The Bolton News

The Bolton News

(c) Newsquest
Type Daily newspaper/website
Format Tabloid and online
Owner(s) Newsquest
Founder(s) W. F. Tillotson
Publisher Newsquest
Editor-in-chief Ian Savage
News editor Maxine Wolstenholme
Sports editor Neil Bonnar
Photo editor Gus Sivyer
Founded 1867
Headquarters Bolton, England
Circulation 10,172 (62,214 daily online)
Sister newspapers Bury Times, Radcliffe Times, Prestwich & Whitefield Guide
ISSN 1752-3001

The Bolton News – formerly the Bolton Evening News – is a daily newspaper and news website covering the towns of Bolton and Bury in north-western England. Published each morning from Monday to Saturday and online every day, it is part of the Newsquest media group, a subsidiary of the U.S media giant Gannett Inc.


The editor of The Bolton News is Ian Savage and the newspaper has an approximate circulation of 10,172.[1]

On 11 September 2006 the Bolton Evening News became The Bolton News, which saw the newspaper being sold from the morning onwards. It considered several names, including Bolton Daily News and Bolton News. Newsquest bought these internet domain names in May 2006.

The Bolton News' head of content is Lynn Ashwell. The news editor is Maxine Wolstenholme and the sports editor is Neil Bonnar. The website,, is currently overseen by multimedia editor Melanie Disley. It has 62,214 daily unique users.[1]

In depth

The Bolton Evening News was Britain's first community evening halfpenny newspaper. The only other evening paper to publish before The Bolton Evening News was the Shipping Gazette in South Shields.

The very first edition of The Bolton Evening News was founded by the Tillotson family and was published on Tuesday 19 March 1867 – with the front page entirely devoted to adverts. But the origins of the paper stretch way back to 1834 when John Tillotson was apprenticed to printer Robert Marsden Holden, who had premises in Mealhouse Lane, Bolton. Tillotson eventually married his boss's daughter and took over the business in 1850. His son, William Frederick Tillotson, became apprenticed to his father. He managed to persuade his father to help him launch the first Bolton Evening News, which stretched to four pages. William Frederick Tillotson married Mary Lever on 20 April 1870.[2] Severe difficulties dogged WF Tillotson's early enterprise but he persevered and the Evening News really took off under the first editor William Brimelow. Legend has it that the job application process then could be traumatic. Brimelow is said to have had a habit of throwing a book on the ground just as potential applicants entered the office to see what their reaction was.

Following on from the success of the evening paper the weekly Journals followed: Bolton Weekly Journal 1871[3] (which merged with the Bolton Guardian in 1893 to become the Bolton Journal and Guardian),[4] Farnworth Weekly Journal 1873, Leigh, Tyldesley and Atherton Journal 1874, Eccles and Patricroft Journal 1874, Horwich and Westhoughton Journal 1925, and the Stretford and Urmston in 1960.

Tillotson's Fiction Bureau, founded by WF Tillotson in 1873, played an important role in publishing late Victorian and early-20th-century literature.[5][6]

WF Tillotson died in 1889, leaving his widow and six children.[7] In addition to the newspaper the Tillotson family also developed their general printing and carton making businesses. Mary Tillotson, widow of WF Tillotson, was a business partner in the Bolton Evening News; John Lever Tillotson left the Bolton Evening News to join the board of Lever Brothers.[8]

The paper went from strength to strength and outgrew its primitive origins in a hand-fed printer and in 1876 a Victory printing and folding machine was acquired with a capacity of printing 16,000 copies an hour. The Tillotsons remained owners of the Evening News into the latter part of the 20th century, but the days of family-owned newspapers were drawing to a close and in 1971 the Tillotsons sold the company to St Regis International of New York. From then on change happened rapidly. St Regis sold the group to Reed International in 1982 and the Bolton Evening News became the largest of its titles.

In 1987 the paper relocated to Newspaper House in Churchgate and the old building in Mealhouse Lane became the Shipgates shopping centre, later becoming part of Crompton Place shopping arcade.

In September 2006 the paper was renamed The Bolton News. The rename came about as the paper is now delivered from the morning onwards. On 11 June 2009 the sub-editors in the editorial department were moved to Blackburn, working from the offices of the Lancashire Telegraph. It meant the production of pages for The Bolton News were created away from Bolton for the first time in the publication's history.

At the start of 2009, the Bury Times operation was merged with The Bolton News. The Bury Times office in Market Street was sold to Bury College. The Bury Times is now largely produced in Bolton and Blackburn and in April 2013, it was revamped with more pages and a £1 price point.

In 2011, The Bolton News looked towards digital production, expanding into the smartphone app market, launching Bolton and Bury Football for Apple iOS devices, and producing ebooks for the iPad and Kindle.

In October 2012, The Bolton News relocated to The Wellsprings, Bolton, taking over the former Barclays Bank after the lease on Newspaper House came to an end. The newspaper was given a fresh look and increased price in May 2013 but it led to a 32 per cent drop in circulation.

Staff numbers have since declined to an all-time low and the newspaper is now sub-edited from a central hub in Newport, South Wales, alongside numerous other Newsquest newspapers.


The Bolton News has had just 12 editors but it functioned without anyone officially being designated Editor until William Brimelow was confirmed in the post in 1871.

1871–1913: William Brimelow

1913–27: Frederick L. Tillotson

1927–41: Issac Edwards

1941–45: Frederick Tillotson

1945–65: Frank Singleton

1965–79: Tom Cooke

1979–87: Leslie Gent

1987–92: Chris Walder

1992–97: Andrew Smith

1997–2001: Mark Rossiter

2001–08 : Steve Hughes

2008–present: Ian Savage

Online editors

The Bolton News has had four dedicated online editors who have overseen and Before 2005, there was no single online editor.

2005–09: Chris Sudlow

2009–13: David Crookes

2013–2015: Julian Thorpe

2015–present: Melanie Disley



  1. 1 2 ABC: Official circulation certificate.
  2. Mary Lever, Person Page 23845,
  3. Sell, Henry (1887). "Bolton Weekly Journal". Sell's Dictionary of the World's Press. London: Sell's Advertising Agency. p. 204.
  4. Bolton journal and guardian, Library of Congress Catalogs: Newspapers in Microform, Foreign Countries, 1948–1983, page 314, UNT Digital Library
  5. John Sutherland (1990) [1989]. "Tillotson's Fiction Bureau". The Stanford Companion to Victorian Literature. pp. 629–630.
  6. Longbottom, Jackie (17 Oct 2013). "The history of Tillotson's Fiction Bureau". The Bolton News.
  7. "Obituary: W. F. Tillotson". The Literary World. 39: 204. 1 March 1889.
  8. Serializing fiction in the Victorian press By Graham Law, page 84.
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