Bolton Library and Museum Services

Public records

Scroll down the page for index lists for Public records relating to:


Bolton Borough Quarter Sessions (QBO)

In 1838, Bolton was granted a charter of incorporation as a borough and in the following year it received a grant of a separate Court of Quarter Sessions. The Court dealt mainly with judicial and criminal matters; administrative functions were performed by Bolton Borough Council and its committees.

The jurisdiction of Bolton Borough Quarter Sessions was restricted to the area within the borough boundaries, which were extended at various dates between 1838 and 1898. In 1971, the Court of Quarter Sessions was replaced by the Crown Court. Public access to some records is restricted.

  • Case files 1929-1971
  • Clerks’ correspondence files 1908-1971
  • Indictment files 1929-1971
  • Order books 1839-1865, 1929-1954
  • Post-trial calendars of prisoners 1842-1871
  • Recorders’ note books 1935-1971
  • Registers of freemasons’ lodges 1958-1967

Bolton Borough Magistrates’ Court (JBO)

A separate petty sessional division for the newly incorporated Borough of Bolton was established in 1839. Its area of jurisdiction was restricted to the Borough as incorporated in 1838 and as extended at various dates between 1838 and 1898.

The records include material relating to the licensing of public houses, theatres, cinemas, cafes, restaurants, billiard halls, dance halls and other premises, the affiliation and adoption of children and the work of the Juvenile Courts  as well as criminal matters. Public access to some records is restricted.

  • Bastardy orders 1888-1925
  • Court minute books 1839, 1851-1852, 1883-1886, 1904-1960
  • Court registers 1901-1989
  • Juvenile Court registers 1933-1982
  • Licensing minute books 1880-1920
  • Licensing plans 1878-1972
  • Licensing registers 1877-1968
  • Register of clubs 1933-1954

Bolton County Petty Sessional Division (JLA)

In the eighteenth century, Lancashire was divided into a number of Petty Sessional Divisions, one of which was centred on Bolton. After the establishment of Bolton Borough Magistrates’ Court in 1839, the Bolton County Petty Sessional Division continued to exercise jurisdiction over areas adjacent to but outside the Borough boundaries.

Most of the records of the Division are at the Lancashire Record Office in Preston, but a few miscellaneous items (listed below) are held at Bolton.

  • Miscellaneous correspondence, depositions and examinations 1795-1841
  • Returns of cotton and other factories and clergymen 1802-1803

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Health and Hospitals

Bolton Royal Infirmary and Dispensary (HBO)

Bolton’s first hospital was Bolton Dispensary, founded by public subscription in a house in Mawdsley Street in 1814. A new building, on a site in Nelson Square donated by the Earl of Bradford, was opened in 1827, Other donations, by Dr Samuel Taylor Chadwick and the Musgrave family, enabled the construction of the buildings on the Royal Infirmary’s final site in Chorley Street in 1883.

Bolton’s other main hospital, Bolton General, now Royal Bolton Hospital, was built by the Board of Guardians of the Bolton Poor Law union on the Townleys Estate, adjacent to the Fishpool Workhouse in Farnworth. Some records relating to this hospital are preserved with those of Bolton Board of Guardians.

  • Annual reports 1818-1847
  • Committee minutes 1813-1818
  • Finance and Salaries Committee minutes 1920-1948
  • General Committee minutes 1904-1948
  • House Committee minutes 1917-1948
  • Medical Committee minutes 1886-1892, 1940-1950

Edmund Potter Hospital (HBO)

  • Committee minutes 1920-1948

Blair’s Hospital, Turton (HBO)

  • Patients’ admission and discharge registers 1889-1914

Farnworth Infectious Diseases Hospital (HFA)

  • Patients’ admission register 1896-1924

Manchester Regional Hospital Board (HMA)

  • Printed minutes and annual reports 1949-1974

Bolton Hospital Management Committee (HAB)

  • Minutes, correspondence and reports 1940-1974

Bolton Area Health Authority (HAB)

  • Minutes, correspondence and reports 1974-1990

Wigan and Bolton Health Authority (HWB)

  • Minutes, reports and agenda papers 1996-date

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