Links in a Chain - the Mayors of Bolton
Links in a Chain - The Mayors of Bolton
The Mayors of BoltonOnce upon a townA municipal palaceA (very) grand openingElephants and lionsTime for everyoneThe sincerest form of flatteryA place to gather togetherA new beginningAlso starringThe Albert HallsThe Festival HallThe Festival Hall CorridorThe Hall of Remembrance
The Banqueting HallThe Blue RoomThe Reception RoomThe Council ChamberThe Mayor's Parlour

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A (very) grand opening...

Bolton Town Hall openngBolton Town Hall was officially opened on Thursday 5 June 1873 by The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his wife, Princess Alexandra.

It was the first ever Royal visit to the town and no expense was spared. Local businesses fell over themselves to sell flags, bunting, souvenirs, gas illuminations (a sort of open flame, shaped and perforated glass predecessor to neon lighting) and even rented out the best views of the Royal party from their premises. Choice positions for spectators on rooftops were also available for hire.

The Prince and Princess had stayed the previous evening at Haigh Hall, near Wigan, as guests of Lord Crawford, after opening the new Wigan Infirmary. In the morning they began their stately, horse drawn progress to Bolton, accompanied by a parade of dragoons, territorial volunteers, military bands, local associations and industrial and political dignitaries.

The Royal couple were formally welcomed by Samuel Pope QC, the Recorder of Bolton, who read an address on behalf of the Mayor and burgesses. The Prince made a brief reply, followed by a prayer from the Vicar of Bolton, Henry Powell. The Mayor, William Walter Cannon, then handed a silver key to the Prince who officially opened the building.

The Prince later realised that he had left the ceremonial key in the main door and asked for it to be retrieved. He kept the key.

The Royal couple were then conducted to a suite of reception rooms (especially furnished for their use) before attending a lavish banquet in the Albert Hall, punctuated by loyal speeches and toasts.

The Prince and Princess left the building at around four o'clock and caught the train from Trinity Street Station back to Wigan, en route for London.

They had spent two and a half hours in the town.

It had rained for most of their visit.

A grand day out...

Over 150,000 people turned out to see the Royal couple and to witness the opening of the new Town Hall.

Below is the only known photograph of the event. The lions had yet to arrive for guard duty.

Opening of Bolton Town Hall 1973

 

Click for larger image Contemporary portrait of Edward, Prince of Wales.

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Click for larger image Contemporay portrait of Alexandra, Princess of Wales.

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Click for PDF Silk souvenir menu for the banquet held to mark the opening of Bolton Town Hall. The event was catered bby John George Adami of the Albion Hotel, Piccadilly, Manchester.

The menu is decorated with the Prince of Wales' three feathers emblem and motto.

Click for larger image

Town Hall key

A duplicate of the silver ‘Grand Master Key’ used to open Bolton Town Hall

 

Hot air balloon

The balloon ascent from Bolton

At five o'clock Mr Coxwell, the aeronaut, launched his new balloon 'Alexandra' (named in honour of the Princess of Wales, who had left the town an hour earlier). Mr Coxwell himself was indisposed, so left the flying honours to his assistant. He in turn was accompanied by Joseph Holliday, landlord of the Three Pigeons at Astley Bridge, for whom this was his fourth ascent. They landed safely an hour later at Parr, near St Helens.

 

Life in the Gas Age...

At nine o'clock the many and varied gas illuminations were lit all over the town centre. A novel display of electrical lime light was powered by a Bunsen's carbon battery.

Ten o'clock saw a firework display in the park which was attended by 20,000 people. Particular attractions here included the release of large gas balloons with magnesium flares attached...

 

Mr Hallé's band...

On the Friday evening a Full Dress Ball was held in the Albert Hall, the first such event to be held there.

The proceedings were brought to a close on the Saturday evening with a Grand Concert, again in the Albert Hall, featuring a performance of Haydn's 'Creation' by "Mr Hallé's band and chorus".

 

 

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