AN aquarium which is described as a ‘great source of pride’ for Boltonians celebrates its 80th anniversary this week.

Bolton Aquarium, which first opened to the public on January 27, 1941, has been visited by millions since and many Bolton folk will recall being taken to see the marine life by  their parents or grandparents.

To mark the anniversary, museum and aquarium staff have been gathering people’s memories about the eight decades of the attraction’s existence.

Sam Elliott is head of service for Bolton library and museum services.

She said: “Loads of people have sent us their recollections.

“What’s really lovely is there’a lot of people talking about when their grandparents took them and now they are bring their own grandchildren.

“The aquarium is a generational thing where people just keep coming back.

“It’s very much a source of pride for people in Bolton.

“It’s a part of the town’s identity.

“The aquarium is a registered zoo so we have to uphold the fish to a certain standard and are regularly inspected.

“There’s someone working in therer every day of the year ensuring the welfare fo the fish.”

Sam added that they work with local market stallholders to source much of the food for the fish and marine life.

Staff are also hopeful that if Bolton is successful in it’s ‘Towns’ Fund’ bid for government regeneration money, there could be investment in the aquarium in the near future.

The location and overall layout of the aquarium remains much the same as it was in 1941.

But present-day fish care, education and behind-the-scenes activities are very different.

The collection’s focus has changed, with early years concentrating on British freshwater fish, which could be replaced fairly easily from fish farmers, local dealers and even anglers who would offer captured fish.

At various times in the past, some species of reptiles such as snakes, lizards and terrapins and mammals, such as ground squirrels,were also exhibited.

The present team also engage in fish conservation and breeding of rare species.

To keep the nitrates at a suitable level the aquarium need to change one third of the water in every tank once a week; around 2,000 out of 6,000 gallons of water.