HIDDEN items from as long ago as the 19th century were unveiled at Bolton Museum — after nearly being thrown out.

A brown twill jacket and a white cotton handkerchief containing the initials ‘RT’ were displayed during a public talk at the museum.

The jacket and handkerchief, which are thought to date back to the late 19th century, belonged to a young boy, possibly from Edgworth Home, a former children’s home which later became Crowthorn School.

The talk was conducted by Jacqueline Hyman, a textile conservator from the Textile Restoration Studio in Cheshire, and Anita Forth, an Edgworth Home historian.

Mrs Forth, who worked at Crowthorn School from 1983 until its closure in 2002, recovered the items in August last year after revisiting the school.

She said: “I saw some workmen on the site of Crowthorn School and got talking to one of them, who said there were some items in the air vent of the chapel which had been thrown into a skip. Thankfully, they were taken out and given a thorough washing.

“It’s so important to keep people aware of what used to be at Edgworth Home. The history of the place is something wonderful. I feel so passionate about it because I’m a part of it.”

Mrs Hyman added: “I would imagine these garments are from around the 1870s and, at the very earliest, the 1830s.

“It’s been brilliant to be here today. These garments are unique — they’re not something you find every day.

“The rewarding part of this job is when you stand back and think ‘we have done this all with our own hands’.

“In the computer age, it’s not always possible to do that, so we’re in a very privileged position.”

Edgworth Home, which was previously the Wheatsheaf Inn, was founded in 1872 by Methodist minister Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson.

Mrs Forth suggested that the jacket may have come from London, as many children who lived in the home were moved from the capital to the North.