Bolton

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Trips & Adventures – 4 April 2019

We arrived in Bolton and made our way to the infamous Olympus Fish & Chip Restaurant for lunch – the menu features a varied selection including “Pensioner’s Specials” – but most of us settled for the Olympus Fish Special which includes cod or haddock (all obtained from sustainable sources), chips, mushy peas, white or brown bread and a pot of tea or cup of coffee.

The restaurant features a Schimmel grand piano but unfortunately there was no live pianist today.

We then walked down the precinct to view the Fred Dibnah statue. Fred Dibnah MBE (28 April 1938 – 6 November 2004) was an English steeplejack and television personality, and is a revered son of Bolton.

In mid-2000, he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology for his achievement in engineering by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and on 19 July 2004 he was made an honorary Doctor of the University by the University of Birmingham.

Dibnah was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year Honours for services to heritage and broadcasting. He said “I’m looking forward to meeting the Queen but I shall probably have to get a new cap. And I’d like to meet Prince Charles because we share the same views about modern architecture.”

On 7 July 2004, Dibnah went to Buckingham Palace to receive his award from the Queen. He initially planned to drive his traction engine into the palace grounds, but was refused as the Royal Parks Agency feared that its weight would damage the surface of The Mall.

The main purpose of our visit to Bolton was to see the exhibition “Desire, Love, Identity: Exploring LGBTQ histories” at Le Mans Crescent, Bolton. The Bolton Museum is the only Northern venue to host this touring collection from The British Museum.

I was fascinated by the “secret museum”. During the 19th century, museums were one of the few places where members of the public could openly and respectably view representations of the naked human body. Some objects relating to sex and sexuality, however, challenged cultural sensibilities.

From around 1830 The British Museum had a restricted collection of objects relating to sex in its “Secret Museum”. This ceased to operate actively in 1953 and it no longer exists. Its objects were gradually absorbed into the main collection and displays.

If you would like to see some of those objects look at our photo page here.

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