infobox UK place
country = England
latitude = 53.5815
longitude = -2.4297
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
population= 139,403 (2001 Census)
official_name= Bolton
metropolitan_borough= Bolton
region = North West England
constituency_westminster= Bolton North East
constituency_westminster1= Bolton South East
constituency_westminster2= Bolton West
post_town= BOLTON
postcode_district = BL1-BL7
postcode_area= BL
dial_code= 01204
os_grid_reference= SD715095

static_image_caption=Bolton Town Hall

Bolton (Audio|en-uk-Bolton.ogg|pronunciation) is a large town in Greater Manchester, in the North West region of England.cite web |url= |title=A select gazetteer of local government areas, Greater Manchester County|author=Anon|publisher=Greater Manchester County Records Office|accessdate=2007-06-20|date= 2003-07-31] Situated close to the West Pennine Moors, convert|10|mi|km|lk=on north west of the city of Manchester, it is the largest and most populous settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, and has a population of 139,403,a decline from previous years, as the populace migrate from the old town boundaries to the more palatial wider borough, the borough population now being 262,500.cite web | url= | title= UK Towns with Populations over 100,000 | work=LoveMyTown | accessdate= 2007-06-17] [ UK Town Populations Compared With Council Populations] . URL accessed 17 June 2007.] cite web | url= | title= KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas | publisher= Office for National Statistics | accessdate= 2007-06-17]

Historically a part of Lancashire, Bolton originated as a small settlement in the moorland known as Bolton le Moors. During the English Civil War the town was a Parliamentarian outpost in a staunchly Royalist region. In 1644 Bolton was stormed by 3,000 Royalist troops lead by Prince Rupert of the Rhine. This attack, which later came to be known as the Bolton Massacre, resulted in 1,600 residents being killed and 700 taken prisoner.

Noted as a former mill town, textiles have been produced in Bolton since Flemish weavers settled in the area during the 15th century, developing a wool and cotton weaving tradition. The urbanisation and development of Bolton largely coincided with the introduction of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. It was a boomtown of the 19th century and, at its zenith in 1929, 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dying works, made it one of the largest and most productive centres of cotton spinning in the world. After World War I the British cotton industry declined sharply and by the 1980s cotton manufacture had virtually ceased in Bolton.

Bolton is today noted for its Premier League football team Bolton Wanderers F.C. who play from the Reebok Stadium, with Reebok, the sportswear company, being based in the town.



The town's name, (in full, "Bolton-le-Moors") has been recorded over the years with many derivations of spelling including Bothelton, Boulton and Bolton-super-Moras. However, the exact origins are not totally clear from historical records.cite web|url=|title=A Town of Many Names|publisher= Bolton Evening News|date=2001-07-24|accessdate=2008-03-08] cite web | url= | title= The story of Bolton | publisher= Bolton Evening News | date= 28 June 2003 | accessdate= 2008-03-08] There have been three main hypotheses – one is that because of its location in the valleys of confluencing moorland rivers, it is derived from "Bowl Town",Fact|date=June 2007 another suggesting it is a derivation from the Saxon words "bolt" and "tun", meaning "arrow" and "stockade" respectively. [ History of Bolton] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.] A final suggestion is from the words "boul" and "town", where boul means a monument or central feature, though the boul itself is unidentified. A further possibility is that "bol" derives from the Norse for farm and "ton" from the Norse for town.

Early history

Evidence of a Saxon settlement exists in the form of religious objects found when the present Victorian parish church was built. [ History of Bolton Parish Church] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.]

The town was given a charter to hold a market in Churchgate in 1251 by King Henry III of England. [ Bolton's Social history] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.] It was then made into a market town and borough by a charter from the Earl of Derby, William de Ferrers, on January 14, 1253. [ Bolton's Social history] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.]

English Civil War

During the English Civil War, Bolton supported Parliament and the Puritan cause, unlike most of the rest of Lancashire. The town was twice attacked unsuccessfully until the third assault on May 28, 1644. Prince Rupert's army along with troops under the Earl of Derby, attacked the town. There were 1,500 dead, and 700 taken prisoner. It became known as the Bolton Massacre. [ Bolton's Social history] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.]

Textile manufacture

The town's position on the west of the Pennines provides a damp climate. It is this feature which probably led to Flemish weavers, fleeing the Huguenot persecutions in the 17th century, to eventually settle here, as moisture-laden air allows for the spinning of cotton with little breakage. The cotton industry was to provide the catalyst for the town's expansion between the 14th and 19th centuries. Large, steam-powered textile mills eventually dominated the town's skyline, providing the major employment and defining the rhythm of the working week, so much so that an annual shut-down for maintenance in late June became the Bolton holidays. There were also some large iron foundries in the town as well as other engineering works, many connected with the cotton industry. The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal connected the town to Bury and Manchester.

Bolton was Worktown in the Mass-Observation project which has left us with many photographs taken around the town by Humphrey Spender as part of that project. [ Humphrey Spender's Worktown] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.]


Civic history

Until the early 19th century, Great Bolton and Little Bolton were two of the eighteen townships of the ecclesiastical parish of Bolton le Moors. These two townships were separated by the River Croal, with Little Bolton on the north side of the river and Great Bolton on the south side. [ Great Bolton township] . "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 243-51". URL accessed 8 June 2007.] [ Little Bolton township] . "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 251-55". URL accessed 8 June 2007.] [ The parish of Bolton-le-Moors] . "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 235-43". URL accessed 8 June 2007.]

In 1838, Great Bolton, most of Little Bolton and the Haulgh area from Tonge with Haulgh township were incorporated under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 as a municipal borough, making it the second to be created in England, after Devonport. Further additions were made to the borough, with part of Rumworth in 1872, and part of Halliwell in 1877. [ Greater Manchester Record Office - Bolton] . URL accessed 6 July 2007.] [ Bolton County Borough] . URL accessed 6 July 2007.]

In 1889, Bolton was granted County Borough status and became entirely self-governing and independent from Lancashire County Council jurisdiction. In 1898, it was extended further by adding the civil parishes of Breightmet, Darcy Lever, Great Lever, the rest of Halliwell, Heaton, Lostock, Middle Hulton, the rest of Rumworth (which had been renamed Deane in 1894), Smithills, and Tonge, plus Astley Bridge Urban District, and part of Over Hulton civil parish. [ Greater Manchester Record Office - Bolton] . URL accessed 6 July 2007.] [ Bolton County Borough] . URL accessed 6 July 2007.]

The County Borough of Bolton was abolished in 1974 and became a constituent part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester. [ Greater Manchester Record Office - Bolton] . URL accessed 5 July 2007.] [ Bolton Metropolitan Borough] . URL accessed 6 July 2007.]

Parliamentary representation

Under the Reform Act of 1832, a Parliamentary Borough was established for the town. The Bolton constituency had two Members of Parliament who both represented the whole borough. [ Leigh Rayment's - House of Commons: Bodmin to Bradford East] , (including Bolton)] . URL accessed 6 June 2007.]

The Parliamentary Borough continued until 1950 when it was abolished and replaced with two parliamentary constituencies, Bolton East and Bolton West, each with one M.P. [ Leigh Rayment's - House of Commons: Bodmin to Bradford East] , (including Bolton)] . URL accessed 6 June 2007.]

In 1983, Bolton East was abolished and two new constituencies were created, Bolton North East (which covers a large part of the former Bolton East), and Bolton South East (which covers most of the former Farnworth constituency). Also in 1983, there were major boundary changes to Bolton West, which took over most of the former Westhoughton constituency. [ Leigh Rayment's - House of Commons: Bodmin to Bradford East] , (including Bolton)] . URL accessed 6 June 2007.] [ Bolton West constituency profile] . URL accessed 6 June 2007.]



Bolton Parish Church

The Parish Church, dedicated to St Peter, is a fine example of the gothic revival style. Built between 1866 and 1871 of Longridge stone to designs by Paley, the church is convert|67|ft|m|1|lk=on|abbr=on in width, convert|156|ft|m|1|abbr=on in length, and convert|82|ft|m|1|abbr=on in height. The tower is convert|180|ft|m|1|abbr=on high with 13 bells. [ History of Bolton Parish Church] . "Official website". URL accessed 6 February 2008.]

The first known church on the same site was built in Anglo-Saxon times. It was rebuilt in Norman times and again in the early 1400s. Little is known of the first two churches, but the third building was a solid, squat building with a sturdy square tower at the west end. It was modified over the years until it fell into disrepair and demolished in 1866. Fragments of stone and other artefacts from these first three buildings are displayed in the museum corner of the present church. [ History of Bolton Parish Church] . "Official website". URL accessed 6 February 2008.]

Today, the present parish of Bolton-le-Moors only covers a small area in the town centre, [ Bolton-le-Moors: St Peter (Parish Map)] . URL accessed 6 February 2008.] but until the 19th century it covered a much larger area and was divided into eighteen chapelries and townships. [ [ The parish of Bolton-le-Moors] . "British History Online". URL accessed 6 February 2008.] [ Map of Bolton ancient parishes] . URL accessed 9 February 2008.]

The neighbouring ancient parish of Deane once covered a large area to the west and south of Bolton, [ [ GENUKI St Mary the Virgin, Deane] . URL accessed 9 February 2008.] and the township of Great Lever had been part of the ancient parish of Middleton. [ Map of Bolton ancient parishes] . URL accessed 9 February 2008.]

Bolton Town Hall

Situated in the town centre, the Town Hall is an imposing neoclassical building. It was designed by William Hill who later designed the Portsmouth Guildhall. Opened on 5 June 1873 by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later as Edward VII), it was built on the site of an old Pot Market which had previously been known as Market Square. In the 1930s, the building was extended, by Bradshaw Gass & Hope, with additional office space which almost doubled in size. [ Right royal opening] . URL accessed URL accessed 6 February 2008.] [ Bolton Town Hall] . URL accessed 6 February 2008.] [ [ Bolton Town Hall Conservation Area] . "Official website". URL accessed 6 February 2008.]

Incorporated within the Town Hall are the Albert Halls. The original Albert Hall was destroyed by a massive fire on 14 November 1981. It took three and half years for the complete internal reconstruction work to be finished. Reopened in 1985, the new Albert Halls now comprises two separate halls and several function rooms. [ The Albert Halls] . URL accessed 6 February 2008.]


Township populations

These census population figures are for the former townships of Great Bolton and Little Bolton.

County Borough population

These census population figures are for the former County Borough of Bolton.


In recent times, the town has swapped much of its heavy industry for service-based activities including a large number of data processing and call centres and also hi-tech electronics and IT companies. It attracts shoppers from all over the north of England and further afield, not only to the Victorian splendour of the town centre but to newly developed Middlebrook retail park, home to Bolton Wanderers, the Bolton Arena, leisure facilities, shops, pubs, restaurants and sundry other businesses. The town retains a variety of more traditional industries, employing people in, amongst other things, aerospace, paper-manufacturing, packaging, textiles, transportation, steel foundries and building materials. The area of Horwich around Middlebrook has been designated by Bolton Council as the `Bolton Economic Development Zone', and is currently seeing much building work, predominantly office space for law firms and business headquarters.

Tourism plays an important part in the local economy, with visitor attractions such as Hall i' th' Wood (the home of inventor Samuel Crompton), Smithills Country Park and Smithills Hall, Rivington, Last Drop Village, Barrow Bridge mill village, Bolton Steam Museum and the civic museums in the town centre. Residents and visitors alike can make use of the facilities at Leverhulme, Moss Bank and Queen's parks.

Bolton is the birthplace of the Reebok brand. The company's European headquarters are located in the Reebok Stadium. Bolton is also the home of the family bakery, Warburtons, who began their business in 1876 on Blackburn Road in Bolton.

Bolton has also has a strong presence in the Aerospace industry through the production of military missiles and systems. This centred round the British Aerospace (BAe) factory in Lostock which formerly had the largest machine shop in Europe. BAe also had factories in Farnworth, Wingates and in the Spa Lane area of Bolton. The Lostock factory has been reduced drastically over the last couple of decades with the bulk of the buildings being sold off. A workforce of around 300 people continue to work there under the BAE Systems subsidiary MBDA. Current missile systems produced there include; ASRAAM, Rapier and Storm Shadow which are in service with the RAF and various forces around the globe.

Bolton town centre over the next 10 years will under go a series of major improvements including Church Wharf by Ask developments and bluemantle it will cost 226 million, Merchants Quarter which includes the local developer Charles Topham group it will cost 200 million, Bolton Innovation Zone(BIZ) which is large 300 million development plus which is has the University of Bolton at its core, this development will include various develpers. There is also the central street development which is a retail lead development which will cost 100 million by Wilson Bowden Developments Limited there is also many smaller operations. The developments listed above are likely to attract 20,000 new jobs.


Bolton is well served in terms of both the local road network and national routes.The A6, a major north–south trunk road, passes through Hunger Hill and Westhoughton.The A666 (sometimes referred to as `The Devil's Highway' because of the numeric designation) is a 4-lane dual carriageway which acts as a spur from the large M61/M60 motorway interchange, carrying traffic to and from the town centre. The A666 continues North, up through Astley Bridge, Egerton and on into Darwen and Blackburn, Lancashire. The M61 itself has three dedicated junctions serving the borough.

Bolton is served by the National Express coach network.

Bolton is located on the Manchester loop of the West Coast Mainline and as such is served by Virgin West Coast trains passing through Manchester Piccadilly station. There are regular commuter services between most of the local stations and Manchester. The Bolton metropolitan area is served by the following railway stations:

*Bolton Trinity Street - a town-centre transport interchange
*Bromley Cross
*Hall i' th' Wood
*Horwich Parkway (for the Reebok Stadium - Bolton Wanderers FC)
*Moses Gate


Bolton is home to a leading independent day school, Bolton School, whose Boys' Division originated around 1516. It was endowed by Robert Lever in 1641 and again by William Hesketh Lever (later Lord Leverhulme) in 1898, allowing it to be rebuilt alongside a new Girls' Division on its current site in Chorley New Road. The town can also boast Lord's Independent School, established by Mr Lord, a local eccentric, in 1906. [ [ Lord's Independent School] . URL accessed 22 February 2008.]

Bolton also has its own modern university, the University of Bolton. Formerly Bolton Institute of Higher Education, it gained university status in 2005 and has seen much building work and growth since.

The town's secondary schools include Westhoughton High School, Canon Slade School, Withins School, Sharples School, Thornleigh Salesian College, Turton High School Media Arts College [ [ Turton High School Media Arts College] . URL accessed 22 February 2008.] and Smithills School, which boasts a world champion brass band. Bolton also has a community college which provides further education to many in the borough and has many sites throughout, [ [ Bolton Community College] . URL accessed 22 February 2008.] as well as Bolton Sixth Form College, which comprises North and South campuses.

The Bolton Teaching and Learning Centre serves schools as a central point for online materials. [ Bolton Teaching and Learning Centre] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.]

The Bolton Steam Museum has several restored working steam engines.


Bolton is home to the Premier League football club, Bolton Wanderers F.C.. Formerly playing at Burnden Park they now play at the Reebok Stadium.

Indoor facilities for sports training and major racket sports tournaments are provided courtesy of the newly built Bolton Arena, which was used for some of the events in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Bolton is also home to one of North West England's largest Field Hockey Clubs, Bolton Hockey Club. [ [ Welcome to Bolton Hockey Club] . URL accessed 8 November 2007.]

The oldest football club in Lancashire, Turton F.C., was formed in a village on the moors above Bolton in 1871 and is said to have introduce the Association game to the county. [ Turton Football Club] . Official Site. URL accessed 8 March 2008.] There have been recent claims that their original ground, which is still in use, is the oldest surviving football ground in the world. It is claimed matches were played there since the 1830s. [ Bolton has the oldest football ground in the country] . "The Bolton News" 8 May 2007.]

There are two local cricket leagues in Bolton, the Bolton Cricket League [ Citeweb|title=The Bolton Cricket League Website|url=|accessdate=2008-09-17] and the Bolton Cricket Association [ Citeweb|title=The Bolton & District Cricket Association Website|url=|accessdate=2008-09-17] .

Speedway racing, then known as Dirt Track Racing, was staged at Raikes Park in the pioneer days – 1928 – when the venue was short lived. [ [ Tiger Jack Wood - Bolton's Broadsider] . URL accessed 8 November 2007.]

Bolton also has a rugby union club, Bolton R.U.F.C. [ [ Bolton RUFC] . URL accessed 8 November 2007.]

Bolton Blaze is a baseball club that was started in 2003, playing their home games at The Ball Park at Stapleton Avenue. In addition to the adult team, there is a junior team, Bolton Bears. Bolton Baseball dates back to 1938 with a team called Bolton Scarlets. [ [ Bolton Baseball Club] . URL accessed 10 September 2008.]

Culture and society

According to a survey of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Boltonians are the friendliest people in Britain. [ Town 'hot' favourite to be Britain's friendliest] , "Bolton Evening News", 8 September 2003] [ Bolton people 'are friendliest in Britain'] , "Bolton Evening News", 26 August 2003] Bolton is one of the more deprived boroughs in England according to the Indices of Deprivation 2000. [ Indices of Deprivation 2000] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.] It is the 28th most deprived in England in terms of numbers of people who are income deprived. A third of the borough's population lives in seven wards which are amongst the 10% most deprived in England. Despite this, Bolton is currently experiencing much attention and is experiencing an influx of people, leading to property prices increasing faster than most other parts of the UK.Fact|date=October 2007 The borough already contains traditional and also increasingly affluent areas including Heaton, Horwich, Harwood and Smithills.

On 13 February 2003, Bolton was granted Fairtrade Town status. [ Bolton Fairtrade Town] . URL accessed 28 December 2007.]

Bolton's oldest public house is Ye Olde Man and Scythe, dating from 1251 – one of the oldest remaining public houses in England. [ [ Man and Scythe] . URL accessed 8 March 2007.]


Bolton has a theatre called The Octagon along with many small, independent groups such as Bolton Little Theatre, Farnworth Little Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre Company. Inside the town hall there is also a large theatre and conference complex called The Albert Halls, [ The Albert Halls, Bolton] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.] named after the Prince Consort, Prince Albert whose early death in 1861 at the comparatively young age of only 42 would eventually lead to many buildings and monuments throughout Great Britain and her vast empire being named in his memory. The Halls opened on 5 June 1873.

Visual arts are also represented in Bolton via Bolton Museum and Art Gallery which has a fine collection of both local and international art. [ Welcome to Bolton Museum and Archive Service] . URL accessed 18 June 2007.]

Le Mans Crescent, (currently home to the central library, museum, art gallery, aquarium, police station, magistrates' court and town hall) is to be at the centre of a new Cultural Quarter. This area will no longer house the police station and magistrates' court; instead the library and museum are to be extended into these sections of the building, along with other new cultural projects. These works are to take place during a large-scale expansion and improvement project, which is set to more than double the size of the current town centre and improve its appearance, infrastructure and amenities.


Bolton Central Library was one of the early public libraries established after the Public Libraries Act 1850, opening on 12 October 1853 in the Exchange Building on Market Square (present day Victoria Square). The library moved to its present site in Le Mans Crescent on 4 July 1938. [Bolton Public Libraries 1853-1978, Tom Dunne, Arts Department of Bolton Metropolitan Borough 1978, ISBN 0906585007]


The town's local daily newspaper is The Bolton News, formerly known as the Bolton Evening News. There are weekly free papers, such as the Bolton Journal and Bolton Council's free monthly newspaper, Bolton Scene.

The town falls under the BBC North West and the ITV Granada television regions, which are served by the Winter Hill transmitter near Belmont, just to the north-west of the town.

Local radio is provided by Tower FM, a station which broadcasts across Bolton and Bury.

Cultural references

The industrial village of Barrow Bridge became Millbank in Benjamin Disraeli's novel "Coningsby".

Bolton is referenced in the famous Monty Python's Flying Circus "Dead Parrot" sketch, in which it is the location of the shopkeeper's brother's pet shop. The shopkeeper's brother (played by Michael Palin), incorrectly describes the town as Ipswich. On being challenged by Mr Praline (played by John Cleese), Palin's character defends himself, claiming (wrongly) that Ipswich is a palindrome of Bolton. Cleese's character retorts, "It's not a palindrome. The palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob. It don't work." As a consequence, Bolton is sometimes humorously nicknamed, "Notlob"Fact|date=February 2007. Bolton is also referred to in Monty Python's "Blackmail" sketch, in which the host of the gameshow "Blackmail" (played by Michael Palin) announces that if a Miss Betty Teal from Lancashire sends the show 15 pounds, he will refrain from revealing her lover in Bolton.

"Spring and Port Wine" by Mayo playwright, Bill Naughton was filmed and set in Bolton."The Family Way" based on Naughton's play "All in Good Time" was also filmed and set in Bolton.

More famously Peter Kay is from Bolton and much of his comedy TV series "That Peter Kay Thing" and "Phoenix Nights" are set in the town. The latter was filmed at St Gregorys Social Club in Farnworth, and an episode of the former was set at Bolton West services on the M61.

Many Bolton buildings have also stood in for other towns and cities. Bolton Town Hall stood in for an East European bank in the 1980s film "Sleepers" and Le Mans Crescent has featured as an upmarket London street in the Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes.

Notable people

Bolton has produced its fair share of actors, comedians, musicians, sports personalities, engineers, inventors, politicians, authors and other notable people. They have all made a mark in different periods of time, whether at local, national or international level.

Twin towns

*flagicon|France Le Mans, France, since 1967
*flagicon|Germany Paderborn, Germany, since 1975


External links

* [] , Bolton Council.
* [] , Listing well over 600 Boltonians - born, bred or adopted.
* [] , An Oral History of Bolton during the Second World War.
* [] , Bolton History, Photos, Links & Trivia.
* [] , Bolton Museum & Archive Service - Collections include an original spinning mule made by inventor Samuel Crompton, works by Bolton born artist Thomas Moran and one of Britains oldest public Aquaria.

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