BOLTON is bathed in history, but some of that history is in danger of being lost forever. HELENA VESTY looks at the sites which are ‘at risk’.

Buildings dating back hundreds of years and streets that have been walked by thousands — Bolton’s history is often right in front of its residents.

But some of those sites are now at risk, according to Historic England, which keeps watch over the country’s most historic sites with the Heritage at Risk Programme. The programme identifies the sites most in danger of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

The list includes places of worship, archaeological sites, conservation areas and parks. Across Bolton, 10 spots steeped in history have been identified as being at risk. They are:

Church of St James, Daisy Hill

THE church was designed 141 years ago, drawn up by Paley and Austin . The Lancaster-based architects envisioned the red brick and slate building in 1879 and it was built over the following two years.

The church itself includes features and furniture created by a family of carpenters who worked in Westhoughton for 108 years. Green’s Furnishers first opened its doors in Market Street in 1911 and since then, three generations of the Green family have made hand-carved pieces for the church, adorned with the craftsman snail symbol — now used as part of primary school treasure hunts.

But the building fell into disrepair and Historic England assessed the Grade II listed building to be in poor condition, saying that the building was at immediate risk of rapid deterioration.

A tree was growing in between joints in the roof, causing the slates to slip and even creating danger of falling tiles. The area around the base of the turret was cordoned off.

The community banded together to save the structure, raising money to fix the roof and save the building.

Jill Aldred, chair of Daisy Hill in Bloom, spoke about what the church means to the tight-knit village: “The church roof has just been repaired and the tree that was growing out of it has been removed.

“The church put on a lot of musical concerts and coffee mornings every month, it would sell second hand books, all to raise money for repairs.”

The church has become vital for community groups to connect.

Ms Aldred said: “It’s become a community centre for us in Daisy Hill because we lost ours. It’s become a focal point for the community now we don’t have a community centre, you can see it from wherever you are in Daisy Hill, it really is the centre of the village.

“There’s heritage days at the church once a year and people love to come along and look around the church.

“We try and keep the area around the church clean with litter picks and we always use the church as a meeting point. It’s very much a central part of Daisy Hill and everyone there.”

Church of St Catherine, Horwich

ST Catherine’s Church was built in 1902, after the creation of Horwich Loco Works saw the surrounding population boom.

The congregation first met in a smaller building, used as a church and school. When it outgrew the building, St Catherine’s as it is now known was constructed by Frank Freeman.

But the church is now suffering from precarious, loose stone and is seeing a slow decay, says Historic England. A plan is in place, however, and refurbishment has been carried out. Unlike some of the other churches in this list, money is being channelled into the building for the future.

Local councillor Marie Brady said: “The church is very valued by the community. It has a big congregation, its has very strong links with the primary school. The church does an awful lot of family friendly activities, people queue out for the Christmas fair.

“There has been some considerable renovation to give it disabled access. The church itself is multi-functional, you can use it for whatever. Everybody has a strong connection with it — it’s a lovely place and very welcoming.”

Birley Street, Astley Bridge

THE whole street has been named as a conservation area, with sandstone terraces, but is reportedly very vulnerable.

The area was built around 1850 and designated in 1970 to protect its character, with a number of buildings in the spot listed as Grade II.

It formed a key part of the region’s textile industry, with workers in those terraces powering surrounding cotton mills.

Bolton Methodist Mission, Bolton

THE Methodist Mission, a Grade II listed building, was built between 1898 and 1900 by Bradshaw and Gass. Its tower, standing over Knowsley Street, forms part of the town centre skyline.

Grant aid under the Repair Grant for Places of Worship scheme has enabled repairs to the internal floors of the tower. But the building is still suffering a slow decay, with ongoing concerns about the condition of the timber windows, according to Historic England.

Bolton and District Civic Trust says this building is part of the fabric of life in the town centre as a site of community activities. The trust’s chair Richard Shirres said: “We need to keep communities liveable, these types of buildings need to be supported where possible and there needs to be uses for them.”

Swan Lane Mill No. 3, Bolton

THE impressive cotton spinning mill was designed in red brick by Stott and Sons of Oldham. Dating back to 1914, the mill is unusually tall for a building of its type — eight storeys high.

Looming over Swan Lane, the mill is part of a complex of three. At the time of the completion of the second mill, the group is said to have been the largest spinning mill in the world, in Historic England documents.

Despite its unique past, the building has fallen into disrepair, with windows missing, vegetation growing and water leaking through.

Mr Shirres says: “Swan Lane has been on the list for a long time. It’s a terrific mill and it’s a shame they have demolished the mills in Crescent Road.”

Ukrainian Catholic Church, Bolton

THIS church, formerly known as All Saints Church, was built 151 years ago by George Edmund Street.

The Grade II listed building is regularly used by the Ukrainian Catholic Church, though problems have arisen with the discovery that the church is built on an elevated site.

The western porch and the north eastern vestry have moved and the subsidence is only continuing, says Historic England. It is thought that, just after initial construction, inadequate foundations were used to extend the building.

The condition is listed as poor and there is no solution agreed to solve the sinking so far. But Bolton and District Civic Trust says these buildings need to be supported as part of the redevelopment of Bolton: “All these buildings give character to Bolton, but there’s various buildings that have been let go unfortunately. They really do contribute to people’s sense of place.”

Church of St James, Breightmet

ONE of the oldest churches on the list, this building was constructed 165 years ago by W R Corson.

Another early English Gothic style spot, the stone and slate church features a spire.

St James’, in Roscow Avenue, is at immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric — no solution has been decided on to stop the ‘rapidly failing’ slate roof, says Historic England.

There is also ‘significant structural movement’ at the head of the tower staircase in the Grade II listed building.

Church of St Chad, Tonge Fold

THIS church is one of the more modern buildings on the list and is one of Bolton’s less traditional churches in architecture.

Built in a modern style with Scandinavian influences, the church by R Nickson was constructed in 1937.

But the Grade II building is still experiencing damage from rainwater, deteriorating concrete and cracking to the tower, says Historic England. The conservation group has listed the building as a site of slow decay.

The lack of plans are a big concern for groups like Bolton District and Civic Trust. Mr Shirres says that campaigns to save the buildings needs to be much more forceful: “It’s really a sign of the times that there’s not much public engagement. The civic trust was much bigger back in the late 1970s. It’s not just in Bolton, it’s a problem in most of the country.”

Church of St Matthew, Little Lever

DATED 1865, this Victorian church has a Decorated Gothic style with a characteristic circular window.

The condition of the church is said to be poor by Historic England with some decay, but the church has been given some hope from grants.

There have been grant assisted works to stop dry rot with the help of Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Repairs are currently ongoing to fix up the roof, parapet and adjoining aisle roof.

Horwich Locomotive Works, Horwich

THIS site has been the source of continued controversy for history enthusiasts.

Horwich Loco Works encompasses the area previously used by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company between 1886 and 1892. It provided specialist workshops and equipment for repairing and building trains and was a key part of Horwich’s industrial history until it closed in 1983.

The site was made a conservation area in 2006 by representatives from Historic England and the council in an effort to keep sections of the area safe from demolition.

In the intervening years, a large number of these buildings have been knocked down as heritage staff struggled to find modern uses for them, but several structures - including part of the Erecting and Repair Shop - were retained as part of a Heritage Core, meant to keep the spirit of the site alive.

Historic England last year opposed plans to demolish the Erecting Shop to build a £12m access road, but it was approved.

Last year, in a letter to the council, Historic England’s inspector of ancient monuments Andrew Davison said: “Historic England has serious concerns regarding the application on heritage grounds.

“We consider that the application fails to provide clear and convincing justification for the loss of a building which makes a very significant contribution to what remains of the character of the Horwich Locomotive Works Conservation Area.”

The road will link the £262 million Rivington Chase scheme to Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Parkway railway station and junction six of the M61.

The 150-acre Rivington Chase site received planning permission for 1,700 new homes, retail and leisure facilities in September 2015.

Now, the state of Horwich Loco Works is listed as being in very bad condition, deteriorating significantly as construction gets underway.