Borough of Bolton
Bolton Town Hall, the seat of Bolton Council
Official logo of Borough of Bolton
"Supera Moras"
(Latin: "Overcome delays")
Bolton shown within Greater Manchester
Bolton shown within Greater Manchester
Coordinates: 53°34′39″N 2°25′48″W / 53.57750°N 2.43000°W / 53.57750; -2.43000Coordinates: 53°34′39″N 2°25′48″W / 53.57750°N 2.43000°W / 53.57750; -2.43000
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionNorth West England
Ceremonial countyGreater Manchester
Admin HQBolton Town Hall
Historic countySalford Hundred, Lancashire
Founded1 April 1974
 • TypeMetropolitan borough
 • Governing bodyBolton Metropolitan Borough Council
 • Mayor:Cllr. Akhtar Zaman (L)
 • Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
 • Leader:Martyn Cox (C)
 • MPs:Mark Logan (C)
Yasmin Qureshi (L)
Chris Green (C)
 • Total53.98 sq mi (139.80 km2)
 (mid-2019 est.)
 • Total287,550 (Ranked 48th)
 • Density4,860/sq mi (1,877/km2)
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
Postcode areas
Area codes01204, 01942, 0161
ISO 3166-2GB-BOL
ONS code00BL (ONS)
E08000001 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSD715095

The Metropolitan Borough of Bolton /ˈbltən/ (listen) is a metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, named after its largest town, Bolton, but covering a larger area which includes Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Kearsley, Westhoughton, and part of the West Pennine Moors. It had a population of 276,800 at the 2011 census, making it the fourth-most populous district in Greater Manchester.[1]

The borough was created in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the area of seven former local government districts and part of an eighth; being seven urban districts from the administrative county of Lancashire, and the County Borough of Bolton. The metropolitan districts of Bury, Salford and Wigan lie to the east, south and west respectively; and the unitary authority of Blackburn with Darwen and the non-metropolitan district of Chorley in Lancashire to the north and north-west.


Bolton Metropolitan Borough was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the combined areas of seven former local government districts and part of an eighth, which were all abolished at the same time:[2]

As a county borough, the old borough of Bolton had been administratively independent from any county council, but was deemed part of Lancashire for ceremonial purposes.[3] The other seven districts had all been part of the administrative county of Lancashire prior to 1974, with Lancashire County Council serving as their upper tier authority. When the metropolitan borough of Bolton was created in 1974 it was transferred to the new metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, with Greater Manchester Council providing county-level services. The Greater Manchester Council was abolished in 1986, after which Bolton became a unitary authority, providing all local government services.

Bolton Council unsuccessfully petitioned Elizabeth II for the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton to be granted city status in 1992 (the Queen's 40th year as monarch), in 2000 (for the Millennium celebrations), in 2002 (Queen's Golden Jubilee), and 2012 (Queen's Diamond Jubilee).[4]


Horwich, Westhoughton and Blackrod are now constituted as civil parishes, each having a town council: Westhoughton Town Council, Horwich Town Council and Blackrod Town Council. The rest of the metropolitan borough, covering the town of Bolton itself, Farnworth, Kearsley, Little Lever, and South Turton, have remained unparished areas since 1974.


According to the 2011 census, of the 276,787 people living in Bolton Metropolitan Borough, the following ethnicities have been recorded:

Population change

The table below details the population change since 1801, including the percentage change since the last available census data. Although the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton has only existed since 1974, figures have been generated by combining data from the towns, villages, and civil parishes that would later be constituent parts of the borough.

Population growth in Bolton since 1801
1801 37,417—    
1811 48,996+30.9%
1821 60,319+23.1%
1831 75,787+25.6%
1841 89,507+18.1%
1851 105,957+18.4%
1861 132,437+25.0%
1871 158,917+20.0%
1881 185,397+16.7%
1891 216,792+16.9%
1901 240,014+10.7%
1911 265,733+10.7%
1921 263,413−0.9%
1931 261,119−0.9%
1941 256,207−1.9%
1951 251,388−1.9%
1961 255,627+1.7%
1971 259,993+1.7%
1981 260,229+0.1%
1991 262,880+1.0%
2001 261,035−0.7%
Pre-1974 statistics were gathered from local government areas that now comprise the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton
Source: Vision of Britain[5]


The Bolton metropolitan area is served by the following railway stations:


See also: List of schools in Bolton

In 2007, Bolton was ranked 69th out of the 149 Local Education Authorities – and sixth out of ten in Greater Manchester – for its National Curriculum assessment performance.[6] Measured on the percentage of pupils attaining at least 5 A*–C grades at GCSE including maths and English, the Bolton LEA was 111th out of 149: 40.1% of pupils achieved this objective, against a national average of 46.7%.[7] Unauthorised absence from Bolton's secondary schools in the 2006/2007 academic year was 1.4%, in line with the national average, and authorised absence was 6.0% against the national average of 6.4%.[8] At GCSE level, Bolton School (Girls' Division) was the most successful of Bolton's 21 secondary schools, with 99% of pupils achieving at least 5 A*–C grades at including maths and English.[9]

The University of Bolton is one of Greater Manchester's four universities. In 2008, The Times Good University Guide ranked it 111th of 113 institutions in Britain.[10] There are 4,440 students (83% undergraduate, 17% postgraduate); 2.6% come from outside Britain. In 2007 there were 8.8 applications for every place, and student satisfaction was recorded as 74.4%. It is one of Britain's newest universities, having been given this status in 2005.[11]

GCSE Examination Performance 2009

School A*-C
Pass Rate
Bolton Muslim Girls' School 100% 533.1
Bolton School (Girls' Division) 98% 546.7
Canon Slade C of E School 93% 508.5
Lord's Independent School 93% 401.5
St Joseph's RC High School 85% 426.6
Madrasatul Imam Muhammed Zakariya 79% 347.3
Al Jamiah Al Islamiyyah at Mount St Joseph's Convent 79% 327.9
Ladybridge High School 78% 437.6
Turton School 76% 396.1
Sharples School 74% 414.1
Westhoughton High School 67% 424.0
Rivington and Blackrod High School 69% 456.7
Essa Academy 67% 383.7
Smithills School 66% 400.8
Little Lever School 61% 442.7
Mount St Joseph School 61% 422.7
Harper Green School 59% 384.7
George Tomlinson School 55% 307.4
Bolton School (Boys' Division) 52% 240.4
Average for Metropolitan Borough of Bolton 71.4% 422.5
Average for England 70.0% 413.5


Main article: Bolton Council

For historical political control and leadership, see Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council elections.

The local authority is Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, which styles itself "Bolton Council". Since 2011 it has been a constituent member of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, providing strategic co-ordination of local government across the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester. Since 2017 the combined authority has been led by the directly-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Twin towns

The Metropolitan Borough of Bolton has two twin towns, one in France and another in Germany.[12]

Country Place County / District / Region / State Originally twinned with Date
France France
Blason de la ville de Le Mans (Sarthe).svg
Le Mans
Unofficial flag of Pays-de-la-Loire.svg
Pays de la Loire County Borough of Bolton 1973
Germany Germany
DEU Paderborn COA.svg
Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia.svg
Nordrhein-Westfalen Metropolitan Borough of Bolton 1975

Neighbouring districts

The local government districts which surround the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton
Borough of Chorley
Borough of Blackburn with Darwen
North-East and East:
Metropolitan Borough of Bury

Metropolitan Borough of Bolton

Metropolitan Borough of Wigan
City of Salford

Freedom of the Borough

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough.

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (July 2019)


Military units


See also


  1. ^ "Greater Manchester (United Kingdom): Boroughs - Population Statistics, Charts and Map". Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  2. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 August 2022
  3. ^ "Local Government Act 1888",, The National Archives, 1888 c. 41, retrieved 31 August 2022
  4. ^ "It's still worth trying again for city status". 17 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Bolton District: total population". Vision of Britain. Retrieved on 20 December 2008.
  6. ^ "LEA SATs performance". London: BBC. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  7. ^ "How different LEAs performed". London: BBC. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
  8. ^ "Secondary schools in Bolton". London: BBC. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Secondary schools in Bolton: GCSE-level". London: BBC. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  10. ^ "The University of Bolton". Times Online: Good University Guide website. London: Times Online (Times Newspapers Ltd). 15 August 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  11. ^ "University of Bolton". The Sunday Times University Guide website. London: The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers Ltd). 23 September 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  12. ^ Bolton Council : Town Twinning. Retrieved 8 January 2010
  13. ^ Harrigan, Joe (8 March 2022). "Sir Jason Kenny hailed for 'outstanding career' with Freedom of Bolton honour". The Bolton News. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  14. ^ "The Freedom of Bolton".