Links in a Chain - the Mayors of Bolton
Links in a Chain - The Mayors of Bolton
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Henry Devenish

Mayor of Bolton: 1973-74 (Labour)

Born: 5 Back Foundry Street, Bolton 20 April 1926

Died: Royal Bolton Hospital, Farnworth 9 January 2010

Last Mayor of the County Borough of Bolton before the creation of Bolton Metropolitan Borough in 1974.

Known as Harry - Son of James and Ellen Devenish.

Bleach Works Operative 1953-1961, Works Foreman 1966-1967.

British Rail employee 1968-1969, Supplies Department, Horwich Works, British Rail Engineering Ltd.

Represented Bradford Ward 1953-1970. Magistrate.

As a young Councillor he displayed great passion in working for the improvement of housing and the landscaping of the industrial areas around the Borough to the benefit of the ordinary people of Bolton. 

Although his was a controversial nomination - the then ruling Labour group having chosen to break with tradition by nominating the Mayoralty three years in succession - his election meant that both the first and the last Mayors of the old Bolton Borough were born in Bradford Ward.

He was also Mayor in the centenary year of the opening of the Bolton Town Hall on 5 June 1873.

On 4 June 1973 he opened the new town centre pedestrian precinct by pressing a button, which brought the showcase Corliss Engine to life.

As Mayor of Bolton he led the town's representatives during the Town Twinning preparations with the French town of Le Mans. On their first visit to Le Mans their Mayor, Dr Jacques Maury, presented Alderman Devenish with a medal from the people of Le Mans.

In July 1973 as Mayor he welcomed Dr Maury and the Le Mans delegation to Bolton to finalise the twinning arrangements and he completed the Twinning Ceremonies in Le Mans 15 December 1973 by signing the Twinning Scroll and by cutting the tape to re-open a road in Le Mans centre which had been renamed 'Rue du Bolton'.

He was made Honorary Alderman in March 1996, twenty or so years after his time on the Council. It was during the Council meeting for the election of Honorary Aldermen that Councillor John Arthur Foster recalled how Alderman Devenish served on the Waterworks Committee from 1953 to1973 at a  period when development was going on to expand Bolton's water storage capacity by constructing the Jumbles reservoir. He recalled how he and Alderman Devenish were two of the last people to have walked around the valley before it was flooded to make the reservoir. Other Councillors also described him as 'a quiet, unassuming and jovial member of the Council' and 'a man from the people for the people'.

Roman Catholic - only the second Catholic Mayor of Bolton, the first being Herbert Glynn 1969-70.

His sister, Mrs Veronica Casey, was Mayoress.


Click for larger image Henry Devenish as Mayor of Bolton with the Mayor of Le Mans, Dr Jacques Maurey 1973.

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Henry DevenishDevenish Family Tree • pdfClick for larger image

The names of the Mayors of Bolton from 1941 to 1974 are recorded on the reverse of the County Borough badge

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