On Thursday 21st November, a group of 15 children from Horwich Parish C of E School had the opportunity to explore the Horwich’s history with a guided tour of the Loco Works, arranged in association with Horwich Heritage and Bolton Council made possible by a small lottery funding.

The children took a bus tour around the site to look at the Loco Works buildings, including the Machine and Pattern Shop, and the Erecting and Repair Shop, where the locomotives were assembled.

Their visit then involved a walk through Rivington House, including a look through the old photographs in the main office, a chance to see snapshots of the now-disused buildings in their heyday. Rounding off the day was a talk on the history of the Works, and its significance in the heritage of Horwich.

The Loco Works visit for primary school children has been a yearly occurrence in Horwich for the past five years, organised by Bolton Playing for Success, the learning enrichment team who regularly run workshops across Bolton for schoolchildren.

Each year’s visit has a theme, and this year the children explored the theme of town planning, focusing on how Horwich might look in 100 years’ time. The theme is one particularly relevant to the town, as the 1,700 home Rivington Chase development, to be carried out by North West developer Bluemantle, began construction earlier this year in the vicinity of the Loco Works. The children built Lego houses at the Science and Technology Centre in Farnworth before their visit to the Loco Works, to better understand how planning and construction are undertaken.

Horwich Loco Works was pivotal in the development of Horwich as a town, and were operational for 97 years before closing in 1983.

Janet Rhodes, Manager at Bolton playing for success, who helped organise the trip, told us “The children really enjoyed their day out. Getting to look through the old photographs always brings the Loco Works’ history to life. Lots of Horwich schoolchildren have grandparents and great-grandparents who worked at the Loco Works, which gives them a real personal connection to the site.”

The course is run as an after school project for 6 weeks by Bolton playing for success.