Delph Hill is a little area located on the lower southern slopes of Winter Hill, on the outskirts of Bolton on the old toll road from Bolton to Chorley. Once the site of houses, a mine and associated fireclay works, quarries and more. The name Delph probably comes from Delf - the local word for quarry - which actually comes from Old English, as does the word “delve” which of course means to dig down. I don’t know where the “PH” spelling comes from.
When I was a kid the area was grassy post-industrial land and great for exploring, although mostly covered by vegetation there was plenty of masonary poking out of the ground and several small spoil tips consisting of cinder-like material and fragments and sometimes whole items of ceramic pottery and old glass bottles. Part of the land has recenty been taken over for agricultural use by a local family.
Here’s an old map of the Delph Hill area from around the turn of the 20th Century, the area in the bottom left corner of the map is now the busy roundabout junction of Chorley Old Road and Moss Bank Way - Moss Bank Way isn’t on this map as it wasn’t constructed until about fifty years later. Delph Hill itself is shown as a small hamlet, just a cluster of houses and industrial buildings with a nearby pub The Tempest Arms which still exists today. The area where Delph Hill meets Chorley Old Road is now The Collier’s Arms but I believe one of the buildings shown on the map was a Smithy. The area behind The Collier’s arms was actually a bowling green in later years, it was gone long before I was born but you can still see the roughly square outline and the ground is flatter, although it is often overgrown in modern times. For many years it was used for a fire on bonfire night organised informally by locals.
The houses of Delph Hill are long gone but you can still see the low walls remaining that trace out the shapes of the plots on the north side of the track, while those on the south are a jumble of overgrown rubble. There was also a Cotton Mill situated where McDonalds is now. When I was a kid there was a pub here with an interesting polygonal shape and the name “The Jolly Miller”, I believe the shape was meant to somehow represent the a windmill but without the height. It was a rather optimistic re-interpretation but perhaps it sounded better than “the dark satanic miller”.
Marker type: Place
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