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Collection Summary

Collection Title
Biology Collection
Large collection of vascular plants (35,000) and other botanical specimens including marine and freshwater algae, fungi, mosses and liverworts, lichens and economic botany. There is a small collection (500) of mammal and bird skins and mounts, a small number of British and foreign reptiles & amphibia (mostly wet-preserved) with a few foreign mounted specimens, a few local & non-local British wet-preserved fish (freshwater & marine) and a small number of fish casts and mounts, a comprehensive reference collection of British vertebrate skeletal material and birds eggs. The insect collection includes 800 specimens of beetles, butterflies, moths, flies etc and there are other marine & terrestrial Invertebrates plus terrestrial, freshwater and marine molluscs. There is also a reference Collection of 700 British gall species. The Economic Botany collection is a small but important reference collection, featuring worldwide specimens associated with agricultural food crops, timber production and other economic themes. The marine, terrestrial and freshwater invertebrate collection is wide-ranging and mostly British species but not extensive in size except for the mollusc collections of mainly shells. Local specimens, British and foreign material is included in the collection.
The collection of Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) contains type and cited specimens and is fully catalogued. The largest single collection of 3,800 specimens was purchased in 1907 from the widow of Dr. Philip Brookes Mason in 1907. Other large collections of mosses include those by William Wilson (1799-1871) from the British Isles and Increase Allen Lapham of the USA and Canada in 1836. Liverwort collections include Irish specimens from David McArdle (1849-1934) and specimens collected in the British Isles by William Henry Pearson and Benjamin Carrington in the 19th to early 20th centuries. There are collections acquired between the late 18th and mid 20th centuries by several notable Lancashire collectors including James Sims, the Rev. Colin Brewster, Edward Hobson and the Rev. Herbert Mann (his entire collection of 650 specimens was donated to Bolton Museum in 1945). British fungi total over 9,000 specimens, the largest collection of 3,000 acquired in the late 19th century from Mordecai Cubitt Cooke, mainly from southern England and the Welsh borders and include the following associated collectors: Charles Bagge Plowright, William Phillips and Christopher Edmund Broome. A further 2,000 specimens were acquired from the Welsh borders by Rev. John Edward Vize (1831-1916). Both collections originated from Dr. Philip Brookes Mason (1842-1903), whose own collection of 3,000 British specimens was collected in the 1850's. His associates were Rev. Andrew Bloxam, Rev. Joseph Miles Berkeley and William Gresley. A local collector has also contributed a large number of local voucher specimens within the last decade. The lichen collection is the only main area of botany deplete in local specimens, although other areas of the UK, as well as Europe and North America are represented. Dr. Philip Brookes Mason's collection of 5,500 UK lichens acquired between the 1840s-1870s was the first major collection acquired by the museum in 1907 and includes type specimens. Associated collectors are Rev. Andrew Bloxam, the Rev. William Allport Leighton, William Mudd and the Rev. Thomas Salwey. The collection includes specimens from North American acquired by Increase Allen Lapham. Other collections include those of William Mudd, Rev. Herbert Man Livens (collected 1868-1914 and containing Type and cited specimens with associated collectors, many through the Lichen Exchange Club, such as James Glover, Thomas Hebden, Edward Morrell Holmes, Arthur Reginald Horwood, the Rev. D. Lillie and Henry Franklin Parsons). The Museum has a wide-ranging collection of over 35,000 vascular plants from most areas of the UK, particularly South Lancashire, plus some foreign specimens. The bird collection includes both mounted specimens and study skins. The latter is a generally representative British series containing contain significant numbers of local voucher specimens. There are also some accidental and rare vagrants, plus some tropical species. The museum also holds large numbers of bird eggs from Britain and abroad. The insect collections comprise about 16,000 British & 1,200 foreign butterflies & moths and an extensive collection of 70,000 British beetle specimens and some European examples plus c. 3,000 non-European beetles. Other insects include 25,000 flies, predominantly British, over 8,000 ant specimens, plus bees and wasps, sawflies, around 10,000 bugs of mainly British origin and insects such as dragonflies & mayflies and many other insect orders. Most groups have some type material and focus is on developing local voucher specimens through further collecting.
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Location Details

Bolton Museum and Archive Service
Le Mans Crescent Bolton Lancashire BL1 1SE United Kingdom
Open Map
+44 (0)1204 332 211
+44 (0)1204 332 241 
Building Information
The present Museum and Art Gallery was built in 1939 by Bradshaw, Gass and Hope of Bolton, with an Art Deco interior, though much changed in recent years.
Collections Overview
Collections of local history and industry including textile machinery and pattern books, natural history and geology, ethnograph, British archaeology, Egyptology and 18th-20th century British applied art.
Display Overview
Permanent and temporary displays .The new display 'Our Story' charts the story of Bolton and themes such as working life, community life, family life, leisure-time and stories of local people.
Star Objects
Early cotton textile machinery including Crompton's Mule, Arkwright's Water Frame and Hargreaves Spinning Jenny; Egyptian Antiquities.
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

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