A WORKMAN sorts through the debris as one of Bolton’s historic old homes is pulled down.

Taken in 1956, the main photograph shows demolition work underway at Egerton Hall.

The hall had been the home to two leading families having been built around 1826 by local JP Edmund Ashworth who had purchased the land from the nearby Egerton Dye Works.

He was responsible for adding to the property over the years and in 1856 he employed prolific architect Alfred Waterhouse, best known for his work on Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London, to design a conservatory in his signature Victoria Gothic style. In 1860 he carried out further work on the hall.

Edmund was a leading figure in the area and known for his passion for reform as much as his business acumen.

He owned Egerton Mill and cotton spinning would provide a major part of his income but he also had interests in the fishing and insurance industries.

He was a strong opponent of the Crimean War and was a prominent anti-slavery campaigner not afraid to share what, at the time, were outspoken views.

At a meeting of the Bolton Ladies Olive Leaf Society. in 1857 he claimed that “...whilst England was the most professing Christian nation on the face of the earth she was the most bloodthirsty, cruel and oppressive.”

He was also an enthusiastic temperance campaigner, advocating the closure of public houses on Sundays and at 11pm on other days. His time spent as a magistrate led him to conclude that alcohol was the main cause of crime in the town, stating that three quarters of the cases he dealt with were drink related.

After Edmund’s death, his son took over tenancy of the hall.

Then, in 1892, the Deakin family took control of the Egerton Dye Works and for a time Edward C Deakin moved into the hall before he went to live at nearby Dewhurst House.

The property remained with the Deakin family, with Edward’s son - also Edward - living there until his death in 1935.

The house remained unoccupied from 1936 to 1940 when it was taken on by the North London Homes for the Blind who used it until 1953.

Sadly it was then that it was sold to a contractor and three years later it was torn down.