Wigan Local History & Heritage Society

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

funded and administered by Wigan Building Preservation Trust
for the Society.

Wigan Local History & Heritage Society is a group dedicated to exploring our local history and heritage. We research, record, and promote our local communities and host events, talks, and publications to showcase and bring together our local history, culture, and tradition. Join us on this journey to discover our past and shape our future!

Resources available and News at the Archives

What's On....Jan-April 2024

What's On....Jan-April 2024

Where you'll find events for all ages hosted by the Museum of Wigan Life, the Turnpike Gallery, Archives: Wigan & Leigh, and the borough’s Libraries, there’s plenty to get involved with.

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About the Archives

About the Archives

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

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Catalogue Index

Catalogue Index

A Searchable Reference List Of Documents, Books and Collections that are held by Archives.

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PastForward - Back Copies

PastForward - Back Copies

Want a taster of Past Forward? We've got dozens of past issues of the magazine for you to read - covering dozens of different and interesting subjects from across the borough.

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What's New!

A collection of historical articles, and reminiscences of Wigan

Tales From The Workhouse - The Bizarre Story of the Infant Funeral.

Tales From The Workhouse - The Bizarre Story of the Infant Funeral.

A short story from the 'Tales of the Workhouse' series. The Bizarre Story of the Workhouse Funeral. By Graham Taylor.

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THE VICTORIAN PLAYBOY                 Johnnie Walmesley of the Hall of Ince

THE VICTORIAN PLAYBOY Johnnie Walmesley of the Hall of Ince

The Walmesley's of the Hall of Ince were a steady landowning family typical of the time. Unfortunately Johnnie Walmesley allowed his private life to blot the family name somewhat as his behaviour continued on until his death in 1937.

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THE BRINDLE FAMILY OF ST. MARY'S

THE BRINDLE FAMILY OF ST. MARY'S

An account of the lives of the Brindle family and their connection to St. Mary's RC church In Standishgate, Wigan. By Graham Taylor.

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Thomas Morris of King Street

Thomas Morris of King Street

As part of the wider King Street Heritage Zone project, 'The Street That Was', this article focuses primarily on Wigan businessman Thomas Morris, his daughter Ellen Ann Robinson Morris, and their connection to the Wigan Brewery in King Street during the mid-19th century. By Graham Taylor

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Giants Hall Farmhouse

Giants Hall Farmhouse

The history of Giants Hall Farmhouse in Standish and its occupants from 1675 to present. By Graham Taylor

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The Life and Times of Richard Makinson and his Arcade

The Life and Times of Richard Makinson and his Arcade

The life and times of tea merchant, Richard Makinson, the quiet and reserved man who built numerous buildings in Wigan town centre. By Graham Taylor & Peter Fleetwood.

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Visiting History - Highfield St. Matthew's Church

Visiting History - Highfield St. Matthew's Church

A visit by Derek Winstanley to the church where he worshipped as a boy and recalling its association with the local mining community.

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The Wigan Territorial Force in World War One

The Wigan Territorial Force in World War One

The Great War history of 1/5th Battalion Manchester Regiment (Wigan Territorial Force) 1914-1919 by Graham Taylor

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Friends of Wall Hey

Friends of Wall Hey

A "friends group" created to protect and renovate the chimney, one of only four structures left in this country.

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Wigan Wallgate Station War Memorial

Wigan Wallgate Station War Memorial

Research into the Wigan Wallgate Station War Memorial that once was on display in the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway loco sheds in Prescott Street, Wigan. By Graham Taylor

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The Macfarlane’s of Henhurst Bridge Foundry

The Macfarlane’s of Henhurst Bridge Foundry

A history of the family and the business from Paul Macfarlane and Andy Lomax.

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

Cemetery Index

Cemetery Index

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

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wiganworld

wiganworld

An exceptional collection of photos, history and memories of Wigan

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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.

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Haigh Hall - History

Haigh Hall - History

A collection of articles and resources relating to the history of the Hall, the people and the wider estate of Haigh

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Old Maps

Old Maps

Ordnance survey maps of Wigan from the 1840's onwards

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Wigan - Films, Videos & Presentations

Wigan - Films, Videos & Presentations

Films, videos and presentations on Wigan from early times to the present day, a long list. Enjoy! Any favourites?

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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.

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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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Tom Walsh - Local Historian

Tom Walsh - Local Historian

Recollections and memories of growing up in Wigan in the 1950s & 1960s.

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Graham Taylor - Local History & Military Historian

Graham Taylor - Local History & Military Historian

Graham Taylor specialises in military history, telling the stories of local regiments, the soldiers that served in them, and of their families and communities from the early 19th century to modern day. Also topics of local interest including heritage buildings, establishments and individuals.

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Jim Meehan

Jim Meehan

Stories and presentations from Jim who is a retired civil servant with an interest in local and family history, as well as archaeology.

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The Makerfield Rambler

The Makerfield Rambler

The Makerfield Rambler - Anthony Pilgrim takes us on his rambles around Ashton-in-Makerfield and the surrounding districts, investigating historical events, locations, and personalities.

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"The Street That Was" - King Street Heritage Action Zone

Introduction to "The Street That Was"

Introduction to "The Street That Was"

Wigan Local History & Heritage Society are very proud to be invited to contribute to the King Street Heritage Zone project.

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Historic Buildings in the Heritage Action Zone

Historic Buildings in the Heritage Action Zone

The Heritage Action Zone covers the area around King Street. It is packed with important historical buildings, there are already 10 listed buildings in the zone and at least another 20 that are historically important.

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Lost Buildings of King Street

Lost Buildings of King Street

The Society believes it is important to identify the "Lost Buildings" of the Street to evoke the memories and the contribution of these buildings to the rich history and heritage of Wigan.

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The Royal Court Theatre

The Royal Court Theatre

Built in 1886, a truly magnificent building with years of history.

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People of the Street

People of the Street

Pen portraits of people who built, lived, worked and worshipped in King Street since it was established in the 1780's.

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Shops & Businesses in King Street in the 60's and 80's

Shops & Businesses in King Street in the 60's and 80's

To some people it just seems like yesterday, but it's over 50 years ago! If you have any memories of the Street in the 1960's let us know by using the Comments box

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Letters Across Time

Letters Across Time

Letters written by residents of Wigan recalling their memories of King Street as part of the Streets Apart Project

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King Street in 1849

King Street in 1849

A snapshot of the Street developed from the 1849 Ordnance Survey map.

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Public support for the King Street Heritage Project

Public support for the King Street Heritage Project

Photo and drone presentation of King Street buildings welcoming the forthcoming improvements by Simon Radcliffe and Ian Tranter

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Your comments and views

Your comments and views

Links to the Heritage Action Zone website to record your comments and views.

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What's happening....

What's happening....

Take a look here to see what we have planned.

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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 - Ongoing

Plantation Gates - Ongoing

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

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Common Seal Stonework - Ongoing

Common Seal Stonework - Ongoing

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.

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Heritage Buildings of Wigan - Ongoing

Heritage Buildings of Wigan - Ongoing

Volunteers required to photograph and research local buildings

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The Gidlow Sisters Portraits - Closed

The Gidlow Sisters Portraits - Closed

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.

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Useful Links  image
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


Ogilby Muster
A new Online Military Archive
Online access to the collections of Regimental and Corps museums from across the UK.
Visit the Ogilby Muster


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 »

1876 - Robbery at the Shop

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1876 - Pianoforte Advert

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1876 - Subscription Concert

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1878 - Charles Halle Concert

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1895 - Partnership Dissolved - Charles Grime

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1895 - Partnership Dissolved - Charles & Somers Grime

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Record Labels

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Obituary - James Grime

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Obituary - Ellen Grime

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RT Johnson - the Architect

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Explosion in Arcade

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