All Souls Church – Bolton


Walter Carefoot & Sons (Construction) Plc


Alan Gardner Associates

Contract Period:

50 weeks

Contract Sum:

£ 1,180,000

All Souls Church is located in the Astley Bridge area of north Bolton and for many years was a redundant church in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust. Built between 1878 and 1881 by evangelical mill owner Thomas Greenhalgh, the church is designed in the Gothic Revival style and as a fine example of Victorian Church building is Listed Grade II* by English Heritage.

Lambert Walker were appointed by Walter Carefoot & Sons (Construction) Plc to undertake the restoration of the historic building fabric as part of the conversion works that saw the building transformed into a community centre. To view a promotional video of the project click here.

The building was constructed from locally made brick and the exterior was dressed with Longridge sandstone and the interior with Stourton Stone. The west end of the six bay nave has a 36m high square tower and at the east end there is a two bay chancel with a canted apse. The nave could originally seat 800 parishioners all with uninterrupted views, as the timber vaulted ceiling and slate covered roof are supported without columns. This 16m wide nave makes All Souls Church one of the widest parish churches in England. Between exterior buttresses the nave is illuminated by two tiers of three-light windows with stone Perpendicular style tracery.

Restoration works saw specialised masonry repairs to the structure and extensive repointing using a traditional lime mortar. Many thousands of weathered and eroded bricks were also replaced with new bricks to match the size and colour of original examples. Stained glass windows were carefully removed and conserved, before being replaced in their repaired stone tracery openings. The slate roofs to the church and tower were stripped, the timber roof structure repaired and then reslated with new gutters, leadwork and associated rainwater goods. Internally, the vaulted timber ceiling was cleaned, plasterwork repaired, masonry and tracery repointed as necessary and redecoration works completed the restoration of interior of the church. This undertaken alongside the installation inside the building of the new free standing structures of the new community centre.

As part of the project, full-time bursary placements were funded by the ‘Building Traditional Skills’ programme run by the National Heritage Training Group and Lambert Walker are pleased to announce that all those bursary placements with Lambert Walker have been offered full apprenticeships.

A series of technical days examining aspects of historic building conservation, restoration and traditional craft skills were also held during the All Souls Church regeneration project. These were offered to all interested parties and included lectures by industry professionals with demonstrations and guided tours by Lambert Walker craftsmen working on site.

This project was nominated for an English Heritage Angel Award  and on 3rd November, 2014 Inayat Omarji, Chair of All Souls’ Bolton trustees, accepted the award for Best Rescue of Any Other Historic Building or Site.