The Haigh Hall Masterplan

Wigan Council is working with architects, Plincke and Creative Directors, Al and Al, on an ambitious plan to repair and restore Haigh Hall to its former glory, ensuring residents and visitors can enjoy one of the borough’s most significant landmarks.

Following extensive engagement last autumn, which saw 764 people share their views and hopes for the future of the hall, a masterplan has been developed.

The plan will transform the hall, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the borough’s rich heritage and history, while providing a welcoming space for visitors to relax and enjoy the beauty of the hall and its surroundings. It will also support the local economy, providing local employment and training opportunities for years to come.

What's the Masterplan?

Haigh Hall is famous in Wigan and further afield for its impressive architecture and vast grounds, which include an ancient woodland. In 2021, the lease for the hall was returned to the people of Wigan and since then the project team have been busy working behind the scenes to explore the hall’s heritage and create a masterplan to secure its future.

The masterplan has been inspired by local people and aims to transform Haigh Hall into a beacon for arts, culture, heritage and the environment, helping it to become a visitor destination for the 21st Century.

The Hall masterplan is split into five sections - each representing a floor of the hall.

The cellars

The new underground experience will give visitors the opportunity to explore forgotten tunnels and passages hidden under the hall. A secret bunker used by the family during World War II will also be on display.

A new underground bunker cinema will screen films as part of a season of constantly changing special exhibitions, with children's matinee cinema every Saturday.

For those who love to explore the labyrinth of tunnels at night, a new underground bar will serve cocktails in the medieval foundations of Lady Mabel's chapel inspired by the rediscovered Haigh Hall wine cellar lists and special recipes.

Ground floor

As visitors enter the hall they will be welcomed into the vestibule where portraits of ancestors, Knights and Dames, Miners and Mill Workers will decorate the walls. The ground floor will be home to a new world class dining experience, with home grown produce cultivated in Haigh Hall's kitchen Garden.

In the cafe, visitors will be invited to join us for high tea, take a seat on the new international sundial terrace with the best view in the northwest. The ground floor ballroom will host special events and performances. These exceptional event spaces will also be available for weddings and celebrations.

First floor

The Major at Haigh Hall reimagines a culture and heritage experience for the 21st Century. Haigh Hall will become the home of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, showcasing Theodore Major’s visionary work from across 70 years. With the £200 million Theodore Major family collection secured, Haigh Hall will once again be filled with treasure.

Born in Wigan, Theodore Major captured a vision of the industrial world the powerful families at Haigh created for 9 centuries. Families of Haigh Hall were colliers, mining for carbon and transforming the fortunes of our nation, touching and shaping the lives of generations of Wigan families who lived and settled here.

Theodore Major captured this landscape, painting portraits of miners and Wigan folk. He grew up by the great blast furnace built by Lord Lindsay, creator of Haigh Hall, he saw the fire reflected in the wet cobblestones and thought his friends 'were like children walking on fire'.

Second floor

On the second floor, the Major at Haigh Hall will dedicate an entire space to children’s creativity and education. Theodore Major believed every child is born an artist and then bad education extinguishes the creative spirit in each of us. The Younglings Gallery will ignite creativity in every child who visits the hall, collaborating with artists-in-residence, writers, poets, scientists, engineers, horticulturalists and environmentalists.

Culture at Haigh Hall will be conceived in the widest sense, combining humanities, horticulture and hospitality. The educational programme will bring schools and colleges from across the Borough and surrounding regions to Haigh Hall. The second floor will also feature 8 bedrooms for events accommodation, including weddings, conferences, and party hospitality hire.

Rooftop terrace

Visitors will be invited to explore the constellations on our celestial roof top terrace and discover the history and heritage of astronomy at Haigh.

In 1874, 26th Earl of Crawford Ludovic sailed to Mauritius to record the transit of Venus which occurs every 243 years, recording this was essential for the advancement of astronomical calculations to establish the distance between planets and the size of the solar system. On his return to Wigan, he was given a hero’s welcome with locals lining the streets, and brass bands performing on his way back to the hall.

Ludovic purchased the Babbage library to extend scientific literature at Haigh Hall and was a member of the same Masonic Lodge as Isaac Newton. In the 1747 painting of Haigh Hall, Sir Roger Bradshaigh is holding his telescope on the table beside him, and the old observatory at Haigh is on the hill behind him.

New visitor car park

An extension to the visitor car park is planned which will welcome visitors through a new entrance at the ornamental pond as part of a wider Masterplan.

This car park extension will have new entry points for cars alleviating congestion on Copperas Lane during busy events.

© Wigan Council