A lasting tribute to one of Bolton’s most famous sporting heroes, Nat Lofthouse, is to be created at Bolton Museum.
Bolton Council has joined forces with other organisations to ensure the memory of Nat lives on in the borough with a permanent exhibition.
The council led a consortium which was able to secure a collection of the late footballer’s sporting memorabilia at auction.
The collection, which charts the former Bolton Wanderers and England player’s impressive career, will be put on permanent display at Bolton Museum.
A special 13-week exhibition in 2011, held not long after Nat’s death, was the museum’s most popular exhibition attracting more than 30,000 visitors.
Most of the items on display were loaned to the museum by his family, so when they became available to buy at auction the council and its partners pooled resources to purchase some of the more significant items on offer.
Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Councillor Anthony Connell, said: “It’s clear that Nat Lofthouse was much loved by many people and his achievements are something that we are all proud of in Bolton. When the opportunity arose to buy the memorabilia at auction there was a great wealth of support from the public to try and keep some of that history in his hometown.
“We are fortunate to have a very supportive Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery group who were keen for us to try and obtain some items and we received further support from some of our other partners. We are delighted to have been able to secure some of his vast collection and will be arranging for it to be included in our popular Bolton Lives gallery in the museum.”
The consortium is made up of Bolton Council, the Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, National Car Parks (NCP) and Bolton at Home.
Jo Cooper, CEO of NCP said: “We are delighted to have played a part in securing a lasting tribute to Nat Lofthouse, so that he can be remembered by many future generations in Bolton.
“NCP is always happy to get the chance to prove how much we value the local communities that we work in, and it is great that we are able to demonstrate that commitment by helping to bring home this memorabilia. We hope everyone enjoys the chance to see the items when they go on display.”
Bolton at Home chief executive, Jon Lord, said: “We are happy to be playing a part in supporting the retention of a valuable part of Bolton’s history for the benefit of the people in the town.”
Some of the items acquired include his FA Cup Winners medal from 1958, the FA Cup Final football from the same year and Nat’s English FA Cap from the famous England V Austria match of 1952 where he acquired the Lion of Vienna nickname.
Arrangements will be made in the near future to place the items on permanent display.
The collection acquired by the consortium was bought at auction for £75,427 (including commission) and Bolton Council’s budget came from the museum’s existing acquisition budget.
Items bought at auction
||F.A. Cup Winners medal, 1958
||1958 FA Cup Final football
||English FA Cap England v Austria 25/5/1952 (‘Lion of Vienna’ game)
||OBE medal and ephemera
||Bronze bust of Nat Lofthouse commemorating 50 years with BWFC. Made by sculpture Colin Melbourne, 1989
||Silver ‘Lion of Vienna’ trophy. Gift to Nat Lofthouse from Earlstown F.C. supporters club on retirement, 1960
||A collection of letters / telegrams from the career of Nat Lofthouse
||1953 Bolton Wanderers FA Cup final shirt and 1958 cup final shorts
||‘This is Your Life’ book
||1954/55 England v Scotland shirt (7-2 win for England with Lofthouse scoring 2)
||1958/59 England v USSR cap (last England game)
||A silver casket and scroll presented by Bolton Council to Nat Lofthouse giving him freedom of the borough
||F.A. Cup Runners up medal, 1953
||Last game at Burnden Park hand signed replica shirt
|A 1923 F.A.Cup final hand signed dinner menu
||1959 South African Bolton tour programmes
||A grandmother clock presented to Nat Lofthouse
||1922/23 Bolton Wanderers signatures
||1958 F.A. Cup final programmes plus others