Roger Hampson 1925-1996

Hampson was born in Union Street, Tyldesley on the 25th March 1925. He moved to Johnson Street when he was three, the street where he lived for the next forty years. He attended Leigh Grammar School and served in the Royal Navy during World War II, mostly on convoy but also taking part in the D-Day landings.  After the war he attended Manchester School of Art before becoming a teacher.

Throughout his career, Hampson was drawn to painting the people he met on the streets of northern towns. From his childhood bedroom window, shared with his two older brothers, Hampson could see the nearby collieries and the imposing bulk of Caleb Wright’s No. 6 Mill on Shuttle Street. He remembered Johnson Street as “…an exciting place to live in those days for the road was always busy with horse-drawn carts rattling to and from the goods yard.”

He studied at Manchester College of Art from 1946-1951 before taking a job as an art teacher at Bolton Technical School. His teaching career encompassed Hereford School of Art (1953-4) and Bolton College of Art and Design appointed Vice-Principal in 1961. He left Tyldesley in 1967 to live in Bolton becoming Principal following the retirement of John Nicholson.

I am going to concentrate here on his paintings of Bolton, specifically his work undertaken in the Halliwell/Chorley Old Road area where I lived.

1 I was brought up in Halliwell and as an infant I attended All Souls Church, Astley Street. All Souls’ is a brick masterpiece dating from 1880-81. 2 As a toddler I lived in Arnold St which ran parallel with Elgin St, pictured in this painting. On home leave from college in London during the 60’s I worked at Edge’s Dolly Blue Factory behind the houses here. 3 St Thomas’ Church, Eskrick St. built in 1874–75. 4 Alexandra mill, Wolfenden St. Halliwell.

Three paintings depicting the Falcon Mill, Handel St. Halliwell a Cotton spinning mill built in1903. Of interest is this article…….

The Union Mill, Vernon Street was a cotton spinning mill was built in 1875 and 1880. The third painting is tiled ‘The Tryst, Vernon Street’. Vernon Street was on my No.1 bus route going into Bolton town centre and returning home, although at times I caught the No.24/25 Halliwell bus.

1 left: Haslam Mill, Chorley Old Road. 2 Ink drawing of Haslam Mill. 3 right. Nelson Mill, Gaskell St. 4 left. Bilbao Street. 5 left. Milo St. 6 left. St Luke Street. 7 Demolition of Musgrave Mill, Chorley Old Road. Another home area I knew well joining the 58th Chorley Old Rd. Scout group in 1957 and also attending Youth Club at the ‘Congie’.

Croal Valley by Roger Hampson. Not my home area but so well known after gaining a scholarship to Bolton school of Art, Hilden Street in 1959.

Hampson left Bolton in 1978 to become Principal of Loughborough College of Art and Design retiring in 1987.

Hampson died in 1996 aged 71 having suffered from leukaemia.

Hampson left behind an incredible legacy of work – paintings, lino-cuts, mono-prints and drawings many focussing on the mining community of Tyldesley. 

Graham Bennison 4th October 2020.

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