top of page

Campbell Jocelyn H Benjamin (1914-2004)          

Politician                                                                 Born 27 May 1914 Antigua, West Indies                       Died 9 October 2004 Bolton.                                      Mayor of Bolton 1993 (Labour).                                     First black Mayor of Bolton. OBE 1996. Honorary Alderman 1998.                                                         Came to Britain in 1942 to help War effort and worked in munitions and aircraft factories. Settled in Bolton in 1945 and later worked as a tailor and Union representative at Burton's in Worsley. Represented Breightmet as councillor.

Alan Bennett   ( c.1962 -2009)                                    In April 2009  the body of rough sleeper Alan Bennett was found in the cellar of the Church Hotel, Crook Street, Bolton following a blaze. 

Manchester-born Mr Bennett, aged 47, was believed to have been dead for at least a month before he was discovered.

Hywel Thomas Bennett (1944-2017)                             Welsh film and television actor                                       Born 8 April 1944  Garnant                                       Died  25 July 2017     Cardiff                                       Arthur Fitton in the film The Family Way in film  based on "All in Good Time" by Bill Naughton.                             Some of the film was shot in Naughton's hometown of Bolton.                                                                                                                  


Michael (Mike) Bennett (1962- )                                     Professional Footballer                                               Born 24 December 1962 Bolton.  

 Left back - played for Bolton Wanderers 1980-83, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Cambridge United, Preston and Carlisle.


Eric Russell Bentley (1916- )                                          American Critic, Playwright, Editor and Translator             Born 14 September 1916 Bolton.                               Educated Bolton School; Oxford University; Yale University, USA.                                                                   Drama critic for New Republic 1958-61 - assistant to and translator of Bertholt Brecht.                                         Son of Frank Bentley, Mayor of Bolton 1943 qv.


Fred Bentley (1883-1954)                      

Politician                                                                    Born 18 January 1883 Newport Street, Bolton                 Died 10 July 1954 Bolton                                             Educated Mawdsley Street School, Bolton.                    Mayor of Bolton 1943 (Liberal).                                     Worked for his family firm of Joseph Bentley (Bolton) Ltd, removal contractors, eventually becoming a director.       Father of US theatre critic Eric Russell Bentley qv.


George Benyon (1911-1974)             

Politician                                                                    Born 18 November 1911                                          Died 4 April 1974.                                                  Educated Kellet's School; St James's Secondary School.      Mayor of Farnworth 1958 (Labour).                                Worked for the North Western Electricity Board.


Anthony (Tony) Berry (1950-)               

Musician.                                                                  Born 15 January 1950 Townleys, Farnworth, Bolton         

Died 13 June 2019 aged 69 following a long illness       

Educated Sacred Heart Primary School, Westhoughton; Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton.                           Lead singer with Westhoughton folk group 'the Houghton Weavers'. The group were formed in 1975, had their own long running TV series 'Sit Thi Deawn' in the 1970s and continue to perform and record.                                     Also recorded as 'Blueberry Hill' with fellow Hougton Weaver Jeff Hill qv.


Doris Berry (1912-1992)                                              Politician                                                                 Born  19 October 1912 Bolton.                                    Died 22 May 1992 Bolton                                           Educated Deane Church of England Primary School; Derby Street High School.                                                      Mayor of Bolton 1974 (Conservative).             

First Mayor of the newly formed Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. Born Doris Woodall, she ran a flower shop for the family nursery in Bolton Market Hall before marrying Walter Berry.


John Berry (1838-1911)                   

Politician and Philanthropist.                                          Born 1838 Dawes Street, Bolton                                    Died 19 January 1911 Bolton                                    Educated Bolton Grammar School.               

Established forerunner of Bolton Technical Schools 1878 - Established Workingmen's Hospital Saturday Committee of which he was first Chairman 1881.                             JP 1888 - Councillor 1895 - Alderman 1906.                   Memorial in Bolton Parish Church.

Sir Henry Bessemer FRS (1813-1898)                             English inventor                                                          Born 19 January 1813                                                Died 15 March 1898)                                                 His steel-making process would become the most important technique for making steel in the nineteenth century for almost one hundred years from 1856 to 1950.

George Best (1946-2005)                                           Failed to agree terms with Bolton Wanderers in 1981,


Charles Harold Beswick (1874-1945)                  

Politician                                                                    Born 25 December 1874 Myrtle Street, Bolton.              

Died 19 February 1945 Woodbourne, Carlton Road, Bolton                                                                      Mayor of Bolton 1939 (Liberal).                                  Boot maker. Under his sponsorship as Mayor, Bolton War Weapons Week in 1940 raised £1,402,747.

Ayaz Bhuta  (1989-)                                                   Paralympic athlete from Bolton                                      Born 17 Apr 1989                                               Won a gold medal in the Paralympic Tokyo 2020 games with the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team  after beating the USA 29 Aug 2021.                              Born with Roberts Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the growth of bones in the arms and legs, he is just 3ft 7inches tall.                                                Attended Mount Saint Joseph's Secondary School and Thornleigh Salesian college.


James Billington (1847-1901)                                     Public Hangman.                                                    Born 1847 Preston, Lancashire                                     Died 13 December 1901 Derby Arms, Bolton.  

Appointed executioner for County of York - first execution 1884 Armley Gaol, Leeds = Joseph Laycock who had killed his wife and 4 children and was almost certainly insane.                                                                      Executed 147 people - Last execution - December 1903 was of a Bolton wife-murderer, Patrick McKenna of 19 Kestor St, who he knew. 22,500 people signed petition for mercy to no avail.                                                   Barber at Farnworth & Great Moor St, Bolton? - Practiced on dummies in back yard in Market Street Farnworth - A 'hobby' which he 'paid attention to' on 'humanitarian grounds' - Became landlord of Derby Arms on Churchgate.


John Billington (1880-1905)                                         Assistant Public Hangman                                            Born 1880 Kearsley, Bolton                                         Died 1905 Chorley, Lancashire.                                    Son of Public Hangman James Billington - Barber at Great Moor Street, Bolton.


Stephen Billington (1969-)             

Actor                                                                    Born 10 December 1969 Bolton.                                Educated The Drama Centre, London.                            Played Greg Kelly in 'Coronation Street' also appeared in 'Space Precinct'.                                                     Family moved to South Africa when he was aged 3. Moved back to UK when he was 11 (to Preston.)


Thomas Billington (1873-1902)                                    Public Hangman            

Born 1873 Bolton               

Died 10 January 1902 Bolton.                                   Eldest Son of James Billington who he succeeded as Public Hangman.


William Billington (1875-1934)                                     Public Hangman.                                                      Born 1875 Standish, Lancashire                                    Died 1934.                                                          Son of James Billington - Succeeded brother Thomas - resigned 1903 - took to alcohol - charged with neglecting wife and children who went to the Workhouse - sent to prison.                                                              Blacksmith and barber by trade - shop in Great Moor Street, Bolton.


Reuben Ward Binks (1880-1950)                                  Painter                                                                     Born 1880 Halliwell, Bolton                                        Died 1950 Sowerby, Westmorland (N Yorkshire)             Educated Manchester Art School                                Specialised in painting animals - commissioned to paint portraits of the favourite hunting dogs of royalty and other wealthy patrons.

Charles Bell Birch ARA (1832-1893)                             British Sculptor                                                            Born 28 September 1832                                            Died 16 October 1893                                               Statue of Dr. S. T. Chadwick, at Bolton.

Peter Gareth Birch (1948-2001)                   

Politician.                                                                  Born 7 September 1948                                              Died 4 December 2001 Great Lever, Bolton.                Mayor of Bolton 1997 (Labour).                                     Diabetic and campaigner for diabetes and lupus charities. Represented Burnden ward for more than 21 years.

Sgt Thomas Blackburn (-1941)                                       He was killed on 17 October 1941 flying a Curtiss P40 Tomahawk.                                                              He served with RAF10 Squadron. The flight was with the Service Ferry Pool.                                                      Fortunately, no-one on the ground was killed or seriously injured.                                                                    The Bolton Evening News reported that “Mrs Turner, an octogenarian, 50 Mornington Rd, had a miraculous escape. When the plane fell on her house, she was sweeping a carpet in the back yard. She escaped with a face blackened by debris and slight shock. Her house is the worst affected, almost the entire back being torn out.”

William James   Blackledge (1886-)                               Journalist and Author                                                   Born 1886 Fleet Street, Bolton.                                     Began working lfe as an apprentice clogger but helped by Allen Clarke qv to get a job as as a newspaper reporter in Blackpool.                                                                 Wrote 'With The Secret Service in Morocco' 1933, 'The Legion of Marching Madmen', 'Give the Lady a Camel' etc - apparently many of his books were about the French Foreign Legion. Co-wrote books with 'Ex-Legionnaire 1384'.


Charles Harrison Blackley (1820-1900)                          Physician and Medical Researcher                               Born 5 April 1820  Bolton                                            Died 1900 Southport, Lancashire.              

Began work as printer and engraver but his interest in science and botany lead him to study for a career in medicine. He practised as a homeopathist at Stretford Road, Manchester, eventually qualifying as an MD at Brussels in 1874.                                                         A pioneer in researching allergies, his 'Experimental Researchs on the Causes and Nature of Catarrhus Aestivus' 1873 definitively established the relationship between pollen inhalation and hay fever for the first time. Other works on the subject followed.                                       He also invented the first practical pollen counting device.


Stephen Blair (1804-1870)                                          Born 1804 Wigton, Cumberland                                  Died 4 July 1870 Peel Hall, Bolton                      Educated Wigton, Cumberland.                                  MP Bolton 1848-1852 (Conservative).                         Mayor of Bolton 1845.                                               First Conservative Mayor. Left £20,000 bequest for the 'erection and furnishing of a free hospital for sick persons without limit of domicile', and a further sum of £10,000 for its endowment - Blair Hospital on Hospital Road, Bromley Cross, Bolton.                                              Head of bleaching firm Blair & Sumner. Prominent Freemason - member of Anchor & Hope Lodge No 37 in Bolton - Provincial Grand Master of the East Lacashire Province from 24 July 1856 until his death.

bottom of page