1/56 A thread about the 1910-1916 attempts to redevelop Bolton town centre - as designed by Thomas Mawson and funded by William Lever.

It’s a long one - and with six lectures and 150 “plates” could have been much longer - so buckle up, we’re in for a ride.
2/56 Thomas Hayton Mawson 1861 – 1933 was a Lancashire-born garden designer, landscape and town planner.

He is noted for his work for William Lever, (Lord Leverhulme,) his park designs, and for designing England's first purpose-built mosque, The Fazl Mosque in Wandsworth.
3/56 From 1910 to 1924 he lectured frequently at the school of civic design, Liverpool University. In addition to the Bolton lectures, Mawson also delivered similar town-planning lectures about Exeter, Banff (Alberta,) Calgary (Alberta) and Thessaloniki.
4/56 By the 1900's Bolton's Councillors were concerned with progress, civic pride and modernisation. Bolton had ceded from Lancashire County Council in 1889, becoming self-governing, and Bolton County Borough's swallowing of nearby parishes, towns and villages was well underway.
5/56 In 1910 Bolton town centre was not a place to visit, but a place to inhabit. Not just a place for pubs, theatres, shops and offices; but houses, breweries, heavy industry, and factories
6/56 By 1910 Bolton was changing. Historic Bolton was being swept away. The modern road layout of the town centre was forming. Properties along Deansgate and Bradshawgate had been demolished, the roads widened and rebuilding was in progress.
7/56 Bolton town-centre had evolved over the previous 1800 years, rather than being purposefully designed, and this legacy was apparent even in new developments.
8/56 Enter Thomas Mawson - with 3 main objectives. 1) Beauty in utility 2) Framing landmarks with open spaces. 3) Access to light and fresh air
9/56 In his 6 lectures, Mawson set out the principles and benefits of town planning, criticised Bolton Council, critiqued the Town Centre and set out ambitious plans for civic improvement.
10/56 Mawson's chief complaint was that Bolton Council had not put enough thought into the significant investment in redevelopment. Major buildings were badly placed, obscured by signage, street layout or other buildings... more of this later.
11/56 So what was Bolton Town Centre like in 1916? Mawson provides a significant number of photographs to illustrate his points...
12/56 The prevalence, in the town centre, of outside toilets which were not connected to the sewerage system, were one source of criticism for Mawson.
13/56 Many of the houses in the town centre had been cheaply constructed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and relied on night-soil men to collect midden-waste rather than having flush toilets.
14/56 The text accompanying slide 125 is critical both of the tenants of older housing but also of the Council's handling of the situation...
15/56 Needless to say - he dwells on sanitation quite a bit.. no sniggering at the back thank you very much.
16/56 He quite liked Cotton Mills, though. Describing them as the pinnacle of beauty in utility - "quiet, orderly dignity." With "a little bit of ornament up the corners... delightful in its treatment and proportions" - as illustrated by this shot of Chorley Old Road
17/56 But Mawson was extremely critical of the way Bolton Council had handled the River Croal's town centre route, particularly as it was the old boundary between Great Bolton and Little Bolton.
18/56 Here we see the Victoria Buildings on Knowsley Street, from Brook Street. The Market Hall to the left and the River to the right. The datestone from the bridge is still visible outside Boots the Chemist today. Brook St is now completely buried by The Market Place.
19/56 He wasn't happy with the design of the Market Hall, with its asymmetrical frontages and blank walls facing onto Brook St and Rushton St / Bridge St. The most expensive failure in Bolton being Brook St - seen here from Knowsley St - towards Rushton St / Bridge St
20/56 He disliked the Georgian terraces of St George's Road, ironic then they were saved by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2006.
21/56 Bath Street received disapproval too. Although Clarence Street and School Hill were really to blame and it was Knowsley Street traffic that was affected. (What would he made of Topp Way and the pedestrianisation of Newport Street?)
The recent widening and redevelopment of Bradshawgate wasn't to his liking either...
23/56 Nor was Nelson Square. He had a particular dislike for railings, and didn't like the planting scheme. (The soon-to-be-replaced Post Office is visible here opposite the newly rebuilt Pack Horse. The Levers Arms Hotel (or "Cock and Trumpet") is just visible on the left.)
24/56 But, aside from these problems, Mawson's main concerns were the placement and visibility of major civic buildings: the Town Hall, the Parish Church, the library, the main museum, the new banks, and the Congregational Church.
It seems that we've hit a Twitter thread limit...

So hold tight for PART 2, when all will become clear
Part 2 of Thomas Mawson's lectures on Boltonian Town Planning

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2 May
46/56 Thomas Mawson Thread Part 3. So what did Mawson propose? Firstly, he wanted to open up space to make the Town Hall the town centre's hub and to enable it to be seen from the Parish Church, the Post Office and Queens Park
47/56 The first element of the plan was to clear two "boulevards." One from the Parish Church to the Town Hall.
48/56 And the second from Queens Park to the Town Hall. ("But how is this possible?" you say, looking at a map. Patience my friend, all will be revealed.)
Read 14 tweets
2 May
25/56 Thomas Mawson Thread Part 2. Firstly, the Parish Church and Church Wharf. Mawson was quite impressed by the Parish Church, but was disappointed that it was all but invisible save from within Church grounds.
26/56 This "fine open vista" is now St Peter's Way - the main dual carriageway heading towards the M60.
27/56 The only view that he deemed acceptable was from the wharves down by the Bolton and Bury canal - now a dual carriageway serving the M60.
Read 23 tweets

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