A guide to serviced offices and office space to rent in Bolton as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the town.
History & Geography
Located in England’s North West, Bolton lies in a group of low hills close to the West Pennine Moors and only approximately ten miles from the urban sprawl of Manchester. The area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and there is evidence that both the Romans and the Saxons after them had settlements in the area. The first mention of the city of Bolton however is in 1185. The name is a derivation of the Old English words bothel and tun, translating to ‘settlement with a special building’. In 1251 Henry III gave the town a charter to hold a market and the settlement became a thriving market town. The settlement of Flemish weavers in the town in the 14th century brought the manufacture of woollen cloth to the town, bolstering its economy and swelling its population. During the English Civil War in the 17th¢ury Bolton was a staunch parliamentary stronghold in an area which was predominantly Royalist. The town repulsed a number of attacks before being taken by Prince Rupert in 1644, after which a massacre of the townspeople was carried out, with over 1,500 dead. This event became known as the Bolton Massacre. During the 19th century Bolton grew ever larger on the of its successful textile industry. The wide availability of coal in the area helped sustain the industry, and by 1911 over 36,000 people were employed in the Bolton textile industry. Bolton was also the site of a large engineering industry, mainly making heavy machinery. Bolton’s engineering industry was the third largest in Lancashire after Manchester and Oldham, employing 9,000 people. During WWI Bolton was one of the first city’s in history to be bombed when a German Zeppelin dropped 21 bombs on the town killing 13 people and destroying five houses. During the later 20th century heavy industry declined significantly in Bolton and has gradually been replaced by the leisure and services industries.
Bolton has a heritage of heavy industry which has been largely replaced by service industries, as is the case in many British cities. Currently the predominant industries in Bolton are data processing, call-centres, high-tech and electronics. Among the traditional industries which do remain in Bolton are paper manufacturing, packaging, textiles, transport, steel foundries and building materials. The British baking firm Warburtons is also based in Bolton, since being founded there in 1876. When its major industries declined in the late 20th century Bolton struggled economically and parts of the city fell into decline. However the city has rallied and there are more regeneration projects planned for Bolton in the next decade, including Church Wharf and Bluemantle. Other major regeneration projects planned for the city are the GBP 200 million Merchants Quarter and the GBP 300 million Bolton Innovation Zone which is to have at its centre the University of Bolton. The city also has a thriving retail industry with various shopping centres and retail parks in the town centre as well as the surrounding suburbs.
Tourism & Culture
While certainly not being among England’s top tourist cities, tourism does play a part in the local economy. The town sees a number of visitors who come for its leisure facilities as well as its markets, pubs, cafes and restaurants which abound in the city centre. A recent survey from the British Association for the Advancement of Science found that Boltonians are the friendliest people in the UK. There are also a number of sites in Bolton which attract tourists, including Smithills Hall, a Grade I listed manor house, Last Drop Village, Barrow Bridge, the Bolton Steam Museum and Hall i’ th’ Wood, a late medieval farmer’s house which has been restored and is now open to the public. Among the landmarks the city is best known for is its town hall, a Grade II listed building of neoclassical design opened in 1873, and Reebok Stadium, from which the local football team Bolton Wanderers play. Ye Old Man & Scythe is the most famous pub in Bolton and one of the oldest in England, dating back to the early 13th century. It was outside this pub that the Earl of Derby was executed in 1651 for his role in the Bolton Massacre, and the pub contains a chair in which he reputedly sat before going outside to his fate.
An efficient bus network coordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester serves Bolton and the surrounding area. Local bus operators include Arriva North West, First Manchester and South Lancs Travel. The city is also served by the National Express. Bolton Interchange railway station is served by Virgin West Coast from Manchester Piccadilly and has services to Wigan, Southport, Blackburn and Manchester. The nearest airport to Bolton is Manchester Airport which serves both domestic and international flights and is reachable by train from Manchester Piccadilly.
The office market in Bolton is currently fairly stagnant, especially around the city centre. Rents for Grade A office space in this area have hardly seen any movement at all in the last decade, despite the fact that Bolton itself is constantly growing. There is also oversupply of secondary leasehold office space. There is also lack of quality outside the city centre with space for small offices being almost nonexistent. However several large developments are in the pipeline and Bolton is still considered a good place to set up a business, mostly due to its connections to larger cities in the area and the abundance of skilled workers. The recent completion of 120 Bark Street bodes well for the future.