A plaque to a famous figure which was stolen from Bolton Socialist Club looks likely to be replaced with one to another figure who is not as "controversial".

The plaque to William Lever, Lord Leverhulme, was stolen from the socialist club on Wood Street when the site was out of use during the coronavirus crisis.

It came after the addition of the former Mayor of Bolton, an entrepreneur and founder of Lever Brothers who became a big benefactor to his hometown, to a list of famous figures whose memorials should be reassessed in light of their links to the country's colonial history. 

The list, set up in support of Black Lives Matter, said at least some of his fortune was thanks to forced labour on the palm oil plantations of the Belgian Congo.

The Bolton News: Lord Leverhulme

On May 16 Chris Chilton, the chairman of Bolton Socialist Club, applied for planning permission from Bolton Council to replace the plaque to Lord Leverhulme with a plaque to Sarah Reddish.

Reddish, a founder of the socialist club, is renowned for her work as a suffragist and a trade unionist over several decades and, in particular, for setting up the first baby clinic in the town in 1908.

Mr Chilton said: "Reddish spent a lifetime working for working people and, most importantly, she set up what was the second baby clinic in the country. Over the course of around 20 years the Infant Mortality Rate went down from something like 148 per thousand to something like six per thousand so she must have been responsible for saving thousands of lives in Bolton. 

"She is largely unrecognised, largely undervalued, and as far as I am aware there is not another plaque to a woman anywhere in Bolton."

The Bolton News: Sarah Reddish

Born in Westleigh, Lancashire, Reddish died aged 78 in 1928 at what was then Townley's Hospital . She is buried at Heaton Cemetery.

A consultation on the application for planning permission is on the Bolton Council website and the deadline for a decision is in six weeks.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.