Leigh Town Hall

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Leigh Town Hall
Leigh town Hall.jpg
Leigh Town Hall
LocationMarket Street, Leigh
Coordinates53°29′49″N 2°31′08″W / 53.497°N 2.519°W / 53.497; -2.519Coordinates: 53°29′49″N 2°31′08″W / 53.497°N 2.519°W / 53.497; -2.519
Built1907
ArchitectJ.C. Prestwich
Architectural style(s)Edwardian Baroque style
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated27 July 1987
Reference no.1163007
Leigh Town Hall is located in Greater Manchester
Leigh Town Hall
Shown in Greater Manchester

Leigh Town Hall stands facing the parish church across the Civic Square at the junction with Market Street in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England. It was granted Grade II Listed status in 1987.[1]

History[edit]

The current building was commissioned to replace an earlier town hall in King Street which had been used as a police station until it was acquired by the council in 1875.[2]

The new building was designed for Leigh Borough Council by J.C. Prestwich, who had an architectural practice in the town, in the Edwardian Baroque style.[1] Work began in 1904 and, after construction works costing £60,000 had been completed,[2] the building was opened in 1907.[1] Nikolaus Pevsner described the building as "An exceptionally good building, expressive yet not showy".[3]

On 18 May 1938 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the town hall and talked to a local soldier, Private Alfred Wilkinson, who had been awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War.[4]

The town hall was the headquarters of the Municipal Borough of Leigh but it ceased to be the local seat of government when the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan was formed in 1974.[5]

After launching an appeal, the council secured a grant of £1.3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund so allowing its contractor, Walter Carefoot and Sons, to start work in 2019 refurbishing the town hall and establishing a new home for the borough's archives as well as a new public searchroom on the ground floor.[6][7] Three empty shops are also being converted to create new archives and museum exhibition space under the title "Revealing Wigan Archives".[8][9][10]

Architecture[edit]

The town hall, designed in the Edwardian Baroque style, has two main facades, its main entrance faces the Civic Square and another lined with nine shops faces Market Street. Roughly U-shaped in plan, the building is three storeys high with basements and an attic. It is built in Darley Dale sandstone ashlar under a steeply pitched Westmorland green slate roof with a belvedere and ornamental cupola.[1][11] The three-storey main facade has eight bays of which bays two to eight are symmetrical demarcated by flat pilasters extending from ground level to the roof cornice and from first-floor level, blocked columns with Ionic capitals. The ground floor is solid and plain with an elaborate entrance porch which has paired, blocked columns with Ionic capitals supporting a semi-circular pediment bearing the borough's sculptured coat of arms. The first bay has a glazed door with a pediment above and balcony with a stone balustrade to a first-floor committee room. The balcony is supported on scrolled brackets with acanthus leaves and a carved figure. To the left of the first bay is an octagonal corner turret rising from a carved base surmounted by a dome.[11]

The Market Street elevation is symmetrical with seven bays of which the end bays have gables and oriel windows at first floor level and a round window on the second floor. There is a smaller bow window in the central bay.[1]

Inside is a large entrance hall with scagliola columns and an imperial staircase which accesses the council chamber and mayor's parlour on the first floor.[1] The council chamber has stained glass windows representing some of the town's industries and there are coats of arms on the staircase windows all by H. Gustave Hiller.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Historic England. "Leigh Town Hall (1163007)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b Farrer, William; Brownbill, J. (1907). "'The parish of Leigh: Introduction, church and charities', in A History of the County of Lancaster". London: British History Online. pp. 413–421. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b Pollard, Richard; Pevsner, Nikolaus; Sharples, Joseph (2006). The Buildings of England: Liverpool and the Southwest. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 232–233. ISBN 0300109105.
  4. ^ "Royal Visit" (PDF). Past Forward. 1 April 2011. pp. 4–5. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  5. ^ Local Government Act 1972. 1972 c.70. The Stationery Office Ltd. 1997. ISBN 0-10-547072-4.
  6. ^ "Work well underway at Leigh Town Hall". Leigh Journal. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Works starts to reveal Wigan's archives". About Manchester. 28 May 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Borough's archives upgrade takes a key step forward". Wigan Today. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Core celebrates six exciting months since rebranding". Museums & Heritage Advisor. 2 December 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Revealing Wigan Archives and Leigh Local Studies Project". Metropolitan Borough of Wigan. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  11. ^ a b "LeighTownTrail Part1" (PDF). Wigan Council. 2000. pp. 23–24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-29.