Published: Tuesday, 21st Mar 2023

L.S. Lowry’s Going to the Match is the inspiration and centrepiece of a new exhibition, opening on Thursday 23rd March at Bolton Museum.

Going to the match with creditThe 1953 work shows supporters arriving for a Bolton Wanderers game at their old home ground, Burnden Park.

Although Lowry painted other football-themed scenes, it is Going to the Match which has become iconic- an enduring representation of what match day means to fans.

The exhibition will explore the famous artist’s connection to Bolton including how he came to create Going to the Match. It will also celebrate the history of Bolton Wanderers in the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the club’s first FA Cup Final victory in 1923.

Going to the Match travels to Bolton for the first time as part of a partnership with The Lowry. The Salford-based arts centre recently acquired the painting thanks to a gift from The Law Family Charitable Foundation. The Lowry have generously loaned the work to Bolton Museum for the full three-month run of the exhibition.

The Lowry’s CEO, Julia Fawcett, said: “We are so pleased that this iconic and much-loved painting will be on view in Bolton, in an exhibition celebrating the very football club that inspired LS Lowry.

“The painting belongs to the north, and we are happy to ensure that as many people as possible across our region would have the chance to see this important part of our history.”

Bolton Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, said: “Going to the Match’ is a key part of our sporting and cultural heritage and I am delighted it is the centrepiece of the exhibition.

“For such an important work to be loaned to us is a real coup for Bolton, and I hope that as many people as possible take this opportunity to see this important part of our history.

“The exhibition will also celebrate the history of Bolton Wanderers as they mark the 100th anniversary of the club’s first FA Cup Final victory in 1923.”

“For such an important work to be loaned to us is a real coup for Bolton"


Lowry’s painting is a reflection on the passion of ordinary fans for their local football team, a theme taken up in the exhibition. A specially commissioned film by local director Adrian Barber charts the experiences of Bolton Wanders fans from the 1940s to the present day.

Howard Broadbent is one of the super fans included in the film. Howard went to his first match at Burnden Park in 1946. His earliest and most cherished memory is of seeing Ray Westwood play in one of his final games with Bolton. Howard remembers Westwood’s scintillating speed, the star striker streaking past defenders.

Susan Higson also features in the film. Sue has been supporting Bolton for as long as she can remember. She still goes regularly to matches and is also a member of the Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ Trust.

Sue says, “Bolton Wanderers became part of who I am back in December 1977 when my Dad took his then 10-year-old daughter to her first game. He didn’t think I’d like it… 43 years later, I’m still a season ticket holder.”

The exhibition will be supported by a programme of creative workshops and events. We’ll launch with a special family fun day at the museum on Saturday 25 March, 11am to 3pm. At 11am explore the exhibition with a tour and then there’ll be:

  • An artist led oil pastel workshop.
  • A pop-up footy photo booth
  • Object handling
  • A brass band will be playing a number of footy tunes.

This is a free drop in event and no need to book.

Bolton Little Theatre in association with Phoenix Theatre company will present an excerpt from the play “And Did Those Feet” which explores the run up to the legendary 1923 FA Cup Final when local newsagent, Bob Carr, walked all the way to Wembley from Bolton.

Other events linked to the exhibition include a talk by club historian Simon Marland about the 1923 Cup final on Friday 28th April, 1pm. Tour guide Suzanne Hindle will be leading a walk of sites associated with L.S. Lowry and Bolton Wanderers on Saturday 27 May, 1pm to 4.30pm.

We’re also looking for enthusiastic, friendly volunteers to welcome and tell visitors more about this exciting exhibition which looks at football, Lowry and social history of Bolton. We want to hear from supporters and anyone else who wants to get involved!

To apply to be a volunteer, please complete an application form here and email it to

For more info, please email