Bolton is a town in the Greater Manchester area, in the north west of England. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton. Historically a part of Lancashire, Bolton originated as a small settlement in the moorland known as Bolton le Moors. Noted as a former mill town, Bolton has been a production centre for textiles since Flemish weavers settled in the area during the 15th century, developing a wool and cotton weaving tradition. It was a boomtown of the 19th century and at its zenith, in 1929, its 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dying works made it one of the largest and most productive centres of cotton spinning in the world. The British cotton industry declined sharply after the First World War, and by the 1980s cotton manufacture had virtually ceased in Bolton.
Bolton has had notable success in sport; Premier League football club Bolton Wanderers play home games at the Reebok Stadium (named after the sportswear company, based in the town) and The WBA World light-welterweight champion Amir Khan was born in the town. Bolton also has several notable cultural aspects, including The Octagon Theatre and the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, as well as one of the earliest public libraries established after the Public Libraries Act 1850.
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