Mason Street, Bolton

Mason Street, Bolton

In the late 19th century, my 3 x great grandfather William Higginson owned four houses on Mason Street in Bolton, numbers 78, 80, 82 & 84. He lived at number 82 with his family and rented out the other three houses. William was a sawyer in a wood mill, so I’m curious as to how he ended up owning four houses and what happened to them.

This post is to try and help me get my own thoughts and research down.


Mason Street ran off Mayor Street, parallel with Wellington Street, between Deane Road and Queens Park.

Location of Mason Street (Map from the National Library of Scotland)

Today the area has completely changed, with the original houses having been demolished. Where Mason Street once stood is now College Way and the car park for the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering.

The area today where Mason Street once stood (Google)

As a child in the late 1910s my grandad would go with his father to collect rent for houses that the family owned in Bolton. He only had a vague memory of where the houses were and had no idea what happened to them. It would appear now that these houses were on Mason Street. Grandad’s mother was Elizabeth Higginson, William’s granddaughter.

Grandad was born in 1911 in Chadderton near Oldham. When his sister was born in 1914, the family were living in Monton near Eccles, and sometime between then and 1918 they moved to Bolton. His parents both came from Bolton, and the story grandad told was that a family crisis in Bolton meant that they had to return to help out. His grandfather, Edward Higginson, died in 1915 so I’m assuming that was the reason for their return.

Mason Street (credit: Facebook group, I Belong To Bolton)

In 1891 my 3 x great grandfather, William Higginson died. William had worked as a sawyer from at least 1841 until his death. According to the Electoral Register, he moved to 82 Mason Street in 1880. In his will, he left the four houses on Mason Street to his daughter, Agnes, who lived with him at number 82. Agnes died in 1901 without leaving a will, her estate was administered by her brother, Edward, my 2xgreat grandfather.

What then happened to the ownership of the houses on Mason Street is unclear. They appear on the census until 1921 and electoral registers until 1914, but they’re not on the 1939 Register but whether the occupants were owners occupiers or tenants isn’t recorded.
The 1911 census shows that all four houses were still lived in: 78 – the Atkinson family; 80 – the Peters family; 82- the Steele family; 84 – the Bolton family.
The 1914 electoral register shows: 78 – Frederick Atkinson; 80 – Frederick King; 82 – William Steel; 84 – Peter Henry Watson
The 1921 census shows the residents were: 78 – the Chappell family; 80 – the King family; 82 – the Berwick family; 84 – the Johnson family.

The houses were demolished in the 1960s and replaced with new council housing, which were themselves demolished 50 years later and replaced by a college and a car park.

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