Bolton is a proud Northern town and we are celebrating this week by linking with the Portico Library's What's Your North competition.
Visit our What's Your North display in the library for a range of books on Northern history, places, people and literature. You'll find a display from the University Photo Archive, chronicling the development of the town and the University campus - it's fair to say it's changed a bit over the years!
The Mass Observation Archive is a fascinating repository of reports, photos, diaries and other documents from the Mass Observation organisation. Mass Observation was a pioneering social research organisation, founded in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, film-maker Humphrey Jennings and poet Charles Madge. Their aim was to create an 'anthropology of ourselves', and by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers they studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. Mass Observation are widely known for their Worktown project, centered on the lives of the working class people of Bolton between 1937 and 1940.
The University of Bolton has it's own Centre for Worktown Studies which promotes and supports academic research into the field: explore photos and archives on the Bolton Worktown site.
The University has other centres and projects linked deeply with the identity of the North, including Victorian Bolton and Writing Bolton, an interactive digital literature project centred around the town.
The Library recently become home to the Lancashire Authors Association Collection. This is a unique collection of 2000 items relating to Lancashire literature, history, traditions and dialect.
We're working on cataloguing the collection at present. Please contact us if you have any questions about the collection. We hope to make the collection accessible to visitors in 2022.
Our Special Collections site has details of libraries and archives across the North, from Edge Hill to Teeside. We are proud members of the Academic Libraries North Special Collections group, and benefit greatly from the shared experience and expertise of this valuable network. You can explore the collections of great Northern libraries and archives via Jisc's Library Hub Discover and Archives Hub (we'll admit, other regions of the UK are covered too).
The Portico Library is a beautiful members' Library in the heart of Manchester. Student memberships are available. You'll find details of the Portico and many other amazing local libraries on our Using Other Libraries page. The Portico Prize is a biennial award for the book that best evokes the spirit of the North of England - visit their website for the longlist for 2022's award.