Graham Taylor - Local History & Military Historian

Wigan Election Riots of 1831

A detailed look at the reasons for the election riots in Wigan in May 1831, the backgrounds of the characters involved and the consequences for the perpetrators of the ensuing violence.


Two Wallgaters at War

The story of two friends from Wallgate who were to meet  up again in WW1. One was to survive, the other died on active service but left behind a famous sporting dynasty.


Wigan Volunteer Light Horse

The origins of the Wigan Volunteer Light Horse during the early part of the 19th century, and its evolution over the next 200 years. 


Rylands Sidings 

Reminiscences of Rylands Sidings at Whitley from sixty years ago, the association with a cotton magnate and their place in the war time history and industrial heritage of Wigan. 


Springfield Hall

An in depth look at the lives of the families known to have lived at Springfield Hall between 1813 and its demolition in 1937.  


Tales from the Workhouse - The Story of Sarah Hartley


Wigan Workhouse and the Poor Law Union


Brief History & Casualty records of  the 2nd 5th Battalion of Manchester Regiment

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A Letter from the Past

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The War Diary of Rifleman William Walls of Abram.

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Interesting article on the "Lost" Boars Head railway station.

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History of Speckled Holly Cottage - Standish Wood Lane

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Excellent work by Graham  - This is a list of 5th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment personnel wounded in Gallipoli. (Incomplete and still a work in progress)

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Margery Booth - "The Operatic Spy"

Very  interesting research on the life and times of Margery Booth, the Wigan born opera singer and the circumstances leading to her role as a spy during WW11.

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History of Beech Hill & the Thicknesses Family

Fascinating history and development of Beech Hill up to the present day, covering Beech Hall, the Thicknesse family, with lots of new and interesting information.

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Beech Hill Farm & The Gill Family

An article on the family and the Grade 2 listed building.

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The Tale of James Beegan and his grave

A very interesting article discovering a soldier's grave and his life. 

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WW1 -The Earlam Johnson Family

Most of us have seen ‘Saving Private Ryan’ the film loosely based on the story of the four Niland brothers from New York who served in the Second World War. After the reported deaths of three of his siblings, Frederick Niland a Sgt in the 101st Airborne in Normandy was sent back to the USA to complete his service and to avoid his mother the pain of losing all her sons.

Wigan has several similar accounts of its own. The First World War names on the Cenotaph at the Parish Church include three families who lost three sons. At least 48 families lost two sons and four families lost father and son. Not included on the Cenotaph as they didn’t live in the old Wigan Borough are the four sons of Rev C.H James, the Vicar of St. David’s, Haigh, all killed in action.

What started as research of casualties of the 1/5th Battalion (Territorial Force) Manchester Regt at Gallipoli has evolved and grown into another story with the theme of mining, military, medicine and the constantly recurring name of Earlam Johnson.

Thanks to Graham Taylor - local military historian

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