In 1934 after half a century of family stewardship, Thomas Midgley retired and his assistant Eric Hendy became Curator.

Building Le Mans Crescent
Building of Le Mans Crescent

It had long been recognised that the Chadwick Museum building was too small for displaying the Museum’s growing collections. During the late 1930's work on the Le Mans Crescent building began. However, the war interrupted the fitting out of the museum, which did not open to the public until 1947.

The official opening by the Mayor was on Saturday 18th October, with the public allowed in from Monday 20th. Eric Hendy reported to the Bolton Evening News that the Bolton Museum was 'the most modern in the country, and compared favourably in its content and layout with the best.' At first the new museum contained only natural history and art with the Chadwick Museum containing Egyptian, industrial and local history.

However, the Chadwick building was in a state of decline. In 1956, following an appeal for advice from the Minister of Education, the town council decided that the cost of repair and renovation to the building would be too great and that the only course of action was to demolish the building. The Egyptian collection was moved to the central museum and the industrial collections were put on display in Tonge Moor library.

After 73 years of service to the town the Chadwick was demolished. It had during the war served temporarily as a school building, and a no doubt apocryphal story tells us that because the building was unsafe to enter, it was destroyed with some objects still in storage in the basement. It would be nice to think that in centuries to come archaeologists digging in Queen’s Park will puzzle over their finding a stuffed rhinoceros or a Maori feather cloak.