Smithills Hall dates back some 800 years although there was probably a house on the site from at least 700ad and there is evidence of people living around the area for thousands of years.Written records relating to the hall began when William Radcliffe obtained the manor house and land from the Hulton family in 1335, the last Radcliffe to own the estate died In 1485 without leaving a male heir and Smithills Hall was passed to the Barton family.
Staying with the Bartons for nearly 200 years the hall and The estate was passed by marriage to the Belasyse family in 1659. The Belasyses family owned many other properties all over England and never really needed The hall and so Smithills fell into a period of neglect.
In 1801 the hall and estate were sold to the Ainsworth family who were a family of very successful Bolton bleachers and under three generations of Ainsworths the hall underwent some quite extensive rebuilding and modernising. In 1870 Richard Henry Ainsworth inherited the house and In around 1875 he employed the services of a prominent Victorian architect called George Devey who designed the most significant improvements to Smithills Hall.
It was in 1938 that Smithills was sold to Bolton Council for £70,600 with the Victorian parts of the hall becaming a council residential home and then a day centre until the late 1990s. Conservation work on the older sections allowed part of the Grade 1 listed structure to be opened as a museum in 1963, and in the 1990s, the museum was extended into some of the Victorian parts of the house after the closing of the Day centre.
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Adults - £3
Children / Concessions - £2.00
Family - £7.75 (2 adults and up to 4 children)
Under 5’s FREE
Moss Bank park is a lovely place to take the children. It has a small animal sanctury with donkey s,goats ducks and many other creatures. It has a good play area and also in the summer time it has a small train that takes you round the park. Also nice gardens to sit in.
Moses Gate Country Park, nice at any time of year for a quiet stroll around one of the 3 lakes or sit and watch the wildlife. Lovely walks eirther down by the river or along the canal bank, where many a fisherman has sat for a long afternoon!!
Opened in 1873 by none other than HRH Prince Albert, this is a quite enormous Victorian edifice standing in front of a large pedestrianised square.
It was partly destroyed by fire in the 1980's but has been carefully rebuilt & restored.
The square is a pleasant place to sit & relax after a busy day's shopping (a pity there's no "cafe culture" here though) and there is sometimes entertainment going on (bands etc).
Behind the town hall is le Mans Crescent (it was too murky to take a picture then), a fine crescent of regency style buildings. In August each year it hosts a Victorian Market - I guess we might visit again in August.
Bolton Market Hall is pretty vast. It has recently been renovated and has had a modern shopping mall incorporated into it. The main part of the hall is still "traditional" with stalls selling almost everything you could think of!
As I mentioned earlier, there's often something going on at Hall I' Th' Wood. This day we could dress up in Tudor costume (as per the time the hall was built). We didn't realise this until our tour was almost over, otherwise we would have spent the whole day dressed this way ;-)
The Spinning Mule.
Invented by Samuel Crompton in 1775 it combined features of the existing Spinning Jenny and Water Frame and had the advantage that large scale versions of it could be produced an be driven by steam engines.
Crompton was too poor to take out a patent on his invention but used to charge manufacturers a fee to see his machine before they produced a copy of it. Soon his machines were in widespread use but he made very little money from it. He eventually died in poverty.
Neither myself nor even the museum guy could figure out how the machine worked, either from this part of the machine or from the miniature model that is also on display in the Hall.
.. so we took a look under the bed (after all, we were allowed to touch this exhibit). Indeed, the matress of the bed is seated on a criss-cross array of ropes. These needed tightening regularly to stop the bed from sagging, and is (supposedly) the origin of the English phrase "night night, sleep tight".
The hall is filled with old furniture, pictures and so on that all have some local connection. Unlike most museums in this one you CAN touch some of the exhibits - they are clearly marked as to what you can and can't touch. That's nice, because I love textures and can't resist to touch most things.
This really is a spectacular building, one of the nicest "black & white" buildings I have seen.
Admission to the hall is very modest (it says £3 but it cost us £2.40 for some reason). You can spend a couple of hours here, and there is often some event or "amusement" - mainly for kids - such as a treasure hunt.
The Hall is set in some small parkland on the edge of Bolton.
It was bought in 1900 (by which time it was in some disrepair) by Lord Leverhulme, the Soap king, who was born in Bolton. He had it restored as a memento to Samuel Crompton, and donated to the town of Bolton.
Hall I' Th' Wood is a typical timber framed house dating back to the 1500's. For part of its life it was the home of one Samuel Crompton, inventor of The Spinning Mule. This was a muti-spindled spinning machine capable of producing fine yarns. It helped to revolutionise the weaving industry in Bolton and Lancashire and it is really for this reason that the Hall is now a museum.
More from Moses Gate Country Park, horse riding is permitted with special bridal tracks, as is fishing and canoeing
This 1500's building was where Samuel Crompton invented the Spinning Mule, in 1900 the Hall was turned into a textile museum, it is opened during the summer months and there is a charge to go in.
The museum takes you back to the pharoahs,and the dinasoars, very interesting, also houses an aquarium and a cafe,I have spent many a wet afternoon in there when my son was little.