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Leigh Plumbing Merchants Ltd Chapel St, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 2AL, United Kingdom
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Cainy's Tattoo 94 Manchester Road, Astley, Manchester, Greater Manchester M29 7EJ, United Kingdom
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About Leigh

Leigh, Greater Manchester 





Leigh (pop. 43,000) is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, inGreater Manchester, England. It is 7.7 miles (12 km) southeast of Wigan, and 9.5 miles (15.3 km) west of Manchester city centre. Leigh is situated on low lying land to the north west of Chat Moss.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Leigh was originally the centre of a large ecclesiastical parish covering six vills or townships. When the three townships of PenningtonWestleigh and Bedford merged in 1875 forming the Leigh Local Board District, Leigh became the official name for the town although it had been applied to the area of Pennington and Westleigh around the parish church for many centuries. The town became an urban district in 1894 when part of Atherton was added.  In 1899 Leigh became amunicipal borough. The first town hall was built in King Street and replaced by the present building in 1907.

Originally an agricultural area noted for dairy farming, domestic spinning and weaving led to a considerable silk and, in the 20th century, cotton industry. Leigh also exploited the underlying coal measures particularly after the town was connected to the canals and railways. Leigh had an important engineering base. The legacy of Leigh's industrial past can be seen in the remaining red brick mills – some of which are listed buildings – although it is now a mainly residential town, with Edwardian and Victorian terraced housing packed around the town centre. Leigh's present-day economy is based largely on the retail sector.




Leigh Parish Church & The Boar's Head.jpg
Leigh Parish Church and the Boar's Head



 

 

History

Toponymy


 

Leigh is derived from the Old English leah which meant a place at the wood or woodland clearing, a glade and subsequently a pasture or meadow, it was spelt Legh in 1276. Other recorded spellings include Leech, 1264; Leeche, 1268; Leghthe, 1305; Leght, 1417; Lech, 1451; Legh, 16th century. As its name denotes it was a district rich in meadow and pasture land, and the produce of its dairies, the Leigh cheese, was formerly noted for its excellence.Westleigh, the west clearing, has been named Westeley in 1237, Westlegh in 1238 and also Westlay in Legh in 1292. Pennington has been spelt Pininton and Pynynton in 1246 and 1360, Penynton in 1305, Pynyngton in 1351 and 1442 and Penyngton in 1443, the ending ton or tun denotes an enclosure, farmstead or manor in Old English. Bedford, the ford of Beda, probably through Pennington Brook gave its name to this part of Leigh. Spellings include Beneford from 1200–21 and Bedeford in 1200 and 1296.



 

Early history

 

The earliest signs of human activity in Leigh are evidenced by a Neolithic stone axe found in Pennington and a bronze spearhead from south of Gas Street.  A single Roman coin was found at Butts in Bedford. After the Roman departure from Britain, and into the history of Anglo-Saxon England, nothing was written about Leigh. However evidence for the presence of Saxons in what was a sparsely populated and isolated part of the country is provided by local township place names that incorporate the Old English suffix leah, such as Leigh, TyldesleyShakerley and Astley.

 

 







Landmarks

 

 

Major landmarks in Leigh are the red sandstone parish church and across the civic square, Leigh Town Hall and its associated shops on Market Street. The Grade II listed Obelisk that replaced the original market cross is also situated here. Many town centre buildings including the Boar's Head public house are in red Ruabon or Accrington bricks, often with gables and terracotta dressings. There are several large multi-storey cotton mills built along the Bridgewater Canal that are a reminder of Leigh's textile industry but most are now underused and deteriorating despite listed building status. Leigh's War Memorial by local architect J.C. Prestwich is at the junction of Church Street and Silk Street and is a Grade II listed structure. St Joseph's Church and St Thomas's Church on opposite sides of Chapel Street are both imposing churches using different materials and styles.






Transport


Historically Leigh was well connected to the local transport infrastructure, but with the closure of the railway in 1969 this is no longer the case. Public transport is co-ordinated by the Transport for Greater Manchester. There are bus services operated by First Greater ManchesterJim StonesMaytree TravelSouth Lancs TravelStagecoach Manchester and Network Warrington from Leigh Bus Station to many local destinations including Wigan, BoltonWarringtonManchester and St Helens. There had been suggestions to reopen the railway via Tyldesley to Manchester, but a guided busway scheme was chosen for the route; this decision was not universally popular. Work on the Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit scheme commenced in 2012.


 

 

 

 



Canals

 

The Bridgewater Canal was extended from Worsley to the middle of Leigh in 1795. In 1819 the fifth Leeds and Liverpool Canal Act was passed for the construction of the Leigh Branch and by 1820 the Leigh branch canal was cut from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Poolstock, Wigan to meet the Bridgewater at Leigh Bridge, giving access from Leigh to all parts of Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Railways

 

Leigh was the southern terminus of the 7.5 miles (12 km) long Bolton and Leigh RailwayGeorge Stephenson carried out the survey for the line. It opened between Bolton and William Hulton's coal mines at Chequerbent for freight on 1 August 1828 and to the terminus at the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh in March 1830. Passengers were carried from 13 June 1831. The first locomotive on the line was an 0-4-0 called the Lancashire Witch. The railway station was atWestleigh. Later the line was extended southwards to Pennington. Atherleigh opened in 1935. The line was closed to passenger traffic on 29 March 1954, and later closed completely.

In 1861 the London and North Western Railway revived powers granted to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway to build a railway from Manchester via Eccles and Tyldesley to Wigan with a branch to Kenyon Junction on the Liverpool to Manchester Line via Leigh and Pennington. There was a station, originally named Bedford Leigh to serve the town. The railway crossed the town on a viaduct which has since been largely demolished. It was closed in May 1969, leaving the town without a railway: after the reopening of Mansfield and Corby railway stations, Leigh is now one of the largest towns in Great Britain without a railway station. Numerous colliery lines crossed the town, but with the closure of the collieries these were no longer required.

The nearest railway station is at Atherton, 3 miles (5 km) miles to the north, with trains to Wigan and Manchester operated by Northern Rail, leaving the bus station as Leigh's only public transport link.

 

 

Trams and trolley buses

 

In 1900, a Bill authorising the South Lancashire Tramways Company to construct over 62 miles (100 km) of tramway in southern Lancashire was given Royal Assent.  However, by November 1900 the South Lancashire Electric Traction and Power Company had acquired the shares. The first section of tramway opened on 20 October 1902 between Lowton and Four Lanes Ends via Leigh and Atherton. The company got into financial difficulty and in turn became Lancashire United Tramways later Lancashire United Transport. On 16 December 1933, the last tram service ran from Leigh to Four Lane Ends and the next day trolley buses took over. An Act of 4 August 1920 authorised Leigh Municipal Borough to run buses. A garage built on Windermere Road was soon outgrown and replaced by one on Holden Road. The corporation had a fleet of 70 vehicles during World War II.

 




 

Education



Former Leigh Grammar School for Girls


 

Leigh Grammar School existed in 1655 but its foundation is unclear. The building was next to the churchyard,[89] but the school moved to Manchester Road in 1931. Leigh Girls' Grammar School was established in 1921,[89] but both schools were abolished by the then Secretary of State for Education, Shirley Williams, in the 1976 Education Act. Leigh high schools include Bedford High School, and Westleigh High School. Pupils also attend schools in Atherton, Lowton, Golborne and Astley.Wigan and Leigh College provides post-16 education.






Religion


The St Mary the Virgin Church has been in existence since the 12th century and probably much earlier. It was once known as the Church of St Peter at Westleigh in Leigh, and straddles the boundary between the old townships of Westleigh and Pennington, the nave and churchyard being in Westleigh and the chancel in Pennington. Its early history is tied up with the Westleigh and Urmston families. The dedication changed to St Mary the Virgin in the 14th century. The church tower, said to have been built in 1516, is all that remains of the medieval structure, which was replaced by the present church after becoming unsafe. Paley and Austin of Lancaster designed the present church, the foundation stone was laid in 1871 and the church consecrated in 1873. The church is built in red sandstone it is a Grade II listed building.

There are now parish churches in each of the old townships. The first St Thomas's Church in Bedford was consecrated in 1840 and replaced by the present church in 1909. The church is built of Accrington red brick with Runcorn red sandstone facings, it was designed by J. S. Crowther.  Christ Church, Pennington, designed by architect E. H. Shellard, was built in Yorkshire stone and was consecrated in 1854. The site to the south of the canal was a rapidly growing area at this time. It is Grade II listed. Westleigh St Paul, founded in 1847 is on Westleigh Lane. Westleigh St Peter, a Grade II* listed building by Paley and Austin, built in brick with red sandstone dressings, was founded 1881 is on Firs Lane.

The first Catholic chapel was built in Bedford on the corner of Mather Lane and Chapel Street in 1778 and this lasted until it was replaced in 1855 by St Joseph's Church by architect Joseph Hansom. A growing Catholic population in the area led to the building of Our Lady of the Rosary in Plank Lane in 1879, Twelve Apostles in 1879 and Sacred Heart in 1929. Other denominations catered for include Wesleyan, Independent, Primitive, Welsh and United Methodists. There are also Unitarian, Baptist and Jehovah's Witness places of worship in the town.

 

 

 

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh,_Greater_Manchester


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