Why was cotton so important in north west England?

The Bowyer Bible

Compiled by Robert Bowyer (1758-1834), 1800-1834
Wood and glass case, paper, card and leather volumes

Given to Bolton Library in 1948

See this object at Bolton Museum and Archive Service This object may not always be on display. Please check with the venue before visiting.

The Bowyer Bible

In 1853, local merchant Robert Heywood bought the Bowyer Bible, 45 bound volumes containing over 6,000 illustrations, compiled by Robert Bowyer during the early 1800s. It cost him £550, nearly £38,000 in today’s money. Such an extravagant purchase was a public demonstration of both his Christian devotion and his wealth. It was donated to Bolton libraries by his descendants in 1948 and is now on display in Bolton Museum.

Heywood was born in Bolton in 1786, into a family whose great wealth was made from textiles. They bought spun yarn from factories in Bolton and employed local handloom weavers to produce cloth in their own homes. Documents in the Heywood Archive show that Robert Heywood was also involved in the sale of land and slaves, but became an active anti-slavery campaigner after witnessing the reality of the conditions of slavery during a visit to the USA in 1834.

This information was provided by curators at Bolton Museum and Archive Service.