The Heaton area was treated to the sound of whirring engines this Bank Holiday weekend, a sound which used to be commonplace decades ago. 

Bolton Steam Museum held its 'steamings' on Sunday, May 5 and Bank Holiday Monday, where it runs its collection of steam engines like the olden days. 

Although it opens throughout the year, the museum only runs its engines five times a year on Bank Holidays and select weekends, due to the prohibitive costs involved - to run the engines over two days, it costs them around £900 in energy. 

It is based on Mornington Road, at the back of Morrisons, where the stationary steam engine manufacturer John Musgrave and Sons' Atlas Mills Complex once stood. 

The Bolton News: Alan 'Ginger' Ratcliffe, one of the committee membersAlan 'Ginger' Ratcliffe, one of the committee members (Image: Newsquest)

Committee member at the museum, Alan 'Ginger' Ratcliffe, said: "It is our first open day for 2024, it has been a hell of a good turnout. 

"Many people are surprised that it has been such a lovely day, the sun has come out to play. 

"Everyone has been very generous with donations, as we don't charge for entry." 

The engines are ones that were used across the north, including ones that would have been used or made in Bolton

The Bolton News: The Westminster Engine, one which Fred Dibnah worked onThe Westminster Engine, one which Fred Dibnah worked on (Image: Newsquest)

Alan said: "We have got engines from Bolton, North Yorkshire. What we try to do is an example of each type of engine. 

"There is a beam engine from the 1840s, there is another from the 1920s, showcasing the different generations of engines." 

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As well as displaying engines and machinery, there is also a bookshop with related-literature, a sale of tools, a film showing mill engines which provided power for the textile industry, and a cafe on the balcony. 

Even included in the exhibition is The Westminster Engine, one which Bolton's very own steeplejack royalty Fred Dibnah used to work on. 

The Bolton News: The 'Kenyon' EngineThe 'Kenyon' Engine (Image: Newsquest)

To find out more about the steam museum, visit their website at:

Visitor, Katherine Stacey of Bromley Cross, said: "I really liked it, I was very impressed with it. I have been meaning to come, it is just finding the time to come and see it. 

"But I am very glad I have made the effort to come, it is well worth a visit, especially seeing them in operation, because they only do it sometimes don't they? 

"My family is originally from weaving, so it is a bit of my history and heritage. I was saying to my husband I was always wanting to go, I'm glad we have managed it." 

Bolton Steam Museum will open for the steamings on May 26 and 27, August 25 and 26, October 26 and 27, and December 28 and 29.