BOLTON’S industrial legacy was put in the spotlight when Michael Portillo visited some of the town’s most famous areas for a BBC programme.
The former MP-turned-presenter visited the town centre, Hall i’ th’ Wood and Westhoughton as part of the BBC2 series Great British Railway Journeys, which sees him tour the UK guided by a Victorian travel book.
Mr Portillo first stopped off in Westhoughton, where he met the President of the Westhoughton Local History Society, Pam Clarke, before visiting Hall i’ th’ Wood, once the home of Samuel Crompton, who invented the Spinning Mule.
Pam spoke to the amateur historian about the Bolton Luddites, who burned down a factory in Mill Lane in 1812 for fear that machines were taking over their jobs.
She said: “It was nerve-wracking but a good experience. He was a lovely man and put me at ease.”
Stopping off at Bolton train station, Mr Portillo then headed to Samuel Crompton’s house in Hall i’ th’ Wood to learn about the machine that revolutionised the cotton industry.
He met curator Erin Beeston, who told her about Crompton’s life, and volunteer Jacqui Elvin who gave him a demonstration on how to spin yarn.
Bolton Council’s cabinet member for culture Cllr Anthony Connell said it was great to see the hall feature in the programme and broadcast to a national audience. He said: “The hall is one of Bolton’s most fantastic buildings and it’s an important part of the Industrial Revolution.”
To see the programme, visit the BBC iPlayer website before January 24.