An archive dedicated to Bolton’s most famous playwright has recently expanded thanks to the generosity of his widow.
Mrs Erna Naughton, wife of the late Bill Naughton, has kindly donated 15 boxes of material pertaining to her husband’s successful career.
The boxes, which were transported from Mrs Naughton’s home on the Isle of Man, have been added to Bolton Museum’s already extensive Bill Naughton archive.
The archive was purchased by the museum in 2000, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund and The University of Bolton.
The initial collection included original manuscripts of Naughton's autobiographies, plays, novels, stories and films.
This latest addition to the archive includes further handwritten and typed drafts of Naughton’s well-known works such as Alfie, Spring and Port Wine and The Family Way.
The collection also includes scripts for lesser known stage and television productions, as well as scripts for modern adaptations of his work such as Rafta Rafta and a musical version of Alfie.
Rafta Rafta, based on All in Good Time, enjoyed its regional theatre debut at The Octagon last year. A film version is yet to be released and some scenes were filmed in Bolton.
Bolton Council’s Leader, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “Although born in Ireland, Bill Naughton lived his formative years in Bolton and his life here inspired some of his best work. Many people will remember the filming of Spring and Port Wine in the town in 1969, and hold the playwright in fond regard.
“The Bill Naughton archive is not only significant to the people of Bolton but offers an insight into society as a whole during the writer’s lifetime. For Bill’s widow to very kindly donate the remaining paperwork and memorabilia from his collection is a real coup for Bolton Museum and the town, and I’m sure the archive will provide interested readers and students many hours of pleasure.”
The Bill Naughton archive is available to view by appointment at the Archive Centre in Bolton Museum.
Opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Contact the centre on 01204 332185.
For more information on the archive visit the Bolton Museums website.