The History of Boothstown
by John Whitlow on Apr 24, 2023
Hello and welcome to our blog! We are Boothstown Gin distillery, a proud local business that produces high-quality gin with natural botanicals. In this post, we want to share with you some of the fascinating history of our village, Boothstown, and its connection to one of the most famous botanists in the country, Joseph Evans.
Boothstown is a suburban village in the City of Salford in Greater Manchester, England. It has a population of about 9,600 people and is located west of the City of Salford, bordered by the East Lancashire Road and the Bridgewater Canal. The village is within the boundaries of the historic county of Lancashire and has a rich and diverse heritage.
The name Boothstown comes from the medieval term "the Booths", which referred to the huts that housed the manor herdsmen. The area has been inhabited since Roman times, as evidenced by two hoards of coins that were found in 1947 and 1989. The estate or manor of Booths was held by the De Worsley family until the reign of Elizabeth I, and then by other families such as Charnock and Sherington. Booths Old Hall was built around 1343 and New Booths Hall in the early 17th century.
Boothstown's growth was boosted by the industrial revolution, when it became a centre for coal and cotton production. The Bridgewater Canal was extended through Boothstown to Leigh in 1795, providing a convenient transport route for the goods. The village also had a network of underground canals that connected the mines with the surface canal. One of these was the Chaddock Level, which ran from the canal near Boothsbank Bridge to the Chaddock and Queen Anne pits.
The village also had a thriving textile industry, with a small cotton mill built in Boothstown Delph in 1812 and later expanded by William Yates in 1875. The mill produced fine quality cotton until it closed in 1968. The village also had other amenities such as a surgeon, a tailor, a post office, a Methodist chapel and two inns. It also had a regular coach service and a flourishing Botanical Society founded in 1790.
One of the most prominent members of the Botanical Society was Joseph Evans, a local botanist who was born in Boothstown in 1801. He was fascinated by plants from an early age and collected specimens from all over the country. He also cultivated his own garden and greenhouse, where he grew exotic plants such as orchids, ferns and cacti. He was especially fond of gooseberries and made his own gin with them. He was known as "the Gooseberry King" and won many prizes for his fruits.
Joseph Evans was also a prolific writer and published several books and articles on botany. He was a correspondent of Charles Darwin and exchanged letters with him on various topics such as plant hybridisation, insectivorous plants and evolution. He was also a friend of John Dalton, the famous chemist and physicist who developed the atomic theory.
Joseph Evans died in 1874 and was buried in St Mary's Churchyard in Eccles. His legacy lives on in his writings, his specimens and his gin recipe, which we have recreated at our distillery. We use local gooseberries and other botanicals to create a smooth and refreshing gin that celebrates our village's history and culture.
We hope you enjoyed this brief overview of Boothstown's history and its link to Joseph Evans. If you want to learn more about our village or our gin, please visit our website or follow us on social media. Thank you for reading!