THIS grainy picture of smiling mill girls in their pinnies, linking arms as they head back to their work, will come to life this month at a special programme of films about Bolton.

The girls feature on a film made in 1927 which has not been seen for decades.

“A Day in the Life of Bolton”

was made on old nitrate film and, after being treated and transferred onto safety film, it will be unveiled for its first public screening at the Bolton on Film night on Tuesday, November 23, at Bolton Library.

The “gem” of a film was taken to the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University and from there it was sent to experts in London.

Geoff Senior, the archive’s collections assistant, said: “It is a real gem of a film. It has not been seen for decades.

“It is a black and white film and features mill girls, the town’s trams and a police sports day.

“We think it was made for First National Pathe and perhaps sponsored by Lewis’s department store in Manchester in return for an advert which features at the end.”

The film is 17 minutes long and was probably shown in cinemas.

Mr Senior said: “It also has lots of close-ups and crowd scenes and one scene outside Oxford Street school.

We are always interested to hear from anyone who recognises any faces.”

There are several other films being shown as part of the night, which aims to make the archive’s fascinating collection available to the public in the North West.

“Cotton Counts” is an 18- minute colour film made by the Cotton Board about postwar textiles and features the town’s mills.

There is also the 1953 “Matthews Cup Final” film, which shows the Trotters’ defeat at the hands of Blackpool.

“We had thought about just showing the first half!” said Mr Senior.

There is also a fascinating film about the building of the M61, filmed by a Mr Boardman of Westhoughton, from 1969 up until the opening of the Anderton Services — now the Bolton West service area — by the Queen in December, 1970.

Bolton College of Art and Design also made a 16- minute film about the town’s pedestrianistation, dating from 1969 to 1973, which will also be shown. The Bolton Evening News also features, in a promotional film called “Producing a Modern Newspaper”, made in 1930.

Mr Senior said the archive staged 15 screenings a year, from Carlisle to Crewe, and a film night was last held in Bolton four years ago.

The screenings are supported by Vision+Media and are being staged in collaboration with Bolton Library and Museum Services.

The evening starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £4 from the library or by calling 01204 332211.

There are only 180 seats, so people are urged to book early to avoid disappointment.

The North West Film Archive has been based at Manchester Metropolitan University since 1977 and is the publicly recognised home for moving images about life in the North West of England.

● A clip from “Producing a Modern Newspaper” can be seen at The Bolton News website: