top of page

About 1840 Mr. John Fletcher, of the Hollins, discovered terra-cotta clay in his collieries at Little Lever


1840s In the early 1840s Edmund Sharpe was invited by John Fletcher, his future brother-in-law, to build a church near Fletcher's home in Little Bolton. Fletcher was the owner of a coal mine at Ladyshore, Little Lever, overlooking the River Irwell and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal. He had been using the clay which came up with the coal to make refractory bricks for furnaces, and suggested its use for building the church, as it was much cheaper than stone.


1840s Irish Potato Famine


1840 (1 Jan) The Bolton Temperance Hall opened New Year’s Day 1840


1840 (14 Sep) David Gratrix (1840-1892), a Bolton Councillor, born.                                                                                    Lost his life endeavouring to stop a runaway horse in Bradshawgate, Bolton.                                                                                Died 17 Apr 1892.


1840 (Oct) St Peter’s Church, Halliwell was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester

The architect was Mr. James Whittaker, of Ripple Dell, who lies buried in the churchyard


1840 Christ’s Church, Harwood built


1840 In 1840 the line ran trains to Liverpool and Manchester and others to Wigan and Preston.


1840 Railways: The Manchester and Leeds Railway was completed.



1840 Richard Knill Freeman, architect, born in Stepney.                    Died 23 Jun 1904                                                      


1840 Thomas Ridgway Bridson invented and patented a way of applying an elastic finish to fabrics


1840 The Cock Inn was demolished

The Star Inn was built in its place. The Star is believed to be the first concert room and museum that was custom built and led the way for an idea that swept the country. It boasted a menagerie.


1840 Benjamin Disraeli visited Barrow Bridge

He incorporated it into his novel “Coningsby”, under the name “Millbank”.


1840 Thomas Ridgway Bridson (bap 1795), in his capacity as borough reeve of Great Bolton, and in the company of his counterpart for the adjoining township of Little Bolton, he visited London to present Queen Victoria with an address of congratulation from Bolton's loyal inhabitants on her marriage to Prince Albert.


1841 (4 Feb) The railway line between Bolton and Preston opened as far as Rawlinson Bridge (between Adlington and Chorley), and among the original stations on this route, the first station out of Bolton was at Blackrod.


1841 (4 Feb) Horwich Road railway station opened by the Manchester and Bolton Railway

It was renamed Horwich and Blackrod, then Horwich Junction, then Horwich and Blackrod Junction, finally Blackrod in 1888.


1841 (3 May) Joseph Sharman born on 3 May 1841 in Tinker Sitch, Tapton, Derbyshire.                                                                    Died 7 Jul 1916.


1841 (Jun) John Bowring (born 1792) was elected MP for Bolton as a free-trade candidate and held his seat for over seven years. The issues for which he spoke and voted included the abolition of corn duties, a more humane application of poor relief, the extension of popular education, revision of quarantine regulations, abolition of flogging in the army, the suppression of the opium trade, and the worldwide abolition of slavery


1841 (2 Jul) John Bowring elected MP for Bolton


1841William Hulton was attacked while campaigning for the Tory candidate in Bolton and had to be rescued by party workers. His assailants had chanted "Peterloo" in case he was in any doubt about the reason for the assault.


1841 Joseph Sharman born in Derbyshire in 1841.                        Died Jul 1916.


1841 Railway: The Bolton to Preston line was built in 1841


1841 C&A: The company was set up by the wealthy Brenninkmeyer brothers, Clemens and August, in 1841 building on the back of a centuries-old family textile business.

1841 In 1841 Caleb Wright (1810 – 1898)  became manager of Ormerod and Hardcastles Mill, Bolton.


1842 (9 Sep) Benjamin Hick, mechanical engineer, died in Bolton, aged 52


1842 Edwin Chadwick’s report The Sanitary Conditions of the Working Population was published

He argued that disease was directly related to living conditions and that there was a desperate need for public health reform

Over 7,000 copies of the report were published


1842 Constantine Wrigley Senior was landlord of the Hen and Chickens up to his death in 1842


1842 The Coal Mines Act

Made it illegal for mine owners to employ women or children under the age of 10 years, underground


1842 Blinkhorn’s in Bradley Fold built the chimney in 1842 as a way to dispose of gaseous waste without poisoning the people of Bolton.

A 190ft chimney had proved unsatisfactory to the council, so it was decided a much taller one was needed.

An incredible 900,000 bricks and 120 tons of stone were used in its construction which was completed in 16 weeks.

“Celebrations on completion of construction included the hoisting of a brass band to the top by means of the hoist in the centre of the chimney which also listed 3,400 members of the public, four at a time, to view the town.”

A display of fireworks was also staged at the top of the chimney.

“Artist Selim Rothwell set up his easel to paint the view towards the town.

“In 1897 the chimney was illuminated by electric arc lights as part of the town’s diamond jubilee celebrations.”

Within just a few years of completing this record-breaking chimney the company became insolvent possibly because of the extortionate cost to the company of the chimney and Dobson and Barlow moved into the premises.

The chimney was 367.5 feet high when in its prime and in 1909 was reduced to 326.5 and in 1940 to 150 feet and in 1967 it was demolished.


1842 Wesleyan Methodist minister John Bedford (born 1810), while in Bolton, had correspondence with William Sutcliffe, curate of Farnworth, subsequently published, in which he vigorously defended the doctrines and ministry of the Wesleyan Methodists then under attack from Anglicans.


1841 Bolling and his family were deeply involved in the social upheavals associated with factory legislation, child labour and working class enfranchisement. They were dilatory mill-owners rather than opposed to any legislation and their mills came under attack from mass disturbance in 1842


1842 Bolton was involved with the Plug Drawing Riots, bands of rioters pulling the plugs out of boilers causing costly and crippling damage to factory machinery.


1842 Mount Pleasant Mill was built in 1842.                               A cotton spinning factory, six stories high. Eventually had 22,000 mule spindles.


1842 Samuel Horrocks died aged 76

Buried in St George’s churchyard, Preston


1842 Joseph Ridgway died in 1842

 He was buried at Horwich Parish church in the    Ridgway family vault. A lifelike Westmacott white marble sculpture of his wife kneeling in prayer at the Ridgway family pew was added to the church in condition with his will.


1842-1844 Edmund Sharpe designed the first church in England to be built, in whole or in part, from this material (terracotta), St Stephen and All Martyrs, Lever Bridge (1842–44). As terracotta is commonly used to make plant pots and the like, Sharpe himself called this church, and its two successors, "the pot churches", a nickname that has stuck. The advantages of terracotta were its cheapness, its sturdiness as a building material, and the fact that it could be moulded into almost any shape. It could therefore be used for walls, towers, arches, and arcades in a church, for the detailed decoration of capitals and pinnacles, and also, as at St Stephen's, for the furnishings, such as the altar, pulpit, font, organ case, and the pew ends. Apart from the foundations and the rubble within the walls, St Stephen and All Martyrs was constructed entirely from terracotta


1843 William Waller Midgley born

Died 1925


1843 (6 May) Betty Eccles of Bolton was executed at Kirkdale “ for the murder of her own children, in order that she might get money from a burial society”


1844 (18 Feb) St Stephen and All Martyrs was formally opened


1844 (11 Feb) Animal trainer Matthew Ferguson killed by Barney the Leopard while supervising the menagerie at the infamous Star Inn, Churchgate

Barney was later stuffed and put on display at the Star Inn.


1844 (10 May) The Bolton & Preston Railway was acquired by the North Union Railway by an Act of 10 May 1844.


1844 (12 May) Frank Hardcastle, British bleacher and businessman and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1892, born at Firwood, Tonge, near Bolton

President of the United Bleachers Association of Lancashire and Cheshire


1844 (12 May) Frank Hardcastle born in Bolton, Lancashire.            MP for Westhoughton 1885-1892.                                             Died 5 Nov 1908 Paddington, London


1844 The Clarence was built in 1844 by Rowland Hall Heaton


1844 Sans Pareil was leased to the Bolton and Leigh Railway where it ran until 1844.


1845 (14 May) Thomas Henry Rushton born in Horwich, the eldest son of Thomas Leven Rushton, JP, of Moor Platt, Horwich, who was Mayor of Bolton 1848 –1850

Educated locally and entered the family business of Dobson and Barlow Ltd., manufacturers of textile machinery, becoming head of that company in due course.

Played Cricket for Lancashire in 1870

Died 1 Jul 1903


1845 (26 Jun) St Stephen and All Martyrs consecrated


1845 (4 Sep) Sir Thomas Barlow, first baronet, physician, born at Brantwood Fold, Edgworth, near Bolton, Lancashire. He was the eldest of seven children of James Barlow (1821–1887) of Greenthorne, Edgworth, who established the cotton mills of Barlow and Jones at Edgworth and Bolton, and his wife, Alice (d. 1888), daughter of James Barnes, also of Edgworth

Physician to Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V

His son married the grand-daughter of Charles Darwin

Died 12 Jan 1945.

1845 Merged with the Great Junction Railway


1845 St Pauls Church, Astley Bridge built


1845 The Museums Act


1845 John Hick (born 1815) took into partnership William Hargreaves and the firm was renamed Hick, Hargreaves & Co


1845 Brewing magnate and amateur astronomer William Lassell designed and built a huge telescope from his Liverpool home. With its 24-inch metal mirror, it was the most powerful telescope in England when it was completed in 1845

Lassell made several major discoveries with the telescope, including that of Triton, a moon of Neptune. This was the first time a large reflecting telescope had been mounted in the equatorial plane so that it could track the stars


1845 Bridgeman Street Baths, built in Bolton by a private company, were thought to be the country’s first public swimming baths since the Roman occupation.                                                               They were taken over by the council, which was forced to close them in 1975 due to soaring running costs and the baths were demolished to make way for a business centre


1845 In his Condition of the Working Class in England 1845, Friedrich Engels described being given a personal tour of Edmund Ashworth's mills and, whilst acknowledging the relatively good working and living conditions he found there, dismissed 'enlightened' employers such as Ashworth (1800-1881) as paternalists, intolerant of any ideas other than their own.


1845-1846 Stephen Blair was the first Conservative Mayor of Bolton


1846 (11 Mar) Lucy Mary Shepherd Birley, born at Hoghton, Lancashire, England. Wife of Herbert Cross.                                   Died 26 May 1891


1846 (24 Jun) John Hick (born 1815) married Margaret Bashall, eldest daughter of John Bashall of Farington Lodge, near Preston.


1846 (23 Sep) “Le Verrier’s Planet”, or Neptune, as it was to be officially named, was discovered in Berlin 


1846 (10 Oct) William Lassell saw a point of light next to the newly discovered planet “Le Verrier”, or Neptune as it was later to be known, Lassell thought it was a satellite, but it took many months before this could be confirmed. The satellite was to be named Triton.


1846 John Thomas Redmayne (1846-1880), surgeon and physician, born.                                                                                 John Thomas Redmayne was born during the first quarter of 1846 near Horton, Yorkshire. He was the first child of William and Isabella Redmayne. William operated a 120-acre farm named “Gallabar”.     J.T. Redmayne was a surgeon and physician, and an amateur naturalist specializing in diatoms. His microscope slides of diatoms were very well regarded in his time, notably for their relative purity of species. He also mounted histological preparations, a logical extension of his occupation, although such slides are rarely encountered today.


1846 Edith Fletcher, artist and educationalist, born in Bolton

Moved to Lake District. In 1878 married Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, Vicar of Wray near Ambleside, who, among many other achievements, was one of the founders of the National Trust and friend of Beatrix Potter.

An accomplished artist and illustrator who exhibited at the Royal Academy and in 1884 (with her husband) established evening classes in arts and crafts metalwork that became the foundation of the School of Industrial Art in Keswick.

Died Dec 1916  


1846 After the death of his father Benjamin Dobson entered into partnership with Mr. Metcalf

The new firm of Dobson and Metcalf constructed new extensive works in Bolton and moved there from the old works. (>see 1851)


1846 William Lassell discovered Triton, the largest moon of Neptune, just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself by the German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.


1846 St Johns Church, Latimer Street, Little Bolton established

Closed 1972, now demolished


1846 John Horrocks Ainsworth converted what originally had been a unit for hand-spinning and weaving into Markland Hill School.


1846 St Stephens Church, Lever Bridge built


1846 Margaret Manneville, died

She left money to form the Manneville Charity to provide clothing for the poor


1846 James Barlow had saved enough to buy premises in Bullock Street for the manufacture of quilts, the former premises of Greenwood & Son

1846 The Sharples' Museum was housed in the Star Inn,

1847 (1 Jan) Maj.  Herbert Cross, English Conservative politician, bleacher and landowner born in Mortfield, Halliwell, Bolton, Lancashire, the third surviving son of Thomas Cross (1805-1879), a bleacher, cotton spinner, and banker, of Bolton, and his first wife, Ellen, the daughter of Joseph Mann of Liverpool

Educated at Harrow; Exeter College, Oxford

Adopted the name Shepherd-Cross after his marriage to Lucy Mary Shepherd Birley in 1870

MP for Bolton 1885-1906 Conservative

Died 9 Jan 1916 Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

1847 (Mar) In March 1847, the Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton Railway Co and the Blackburn, Clitheroe and North Western Junction Railway Co agreed to amalgamate, becoming the Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe and West Yorkshire Railway; the necessary Act received Royal Assent on 9 July 1847.


1847 (9 Jul) The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway founded

1847 (13 Sep) St Mary of the Assumption, Palace St, Bolton Lancashire: The church was opened September 13, 1847.


1847 (27 Oct) Sir Benjamin Alfred Dobson, son of Mr. Arthur Dobson of Belfast, was born at Douglas, Isle of Man.


1847 General Election: Lord John Russell became leader of a new Liberal government.


1847 St George’s School was built in 1847.


1847 Railways: The Manchester & Leeds Railway acquired eight smaller companies and called itself the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. It now stretched across the country from the west coast at Liverpool, Southport, Blackpool and Fleetwood, to the east coast at Goole on the Humber.                                                               The Lancashire & Yorkshire line had to cross a large number of hills and valleys. Of the 580 miles (933 km) of the railway, only 25 miles (40 km) was level track. As a result of this terrain, there were almost 100 tunnels and viaducts on the route. At first the railway mainly transported cotton, wool, fish and coal. With the development of seaside resorts such as Blackpool, the trains carried a growing number of passengers. (<1840)


1847 Bridgeman Street baths opened (built 1845, closed 1976)


1847 William Bolling was re-elected MP for Bolton as a Conservative in 1847 and held the seat until his death in 1848.

1847 The Croal Viaduct was built in 1847 for the Bolton and Blackburn Railway (later the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) under the guidance of the engineer Charles Vignoles. The ironwork came from the Preston factory of Ogle and Son.

1847 The Bolton Free Press, a Liberal newspaper in which the Ashworth brothers were principal shareholders, ceased publication.


1847 Gas explosion at Spindle Point colliery


1847 James Billington, hangman, born in Preston.


1847 Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh in 1847.

1847 St Mary of the Assumption, Palace St, Bolton Lancashire: The church was opened on Palace Street in 1847 and closed in 1987. The building survives and has been integrated into the Holiday Inn hotel as the restaurant.


1847-1848 Thomas Ridgway Bridson – Mayor of Bolton (Conservative)


1847-1848 The Wayoh Reservoir is crossed by the earlier built Armsgrove Viaduct; which was built between 1847 and 1848 by the Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton Railway to bridge Bradshaw Brook.


1847 to 1850 Thomas Ridgway Bridson was president of Bolton's Mechanics' Institute.


1848 (12 Jun) Chapel Town railway station opened (> 1 July 1877 Renamed (Turton))


1848 (22 Jun) St Paul’s Church, Astley Bridge was consecrated by the first Bishop of Manchester, James Prince Lee


1848 (20 Jul) John Potter Briscoe (1848–1926), librarian, was born at Lever Bridge, Tonge with Haulgh, near Bolton, Lancashire, the eldest son of John Daly Briscoe, a schoolmaster, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Scowcroft.                                                               He was educated at his father's school and was a teacher there from 1862 until 1866, when he was appointed assistant librarian in Bolton Public Library.                                                            Died 1926

1848 (12 Aug) The railway line opened from Bolton to Blackburn on August 12th 1848,


1848 (30 Aug) William Bolling (1785-1848) died at his residence of Darcy Lever.

He had suffered a severe stroke the week before his death.


1848 (20 Nov) Bradley Fold Railway Station opened.              Closed 5 Oct 1970


1848 (20 Nov) Darcy Lever railway station opened.                         It was on the Bury–Bolton section of the Liverpool & Bury Railway, which opened on the same day.                                                The station closed on 29 October 1951


1848 Newspapers: The Bolton Temperance Messenger began in 1848 by Robert Kenyon of Market Street. It continued for many years as a monthly magazine and representative organ of the Young Men’s Temperance Society. It had a wide circulation in the Sunday Schools, but the date it ceased is unknown.


1848 Parliament passed a Public Health Act that provided for a Central Board of Health. This new body had power to create local boards to oversee street cleansing, refuse collection, water supply and sewerage systems.


1848 The notable Darcy Lever Viaduct is a distinctive feature, comprising a wrought iron structure of eight spans, standing on stone piers and abutments and dating from 1848. Carrying the Bolton to Bury line over the River Tonge and Radcliffe Road at a height of over 80 feet, the structure was finally designated non-operational in 1983, some thirteen years after the line closed. This magnificent structure has needed only minimal maintenance work due to the high quality of its materials and construction.


1848 William Makant (born 1806) bought the Gilnow Bleach Works.


1848 William Lassell independently co-discovered Hyperion, eighth moon of Saturn with W C Bond


By 1848 there were 20 pits in the Farnworth area


1848-1850 Thomas Lever Rushton (1810-1883) - Mayor of Bolton: 1848-50 (Conservative).                                                             First Mayor to serve a second term in office.

1849 (11 Aug) George Grundy, born in Westhoughton

Chairman of Westhoughton Urban District Council: 1905-08 (Conservative)

Died 28 Mar 1924


1849 (19 Oct) John Heywood, Mayor of Bolton 1903-1905, born in Bolton


1849 Robert Barlow died

A founding partner in the Bolton Bank

Succeeded as managing partner by his son Robert Sharpe Barlow.


1849 Peter Rothwell (c1792-1849), iron founder, died


1849 Thomas Ridgway Bridson (bap 1795) stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate for Bolton.

1849 The Bolton Savings Bank was built on the site of a timber yard at the western end of Wood Street (later Pizza Express).


1849 J.T. Fielding (1849-1894) was born at Redlam, near Blackburn, the son of a cotton worker


1849 William Romaine Callender (born 1825) married Hannah, the only daughter of John Mayson JP of Manchester.                             Of their three sons and two daughters, the eldest son, Arthur William, Wykehamist, cotton spinner and insurance agent, was the father of the naval historian Sir Geoffrey Callender.


1849 The florin, a coin worth one tenth of a pound, was first issued in 1849.


1849 Joseph Holt is an independent family brewery from Manchester established in 1849.


1849 J.T. Fielding (1849-1894) was born at Redlam, near Blackburn, the son of a cotton worker.                                          He became a millworker himself at the age of 12. In 1874 he succeeded his father as secretary to the Self-Actor Minders' Association and later that year was appointed secretary to the Bolton Trades' Council. He was largely responsible for uniting the two branches of spinning industry unionism into one, the Operative Spinners' Provincial Association, one of the most wealthy and influential trade unions in the country. On his death a memorial fund was established to fund the erection of the statue.

bottom of page