Bolton 1970s Don Tonge

Bolton in The 1970s | Photographs by Don Tonge

British Culture Archive

Don Tonge’s stunning photographs of Bolton in the 1970s capture the large town in the days when life seemed a lot simpler for many.


The images of children playing out in the street, swinging from rope swings in front of derelict buildings. Things that children don’t do these days, many of these activities fallen by way of health and safety regulations. Don would capture these images of everyday life as he wondered the streets of his hometown. For what seemed like the the everyday and mundane has now materialised into something quite special. 

Boys on the rail tracks. Bolton, 1970s.
Children Play on the rail tracks. Photo © Don Tonge.


Don “I worked as a freelance photographer for many years shooting Press PR and Portraits. I spent about eight years as front of house photographer for The Octagon Theatre in my hometown of Bolton, Lancashire (or Greater Manchester if you prefer) I have always been interested in Documentary and Street Photography”.

The Reform Club, Bolton, 1970s.
The Reform Club, 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.

Northern Life

Don’s archive features the daily life of people in his home town of Bolton. Here at British Culture Archive we believe that Don’s work is up there with the best British documentary photography of the 20th century. Powerful images, some humorous, they all tell a story of life in a northern town. 

Bolton kids, 1970s.
Bolton Kids. Photo © Don Tonge.

As well as Don’s Bolton archive, other bodies of his work include his self-published Seaside series documenting British resorts since the 1970s, and Good day at the races (1980) which was shot in a day at Haydock Races. 

Don’s work has been exhibited in numerous local exhibitions and is now featured as part of The British Culture Archive.


Bolton Market, 1970s.
Bolton Market. Photo © Don Tonge.
Bolton Fair, 1970s.
Bolton Fair in the 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Bolton Fair, 1970s.
Bolton Fair in the 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Bolton, 1970s.
Bolton in the 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Boys School, Bolton, 1970s.
Boys School, 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Dial a Pint. Bolton, 1970s.
Dial-a-Pint. Photo © Don Tonge.
Raleigh Chopper. Bolton, 1970s
A young girl with her Raleigh Chopper and Horse. Photo © Don Tonge.
Corner Shop, Bolton, 1970s.
Bolton Ration Store, 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Bolton, 1970s.
Lads in Bolton, 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Children play in the street Bolton, 1970s.
Children in Bolton, 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.
Condemed Housing. Bolton, 1970s.
Condemed Housing. Photo © Don Tonge.
Bolton 1970s Don Tonge
Back Streets of Bolton, 1970s. Photo © Don Tonge.

All images © Don Tonge, all rights reserved. 

Don Tonge | Print Sales

A selection of Don Tonge’s prints are exclusively available to buy from our online shop.

BCA is committed to making quality photography accessible and affordable. All profits from print sales supports the photographers and the work of BCA.

Bolton in The 1970s | Photographs by Don Tonge

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