Bill Naughton Collection at Market Place

We’re thrilled to announce that the Bill Naughton Information Centre is now open at Market Place from 10am – 4pm Thursday to Sunday until 30th June 2018. The Information Centre can be found upstairs near the entrance to Debenhams.

Telling the story of Bolton’s industrial and working class heritage, The Information Centre focuses on how people lived their lives in the 1930s, using films and photos, text, maps and artwork as well as comments from the public themselves.  Most of the material is drawn from two collections unique to Bolton, the Bill Naughton Collection and the Mass Observation Collection both of which are housed in the Bolton History Centre in the Central Library.

The Bill Naughton Collection is a huge cache of manuscripts and letters from Bolton’s most prolific author, who famously wrote ‘Alfie’, ‘Spring and Port Wine’, and ‘The Family Way’. Inspired by his life in the town from 1914 until 1940 – he used his experiences as a child, young adult and married man to craft his writing. He wrote hundreds of short stories, scores of radio plays, at least six novels and around twenty stage plays.

The Mass Observation Collection consists of the records of scores of volunteer observers, who went out and about listening to people, watching them and seeing what they did.  These records detail the town’s public life and annual events in the 1930s, as well as the specifics of ordinary people’s lives. The collection is of immense importance, both locally and nationally, as it conveys the complex heritage of northern working class culture.

These two collections are unique in showing how the town and local people lived their lives 80 years ago – so now’s the time to come along and learn about your heritage.

The Bill Naughton Information Centre will also be holding events including talks and discussions, creative workshops and displays of local contemporary art relating to the town. A weekly programme of events is now available from the centre.