Westhoughton is a town within Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council in Greater Manchester (traditional Lancashire). It has a population of around 30,000.
Westhoughton Local History Group has access to a mass of photographs and presentations about the history of our town. This web site has been created to share this treasure trove with you, the public, including those who have lived here all your lives, those who have moved here recently, those who were brought up here but are now further away and folks who simply want to research interesting information.
Welcome to Westhoughton! We hope you will enjoy browsing around.
This website has been created by members of the committee of Westhoughton Local History Group:
Garth Ratcliffe – vice chairman, Phil Wood – technology, Pam Wood – research and Ted Wisedale – video.
You may also wish to refer to our earlier website:
Thank you, the members and friends of WLHG, for your interest and support in our research.
Origin of the Westhoughton Local History Group
Westhoughton Local History Group developed into its present form about 2005 when it was led by Pam Clarke but some Westhoughton residents had been working at local history well before that date. In the 1980’s Lois Basnett, a former history teacher at Westhoughton High School, along with like minded folk, formed Westhoughton Local History Workshop and Pam Clarke was an enthusiastic member of that group. Years later, the informal gatherings of the workshop were succeeded by a series of more structured sessions under the auspicies of the Workers’ Educational Association led by Ken Beevers, an employee of Bolton Libraries and himself a noted local historian, whose book “Westhoughton” (Images of England series : Tempus publishing 19990 is still in demand.
When, ultimately, the WEA sessions came to an end in June 2005, Pam and other attendees felt the need for a permanent heritage organisation in the town and thus WLHG was born.
The above montage of Westhoughton, painted by Tom Newton, shows images of landmark buildings eg the Town Hall, Red Lion, St Bartholomew’s Tower, Cenotaph, Pretoria Monument and other characteristics of the town, e.g. sawing off the cow’s head, coal mining, cotton weaving.
Westhoughton’s main historic events
The Battle of Westhoughton Common occurred at Warcock Hill in 1642 between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. This is located between Manchester Road and Bolton Road near the White Horse and the Taylor and Hartley’s cotton factory.
The Burning of the Mill was in 1812 and involved the burning of Westhoughton Factory on the Factory Nook opposite the White Lion by Luddites.
The Bolton – Leigh Railway passed through Chequerbent and its initial branch line was from Pendlebury Fold near Hunger Hill. The railway was constructed by George Stephenson in 1828 and was the first public railway in Lancashire.
The Pretoria Pit disaster, on 21st Dec 1910 when 344 men and boys were killed, was the largest mining accident in Lancashire. The pit was located on the Hulton Estate near the border with Atherton.
The Overspill is the story of modern Westhoughton which started in the 1950’s and 60’s, when it was decided that the town should be an area for the growing population of Manchester. Many new areas have sprung up as a result.
All of these events are described in more detail in the presentations section of this website. Start by looking at the Timeline of Major Events.
We welcome more information and photographs to add to our archive, and also offers to help with research and organisation of our material. To contact WLHG, please email: