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Colloquial Place Names around Bolton

by John Makin

The Mop

A small area of about a dozen houses at the bottom of Raglan Street, around Rossini Street and Brunel Street.

Bobby Legs

Correct name was Derbyshire Park. Slater Lane crosses Waterloo Street and is then on the right overlooking the River Tonge playground now gone and over grown with trees. The bowling green is still in use.

Jolly Brows

A popular play area of 4-5 acres of meadows accessible over the Jiggling Bridge off Tonge Moor Road just before the Royal Oak pub.


A very popular leisure area, 20 square miles, between Chapletown Road and Bradshaw Road. It is accessible through the yard of Horrabin Fold mills and on the other side down the lane beside The Lamb Inn on Bradshaw Road. I believe the area is now flooded.


Mr Arthur Orrell says this Water Glen a walk beside Eagley Brook of approximately 2 miles between Bank Top and Hall I Th Wood passing four reservoirs.

Yew Tree

A walk between Hall I Th Wood and the Royal Oak pub, now built upon with houses and Canon Slade School.

Boggart Hole

This is authentic home for cottages overlooking Water Meetings Bleach works - now demolished.

Pot Baileys

This is now built upon for the Market Place. The north side of the original Market Hall was Brook Street and where it joined the bridge was a short lane leading to the River Croal. In this lane was the 'Big Chimney' and Pot Baileys large wooden hut where crockery sales went on most evenings.

Holy Harbour

A large open area containing a football ground surrounded by a rickety wooden fence. On one side was Rushey Fold Lane off Halliwell Road.

Wooden Bridge

At the point where Bury Old Road joined Bury New Road, in the Haulgh, was a short Broom Street alongside which were railway tracks. A wooden footbridge crossed the line to Fairfield Street. Train spotting was ideal here when the smoke had cleared.

The Spake

People would say they lived near the Spake, this referred to a pub in either Maria Street or Mona Street off Gladstone Street off Halliwell Road. I do not know the correct name of the pub, only as the Spake on 'Spake Aisy'. It is Irish for Speak Easy. The pub had a well-known Irish landlord and when domino players began swearing in the bar or tap room he would go in and call out 'Spake Aisy lads Spake Aisy'.


Three cottages alongside the River Tonge, on the Brook side half a mile south of Waters Meetings.

The Jam Pot

Before WWII it was said that people who lived in this area could only afford to do so because in buying their houses meant they could only have jam sandwiches. I think this was a disparaging term used by people who may have been jealous. The area I believe was the Blocks.

The Blocks

This was Ulleswater Street incorrectly spelled as Ullswater on the street signs, is off Blackburn Road at the Tramways Hotel. At the bottom of this street was the Back o th Bank Destructor works. The refuse and ash carts, Shire horse drawn, had to use Ulleswater Street to and from the destructor where everything was burned in very large incinerators. The carriageway of Ulleswater Street was paved with oak blocks - size approximately 9-inch depth. I believe this was done to reduce the noise of the horses on the road. There was always at least one horse arriving and/or departing.

Tum Fowt

At the point where Bury New Road becomes Bury Road, there is on the right a small district and well known school with the name of Tonge Fold in the vernacular Tum Fowt.

Skrike Fowt

Skrike I believe is dialect spelling crying. This fold is on the south side of Astley Bridge cemetery in Astley Lane. One would pass cottages on the Lane leading to The Mop.

Jiggling Bridge (two of these)

One has described in Jolly Brows. I know of this one in the centre up and down about 12 inches and side to side for 24inches.

The second one was from Temple Road to Dean Mills (now gone) before Moss Bank Way.

Dolly Tub City

Having recorded this one I then, a few days ago, heard Fred Dibnah saying this one when referring to Darcy Lever.

Bobby Heywood's

As with Bobby Legs this one also refers to a Park on the south side of Bridgeman Street approaching High Street.

In these notes, I have referred to places, houses and buildings which no longer exist. My descriptions are pre war.

I am still listening!

21 January 2006