multiple awards, this four-day celebration features hundreds of artisan stalls, bars, cooking demos, masterclasses, live music, and family entertainment, with the likes of James Martin, Michael Caines and The Hairy Bikers all making an appearance in previous years. 

The Bolton Octagon, which reopened in May 2021 after closing for a £12million redevelopment in August 2018, is another of the town’s key cultural players. Completely reimagined, the theatre has undergone a full modernisation, with updated performance spaces and brand-new facilities. The first professional theatre to be built in the North West of England after the Second World War, Bolton Octagon is now a national contender, with a bold and popular programme.


Bolton is friendly town full of character in Greater Manchester, Ideally located close to the scenic West Pennine Moors on the edge of stunning countryside. From fascinating heritage to great entertainment and live sporting events you’re never far away from a world of choice in Bolton. With an annual events calendar, offering some of the North West’s best events, including one of the UK’s biggest Food and Drink Festivals each August Bank Holiday, the world’s largest Ironkids and the Ironman UK Triathlon…you’re guaranteed a great day out whatever the weather! Bolton’s wonderful industrial heritage is clearly visible around the borough and lives on through the canals, coal, cotton, railways and of course people. Some of Bolton’s most famous sons include Samuel Crompton, Fred Dibnah and others whose character, work and inventions have all left a visible imprint on Bolton. There’s an array of attractions scattered across the borough for you to visit.


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