The Metropolitan Borough of Bolton /ˈbltən/ (About this sound listen) is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. It is named after its largest settlement, Bolton, but covers a far larger area which includes Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Kearsley and Westhoughton, and a suburban and rural element from the West Pennine Moors. The borough has a population of 276,800, and is administered from Bolton Town Hall.

The boundaries the Bolton metropolitan district were set as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, and cover an amalgamation of eight former local government districts; 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 non-metropolitan districts of Blackburn with Darwen and Chorley in Lancashire lie to the north and north-west.


The metropolitan borough was formed on 1 April 1974, by the merger of the County Borough of Bolton and the following districts from the administrative county of Lancashire:

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).[1]


Horwich, Westhoughton and Blackrod are now constituted as civil parishes. There are three town councils in the metropolitan borough, Westhoughton Town Council, Horwich Town Council and Blackrod Town Council. The rest of the metropolitan borough, Bolton, Farnworth, Kearsley, Little Lever, and South Turton, have remained unparished areas since 1974.


According to the 2009 estimates,[2] of the 265,100 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
Year Population ±%
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%
Year Population ±%
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%
Year Population ±%
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[3]


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


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.[4] 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%.[5] 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%.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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
  • The table on the left shows the percentage of students gaining five A* to C grades, including English and Maths, for secondary schools in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton.
  • The table on the right shows the Average Total Point Score per Student for secondary schools in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton.
  • Schools highlighted in yellow are above the LEA average; those highlighted in orange are below the average.
  • Another secondary school, Bolton Muslim Girls' School, has opened since January 2007; no results are available.
  • Source: Department for Children, Schools and Families[permanent dead link]

Leaders of Bolton Council

Leaders of Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
No. Leader Period of office Political party Notes
1 John Hanscomb 1973–1980 Conservative Chairman and Transitional Mayor of Bolton (1973–1974)
and ceremonial Mayor of Bolton (1982–1983)
2 Robert Howarth 1980–2004 Labour MP for Bolton East (1964–1970)
3 Barbara Ronson 2004–2006 Liberal Democrat Mayor of Horwich (1996–1997) and Mayor of Bolton (2007–2008)
4 Clifford Morris 2006–present Labour Mayor of Bolton (2003–2004)

Twin towns

The Metropolitan Borough of Bolton has two twin towns, one in France and another in Germany.[10]

Country Place County / District / Region / State Originally twinned with Date
France France Blason de la ville de Le Mans (Sarthe).svg Le Mans Flag of Pays-de-la-Loire.svg Pays de la Loire County Borough of Bolton 1973
Germany Germany DEU Paderborn COA.svg Paderborn 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

See also


  1. ^ "It's still worth trying again for city status". theboltonnews.co.uk. 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  2. ^ 2009 Mid Year Estimates – Table 9 ONS, retrieved 2010-09-09 
  3. ^ "Bolton District: total population". Vision of Britain.  Retrieved on 20 December 2008.
  4. ^ "LEA SATs performance". London: BBC Online. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  5. ^ "How different LEAs performed". London: BBC Online. 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  6. ^ "Secondary schools in Bolton". London: BBC Online. 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  7. ^ "Secondary schools in Bolton: GCSE-level". London: BBC Online. 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  8. ^ "The University of Bolton". Times Online: Good University Guide website. London: Times Online (Times Newspapers Ltd). 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  9. ^ "University of Bolton". The Sunday Times University Guide website. London: The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers Ltd). 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  10. ^ Bolton Council : Town Twinning retrieved 8 January 2010

Coordinates: 53°34′39″N 2°25′48″W / 53.57750°N 2.43000°W / 53.57750; -2.43000