Already a reasonably well-to-do town, it grew in size and prosperity as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
The pub known as The Old Man and Scythe, in Churchgate, dates from 1251. Oliver Cromwell lodged the Earl of Derby here for the night in 1641, before having him beheaded in the Market Place in retaliation for a massacre committed in the town by Royalists.
Richard Arkwright lived and worked on Churchgate before moving on to develop his business empire.
There is a statue of local man Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule, which he perfected in 1779. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Saviour`s Church.
The magnificent Town Hall was designed by William Hill and opened in 1873, and reflects Bolton`s civic pride.
William Lever, later the soap magnate Lord Leverhulme, bought the mediaeval house known as Hall i`the`Wood, which had earlier been Crompton`s home, and presented it to the town.
There is an excellent indoor market, and the Octagon Theatre was opened in 1967.
Among the people born in Bolton are Samuel Crompton, industrialist; Tommy Lawton, England footballer; Lord Leverhulme, industrialist; and Frank Tyson, England cricketer.
There are a number of artistic references to elephants in Bolton.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Bolton for groups.