BBC Home > BBC News > England

Bolton council planning Queen's jubilee city status bid

4 February 10 08:06 GMT

Civic leaders in Bolton have revealed ambitions to turn the former mill town into the UK's newest city.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson last month announced a competition for towns to bid for city status to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Now the council has said it will enter the race for the prize, citing the town's large size and long history.

Bolton was beaten to city status by its neighbour Preston the last time a competition was held in 2002.

But the council's Labour leader Cliff Morris said the town's time had come - and his belief is backed by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders on the authority.

Textile trade

"We're a city in all but name and I think Bolton deserves to be a city," said Mr Morris.

"We're one of the biggest towns in the country and we have a long and proud history dating back more than a thousand years.

"We should go after the official recognition we rightfully deserve."

With its population of 262,000, Bolton is one of the largest towns in Greater Manchester.

The town can trace its origins to 1067, when the Montgomery family owned the Manor of Bolton.

It rapidly expanded after the textile trade was introduced to the area and was central to the cotton boom in the region.

But now only a handful of the old mill buildings remain and the town is more famous for the famous faces to have emerged from it, such as comedians Peter Kay and Dave Spikey, boxer Amir Khan and steeplejack Fred Dibnah.

Mr Spikey is one of those backing the bid, describing his home as "a big town with a big heart".

"I've always said that Bolton possesses a wealth of stunning architecture including the most wonderful town hall," he said.

"I'm immensely proud of Bolton and Boltonians are the most genuine, warm and welcoming folk that you're ever likely to meet."

A motion is due to be passed at a council meeting on 3 March, asking all councillors to support the project.

Details of how the bid process will work are yet to be finalised.

Related BBC sites

*