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School's Heritage Saved

Clock tower from top of old Horwich primary school is preserved

Originally written by Rosalyn Roden, c/o Bolton News.

DURING the demolition of an old school, a piece of Horwich's heritage has been preserved for future generations to come, in what has been described as 'a remarkable feat'.

The clock tower which sat atop the former Chorley New Road Primary School has been crane-lifted off the old building as part of a meticulous six-hour process which cost contractors more than £15,000.

Willmott Dixon, with the help of Horwich Heritage, has saved the structure and intend to relocate it in the playground area of the new school.

Roy Davies, a member and volunteer of Horwich Heritage Centre, said: "The finial is an historic part of Horwich. You do not see many finials these days - architecturally, they are few and far between. So to have one in such good condition, with the lead preserved, it is quite a remarkable feat to have it saved."

He added: "Saving the finial was a planning requirement after the original application went in for the new school.

"Horwich Heritage have been involved from the start and with excellent cooperation from the builders, managed to remove it successfully with two huge cranes over a six-hour period on September 11.

"In most cases, these important piece of our history are not saved. I doubt there are many builders who would have gone to these lengths. The contractors footed the entire bill."

Willmott Dixon brought Ainscough Crane Hire on board to manoeuvre the historic piece down from atop the roof of the old school building.

The clock tower is currently being stored at the back of the old school and is due to be incorporated into the new site before construction is completed in March 2019.

It is understood the tower will become a feature in the new playground, placed on a new timber base with the clock face reinstated, and a new fence around it.

Mr Davies said: "The finial's original purpose was that of a bell tower. It is made out of timber and lead coating. There are perforations around it for letting sound out. It was converted in about 1989 when the clock was put in it."

A planning document of an heritage assessment reads: "The school is a Renaissance-style building, locally distinctive because of its triple-gabled facade and clock tower.

"The clock tower is attractive and its appearance is curiously reminiscent in miniature of that at Bolton Town Hall of 1866-1873."

Josh Heavens, Willmott Dixon's senior building manager on the project, said: "We are delighted to have been able to help preserve the clock tower for the local community to enjoy and would like to thank Horwich Heritage and our supply chain partners for all their help with the project.

"Leaving a positive legacy in the communities we work in is very important to Willmott Dixon; we believe strongly we have a purpose beyond profit and we will always endeavour to help where we can."

WATCH: Bolton's 'Munitionettes'

As the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War approaches, we're looking back at the role of those back home.

The conflict wasn't just fought in the trenches on the Western Front, but on the home front too.

Almost a million women worked in munitions factories all over the country, including Horwich near Bolton.

The local heritage centre is paying tribute to the so-called Munitionettes.

Paul Crone reports.

Watch The Video >

Horwich Heritage Summer Walk: 4th July 2018

Our group of 20 spent an excellent 2 hours climbing steadily from the Jolly Crofters up to Wilderswood and as far as Ormston's Farm (shown on the 1620 map of Horwich) before descending down through Wallsuches and back for a welcome pint!

The old farmers and miners would hardly recognise the area now and there are some very historic and desirable properties with splendid views out across the Lancashire Plain as far as North Wales.

We were blessed with a lovely temperature after the heat of the day and there were no signs or smells of the fire that had been raging over the other side of the hill - an altogether memorable event enjoyed by all who came along.

Horwich: Past, Present & Future

Photo of our latest Open Day/Exhibition on 21st July entitled 'Horwich: Past, Present & Future' which not only showcased Horwich's fascinating past but gave our visitors the chance to comment on its future by talking to the Horwich Neighbourhood Plan representatives.

The exhibition runs until November during which time comments will still be welcome.

Bolton News Coverage

More Latest News >>

Welcome To Horwich Heritage Centre

Horwich Heritage was formed in 1985 following a series of public meetings aimed at re-establishing a sense of local pride in the wake of the closure of Horwich Locomotive Works the previous year.

The Society first began holding its meetings in the Public Hall, moving to Horwich Resource Centre in 1990 where its monthly meetings still take place. It opened its first Heritage Centre within the Resource Centre in 1995 and moved into its current premises in 2006. It gratefully acknowledges the support given by Horwich Town Council, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council and the Resource Centre in the development of its activities.

Membership currently numbers around 200 and the Society not only runs its own Heritage Centre and meetings but produces its own books and DVDs on subjects of local interest.

The groups aims are:

  • To stimulate public interest in and appreciation of our area.
  • To provide suitable premises for the display of social and industrial history.
  • To secure the preservation, conservation and improvement of features of general or historic interest.
  • To promote tourism and encourage use of the surrounding countryside as part of a heritage framework.
  • To encourage research into the history of Horwich and Rivington and to publish the results.
  • To provide a social and educational service, giving advice and information and to act as a coordinating body to cooperate with local services.
  • To raise funds to enable the pursuit of our objectives.

On this website you will find details of how to become a member Horwich Heritage, dates of forthcoming meetings and events, a list of publications available frm the society and information about the exhibitions and archives at the Heritage Centre.

As the Society approaches its 31st year, we look forward to further developing our activites based on our much-admired Heritage Centre where we have the opportunity to do justice to the rich and varied history of Horwich and all the people who have helped to make us so proud of the town today.

We hope you find that Horwich Heritage has something to offer and welcome your interest, suggestions and support.

Stuart Whittle, Chairman



Download Our 2018 Programme

Our 2018 programme has now been finalised, featuring our popular Open Days, Monthly Meetings and Joining Information.

You can download your own PDF copy by clicking here: Horwich Heritage - Events Programme 2018



SATURDAYS 10am - 1pm

November 3rd 2018
Craft & Gift Fair

November 10th 2018
100 Yrs Since The End Of World War I

All 'Open Days' Admission - FREE



October 9th 2018
David Hill - Crystal Palace & The Great Exhibition

November 13th 2018
Steve Williams - The Road To Armistice

December 11th 2018
Ken Scally - Folk Singer & Story Teller


Membership: £10 per annum
Non-Members: £2 per meeeting


General Enquiries: 01204 847797
Membership: 01204 695737
Programme: 01204 692930
Family History: 01204 460010

Latest News



This year's programme is turning out to be another good one and the leaflet with the list of speakers & Open Days for the second half of 2018 is now available from the Heritage Centre. Please renew your membership now. If you are not a member why not join? Only £10 for 11 talks.

HORWICH HERITAGE CENTRE is open every weekday 2- 4pm & Saturdays 10 - 12.30pm. It has a shop, shows and sells films about Horwich and has a range of professional exhibitions and displays to delight all the family. Help is also available for family history and other research. ADMISSION IS FREE!

The monthly OPEN DAYS provide additional exhibitions on topics of local interest. Special EXHIBITIONS currently running include: Horwich Loco Works, A Victorian Kitchen, The Way We Were, World War II, Winter Hill Mines & the Turnpike Roads. School Parties and other groups welcome. Contact 847797.


Happy New Year to all our members & friends - I hope it is a good one for us all!

The New Year kicks off in style with our first meeting on 10th January. Unfortunately Jonathan Ali is unwell so he can't give his WWI talk but we are pleased to welcome a more than adequate substitute in Roy Davies who will be talking about 'On the Bench' - with lots of interesting tales about his time as a Magistrate.

Our event planning starts right away with meetings of the Craft & Gift Fair & 'Lost Businesses of Horwich' Sub Committees this week and we hope to have the long-awaited Ted Brownlow book out in time for our February meeting. We are already looking for articles for the Spring magazine and are planning new ventures to do with further heritage walks and plaques around Horwich as well as presenting our new programme of speakers & Open Days/Exhibitions (see elsewhere on the web site).

So please join us as we embark on another exciting year at Horwich Heritage.

Best wishes, Stuart Whittle (Chairman)

Dear Members, I was just finishing my report on what has been another busy & successful 6 months of speakers, Open Days/Exhibitions & events when I received the sad news that our dear friend and founder member, Geoff Waine, had died.

Suddenly the images of what we have achieved as a Society over the past 31 years with Geoff as our 'elder stateman' flashed before me - and I felt so very proud to have shared all that with Geoff along the way. No doubt there will be many tributes from other organisations in the town who have benefitted from Geoff's guidance & expertise, but we at Horwich Heritage will always remember his special contribution to our Society. His dream was always to have our own Heritage Centre and thankfully he saw that happen.

Thanks Geoff. Rest in Peace. - Stuart Whittle

'The Founding Fathers of Horwich Heritage' - taken at one of our many appearances in 'period dress' at Horwich Carnival.

At the 30th Anniversary celebrations of Horwich Heritage