Rare textile engines may be scrapped


THE BOLTON NEWS:

A COLLECTION of textile machines which form part of Bolton’s industrial heritage could be destroyed under new plans by Bolton Council.

One rare steam engine and another 17 textile machines are on a list of items to be scrapped or given away as part of Bolton Museum’s move to a new storage facility.

The 17 engines under threat chart the progression of technological advances in the textile industry in the 20th century. A collection of 12 machines made in Bolton will be kept, however, along with all the older 19th century machines.

A report by Bolton Museum boss Stephanie Crossley cites the cost of moving and the large amount of space needed as reasons for the review.

The items listed for disposal are unique in Bolton, but other museums in the North West have similar examples.

Bolton Civic Trust chairman Brian Tetlow said the council should consult experts before making a decision.

He said: “Due consideration to the importance of the machines and those with a specific connection to Bolton must be made.

“It may well be that machinery of a later era may not be quite as icon- ic as the great machinery of the past. Given time though, it may be that other collectors will take these machines.

There is no need for this to be rushed.”

The museum is also set to scrap a collection of radioactive minerals.

The specimens present a minimal health risk, but their storage is costly.

A Bolton Council spokesman said that alternative homes for the machines would be found where possible.

He said: “Some expressions of interest have already been made by other organisations and we would endeavour to keep the items within the public domain.

“In many cases the new homes for the objects would be more appropriate than Bolton Museum.”

Plans to dispose of the engines were approved yesterday by Bolton Council’s full executive, but councillors agreed to look at ways of keeping the J & E Woods horizontal tandem steam engine.

Cllr John Walsh said: “We have a duty to our industrial heritage to retain that particular engine in Bolton. If it cannot be put back together, then we ought to find a location for it in Bolton, where it can be displayed as a fixed engine, in the same way as the engine at India Mills, Blackburn.”

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