Transformation of Leigh Town hall offers opportunities to young engineers

Transformation of Leigh Town hall offers opportunities to young engineers

Leigh town hall

Students from the college's Centre of Excellence in Engineering gaining an insight into the work at Leigh Town Hall.

Transformation of Leigh Town hall offers opportunities to young engineers.

Students from Wigan and Leigh have been gaining work experience from the multi-million-pound transformation of one of the borough’s most iconic buildings.

The Revealing Wigan Archives project will see Leigh Town Hall, a grade ‖ listed building, renovated and a new home for the archives created along with new museum and exhibition spaces and a new public searchroom.

Walter Carefoot & Sons were appointed to deliver the project and have been on site since April 2019.

Students from Wigan and Leigh College’s Centre of Excellence in Engineering have been given an insight into the world of work with Carefoot hosting site visits, seminars and work experience for bricklayers, joiners, plasterers and civil engineering students.

And one lucky graduate has secured an apprenticeship and will be joining Carefoot as Trainee Planning Engineer. Nathan Crowther, aged 17, has been studying Civil Engineering at Wigan & Leigh College’s Pagefield Campus for the last two years.

Carefoot have been working closely with the college to develop a long-term work experience programme to allow two students from the Civil Engineering Level 2 course to be embedded into the project team for the next nine months.

Carefoot’s Managing Director, Colin Carefoot, who interviewed Nathan at both the mock interview stage and formed part of the panel at his formal interview said: “We are delighted to be working with Wigan Council on this exciting project to transform this iconic building as part of the Council’s Construction Framework.

“It is important to ensure that we not only encourage young people into the construction industry in all disciplines from local communities, but also provide the opportunities for them to progress when they leave college.

“We are looking forward to Nathan joining our team, I am sure that his passion and enthusiasm for construction coupled with the experience, support and further studies will allow him to quickly develop as a young construction professional.”

Wigan Council secured the investment from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the project which will transform the town hall, developing a new cultural offer and creating more opportunities for residents and visitors to discover the archives.

With historic records dating back 800 years the archives and local studies service collects, preserves and catalogues thousands of records from schools, churches, hospitals, businesses, families, estates, people, and makes them available to the public.

A new modern searchroom will be built on the ground floor of the town hall which can be accessed by residents and visitors who want to research into their past.

A museum space will be created with a new exhibition programme shaped by the community which will reveal stories from the archives and museum collections.

With wallpaper stripped and the creation of new open plan spaces through century old walls that lead into the Town Hall’s fabulous entrance hall, with its chequered tile floor and marble pillars, work is well underway.

Measures to protect sensitive area of the grade ‖ listed building during the refurbishment have been installed and the removal of fixtures and fittings has been carefully completed.

Extensive damp proofing to the basement rooms has started to be installed along with the extensive new electrical and mechanical installations throughout the building. Outside the building scaffold has been erected to start the clean-up of the building façade and windows replacement.

The latest funding boost follows the £5m Believe in Leigh fund which was created last year by Wigan Council to improve and regenerate the town.

Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said:

“It is fantastic to see work opportunities being offered to our local engineering students and we are delighted to hear they will be kickstarting their career working on an iconic project which have a long-lasting legacy for the borough.”

“The archives are vital to our understanding of Wigan Borough’s past as well as bringing history alive for residents and visitors alike. This will enhance the cultural offer of Leigh, alongside the fantastic work already ongoing at the Turnpike Gallery, to bring more visitors to the borough in the coming years.”

Since the Leigh Town Hall project has begun Carefoot have also been working with the homelessness charity The Brick, as well as employees raising money, the refurbishment project will provide work experience opportunities for The Brick Works which offers training to increase the employment opportunities for people in the borough who are unemployed for a variety of reasons.

The building is expected to reopen in summer 2020.

Posted on Thursday 4th July 2019

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