Eagle Street College
The Eagle Street College was an informal literary society established in 1885 at the home of James William Wallace in Eagle Street, Bolton, to read and discuss literary works, particularly the poetry of Walt Whitman, (1819–91). The group subsequently became known as the Bolton Whitman Fellowship or Whitmanites. Its founder members were Wallace, Dr John Johnston and Fred Wild. The group held an annual 'Whitman Day' celebration around the 31 May which was the poet's birthday.
Wallace and Johnston corresponded with Whitman and Johnston visited Whitman at his home in Camden, New Jersey. Wallace visited Whitman in 1891. Wallace moved to Adlington in the early 1890s and invited Charles Sixsmith to join the group which continued until the death of Wallace in 1926 and in a more modest form after that. After Wallace moved to Adlington in the early 1890s the group continued to meet in each other's homes. Sixsmith was involved in the annual Whitman celebrations until the late 1930s. A plaque marking one of these celebrations can be found in the grounds of Rivington Unitarian Chapel.