The Socialist Sunday School movement began in Glasgow in 1896 and remained in existence for more than 60 years.
Bolton Socialist Sunday School was started at 16 Wood Street soon after the Socialist Club moved here.
Meetings included hymns with words by socialists such as Edward Carpenter, William Morris, and, Bolton writer, Allen Clarke - 'we seemed forever to be marching somewhere, even if we often failed to reach the destination' (Alice Foley; A Bolton Childhood).
The children also learned to recite the Socialist Ten Commandments
England Arise, the long, long night is over,
Faint in the east behold the dawn appears;
Out of your evil dream of toil and sorrow
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
The pre-World War I period saw an explosion of socialist activism throughout the country and Bolton's Socialist Party was involved, particularly in organising & publicising very popular large public meetings.
The biggest halls in town were hired for public meetings - the Temperance Hall (which held 2,000 people), the Hippodrome Theatre, the Cooperative Hall and the Theatre Royal.
Thousands of song sheets were printed, the Clarion choir performed, 'Red Flag Toffee' and 'Marseillaise Cocoa' were sold, and huge posters were put up around town to advertise celebrity speakers like Keir Hardie, Victor Grayson, Ben Tillett and James Connolly.
From a meeting addressed by Tom Mann in 1912 the Club managed to make a profit of 11 Pounds 3 Shillings and 11 Pence from tickets sold at 3d and 6d each.
Central to all the activities at the Club at this time was the women's suffrage campaign.
Women like Sarah Reddish, Cissy Foley and Alice Collinge campaigned tirelessly and although divisions between militant 'suffragettes' and law-abiding 'suffragists' became more marked after 1905, allegiances in the club seem to have been fairly fluid.
Sarah Reddish and others saw themselves as radical suffragists but they invited Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst to speak at the club in August 1906 and even as late as 1911, when the militant campaign was at its height, suffragette Annie Kenny was welcomed here and spoke to an audience of women members.
The Women's Cooperative Guild was formed in 1883 and by 1910 had 32,000 members. It supported wome's suffrage and argued that women should have full equal rights with men.
Sarah Reddish, a trade union organiser in Bolton’s cotton mills, was regional organiser for the Guild in the north of England from 1893 to 1895 and its national President in 1897.
She went on two delegations to parliament in support of votes for women.
She toured the country as a speaker on the Clarion van and in March 1900 was the first woman to be elected to the Bolton School Board, striking a blow for both socialism and feminism.
Sarah died in 1928 and her grave is in Heaton Cemetry.