The Discovery Centre is located on the canal side at Clarence Mill, bringing together the history of this and other great mills of Bollington, the Macclesfield Canal and showing their place and importance to the town - the Happy Valley!

Here you will find the story of Bollington, from an agricultural backwater in the Macclesfield Forest, to the realisation of the use of its streams and rivers to power the cotton mills that made the town what it is today. King cotton may have gone but fortunately several of our mills survive, finding new and valuable uses in the modern era.

Discover the importance of the people of the town - how they worked and played. Climb the stairs to the Gallery and search the picture database for the historic images of the past, find the people who developed the industries, see their fine houses; find the people whose sweat made those industries great, see their cottages and streets.

Look at the fine views over the town, often from White Nancy, and see how many of the buildings you can recognise today - it's surprising how many of the old buildings have gone, but many remain, and how many new buildings there are, even in an old town!

Opening times: 1.30pm - 4pm  Wednesday and 11.00am - 4pm Saturday and Sunday. 

Organised school and group visits can be made outside the normal opening times to suit the school timetable.The Discovery Centre can be opened at other times for group visits or other special purposes by arrangement 

We regularly feature displays of art and local history at the Discovery Centre. The one hundredth anniversary of the canal breach at Kerridge, locally known as the 'Bollington Burst' will be celebrated with a special exhibition of pictures taken of the breach and its aftermath. 

This project has been most generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cheshire Rural RecoveryExternal link and the North West Development AgencyExternal link, Clarence Mill Properties Limited, Macclesfield Borough Council, Bollington Town Council, Macclesfield Canal Society and private contributions.

Finding us
The Discovery Centre is easy to find - from the Macclesfield direction drive through the main streets of Bollington to the traffic lights; turn left up Clarence Road. If you are coming from the Whaley Bridge or Pott Shrigley direction it is just as simple; drive through the town to the traffic lights and turn right.

Clarence Mill is in front of you at the top of the hill; follow the road to the right of the mill and turn first left into the mill yard. The multi-story car park is in front of you. Park and find your way on foot; look for the tunnel through the mill (marked by a Discovery Centre sign board) and turn left along the canal side. The Discovery Centre is just before the archway.

On foot, walk up Clarence Road and turn left into canal side in front of the mill. The Discovery Centre is through the archway and first door on the right.

School visits

We welcome school visits. One of the main purposes of the centre is to provide educational opportunities, particularly to local children, in order to help them understand why their home town has developed to what they see today. The centre will be opened specially for visits so that the children are the only visitors at the time. This will provide teachers with the uninterrupted opportunity to speak to their children as a group and show them the things they especially want them to see. For further details please email us.


Picture collection

One of our greatest assets is our unique collection of historic pictures of Bollington.

Click on the Archive image below to see the pictures. 


Walk guides

Take a walk through the town with a one of our walk guides to show you the way and to describe what interesting buildings and features you are passing. The Bridgend Centre has prepared two town walks to help you find the corners of Bollington that only the well informed would discover


A gallop through Bollington's History

Bollington in 1911 


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