A HISTORIC sign at one of Bolton's oldest businesses has been removed as the American owners of Leighs Paints invest £1.7 million in the site.

Sherwin-Williams, which took control of Leighs Paints, in Kestor Street, in 2011, says the funding will go towards equipment development.

But as part of the work, the Leighs Paints branding has been removed from the historic 100ft tower which forms part of the 355,000 sq ft site.

It has been replaced with Sherwin-Williams signage, which the company says will "mark a new era" for the paint and coatings specialist.

The tower is part of the five storey former mill building at the heart of the site, which houses the main production areas.

The Kestor Street site was originally built as a cotton mill in 1844 and in 1939 was transformed into a paint factory.

Sherwin-Williams, which has its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1866 and employs 41,000 staff worldwide in the development, manufacture and sale of coatings and industrial related products, and trading in over 115 countries.

General manager of Sherwin-Williams Protective and Marine Coatings EMEA, Gordon Bell, said: “This is a significant investment in the site, and marks Sherwin-Williams’ commitment to Bolton and the team of staff we have based here.

“Working at the cutting-edge of such a fast-moving industry requires continual investment and our customers expect us to remain at the forefront of the sector.

“This investment will allow us to continue to lead the way in developing new technologies to better protect customer assets.

“The tower is a real local landmark, but as part of the acquisition by Sherwin-Williams in 2011, all of the old Leigh’s Paints branding has been replaced and it was time to make this final change.

"We look forward to this work marking the beginning of a new era for the business.”

He added that the investment would pay for new labelling and additional top-coat tinting capacity, which he said would support growth and secure jobs.