HISTORY lovers took a step back in time to the industrial revolution this weekend.

Bolton Steam Museum threw open its doors for steam days on Sunday and Monday, where visitors can see new life return to the colossal machines which powered Britain's past.

The museum is run entirely by volunteers from the Northern Mill Engine Society, who have refurbished and now operate 30 machines - the largest collection of working textile mill steam engines in the country.

Neil Carney, chairman of the group, said he was pleased with the turnout over the weekend after hundreds of people visited the museum, in Mornington Road, Heaton.

"All of our engines are unique in their own way," Mr Carney said.

"This whole place is the work of volunteers and we never have any detrimental reports, people are always complimentary about what we've done here."

Among the collection at the museum is an enormous beam engine which weighs 40 tons and an extremely rare twin-beam engine which dates back to 1840.

The museum operates at a former cotton warehouse which used to be part of a much larger site at Atlas Mills.

The building has been extensively refurbished after the society was told it would have to move from its former home when Morrisons bought the land in 1990.

Anyone interested in attending a steam day to see some of the engines at work, should visit: www.nmes.org.