BOLTON Lads and Girls Club forms an integral part of the history of this town and next year it will celebrate its 130th anniversary.

It was officially opened in June, 1890 after it had been set up by two church leaders and three industrialists, who wanted to help improve the lives of young people in Bolton.

The club was open every evening from 7pm to 9.30pm and provided a place to wash and eat, as well as a reading room, gymnasium and a games room that offered football, cricket, swimming, harriers, chess club, and wood turning. The club even ran an annual camping holiday.

At its opening, the Bishop of Manchester, Dr Moorhouse, said that when he first came to Bolton it struck him that the whole of this part of the country was covered with houses and human beings and that he could not see where there would be any open spaces for breathing or exercising. He commended the club founders saying: “They could do not a greater service to a youth than to give him opportunities for healthy outdoor exercise.”

Then, and for all of its 130 years since that time, the club has played a pivotal role in the lives of many thousands of young people in Bolton. Its mission statement is, “To inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realise their potential and become happy, responsible and caring citizens”.

It fulfils that role through club nights offering sport and friendship, drama, arts, vast sports programmes, education and enterprise, mentoring, outreach, citizenship programmes, award scheme programmes, boosting young people’s aspirations and introducing them to the world of work, as well as much more.

Thousands of people in Bolton can testify that that is exactly what BLGC has done for them.

Today 6,000 young people’s lives are touched every year by the work of BLGC.

And now, nearing its 130th anniversary, club leaders want to lay down a marker that will be a legacy for the future and will acknowledge that the club continues to fulfil its own mission statement.

They want to create a piece of artwork for the entrance to the building it opened in 2002 and which is currently being refurbished. The revamp is due to be complete by June next year, just in time for the anniversary.

To coincide with the event, the artwork will be unveiled. And this is where the history of the club comes in.

The centrepiece of the 130th anniversary artwork will be the Bolton Lads and Girls Club logo, which will be ‘colourised’ and filled with pictures and words of memories from anyone who has ever had anything to do with the club.

And now BLGC is asking for those pictures and memories to be sent in to be made a part of the artwork.

Business development director Martin Hartley-Smith explained: “We are looking for people’s memories of the club, photographs from their days at the club, or photographs from something in their lives now, that are significant because of the club. It might be something they want to share about how being at the club made them feel, what difference it made or something that set them on a particular career path.

“It might be their own company logo, pictures of them now or pictures of them at the club. We want to create a photo mosaic that represents the lives of the thousands of people who have ever been a part of Bolton Lads and Girls Club. It will be a history celebration of memories or thoughts that they are willing to share.”

Pictures and memories will be used to create the artwork to be unveiled next summer.

These pictures have come from the BLGC archive, and they might start you thinking about your own memories of the club. Send your pictures and memories to