Digging out the past at historic Bolton estate whose owners inspired Downton Abbey

Salford University researchers invited the public to join them as they uncover history at Hulton Park.

A team of archaeologists from the University of Salford have been exploring the site of the former Hulton Hall on the 1,000-acre Hulton Estate, near Bolton, with the help of members of the public.

The community dig is the first in a summer programme of events and family activities planned at Hulton Park, as landowners Peel L&P invited in locals for a rare glimpse of the historic estate.

It was once the seat of William Hulton, who in 1819 signed the order that led to the Peterloo Massacre, and the site of the UK’s third worst mining accident in the Pretoria Pit disaster of 1910.

The Hulton family and archive were also the inspiration for the hit ITV series Downton Abbey.

Salford University has been helping with the dig at Hulton Park

Charlotte McCarthy, Group Archivist at Peel L&P, who researched the history of the Hulton family and the Estate said: “Although Hulton Park was a private family estate, in its heyday the Hulton family would host specific events and activities including its Primrose Garden parties, charity open days, group outings and scout camps.

“We are really pleased to offer our neighbours from across Bolton and the wider area the opportunity to join the dig.”

The public aspects of the dig are open to those aged six upwards until tomorrow (5 August) - and you can register here.