top of page

1910 (Jan) With Bolton Wanderers at the bottom of the First Division, John Somerville was sacked and replaced by Miles Settle.

Somerville became a Football League linesman after leaving the club.


1910 (22 Feb) George Hunt, centre-forward, born in Barnsley.


1910 (22 Feb) George Samuel Hunt (1910 – 1996), English footballer, born in Mexborough, Yorkshire.                                                       He scored 169 goals from 294 appearances in the Football League. After he finished playing, he went into coaching with Bolton Wanderers.  Died 19 Sep 1996.


1910 (19 Apr) John Humphrey Spender (1910 – 2005), British photographer, painter, and designer, born was the third son of Harold Spender, a journalist and writer. Humphrey's mother, Violet Schuster, came from a German family who had emigrated to Britain in the 1870s. Violet died in 1921 and Harold Spender died in 1926. Humphrey had two brothers, the poet Stephen Spender and the scientist and explorer Michael Spender, and one sister, Christine.                                         Died 11 Mar 2005.


1910 (13 Aug) The Electric Theatre opened 13th August 1910.


1910 (19 Sep) Ephraim Longworth made his Liverpool debut in a Football League Division One game at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, a game that Sheff Utd won 2-0


1910 (29 Sep) Thursday: Bolton is the only town in Britain to have three Carnegie libraries opened on the same day – Astley Bridge, Great Lever and Halliwell.

Andrew Carnegie personally performed all three ceremonies.


1910 (Sep) Edward (Ted) Vizard joined Bolton Wanderers.


1910 (21 Dec) Bank Pit No 3, known as the Pretoria Pit, was the site of one Britain's worst coal-mining disasters when on 21 December 1910, 344 men and boys died in an explosion of firedamp. The Pretoria Pit Disaster was the third worst in British mining history, after the 1866 Barnsley Oaks Disaster in Yorkshire, and the 1913 Senghenydd Colliery Disaster in Glamorgan. A memorial erected in 1910 is grade II listed.


1910 (21 Dec) 344 men killed in an underground explosion at the Hulton Colliery Company's No. 3 or Pretoria Pit, at Hulton Bank Colliery, Over Hulton, Westhoughton.  


1910 (21 Dec) Pretoria Pit (Number 3 Bank Pit, Hulton Colliery) disaster in Westhoughton

The third worst coal-mining disaster in British history

An underground explosion killed 344 men and boys leaving just 3 survivors

1910 (Dec) Magee Marshall & Co., Ltd, acquired the Alexandra Brewery in Mount Street, Bolton from Messrs John Halliwell and Son.


1910 The Hulton collieries: By 1910, a massive 2500 locals were employed across the pits.


1910 Bolton's Hebron Hall has played a part in the lives of thousands of local families.

Set up by the Brethren, popularly known as the Plymouth Brethren, in 1910, its Sunday School was averaging an attendance of more than 700 during the 1920s.

No cushioned pews, pulpit, or deep voiced organ, the Hall offered the simplest of organised worship.


1910 The Electric Theatre, later the Imperial Playhouse and finally the Embassy cinema opened at corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street (closed 1947)


1910 Barley Mow, 140 Crook Street, closed 1910.


1910 Church Road Council School was built in 1910 to cater for 800 children.


1910 Almost half the Wingates Band’s members and senior committee personnel were lost in the Pretoria Pit Disaster.


1910 Free travel for blind people introduced by Bolton Corporation.


1910 Women’s Co-operative Guild had 32,000 members.


1910 In 1910 Robert Jack became manager of Plymouth Argyle.


1910 Relphs Funeral Service was established by Thomas Relph and the Relph family.                                                                                 In 1910, the Relph family opened their own funeral service at Blackburn Road extending the premises over three stone cottages, as it remains today.                                                                                         Relphs Funeral Service was established by Thomas Relph and the Relph family in 1948.                                                                            In 1970, Relphs merged with Lucas Funeral Service and retained the name.

1910 Dr James Young was chosen to stand in the 1910 General Election but finally stood down in favour of  Col George Hesketh.


1910 James Connolly, one of the instigators of the Easter Rising, spoke at the Bolton Socialist Club in Wood Street, Bolton 


1910 Bolton-born Albert Shepherd scored the first penalty in an FA Cup final for Newcastle in a 2-0 win over Barnsley


1910-1911 Bolton-born Albert Shepherd was top scorer in the First Division in the 1910–1911 season


1910-1913 The original wards A to E of the new hospital were built on Townleys Farm adjoining Fishpool, the new hospital being built because the population of Bolton had increased considerably and the Infirmary was not big enough


Joseph Tyas Cooper was Mayor of Bolton at the time of the Pretoria Pit disaster of 21 December 1910 and launched a Mayoral Fund which raised £159,000 for the relief of the families of the men killed and injured.

1911 (2-7 Jan) Harry Houdini appeared at the Hippodrome Bolton


1911 (5 Jan) James Strickland (Syncopating Sandy), piano marathon king, born in Bolton

Played piano non-stop for 193 hours 50 minutes at Castillian Club in Higher Bridge Street in 1951.

Toured as marathon piano player until 1964

Died Nov 1975 Bolton


1911 (7 Jan) Dr James Young opened Tonge Fold Council School.


1911 (Jan) Edward (Ted) Vizard, who played at outside-left, won his first international cap for Wales.


1911 (11 Feb) Bolton-born Albert Shepherd’s  last England Cap  v Ireland, aged 25 years, 153 days


1911 (20 Feb) An official enquiry into the Pretoria Pit disaster was held at the Carnegie Hall, Westhoughton, began on 20th February 1911, only six days since the last victim had been brought out of the pit.          The enquiry found that the explosion was due to an accidental ignition of gas and coal dust when a roof collapsed in the North Plodder seam, probably due to weakness.


1911 (4 Apr) William "Bill" Ridding (1911 – 1981), also known as Nibbler Ridding,  English football player and manager, born.                 Most notably in a 17-year period managing Bolton Wanderers between 1951 and 1968, during which time the club won the 1958 FA Cup.


1911 (6 Apr) James Alan Noel Barlow (born 1881) married, Emma Nora (d. 1989), the daughter of Sir Horace Darwin; they had six children.                                                                                   His wife was the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, whose Beagle diaries and autobiography she edited in 1933 and 1958 respectively


1911 (11 Apr) Farnworth Library opened

A Carnegie Library                                                                                                     


1911 (15 Apr) James Seddon unveiled an oak chair at St Thomas's Church, dedicated to the late Rev Alexander Glenn Bott.


1911 (22 Jun) Coronation of George V

Bolton Town Hall decorated for the Coronation of George V on 22 June 1911.


1911 (5 Nov) Harry Bernard Allen (1911-1992) hangman, born at Denaby in Yorkshire.                                                                       From Manchester. Period on Home Office List - 1941-1964.

Also a publican, keeping a pub called the Rope and Anchor in Farnworth on the outskirts of Bolton.  


1911 (11 Nov) Col George Hesketh (1852-1930) opened Kay Street School on 11 November 1911.


1911 (20 Dec) Bolton Corporation starts the construction of Carlton Street Works (20 December).


1911 The Peacock closed in 1911.


1911 The Derby Electric Palace was opened in 1911.


1911 The Royal Tiger closed in 1911 and later became a private residence.


1911 The Hand and Banner, 113-115 Deansgate, closed in 1911.  It demolished that same year


1911 Farnworth’s first purpose-built cinema was the Palace Cinema in King Street, opened.

It had 764 seats and the cost of entrance at the time was 2d to 9d


1911 There were 15,000 men and 21,000 women employed in the textile industry in Bolton.

1911 Experiments with motor bus operation are abandoned by Bolton Corporation.


1911 Annie Kenny spoke to an audience of women members at the Bolton Socialist Club.


1911 The Church of St Philip, Swan Lane, Great Lever, was established 1911


1911 Thomas Dalmahoy “Tommy” Barlow (born 1883) married Esther Sophia (d. 1956), daughter of Henry Gaselee, barrister-at-law.               They had one son and two daughters.                                                                       


1911 (29 Apr) Joseph Tyas Cooper re-opened Mere Hall Library after its reorganization.


1911 (23 Oct) Consecration of the Church and Churchyard of All Saints, Barnacre, undertaken by Bishop Knox

1911 Edward Thwaites, bleacher, died

At one time he owned Halliwell Hall


1911 Derby Electric Palace, Derby Road opened



1911 William Hesketh Lever consulted Thomas Mawson, landscape architect and Lecturer on Landscape Design at the University of Liverpool, regarding Town Planning in Bolton.

Mawson published “Bolton- a Study in Town Planning and Civic Art” and gave lectures entitled “Bolton Housing and Town Planning Society” which formed the basis of an illustrated book “Bolton – as it is and as it might be”


1911 Robert Whitehead’s granddaughter Agathe Whitehead marries Georg Ludwig von Trapp.

 Georg uses torpedoes as a submarine commander in World War I. Trapp and Agathe have seven children, who under the guidance of Trapp’s second wife Maria became the Trapp Family singers


1911-1912 Bolton Wanderers finished fourth in the First Division


1911-1913 Dr James Young – Mayor of Bolton (Conservative)

1912 (14 Apr) William (Ray) Westwood, footballer, born

Bolton Wanderers

Scored 128 goals in 304 games

Died 1982


1912 (15 Apr) RMS Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg

Captain Arthur Henry Rostron (born Bolton-1869) was master of the RMS Carpathia, which rescued the Survivors

The Carpathia would end up rescuing 710 survivors out of the 2,228 passengers and crew on board

The Californian and Captain Stanley Lord (born Bolton – 1877) became notorious for their failure to respond to distress signals sent up by Titanic

Captain Rostron received a "loving cup" from Margaret Brown for his rescue of Titanic survivors


1912 (27 May) Astor/Regal/Olympia/Rink Spa Road opened


1912 (27 May) The Olympia roller skating rink only lasted 3 years and closed on 27 May 1912.


1912 (27 May) The New Olympia Cinema opened on 27th May 1912.


1912 (19 Jun) Richard “Dick” Pollard, Lancashire and England cricketer, born in Westhoughton, Lancashire

He is the tenth highest wicket taker for Lancashire

Died 16 Dec 1985                                                                         

1912 (26 Jun) Dr James Young opened Tonge Park and Pleasure Ground.


1912 (1 Jul) Located in the north of the town at the corner of Darley Street and Shepherds Cross Street. The Gem Picturedrome was opened on 1st July 1912.


1912 (7 Sep) Alex Donaldson (1890-1972) made his debut against Chelsea on 7 September 1912.


1912 (14 Sep) Dr James Young opened Spinning School in Bridgeman Street and Flash Street School.


1912 (21 Sep) Miss Florence Blair, one of Harrison Blair's four daughters returned to Kearsley to lay the foundation stone of the new St Stephen’s School, Kearsley Moor,


1912 (Nov) William (Billy) Jennings made his Bolton Wanderers debut against Derby County.


1912 (2 Dec) The Queen’s Cinema opened 2 December 1912


1912 (14 Dec) John Lewis, British Labour Party politician, born

MP for Bolton West 1950-1951

Died 14 Jun 1969     


1912 (16 Dec) As Mayor, Dr James Young unveiled the bust of King Edward VII in Bolton Town Hall.



1912 (Dec) Caravezza marble bust of King Edward VII by George Frampton in Bolton Town Hall unveiled by James Young December 1912


1912 (Dec) Queen’s Picture House, Bradshawgate/Trinity Street opened.

 First purpose-built cinema.


1912 Holcombe Moor Training Camp:  The army first took over the 900 acres in 1912 and since then has used the land for live firing and exercises. This has included therefore training through both world wars and all other conflicts. Today it is primarily a training base for cadets.


1912 The first Bolton Harrier at the Olympics was George Wallach who ran the 10,000m in 1912.


1912 George Curtis Locke Wallach (1883 – 1980) competed in the 10,000 m at the 1912 Summer Olympics, but failed to reach the final.


1912 The Horse and Vulcan, 59 Deane Road closed in 1912,


1912 Woolworths first opened in Bolton on Oxford St in 1912


1912 FW Woolworth opened its Bolton branch in 1912 at 17-19 Oxford Street, just three years after the first UK store began business in Liverpool.  (>1926)


1912 Duke Of Bolton, 70 Folds Road closed in 1912


1912 In 1912 Britain's cotton industry sadly reached its peak, with eight billion yards of cloth being produced


1912 Walker & Homfray’s of Salford took over the Manchester Brewery Company in 1912


1912 Alex Donaldson (1890-1972) was signed by Bolton Wanderers in 1912 from Ripley Athletic.


1912 Sunnyside mill at Bolton was converted from steam to electric power.


1912 Chamber Hall Power Station was a coal-fired power station situated in Bury, Greater Manchester. It was opened in 1912 by the Bury Corporation Electricity Department.


1912 From a meeting addressed by Tom Mann the Bolton Socialist Club managed to make a profit of 11 Pounds 3 Shillings and 11 pence from tickets sold at 3d and 6d each


1912 Fred Perry (born 1909) - In 1912 the family moved to Bolton and reputedly lived at 14 Hulton Lane. His father Sam was a rising figure in the Co-operative Party, and by 1915 his promotion took the family to Wallasey and then on to Ealing.


About 1912 A number of members left the Smithills-based Bolton Golf Club for a new eighteen-hole golf course being laid out at Lostock Park, off Chorley New Road. For some reason the new club took the name of Bolton Golf Club. The original course remained and became known as Bolton Old Links Golf Club

1912-1913 Stockport Central Library – Bradshaw, Gass & Hope


1912-1913 The "Trotters" finished the 1912–13 season in eighth place in the First Division.


1912-1916 John James Bentley (born 1860) filled the position of club secretary of Manchester United.


1912–1925 Walter Rowley (Bolton Wanderers) scored 7 goals in  175 appearances


1913 (19 Feb) The Beehive Picture Palace was opened on 19th February 1913


1913 (Feb) Beehive Picture Palace, Bark Street, opened (>Feb 1927)


1913 (31 May) A plaque in the grounds of Rivington Unitarian Chapel commemorates the birthday of American poet, Walt Whitman (1819-1892), celebrated at the chapel by the Eagle Street College , an event hosted by the minister, Rev. Samuel Thompson.


1913 (10 Jul) King George V and Queen Mary visited the town, the first time a reigning monarch had come to Bolton.                               1913 James Young, Mayor – 1913


1913 (23 Jul) Great Lever Park opened by Ida, Countess of Bradford.


1913 (24 Jul) Prestons of Bolton store relocated to its landmark building.

When opened it was the largest jewellery store in the north of England.   Prestons of Bolton  officially closed its doors for the last time in early 2017. 


1913 (Jul) The Princess Picture Palace was built adjacent to the Theatre Royal and opened in July 1913.


1913 (Dec) Tonge Moor Picturedrome, Tonge Moor Road opened – conversion of tram sheds.


1913 The house “ Doffcockers”  was demolished in 1913


1913 Lancashire and Cheshire Miners Federation building built 1913.

1913 In 1913 Thomas Greenall, President and Thomas Ashton, Secretary, laid foundation stones in Bridgeman Place, Bolton for stone and brick headquarters designed by Bolton architects Bradshaw, Gass & Hope

1913 Prestons rebuild on the corner in style of Whitehead’s into form known through rest of C20.


1913 The Paragon Electric Varieties Theatre was opened by United Electric Theatres Ltd. in 1913.


1913 The Foresters Arms closed in 1913


1913 Lever’s house at Rivington was destroyed by suffragette Edith Rigby.

Ironically, as he was in favour of women’s suffrage


1913 Lady Elizabeth Ellen Lever died


1913 Sir William Hesketh Lever, the first Viscount Leverhulme, gave a generous joint endowment to the Bolton Grammar School and the Bolton High School for Girls on the condition that the two should be equal partners known as Bolton School (Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions)


1913 Although founded in 1895 by Percy Ritherdon, Ritherdon & Co became Ritherdon & Co Limited by registering as company number 126330 with Companies House in January 1913.


1913-1914 John Turner Brooks – Mayor of Bolton


1913-1914 Wanderers finished in sixth position in 1913–14.


1914 (21 Jan) Alex Donaldson very nearly played for England before being capped by Scotland. While heading for an English international trial match in Sunderland on 21 January 1914, Donaldson revealed that he was actually born in Scotland.


1914 (2 Feb) The Atlas Cinema was opened on 2nd February 1914 with 1,000 seats.  


1914 (11 Apr) Albert Geldard was born in Bradford on 11th April 1914.

1914 (3 Jun) Andrew Norrie Allen (born 1886), aged 28, married Mary Ellen Higson at  St. George's, Bolton-Le-Moors, Lancashire, England

Father: Isaac Allen.

1914 (6 Jul) Carlton Theatre/Mount Picture Theatre, Mount Street/Merrick Street opened (>1960)


1914 (6 Jul) The Mount Picture Theatre was opened on 6th July 1914.


1914 (8 Aug) Arthur Frederick Holt, Liberal Party politician, born

MP for Bolton West 1951-1964

Died 23 Aug 1995


1914 (12 Aug) Wednesday- Belle Cinema, Belmont Road, Astley Bridge, opened



1914 (12 Aug) Located in the Astley Bridge district of Bolton, the Belle Electric Theatre opened on 12th August 1914.


1914 (3 Sep) The electricity generating station Back o’ th’ Bank started supplying Bolton on September 3rd 1914.


1914 (13 Sep) George Eastham was born in Blackpool on 13th September 1914.


1914 (22 Sep) Robert Tootill (1850 – 1934) was elected in a by-election held on 22 September 1914 following the death of his predecessor Alfred Gill and held the seat in the 1918 general election.

1914 Sir James Scott, died.                                                        One of the founders  of the Bolton Guild of Help, he made many donations to the charity over the years until his death in 1914. 


1914-15 Bolton Wanderers reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. However, they were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield United.


1914-1915 Wanderers ended the 1914–15 campaign in 17th place.


The Football League was suspended during World War I, and Donaldson guested for Leicester Fosse and Port Vale. He returned to Burnden Park after the war,


1914-1918 Ernest William Gregg lost two sons in the First World War – Robert Phillips Gregg and Arthur Tylston Gregg

The names of both sons appear on Dunscar War Memorial and on the Roll of Honour, Christ Church, Walmsley


1914-1918 First World War – Bolton Wanderers manager Tom Mather was called up to join the Royal Navy


1914 Bill Naughton (born Ballyhaunis 1910) moved to Bolton as a child.

He attended St Peter and Paul’s School


1914 6600 million yards of cloth exported from Lancashire


1914-1916 James Seddon Mayor of Bolton (Conservative)


Airships made about 51 bombing raids on England during the war. These killed 557 and injured another 1,358 people. More than 5,000 bombs were dropped on towns across Britain, causing £1.5 million in damage. 84 airships took part, of which 30 were either shot down or lost in accidents. Aeroplanes carried out 27 raids, dropping 246,774 lb (111,935 kg) of bombs for the loss of 62 aircraft, resulting in ground casualties of 835 dead, 1,972 injured and £1,418,272 of material damage




How many Boltonians lost their lives during World War 1?


Our Bolton War Dead and War Memorials projects are amassing information from a wide range of sources. One of the problems encountered is that some men and women are not included on memorials or rolls of honour and other appear multiple times. It is doubtful we will be able to arrive at a definitive figure, but the current total of casualties born in the Borough of Bolton (as it is now) is around 3, 300 people.

Who were the youngest and oldest Boltonian combatants killed during World War 1?




There are 5 sixteen year olds (according to official recorded ages) in the database, though it is likely that there were younger soldiers as many young boys lied about their age to enlist. The last born was Private Thomas Pomfret of the 1/7 Lancashire Fusiliers, who was killed in action at Gallipoli on the 7th August 1915.




The oldest soldier recorded in the database is Pioneer George Adamson, Royal Engineers, who was killed in action in Belgium on 7th October 1917 aged 54.




Who were the First and Last Boltonian combatants killed during the War?


First Killed on War Service


Private John Proctor Ratcliffe of the East Lancashire Regiment was the first Boltonian casualty of the First World War. He died shortly after the outbreak of war on 10th August 1914 while on service at the East Lancashire Regiment depot in Preston.


First Killed Overseas


Two Boltonians were killed on the same day, 24th August 1914, Both Private Edward McKay of the South Lancashire Regiment and Private James Unsworth of the Cheshire Regiment were killed in action in France on that day.


Last Killed in Action


Captain Richard Burton D.S.O of the 8th Battalion Royal Marine Light Infantry was killed during the Russian Intervention on 8th September 1919.

Why do the dates on the Cenotaph in Victoria Square cover 1914-1919 and not 1914-1918?


The War Memorial Committee made the decision have 1919 as the end date for the cenotaph as 28th June 1919 was declared as the official end of the war.  This was the date of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.


Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.


This is why the Peace Celebrations in Bolton took place in 1919 not 1918, and why some war memorials say 1919.

Which Army regiment would my Bolton ancestor have served with?


Soldiers who served in the Army during the First World War were often transferred between units for a variety of reasons. However a number of regiments principally recruited from Bolton and outlying districts:


The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment


The Loyals, as they were known, constitute the largest number of Boltonian soldiers who served during the First World War. They fought in almost every major action of the war, including Mons, the Marne, the Somme, Paschendaele, Gallipoli and Ypres. The Regiment raised a total of 21 battalions and was awarded 68 battle honours, 3 Victoria Crosses and lost approximately 7,590 men during the course of the war.


The Lancashire Fusiliers


The Lancashire Fusiliers recruited the second largest contingent of men from Bolton. They raised over 30 battalions of infantry for war service. It was awarded 63 battle honours and 6 Victoria Crosses, and lost 13,640 men.


The Manchester Regiment


The Manchester Regiment recruited soldiers from across the region, not just Manchester. During the war the regiment formed an extra 38 battalions in addition to the two Regular, two Militia and six Territorial Battalions. It was awarded 72 battle honours and 11 Victoria Crosses. 1,3770 men were lost during the course of the war.


The Royal Field Artillery


Serving as one half of the British Army's artillery, the Royal Field Artillery recruited a number of men from the Bolton area (and the Royal Artillery still has a presence in the town). The Bolton Artillery, as it was known was composed of 18, 19 and 20 Batteries of 1/3 East Lancashire Brigade, RFA.

Which was the most popular Army regiment for Boltonians to join?


The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, by quite some margin. According to our Bolton War Dead and War Memorials project, over 2,800 men were killed while serving with the Loyals and nearly 600 men died serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers.


Where are Bolton's Civic War Memorials?


The official Bolton County Borough War Memorial is the Cenotaph on Victoria Square. There are no names inscribed on the cenotaph, rather they are entered in the Borough's Roll of Honour in the Town Hall's Hall of Remembrance. The cenotaph was designed by Arthur John Hope (of the local architects Bradshaw, Gass and Hope) and the sculptor was Walter Marsden.


There are also Civic War Memorials in the following locations:


Nelson Square


Queen's Park


Heaton Cemetery


Farnworth Park


Horwich Memorial Gardens (Lever Park Avenue)


Blackrod Cemetery


Kearsley Town Hall


Dunscar War Memorial


Westhoughton Health Centre


Little Lever Library


Horwich Locomotive Works


Of course there are many more memorials in the Borough, all of which we are hoping to record as part of our War Memorials Project.


How many hospitals were there in Bolton who treated military casualties?


Six. Bolton Infirmary, Townleys (Bolton General Hospital), Watermillock, Blair Hospital, Green Bank House and Crompton Fold.


Where there any Conscientious Objectors in Bolton and what happened to them?


Research is ongoing but currently 91 First World War Conscientious Objectors (COs) have been identified from Bolton and district, with 59 from Bolton, 13 from Westhoughton, 12 from Farnworth, 5 from Turton and 1 each from Kearsley and Little Lever. Almost all are in the comprehensive database of more than 17,000 British conscientious objectors compiled by Cyril Pearce. The Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, has been incorporated in the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War digital platform.


The Westhoughton Urban District Tribunal Register brings more complete information for that district. The local newspapers record tribunal decisions and arrests, with names and addresses only given for the latter. Family information can be found in local Directories and in the Census Returns for 1901 and 1911. There are a significant number of unidentified COs in newspaper reports, especially for Bolton and Kearsley.


42 of the local COs are known to have been arrested or court martialled and in most cases sent to prison, which often damaged their health and their career prospects. Motivations are not known for 31 COs, but 52 cited religious beliefs with 24 Quakers, 9 Methodists, 7 Church of England and 5 Congregationalists recorded. 10 also had political convictions. This stance led the Quakers to refuse to fight but many were prepared to undertake alternative work with the Friends Ambulance Unit in France or its General Service section at home.


The 10 socialists refused to fight in what they considered an Imperialist War, which pitted worker against worker with no benefit for them. A minority of COs had no strong religious or political views but decided for themselves that killing under any circumstances was wrong.


The most famous local CO was George Tomlinson, later Labour MP for Farnworth and Minister for Education, who had to work in a market garden.


Under Conscription from March 1916, all who objected to military service for family, business or conscientious reasons were called before their local military tribunal, composed mainly of Councillors and with an influential Military Representative.  Tribunal members were generally hostile to COs, especially socialists and the unattached. They were usually more sympathetic to Quakers and other religious groups strongly opposed to war.


Tribunals very rarely gave absolute exemptions and initially demanded non-combatant service, but most COs were prepared to go to prison to avoid it. Later on COs would be called for work of national importance, e.g. agriculture or forestry, although some kind of sacrifice or hardship was required. This could mean working 25 miles away from home or at a lower pay rate. Many occupations in munitions, war supplies, mining and transport were exempted from military service.



1914-1922 Robert Tootill (1850-1934) was a Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) from 1914 to 1922 for the constituency of Bolton.

bottom of page