Local history

The Bolton Archives and Local Studies Service based in the History Centre provides a wide range of material relating to the Bolton borough, which is complemented by collections of local interest items in our libraries.

Bolton History Centre is open Monday to Saturday 09:00am to 5:00pm (apart from Wednesdays when opening is from 9.30am) and Sundays 10.00am to 4.00pm.

The Central Library has a large collection of local history items for loan, including books and DVDs.

At Westhoughton, Horwich, Harwood and Farnworth libraries we have significant collections of material relating specifically to those areas and these include original documents. Westhoughton Library houses the Pretoria Pit Collection and Horwich Library holds material on the Horwich Loco Works.

Every Community Library has a smaller selection of Local Studies material for reference and loan.

Special collections

Bolton Libraries have collected many rare and specialised items over the years and some of these are held in our Special Collections. These include:

  • The Rare Books Collection, consisting of approximately 500 items, mostly books, including a wide and extensive collection of Victorian Private Press publications (Kelmscott Press, Doves Press, Vale Press). We also have a number of theological texts dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries

  • The Special Periodicals Collection which contains around 3000 journals and periodicals from the 18th to the 20th century

  • The Textile Collection of books, periodicals, pamphlets, articles and other published material relating to all aspects of the spinning, weaving and bleaching industries

  • The Lancashire Collection, which was formerly part of the Museum's Local Studies Collection and covers material relating to all aspects of the local, social, political, environmental, industrial and economic development of Lancashire from the earliest times to the present day

Please note that access to materials in the Special Collections is supervised at all times and items can only be viewed in the Bolton History Centre. 

Items are retrieved by designated staff in the Central Library, please ask for the Information and Enquiry team.  

Handling restrictions apply to many items in this collection and access may be denied for security or conservation and preservation reasons.

Internal links
External links

Bolton Library and Museum Services

Central Library

Le Mans Crescent



Telephone 01204 333173
Fax 01204 332225

Opening times

Times are displayed in a 24 hour format.

Open Close

Upcoming activities

Upcoming events