It might not be New York.... we take a look at the best of Bolton
AMIR Khan’s wife Firyal has been busy tweeting about the difficulties of adapting to life in Bolton after living in New York. And while Bolton may not have the Empire State Building or Broadway, ANGELA KELLY takes a look at what our town does have to offer.
IT is very easy to sympathise with Firyal Khan and her problems settling into life in Bolton after enjoying the high-life in New York.
After all, New York City is the most populated city in the USA with more than 8.2 million people, and Its famously vibrant charms and cosmopolitan atmosphere entrance visitors from all over the world including the UK While a town like Bolton — albeit one of the biggest in the UK — cannot hope to compete with this famous US city, it still has its own attractions and special character that might still appeal to this welcome new local resident. After all, her sporting hero husband grew up here and his family still makes it their home.
HISTORY - WHILE Manhattan Island is arguably one of the most famous islands in the world, Bolton has its own fair share of important history.
The American island was bought by the Dutch from the Lenape Native Americans for 60 guilders (about $1,000) in 1626. The English conquered the city from the Dutch in 1664 and “New Amsterdam” became “New York”.
Bolton grew from a small rural village to a larger one in the Middle Ages and in 1251 was made a town. By the 17th century there was a cotton weaving industry here and by the 19th century mills and pits helped attract more workers to bring enduring prosperity. It was known as one of the most prosperous and largest of the industrial mill towns in the country.
BUILDINGS - New York has many famous — and tall — buildings like the iconic Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the new World Trade Centre’s Freedom Tower, all figuring largely on probably the world’s most famous skyline.
The charms of Bolton’s buildings are more historic than lofty but they are nevertheless impressive: Smithills Hall, the Grade 1 listed building boasting Medieval to Tudor architecture as well as Victorian splendour, all wrapped up in a family history that includes ghostly visitations. Turton Tower, the house that evolved over five centuries from a simple defensive tower to become a luxury home and today boasts Tudor and Victorian architecture and a fine collection of rare vintage furniture. Firwood Fold, the community of 17th century farmworkers’ cottages where influential inventor Samuel Crompton was born in what remains of a thatched cottage and where even earlier English cruck architecture is visible.
PEOPLE - Actors Sylvester Stallone, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Woody Allen, film director Martin Scorcese and pop singer Lady Gaga were all born in New York.
While finding world-famous Boltonians is rather more difficult, steeplejack turned TV star Fred Dibnah is well-known in many countries as is funnyman Peter Kay. Then there is TV presenter Vernon Kay and actresses Maxine Peake and Amy Nuttall. However, Boltlon-born 19th century artist Thomas Moran emigrated to the States — and his paintings of places like Yellowstone helped “sell” the country’s national parks to the American people.
ENTERTAINMENT - New York’s Broadway and the city’s theatrical scene is arguably unrivalled around the world, currently boasting everything from Cuba Gooding Jnr and Vanessa Williams in The Trip To Bountiful, to Let It Be and Mamma Mia!
Bolton’s main theatre is the Octagon, which has been nationally acclaimed and groundbreaking since it opened in 1967. It has championed work by local playwrights like Jim Cartwright and many famous actors have played there at different stages of their career. One of the country’’s most famous actors, Sir Ian McKellen, was a also pupil at Bolton School which fostered his love of acting.
And finally, when it comes to FOOD, she may not be able to get the mouth-watering variety of hot dogs or other international fast food available on the streets of New York in downtown Bolton, but we do have an awardr-winning market and a nationally known food festival.
And where else can you buy a hand-crafted pastie boasting a secret recipe that has been in the same family-run business since 1898? Bolton, of course, at Ye Olde Past ie Shoppe.
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