Urban explorers uncover the ruins of an abandoned nursery in Bolton

The Elms Private Nursery School opened in 1991 and nurtured children for over 18 years.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 2nd February 2021
Abandoned UK

Hidden away among numerous overgrown bushes and trees lies the remains of a former nursery school in Bolton that was once loved by many.

The Elms Private Nursery School – on Blackburn Road, in the Sharples area of the Greater Manchester borough of Bolton – first opened its doors to the public back in 1990, and went on to nurture hundreds of children before it closed for good in 2018 / 19.

The former nursery owners Dorothy and Brian Wrigley converted the downstairs of their home and the property next door into the business, while they moved into a flat above.

“At that time, there were only 11 other private early years settings in Bolton,” Mrs Wrigley told the Bolton News in 2011.

“I felt I was about to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.


“I was the headteacher of a local primary school and was not sure what the future held, as the private sector was not always looked upon favourably at that time, with The Children’s Act only just being written and implemented, and social services being responsible for registering and monitoring settings.”

Mr and Mrs Wrigley ran the business for 17 “very happy” years before their daughter, Joanne Haworth, eventually bought it from them in 2007 to carry on the legacy, until it became “no longer financially viable”.


And now, the Victorian building has sadly been left to decay.

Photos revealing the state of disrepair that the building currently lies in have gone viral on social media this week, after the nursery premises became the latest point of interest for Abandoned UK – “a small team of urban explorers that love to travel and explore”.

And it’s not hard to see why it’s got people talking either.


There’s boarded up windows, rooms gutted inside, smashed glass throughout, rotting walls and ceilings, old playground swings and slides still intact outside, and much more that make it a shadow of its former self.

But regardless of whether you knew of the nursery in its prime, it’s still an eerie sight.

Abandoned UK
Abandoned UK

The post caught the attention of people right across the borough.

It amassed hundreds of shares and comments by members of the local community, with some shocked at the state the building had been left in, and others sharing fond memories of times when they or they’re children attended the nursery.

Former members of staff also chimed in to remember the good times, and many also expressed their sadness at the thought of the building falling further into disrepair with time.


Others were completely unaware the nursery had even closed down at all.

The post also went on to generate conversation as to what may come of the building in the future, or rather, if there even is a plan for the building.

Several speculations were made as to whether the new owners may have intended to restore the building to its former glory – potentially through the opening of another commercial premises, with references made to another once-thriving commercial building that has also gone to ruin a couple doors down, or through conversion into residential property – but had ran into complications, or funding issues along the way.

But for now, they remain as speculations, and the future appears unknown.

You can find more information, and view the full collection of photos on the Abandoned UK Facebook page.