Colonel Geoffrey George Hargreaves Bolton
Research by Marjorie Gregson
COLONEL GEOFFREY GEORGE HARGREAVES BOLTON MBE, MC, DL (1894-1983)
Geoffrey George Hargreaves Bolton, one of four brothers, was born to Henry Hargreaves Bolton JP (1857-1943) and his wife, Florence Elizabeth. The family home was Highbrake Hall, a Georgian residence built around 1790, north of Huncoat, near Accrington with another house in Heightside, Rhos-on-Sea.
His grandfather, Henry Hargreaves Bolton, and his father, also called Henry Hargreaves Bolton, were colliery proprietors. The family business of Lancashire colliery proprietors included 17 mines and employed over 1000 men in and around Bacup, Accrington and Darwen. Although the mines primarily produced coal for the local manufacturing mills, they also provided fuel for domestic use. In 1883 an explosion at one of the mines resulted in 68 deaths.
Tragedy was to strike the family itself when three of the brothers lost their lives in the First World War. Captain Harry Hargreaves Bolton and Lieutenant John Bolton died at Gallipoli and Captain Maurice Baldwin Bolton MC died in a German field hospital. All the brothers, after being educated at Shrewsbury School, had been commissioned in the East Lancashire Regiment.
Geoffrey survived Gallipoli, although he was wounded, and was awarded the MC for gallantry in 1916. In 1922 he unveiled the Altham War Memorial, erected in commemoration of 30 men who had died, including his three brothers. (1)
In 1919 he married Ethel Robinson, second daughter of the Reverend James Robinson of Read in Lancashire. She died in 1942 after a long illness and, in 1943, he married his sister-in-law, Margaret Robinson. (2)
After the war he held various prestigious positions within the coal industry whilst still commanding the Local Territorials, Battalion 4/5th East Lancashire Regiment.
In 1932 he was Joint Managing Director of the Hargreaves Collieries Ltd at Huncoat and was a Member of the Institute of Mining Engineers 1935-1936.
Before Nationalisation he was Chief Executive Officer of Lancashire Associated Collieries and after holding several positions for the National Coal Board became its Chairman, North-Western Division in 1951. (3) In addition he was a prominent member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Colonel Bolton had many interests and held several positions within the community:
He was chairman of Padiham Church Street Male Voice Choir - the choir won prizes at many leading musical festivals including Blackpool. (4)
A lover of sport, he was President of Accrington Cricket Club (5) and President of Accrington Stanley Football Club. (6)
He held the position of County President of the Boy Scouts Association. (7)
In 1962, and living at Littlemoor House, Clitheroe, he was made a High Sheriff of Lancashire.
His father, Henry Hargreaves Bolton, moved to St Annes on Sea, and was certainly living there by 1941. (8) Colonel Bolton died in the Ribble Valley in 1983, aged 87. His death was reported in the London Gazette: BOLTON, Henry Hargreaves. 180, Clifton Drive South, St Annes–on-Sea, formerly of The Gate House, Newchurch, Rossendale, both in Lancashire Esquire, 14th December, 1943.
He donated Hunter and Deer in a Highland Landscape by Richard Ansdell RA (1815-1885) on 19 January 1953.
Burnley Express, 3 July 1943
(3) Colliery and Year Books and Coal
(4) Burnley Express, 8 November 1930
(5) Lancashire Evening Post,
23 December 1924
(6) Lancashire Daily Post,
18 November 1930
(7) Burnley Express, 15 March 1950
(8) Burnley Express, 22 February 1941
Websites of interest:
www.dmm.org.uk (The Durham Mining Museum)