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The Town that Vanished: The Rise and Fall of Lancashire's Biggest Mill Town

By Ian Robinson

In 1937, Bolton was the centre of a groundbreaking investigation into the daily lives of ordinary working people. <

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For two years wherever Boltonians went - the pub, the shops, the cinema, the football match- they were secretly observed.

The result: 40,000 documents and 800 photographs which provide an unparalleled, vivid record of one Lancashire mill town at its peak. The investigators called Bolton “Worktown” – a type of industrial town defined by working class communities and a particular way of life. At the time, Worktown seemed permanent and enduring but before the twentieth century ended, it had all but disappeared. 

In The Town that Vanished, Ian Robinson uses the Worktown investigation to frame the story of what the town of Bolton once was and, just as compelling, what it has become. 

This book is for anyone who feels a nostalgic yearning for Worktown’s cobbled streets, corner shops, pubs, cinemas, towering mills and smoking chimneys; who wants to know more about why they all vanished; and who is inclined to believe when landmarks like the Odeon cinema, the Palais dance hall and Burnden Park were demolished this once proud northern town lost its soul. 

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