Bolton Library and Museum Services

Hall i' th' Wood history

It might stretch the imagination to think that a former cow shed could also be the launchpad for one of the most important inventions in Britain's industrial history. Hall i' th' Wood has had a chequered past. Starting out life as a rich merchants home the Hall has had many tenants besides cattle.

Samuel Crompton's family lodged there and this is where he invented the spinning mule and spun previously unheard of quantities of fine cotton thread. After a brief time housing livestock the Hall was bought by Lord Leverhulme for the people of Bolton. It opened as a museum in 1902.

The Story of the Hall

A rare surviving example of a Tudor wooden-framed house, Hall i’ th’ Wood was originally built as a half-timbered hall in the early 16th century.

Samuel Crompton's Story

Despite the effectiveness of the spinning mule Samuel never made his fortune from the machine. The following is the sad tale of Samuel Crompton's fight to earn recognition for his ingenuity. The mule went on to be one of the most significant and ubiquitous spinning machines used by the textile industry.

Lord Leverhulme

In 1899 William Hesketh Lever purchased Hall i’ th’ Wood.  He paid for the renovations of the building and presented the Hall to Bolton Corporation in 1902.