Since its formation in 1985 Horwich Heritage Society has established a particularly enviable reputation for its regular series of temporary themed exhibitions, which rotate alongside a most impressive range of permanent displays at the Heritage Centre.

After the success of an exhibition focusing on the 175th Anniversary of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, plans were already well advanced for displays during the latter half of 2022.

Of the scores of exhibitions staged by the society over the years, one of the most popular ever was ‘Football in Horwich’ staged over several months last winter, attracting hundreds of visitors, many of whom recalled nostalgic memories of days watching the now defunct Horwich RMI in action at Grundy Hill, with its nationally renowned compound slope.

Such was the resounding success of Football in Horwich that the society’s officials had little hesitation in deciding to stage its obvious sequel, ‘Cricket in Horwich’, and invited David Kaye, long-time HH member and regular contributor of talks and articles for the society, to co-ordinate the relevant displays.

In addition to having an avid interest in local history, David is a lifelong cricket fanatic, who has researched and written extensively about the history of cricket in the Bolton area.

After the formative years of his ‘cricket life’ spent at the Recreation Ground, home of Horwich RMI CC (where he was, in turn, 2nd XI and 1st XI ‘tin lad’, 1st XI bag carrier and then junior player) he has spent almost six decades as a member of neighbouring Bolton League club, Lostock, where he has been president for the last two decades.

David said: “I would be delighted to hear from anyone willing to loan or donate items relating to any aspect of cricket in the Horwich area, whether it be the game played at youth level, in schools, in the now defunct Horwich Churches & Welfare League (Founded 1922), or at the town’s principal club, Horwich RMI, and its two precursors, Horwich L & YCC and Horwich CC.

“Such items as clothing, caps, bats, trophies, badges, handbooks, scorebooks, photographs, press cuttings, membership/fixture cards etc. will be greatly appreciated, and all items will be safely returned – unless donated permanently – following the exhibition.

“Similarly, we would be pleased to hear from anyone with simply anecdotes or memories about the game in Horwich. As the first reference we have found to cricket played in the town dates back to the 1840s, there is plenty to go at!”

The exhibition will be officially opened by the Mayor of Horwich at 10.30am on Saturday, October 1, and will run until January 31, 2023 at the Heritage Centre on Beaumont Road (off Longworth Road), Horwich.

Opening hours at the centre are 2p.m. to 4pm each weekday, and from 10am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

The Bolton News featured a story in Looking Back about Horwich Heritage and its latest exhibition ‘175 Years of the Rivington Reservoirs’ to celebrate the start of this remarkable feat of Victorian engineering in 1847.

The exhibition explores how in the 1840s, Horwich was a small village of a few hundred inhabitants and Rivington a remote hamlet perched on the side of a quiet valley. It was probably difficult to identify the border between the two townships.

When construction started, a massive influx of navvies moved into the sparsely populated Rivington area for the duration of the work.

They all lived in shanty ‘towns’ of temporary wooden huts near their work and such a large workforce placed extra demands on the neighbourhood resources, resulting in local shopkeepers, tradesmen, and even quarry owners, enjoying an upturn in their fortunes.

Hampson (the 19th century Horwich historian) tells us that ‘Rivington had been transformed into a town of huts and rude structures where hundreds of men were accommodated.

It was as if a plague had descended on their country’. Rivington’s only public house, The ‘Black Lad’, was demolished to make way for the Upper Rivington Reservoir and the Clog Inn at Anglezarke was hard pressed to supply the needs of thirsty workmen.

Many tales were told of unlicensed ‘beer vendors’ taking to brewing ale and making large profits and there were also illicit stills in the hills, where a crude form of whisky was distilled for those who preferred spirits.

For those who required another form of spiritual nourishment, temporary chapels and other places of worship were set up alongside these new communities.

The Rivington Reservoir System was designed by a pre-eminent water engineer of the time, Thomas Hawksley, to supply the growing drinking water demands of Liverpool.

At the time, it was the largest scheme of its type in the world. It was completed in 1875 (taking 28 years to build) and included eight reservoirs: Upper and Lower Rivington, Anglezarke, Yarrow, Higher Bullough, Upper and Lower Roddlesworth and the Rake in Abbey Village.

The daily yield was 16 million gallons (73 million litres) of treated water from a catchment area some 15.6 square miles.

The water descends using only the force of gravity from the highest to the lowest in the reservoir chain and, at one point, passes along the ‘Goit’, a man made channel of more than three miles, which connect the two reservoir groups. Once treated at Scholes Bank, the water today enters the national drinking water grid.

Originally, it supplied Liverpool via a 44 inch diameter cast iron aqueduct, then the longest unbroken pipeline in the world.

Today, Rivington water supplies the wider Wigan area, but is able to be rerouted to a wider area if required.

The interconnecting system that we see today is almost exactly as built in the 1840s -70s and it became the ‘blueprint’ for water supply systems around the world.

Hawksley Steet in Horwich is named after the pioneering engineer who designed the reservoir system.

If you wish to lean more please visit the exhibition at the Horwich Heritage Centre which runs until the end of September.

If you would like to speak to David about the cricket exhibition then he can be contacted on: or 01204 696984 / 07970 131460.