The Gumtree Blog

Gumtree’s Fun Facts about Bolton

Tuesday 11 March 2014, by
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We’ve started this year at quite a pace, so we wanted to share with you some of the exciting new updates we’ve made to Gumtree.

Users in Bolton should notice a big improvement in our postcode data, allowing you to search for ads in your local area and post ads more accurately.

To celebrate that, we’ve prepared an article that celebrates some fun facts about Bolton

One of Lancashire’s most famous towns, Bolton’s served us up a whole lot more than hotpot over the years. Producing a wide array of talent, from inventors and entrepreneurs to sports stars and Oscar-nominated actors. Here are a few things we bet you didn’t know about the warm and welcoming Northern town.

Bolton is BIG

Home to over 260,000 people, Bolton is the largest town in Britain. The smallest city has a population of fewer than 2,000, so you can understand why Boltonians might feel slightly miffed that their attempts to win city status have so far been rebuffed. They hoped to earn the right to call their home a city in 1992 for the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession, in 2000 to mark the Millennium, and again in 2002 for the Diamond Jubilee – the year the town’s Lancastrian rival Preston was given the honour, but so far, no luck.

Bolton loves beer

When it comes to downing pints, Bolton’s had more experience than most. The town boasts one of the oldest pubs in the country, Ye Olde Man and Scythe’. The pub on Churchgate was first recorded by name in a charter of 1251, making it one of the ten oldest public houses in Britain and the oldest in Bolton. And if a night of ales in the Man and Scythe’s ever given you a splitting headache, spare a thought for the old Earl of Derby – he had his head chopped off right outside the pub in 1651 for his part in the Bolton Massacre. 

Bolton gave you Reebok

One of the world’s biggest sporting brands, Reebok, was founded in Holcombe Brook, a small village just six miles north east of Bolton in 1890. It was here that Joseph William Foster was knocking up running shoes when he came up with the nifty idea of hammering nails through the sole for extra grip – and the spiked running shoe was born. The company was originally called J.W. Foster and Sons, changing to Reebok in 1958, after Joseph’s grandsons Joe and Jeff found the name in a dictionary won in a running race by Joe Foster as a boy.

Bolton’s been playing football longer than you

One of the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888 and winners of the first Wembley FA Cup Final in 1923, Bolton Wanderers have spent an amazing 73 seasons in the top division of the English league – that’s almost more than any other club. Despite having one of the world’s biggest sporting brands just down the road, the Whites have had some tough luck – it’s also the longest any English team’s stayed in the top division without ever actually winning the league – there’s always next year, Trotters!

Bolton is…weirdly linked to the Titanic…

Now, we’re not saying that seafaring captains from Bolton are jinxed or anything, but, rather oddly, it turns out that Bolton is the hometown of both Captain Stanley, Lord Captain of the SS Californian, the ship closest to RMS Titanic as she sank, and Sir Arthur Rostron, Captain of the RMS Carpathia, the first ship to come to the aid of the Titanic.

Boltonians are geeks

Bolton is home to one of the oldest libraries in the country. Bolton Central Library was one of the earliest public libraries established after the Public Libraries Act 1850, opening in October 1853 in the Exchange Building on the old market square (Victoria Square) before moving to Le Mans Crescent in 1938.

Bolton’s taking over the airwaves

There’s something about Bolton. When broadcasters like the BBC are looking for friendly voices to fill the airwaves, the town comes up trumps in the talent stakes. Sara Cox, Johnny Ball (the maths whiz and father of Zoe), Mark Radcliffe, Victoria Derbyshire, Vernon Kay, Crackerjack’s Stu Francis, Dragon’s Den’s Hilary Devey, not to mention loveable steeplejack Fred Dibnah are Boltonians through and through. 

Bolton’s taken over the stage and screen

As well as a penchant for producing loveable broadcasting stars Bolton’s also a dab hand at knocking out top acting talent. Most notable is Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen no less, who studied at Bolton School.  But you’re more likely to catch Bolton’s top thesps on the telly – The Royle Family’s Ralf Little, Holby City’s Ian Aspinall, Corrie’s Katy Cavanagh, Emmerdale’s Mark Charnock, and of course, Peter Kay are Bolton born and bred.

Bolton keeps things ticking…and exploding

Bolton’s produced some clever inventions over the years, including the revolutionary spinning mule and water frame, but one of our favourites is thanks to Bolton lad John Harwood. Not only did Harwood develop an early automatic screwdriver, he also invented the self-winding watch – and made it waterproof to boot! We’ve got another Bolton son, Robert Whitehead, to thank for something far more explosive. He developed the first effective self-propelled naval torpedo. He’s also the great-grandfather of those von Trapp kids from The Sound of Music, perhaps inventing the torpedo to drown out the sound of their endless warbling with Julie Andrews.

If you want a hug, move to Bolton

According to an online survey carried out by the British Association for the Advancement of Science Boltonians are the friendliest people in Britain.


The Media Team

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