Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bolton (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SD 70617 09291


A public park designed by William Henderson and opened in 1866 which, although many of the built structures have been lost, retains most of the principal design elements as shown on a map of 1882.


The park was created from meadow and pasture land which was purchased from the Earl of Bradford under a scheme which was included in the Bolton Improvement Act of 1864. The cost of enclosure and planting was estimated to be about £90,000. The park opened in 1866 and the executed design is shown on a map of 1882.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Queen's Park is situated c 0.7km north-west of Bolton town centre in an area which is residential on the north and west sides. To the east is the site of Bolton Royal Infirmary (demolished) and there are playing fields and a gasworks to the south. The boundaries are formed by Chorley New Road to the north, Westgate Avenue and private gardens backing from Park Road to the west, Park Road and the River Croal to the south and the perimeter of the former hospital grounds and private dwellings to the east. The c 22ha site slopes down to the River Croal from the north.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES There are two principal entrances to the park, one on Chorley New Road shown in an early C20 photograph with a lodge with gates and gate piers, and also on the 1882 OS map when the boundary with the road was sheltered by trees. These entrance structures were demolished in the mid to late C20. On the south-west side there is an entrance with a lodge and stone gate piers with splayed flanking walls surmounted by railings on Park Road. There are various other informal entrances to the park including one at the south-east corner via a footbridge over the Croal.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING The principal building was a large arcaded pavilion situated in the centre of the park at the centre of an axial terraced walk. This was demolished during the mid C20 and was replaced by a building positioned a few metres to the north and east, off the focus of the axis, which has also been demolished (1998). Another principal building was the Chadwick Museum situated in the south-west corner of the park. This was also demolished during the mid C20.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The park consists of a formal core surrounded by less formal areas of woodland, grassland and lakes. A roughly oval path encloses the more formal inner area and connects with sinuous paths leading through the remainder of the site.

The Chorley New Road entrance leads to lawns immediately south of the road, where a Cenotaph is situated c 75m south-west of the entrance. A path leads south from the entrance between elongated rectangular beds, as shown on the 1882 map, to a sunken circular parterre with a system of circular beds, laid out as shown on the 1882 map, reached by sets of stone steps leading down from a circular perimeter path. At the south end of the garden, set into the slope between sets of steps, the bank is planted with mass bedding to form the name of Bolton's current mayor, following a tradition which began when the park opened.

A path leads south from the formal garden to an area of informal beds which was the site of a bandstand shown on the 1893 OS map but not on that of 1927/8. The path continues to a terraced walk running east/west which gives views over falling ground to the south and east. The walk is backed (on the north side) by beds and a shrubbery, and there are three statues (all listed grade II) on tall plinths positioned within the beds. From west to east they represent: J T Fielding, erected in 1896; Benjamin Disraeli in Garter robes, shown on the 1882 map; and James Dorrian, MP, shown on the 1907/8 OS map. An early C20 photograph shows the statues on a grassed bank backed by a shrubbery. The east end of the walk terminates with a semicircular bastion which acts as a viewing point from which Bolton?s Town Hall (1866-73, listed grade II) and other buildings are partially visible through a screen of mature trees. This view is shown on a photograph of c 1910. At the west end of the walk steps lead down to connect with curving paths around the site.

In the centre of the walk stone steps link with an axial path running southwards down a grassed slope. The path is shown as an avenue on the 1882 and later maps and it has been partially replanted in the late C20. At the south end of the path more stone steps lead down to a circular flower bed with a stone kerb which was the site of a fountain shown on maps up until 1907/8 and on early C20 photographs. These photographs show the (demolished) arcaded pavilion at the top of the slope forming a terminus to the view up the avenue.

The west side of the park consists of curving walks leading between banks planted with trees. In the north-west corner of the park is the infilled site of a small serpentine lake, shown on the 1882 map and the 1927/8 OS, which connected with a second lake of serpentine shape, still extant, which has the remains of a cascade at its west end leading to a larger lake with two islands and an irregular shoreline. This was connected by a culverted stream to a series of three more lakes and ponds, all with irregular outlines, curving around the western and southern sides of the site, which are shown on the 1882 map and the 1927/8 OS map and have since been filled in. Immediately south of the west end of the terraced walk there is an area with tiered seating set into the slope which is shown on the 1927/8 OS map but not on that of 1907/8. This was accompanied by a bandstand, shown in an early C20 photograph, which was situated at the base of the slope and divided from the seating by one of the smaller (infilled) lakes.

The east side of the park has a system of curved walks through banks planted with trees, as on the west side, but the planting is not as dense and there are areas of open grassland. An area c100m north-east of the former cafe is shown as tennis courts on the 1927/8 OS map and is now (1998) in use as tennis courts and as a car park. Some 70m east of this is a late C20 bowling green with a pavilion at its north end.


N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South Lancashire (1969), p 82 H Conway, People's Parks (1991), p 230 A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Greater Manchester: Bolton, (Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit and Centre for the Conservation of Historic Parks and Gardens, IoAAS, University of York 19, p 25) J Roberts, Greater Manchester, (English Heritage Register Review Exercise 1994)

Maps Map of Bolton, 1882

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1927/8 edition OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1893 1907/8 edition

Archival items Collection of early C20 photographs held by Bolton Metro Landscape Section

Description amended: September 1998 Register Inspector: CEH Edited: October 1999


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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