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Atlas Forge (Walmsley's)

Thomas Walmsley and Sons, Atlas Forge Bridgeman St / Fletcher St
1866-1985, Re-built 1920

Prior to the building demolition. Atlas was removed and mounted in Folds Rd

Updated December 23, 2016 4:08 PM

1869-1871 Thomas Walmsley was Mayor of Bolton.
see www.boltonsmayors.org.uk

1874 Jan 8th About ten minutes to three o'clock this afternoon, a terrible boiler explosion, resulting in shocking loss of life, and great destruction of property, occurred at the Atlas Forge, belonging to Mr Alderman Walmsley, in Bridgeman-street, Bolton. The work of this vast establishment was proceeding calmly and methodically, when a loud report which shook the whole neighbourhood, was heard. After the booming reverberation had finished, and the cloud of dust and steam has passed away, the wreck that was discernible was most complete. Bodies of men and boys who were a few minutes working in the vicinity of the boiler were found lying amongst the ruins. Large crowds of persons assembled in Fletcher-street, Bridgeman-street, and the adjoining outlets to the scene of the terrible catastrophe as news of the explosion spread like wildfire. It is understood that six men were killed and many injured.

1947 Jan 29th Thomas Walmsley and Son, Ltd iron manufacturer are the first to install a new oil-fired billet reheating furnace in their forge to replace what is now one of the old-fashioned coal-burning type. It is expected that the new design will prove to be twice as efficient as the design now in use.

Atlas Forge which closed in 1974 and was the last manufacturer of wrought iron, using the traditional "puddling" method, it was an old-established process which died out by the 1970’s. Fortunately, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum was able to acquire much of the plant from Atlas Forge and re-erect it at Blists Hill inside an iron-framed building rescued from Woolwich Dockyard in London.

There was also a pub call Atlas Forge at the top of Venture St.

The firm became Steel Stock Holders until 1984.

1989 Walmsleys was demolished, site used for the building of Mill View Nusing Home.

I remember when we were living in Whittaker St we could feel the Atlas Forge hammer working.

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