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The History of John Hunt (Bolton) Ltd
...."or at least what we know!"
The history of the Alma Works Factory is an interesting one, with traditions, start-ups, innovations and even sorrow and loss!
Below you will see the History of John Hunt, the infamous Biscuit Works it is located in, still to this day and some of the wonderful inventions and innovations that were born here in the historic Alma Works.
Before John Hunt.....
Early records show that on the 6th September 1861 Mayor James Rawsthorne Wolfenden (http://www.boltonsmayors.org.uk/wolfenden-j-r.html) signed a lease over to Mr John Rigby (Records exist but with little information). After John Rigbys death on the 20th September 1867 in The Lake District the mortgage on the works was transferred to his wife Sarah Rigby, that we are lead to believe was "swindled" by her managers and was left with nothing by around 1873, when a lease was issued to W W Ogle.
Undated Article about the Death of John Rigby and the bankruptcy of Sarah Rigby.
William Wilding Ogle was a biscuit maker and appeared in the directory of 1874 based in the works, where he remained until around 1876 at which point it is believed he moved to New Zealand. (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ogle-1937)
In the same 1874 directory we see the first appearance on public record of "John Hunt Machine Maker" but was based at the address 48 Baldwin Street (now part of the Alma Works Factory).
In 1876 the directory shows 3 businesses that made up the area that would become the Alma Works Factory : WW Ogle - Biscuit Manufacturer, James Rigby - Confectioner & of course John Hunt, now described as a "Meat Cutting Machine Maker". By 1881 John Hunt was producing machines for confectioners, butchers and also domestic use.
By 1894 John Hunt was firmly in what would become the Alma Works as a "Machine Maker" and shortly after received credit for his efforts in Bolton (Illustrated) in 1897 where he would be detailed as playing
apart in "t he advancement of humanity" for his role developing "labour-saving machines, which have greatly added to the bakery & confectionery industry". The factory is described in detail and even the available machinery at the time used to meet the "peculiar requirements" of the works. Dated 1897 refers to the factory as "Baldwin Street Engineering & Machine Works".
In the early 1900's, as the story goes, great grandpa Cheetham who at the time worked for what eventually became Unilever, was seen at Chester racecourse - when he should have been out on the road selling soap products. At the time he had 4 sons, Harold, Cyril, Frank and Tom (the father of one of the current Directors. They formed what became the nucleus of the labour force. They inherited an existing range of products including the amazing "Little Champion" Pie Machine. They then brought out a range of Planetary Mixing Machines based on the Hobart Mixers from America. Over 25,000 Machines were sold from 10 quart capacity up to 80 Quart. Their efficiency and reliability was and continues to be legendary. Spare parts are available for all models irrespective of age. Normally from stock.
More to follow.........
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