Wigan Local History & Heritage Society

Wigan’s rich history and heritage ... waiting to be uncovered!

About Us


Discovering and protecting our Wigan history and heritage.

About Us
Our mission is to excite and engage people of all ages and ability to discover and preserve Wigan Heritage by bringing it to life creatively, for the present and future generations.
The Society will promote and help to maintain an interest in the local history and heritage of Wigan and district, and historical matters in general.
It will be a place where likeminded organisations and groups can add links to their sites, enabling easy access and coherence for research projects.
It will initiate and encourage research into local history.
It will raise awareness, and campaign publicly on issues where heritage is at risk.
Please get in touch if you would like to add a link to your organisation.

If you would like to become a Member please click the link:- Join our Society

Next Meeting


Come along and join our group

UPDATE: All future scheduled meetings have been put on hold until things return back to normality ...

 Meanwhile, meetings will take place electronically via Zoom. If you are interested in joining a Zoom meeting please get in touch. 

Contact Us

Last Meeting

Video of our last meeting on 14th Sept 2020 - Presentation by Derek Winstanly on "Railways -West of Wigan (1770-1870)"

View Zoom presentation

Our venue and meeting dates:

Wigan Local History and Heritage Society meets on the second Monday of each month, with a local history themed presentation starting at 7.15pm in The Function Room at Wigan Sports Club also known as Wigan Cricket Club. 

The doors open at 6:30pm, and the bar is open serving drinks plus hot and cold beverages, so come along early and have a chat.

Free parking is available.

This room is on the ground floor and is fully accessible to all. 

A warm welcome is given to members old and new, and visitors are also welcome.

Everyone is welcome to join us and learn about the rich history and heritage of Wigan.

Members £2.50, visitors £3.00 per meeting.

The membership fee is £5 per year, payable in September, reduced to £2.50 for new members who join after February.


Wigan Cricket Club

Bull Hey, Parsons Walk, Parson's Walk, Wigan WN1 1RU

01942 241581


Group History


A Brief History of our Group provided by Sheila Ramsdale our President

Anne Catterall and I had been friends for over 20 years. We first met when Ann was doing a teacher training course at Wigan and Leigh College and I was one of her tutors. We discovered we had many things in common, not least a love of history and particularly Local History. Through the years we spent many hours researching local History down at the archives of Wigan Local Studies at the Museum of Wigan Life.
There we met Rita Fell and she became one of our partners in crime searching the catalogues for snippets of interesting information..   Once Ann retired our ambition was to set up a local history group to look at the people, industries, politics and other aspects of Industrial life that made up Wigan.
 We held our first meeting in September 2013 at Book Cycle in Beech Hill, and we were delighted when over 15 people including Rita turned up for our first meeting. Since then the group went from strength to strength. As well as having guest speakers, such as Alan Davies with his vast knowledge of Mining, Yvonne Eckersley with her knowledge of feminists and local industry, we had speakers from further afield. We also went on visits to other Museums including, The Peoples History Museum at Manchester, The North West Labour History Museum in Salford and as far afield as The National Coal Mining Museum up in Wakefield.
Unfortunately Ann took ill suddenly and despite her tremendous courage she died from cancer on 6 April, 2015. We were all very shocked and upset.Right to the end Ann was discussing our projects and I promised her the group would carry on regardless and that we would  achieve our goal of getting a mining statue erected in Wigan. 
We set up a Charity out of our history group and this was named  WHAMM (Wigan Heritage and Mining Monument), we had 8 trustees including our M.P. Lisa Nandy and the Leader of Wigan Council, David Molyneux.We also had other members of the committee who helped with our fund raising, this took us over three years to accomplish.  However, we achieved our goal with help from the people of Wigan, Brighter Borough money from local Councillors and a very generous anonymous donation from a local benefactor.
 Our finest event was when Maxine Peake came to St. Michaels Church. This was a sell out. We had a marvellous evening and made over £4,000 for WHAMM. The statues of a Miner, Pit Brow Girl and young boy were unveiled during lockdown by the Contractor Stuart and Sheila. We are intending to have an official unveiling once the Covid Virus becomes more manageable.


 The Local History and Heritage Group have still continued meeting, but I decided to resign as Chairperson because of other commitments. Luckily, two of our members, Clare and Paul Kenyon agreed to take over the running of the group which has been a great success. What was once a cosy little group of friends has grown into a large society with a new dynamic web site and with a huge following on social media. The group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at Wigan Cricket Club at 7pm, everyone is very welcome to come along you will enjoy our sessions.  Sheila Ramsdale

Projects


The Society is committed to raising awareness of projects that maintain and enhance the fabric and infrastructure of Wigan's history and heritage.

Plantation Gates

Project to restore the Gateway and Lodges. Grade 2* Listed Building "At-Risk"

Learn More

Common Seal Stonework

The project aim is to repair and relocate the stonework, recovered, from the old Town Hall, King St, to a prominent position within the Town Centre.

Learn More

The Gidlow Sisters

Discovering and locating oil paintings of Margaret Eleanor and Amelia Gidlow originally displayed in the Board Room of Wigan Infirmary. There is also a stained galss window dedicated to the sisters.

Learn More

Wigan Buildings

Volunteers required to photograph and research local buildings

Learn More

Resources


Material that could assist in the appreciation of the history and heritage of Wigan.

Wigan & Leigh Archives

Wigan & Leigh Archives

The Wigan Archives Service has well over 500,000 documents, photographs, maps and historic books in our collections.

Read More
wiganworld

wiganworld

An exceptional collection of photos, history and memories of Wigan

Read More
Cemetery Index

Cemetery Index

Find graves at Wigan, Gidlow, Hindley, Ince and Westwood Cemeteries, with kind permission of wiganworld

Read More
Wigan Buildings

Wigan Buildings

Wigan Building Preservation Trust (WBPT) - All the Listed Buildings within Wigan Council area, including non-listed buildings that are of historical and architectural interest.

Read More
Old Films & Videos

Old Films & Videos

Old Films of Wigan, mostly from the British Film Institute (BFI) , Mainly from 1900 - 1904

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Health & Sanitation

Health & Sanitation

Reports on health and sanitation in Wigan & DiStrits in the 1870's to 1914

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Canal & River

Canal & River

Information and articles on the Leeds & Liverpol Canal and the River Douglas Navigation

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Old Industries of Wigan

Old Industries of Wigan

Work in progrees - Additional material would gratefully received. Particulary the Wigan Cotton Industry" and "Wigan Clock and Watch Makers"

Read More
Orwell - Wigan Diary & Notes

Orwell - Wigan Diary & Notes

Diary and Notes by George Orwell on his vist to Wigan in February 1936. Also a video of a BBC Arena film made in 1983. Thanks to the Orwell Foundation

Read More
Pit Brow Lasses

Pit Brow Lasses

An appreciation of the work undertaken by women and girls, pit brow lasses" in the Wigan Coalfield. Also, A J Munby who recorded the lives of these women.

Read More
Derek Winstanley

Derek Winstanley

Although Derek has lived in Illinois, USA, for 40 years, he returns to Wigan nearly every year and has written extensively on local history.Thanks to Derek we are pleased to provide access to his materials on the local history of Wigan and Winstanley.

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Ken Scally

Ken Scally

Some cameo pieces by one of our members - Images courtesy of Wigan Archives

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Articles & News


A recent collection of news, historical articles, and reminiscences of Wigan

Going, Going, almost gone!

Going, Going, almost gone!

Auction of work by 18th century Wigan "Cannel" sculptor, Robert Town

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The Mystery of Standish Hall

The Mystery of Standish Hall

Presentation by Jim Meehan to our Society on the 13th October 2020

Read More
Bickershaw Festival 1972 -The Grateful Dead

Bickershaw Festival 1972 -The Grateful Dead

Videos and live recordings of the sights and sounds at the historic music event in the Wigan area, almost 50 years ago!

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Wigan Council - Historic Environment Strategy

Wigan Council - Historic Environment Strategy

The consultation document sets out the Council's vision. Please read and complete the short survey

Read More
King Street Heritage Action Zone

King Street Heritage Action Zone

Interim Planning Guidance to deliver the objectives of the HeritageAction Zone

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A history of the Cherry Gardens pub

A history of the Cherry Gardens pub

Presentation by Clare Kenyon at the Society's "Zoom" monthly meeting, on Monday 10th August 2020.

Read More
WW1 -The Earlam Johnson Family

WW1 -The Earlam Johnson Family

WIGAN’S OWN WW1 SAVING PTE RYAN STORY Fascinating and tragic account of the Earlam Johnson Family and World War 1. by Graham Taylor

Read More
Vote100 - Thorley Smith

Vote100 - Thorley Smith

Very interesting article by Tom Walsh.on Thorley Smith, a man committed to women's suffrage. 2018 marked 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed the first women, and all men, to vote for the first time. The UK Parliament celebrated this occasion by requesting articles, Tom's article was selected and published..

Read More
Sir Ian Mc Kellen

Sir Ian Mc Kellen

Interview - I scored for Wigan Cricket Club

Read More
Gin - A Tale of Caution

Gin - A Tale of Caution

A salutory tale of the evils of Gin "Mother's Ruin" from the Hanoverian period. by Andrew A. Hanham

Read More
Thomas Skelton - "The Fool of Haigh?"

Thomas Skelton - "The Fool of Haigh?"

Thomas Skelton also known as "The Muncaster Fool" and his time at Haigh Hall

Read More
Paintings of Market Place

Paintings of Market Place

An article discussing the 1824 pinting by John Harwood and comparing with the later works

Read More

Minutes


Somebody's got to do 'em!

Constitution

Constitution

Recent Minutes

2020 May - No meeting due to Covid 19 lockdown

2020 April - No meeting due to Covid 19 lockdown

2020 March

2020 February

2020 January

2019 December - No meeting -  Xmas Party

2019 November

2019 October.

2019  September  (2019 AGM  - Minutes to be agreed at next AGM)

2019 August.


Useful Links


Useful Links
Here you will find links to useful, related websites.

If you would like us to add your link please click this to contact us 

Local


Billinge History Society
A website devoted to the ancient parish of Billinge with many photographs to look at.
Visit Billinge History Society »


Buildings of Local Interest (BLint)
Guidance on proposing buildings and structures for the Wigan Council Local List
Visit Buildings of Local Interest »


Canals & River Trust
A charity who look after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways
Visit Canals & Rivers Trust - North West


Crooke Village
Crooke is a small village situated a couple of miles to the west of Wigan town centre and has a fascinating history.
Visit Crooke Village »


earlyWIGANrugby
A website focusing on rugby in the town 1862-1915
Visit earlyWIGANrugby

Friends of Haigh Hall Heritage and Open Access For All
A group campaigning to protect historic rights of public access within the grounds of Haigh Woodland Park.
Visit Friends of Haigh Hall and Open Access For All


Friends of Haigh Woodland Park
The objectives of the group are to develop and maintain facilities in the Country Park that the residents of Wigan will enjoy using.
Visit Friends of Haigh Woodland Park »


Friends of Leyland Park
The Friends of Leyland Park are a community group, dedicated to improving the standard of Leyland Park in Hindley, Lancashire and more importantly, by way of hosting events, bringing the entire community together.
Visit Friends of Leyland Park »


Museum of Wigan Life
Discover the people and places of Wigan Borough both past and present. Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
Visit Museum of Wigan Life »


Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Wigan & Leigh
The borough of Wigan contains 12 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, ranging from medieval cross bases to colliery machinery. Scheduled Ancient Monuments are sites of national historical or archaeological importance which are given legal protection by being placed on a list or schedule.
Visit Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Wigan & Leigh »


The Makerfield Rambler
Lots of interesting information and photos of Ashton-in-Makerfield and surrounding areas.
Visit The Makerfield Rambler »


Wigan Archaeological Society
Over the years the society have carried out a number of field projects within the Wigan district. Reports of these projects are available on-line through the projects area of the website
Visit Wigan Archaeological Society »


Wigan Archives & Local Studies
The Wigan Archives Service cares for the historical records of the Wigan Metropolitan Borough making them available to the public. Access to collections of records for its people, places, businesses, churches, societies and all manner of other organisations, preserving the history of the entire borough.
Visit Wigan Archives and Local Studies »


Wigan Civic Trust
A society that takes an interest in the environment and heritage of Wigan. They have monthly meetings on the second Monday of the month at St. Goerge's Church, Water St, Wigan at 7.30pm.
Visit Wigan Civic Trust »


Wigan Family & Local History
Research into family & local history
Visit Wigan Family & Local History »


Wigan Heritage Network
The Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network is the forum for anyone concerned with Environment, Heritage, History and Archaeology matters, throughout the entire Wigan Borough, to meet on a regular basis and exchange news, views and aspirations.
Visit Wigan Heritage Network »


Wigan Parish Church
The Parish Church of All Saints Wigan is by far the oldest church in Wigan but when it was founded and when the Christian religion was first established in Wigan is unknown.
Visit Wigan Parish Church »


Wigan Town Trails
A short history of Wigan and a couple walks with notes.
Visit Wigan Town Trails »


Wigan World
Wigan on the Internet
Visit Wigan World »



National


Architectural Heritage Fund
The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity founded in 1976 to promote the conservation of historic buildings in the UK.
Visit The Architectural Heritage Fund »


Association of Building Preservation Trusts
Promoting and supporting the rescue and sustainable use of historic buildings.
Visit Association of Building Preservation Trusts »


Historic England
Historic England exists to protect and promote England's spectacular historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood. Website includes lots of useful information including listed buildings at risk.
Visit Historic England »


Historic England Map Search
Interactive map where can search for listed buildings by postcode or address.
Visit Historic England Map Search »


Lancashire Society
A group who are set to preserve the literary heritage of Lancashire. It has become clear, in recent times, that the spoken and written heritage has been neglected by many inhabitants of this county and only enthusiastically promoted by a few.
Visit The Lancashire Society »


National Trust
The National Trust is a charity and is completely independent of Government. They rely for income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and revenue raised from their commercial operations.
Visit The National Trust »


Planning Sanity
Planning Sanity was set up to help local communities tackle adverse planning and development applications that threaten to blight their communities.
Visit Planning Sanity »


Save Britain's Heritage
Save Britain's Heritage have been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975.
Visit Save Britain's Heritage »


War Memorials Trust
War Memorials Trust works for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK.
Visit War Memorials Trust »

Contact