NOTE: The hamlet of Daubhills has been redirected here although brief references to it are made within articles about other settlements originally located in Bolton-le-Moors.
Bolton is a town which, since 1974, has been located in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. Close to the West Pennine Moors, it is 10 miles (16 km) north west of the city of Manchester. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the administrative centre. The town of Bolton had a population of almost 139,500, according to the 2001 UK Census, whilst the wider metropolitan borough had a population of 262,400.
Until 1974 Bolton was a part of the county of Lancashire. It 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, and as a result Bolton was stormed by 3,000 Royalist troops led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine in 1644. In what became known as the Bolton Massacre, 1,600 residents were killed and 700 were taken prisoner.
Noted as a former mill town, Bolton has been a production centre for textiles 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, its 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dyeing works made it one of the largest and most productive centres of cotton spinning in the world. The British cotton industry declined sharply after the First World War, and by the 1980s cotton manufacture had virtually ceased in Bolton.
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 townships were separated by the River Croal with Little Bolton on the north bank and Great Bolton on the south. Bolton Poor Law Union was formed on 1 February 1837. It continued using existing poorhouses at Fletcher Street and Turton but in 1856 started to build a new workhouse at Fishpool Farm in Farnworth. Townleys Hospital was built on the site which is now Royal Bolton Hospital.
In 1838, Great Bolton, most of Little Bolton and the Haulgh area of Tonge with Haulgh were incorporated under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 as a municipal borough, the second to be created in England. Further additions were made adding part of Rumworth in 1872 and part of Halliwell in 1877. In 1889, Bolton was granted County Borough status and became self-governing and independent from Lancashire County Council jurisdiction. In 1898, the borough 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 (renamed Deane in 1894), Smithills, and Tonge plus Astley Bridge Urban District, and part of Over Hulton civil parish.
The County Borough of Bolton was abolished in 1974 and became a constituent part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Bolton. Wikipedia provides an extensive history of the town of Bolton.