Historic footprint considered health and safety risk

Bolton Council has decided the footprint of martyr George Marsh is an health and safety risk

An historic footprint at Smithills Hall in Bolton has been labelled a ‘trip hazard’ with significant health and safety risks, as Bolton councillors weigh up their options.

The footprint in the dining hall of Smithills Hall, in Bolton, Lancashire, is said to be that of Protestant martyr, George Marsh, who refused to convert to Catholicism during the reign of Mary I (also known as “Bloody Mary” because of the Protestant executions she arranged when she was Queen of England).

George Marsh went to Smithills Hall in 1554 at the request of the Lancashire justice of peace, Robert Barton, who was the owner of the hall at that time. According to legend, George Marsh stamped his foot down in anger when ordered to renounce his religion. He was consequently arrested and later burned at the stake.

Footprint labelled health and safety risk at old hall

Smithills Hall, Bolton

The footprint is a local landmark and attracts a horde of yearly visitors. At present, it remains in its original position but is covered with a glass box, which councillors from Bolton Council believe is a serious health and safety risk, and is also damaging the footprint due to condensation.

A number of options have been considered by the councillors for Bolton’s historical footprint, but they seem to have decided against moving the footprint to a safer location. Instead, some adjustments will be carried out, including raising the flagstones around the footprint and constructing a smaller metal framework with ventilation.

Smithills councillor Roger Hayes commented: “We have got to balance history and heritage with things like health and safety.”

To find out more about our health and safety services, please follow this link.