Wigan and Leigh Exhibition

Our amazing new family-friendly exhibition at Leigh Town Hall showcases the astonishing stories that make up the local history of the borough.

Come and explore stories from around the borough with us...

  • Get an insight into the day-to-day with Miss Weeton’s diaries of Wigan life in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Learn all about Alfred Wilkinson, Leigh’s First World War Victoria Cross recipient
  • Delve into the mysterious world of the Grey Lady of Damhouse
  • Have a go on our Archives Arcade games table and interactive displays.

Our volunteers are on hand throughout the week to answer your questions and show you some of the exhibition highlights.

Look out for regular tours and events on our What’s on page and ask staff for our children’s trail booklet.

View our What's on Guide.

  • When can I go? Wigan and Leigh Exhibition is FREE to everyone and is open Tuesday-Friday, 10am - 4pm and Saturday, 10am-2pm (no booking required).

Watch our Archives Wigan and Leigh video (external link) before you visit.

Changing Exhibitions:

NHS 75

What was life like in the borough before the NHS? Who has helped shape our healthcare in the last 75 years? What might a healthy future look like? Learn more in our new temporary exhibition to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Health Service.

Past Changing Exhibitions:

Every Community Needs a Stage

This exhibition looked at the many different communities in the Wigan Borough and what unites us. 

A Game of Two Halves

To celebrate Leigh hosting the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, Archives: Wigan & Leigh will be showcasing stories and objects from women’s football and EUROs past.

Once Upon A Time

Local schoolchildren from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School have written and published their own book ‘Folklore from the Children of Leigh’. Explore their stories, what makes a folk tale, and how storytelling unites people all over the world.

It takes a Village to Build an Archive

Positive, courageous and kind volunteers at Archives: Wigan and Leigh are always up for a challenge. From running family history helpdesks to cataloguing criminal records, their dedication enriches the service we deliver. This exhibition highlights just some of the amazing volunteers who spend their free time supporting the work of the Archives.

Shop windows into history - tell us what you think

Did you know that Leigh Town Hall used to have shops as part of the building? The shops are long gone and now host our exhibition, but we’ve preserved the original windows and want to hear from you about what we display.

Our shop window displays will be changing regularly and featuring a range of local history and work from local heritage groups and artists.

Our current displays feature:

  • Change Makers - In 2022 Youth Cabinet compared the scrapbook and children’s experiences in 1922 with their own one hundred years later. Democracy, gender, diversity, are just some of the themes Youth Cabinet explored. The result is ‘Change Makers’ a co-curated Archives: Wigan & Leigh window display, film, and website
  • See the youth-designed window ‘Queerness: Then and Now’ by We Are Explorers, a youth group for LGBTQ+ and questioning young people aged 11-18
  • Leigh Rotary Club's 90th Anniversary window, designed by the Rotary Club of Leigh. Learn more about what a rotary club is and the wonderful work they do, at home and abroad.

Our past displays featured:

  • The beautiful work of Project Inc students. Inspired by the Archives collections the young people created their own beautiful work
  • The beautiful work of the Leigh and District U3A: Quilters and needlework group and their Leigh heritage quilt
  • The twinning relationship between Angers and the Wigan Borough. This window display celebrates that relationship
  • The extraordinary work of brilliant local artists, Anna FC Smith and Helen Mather through their project, These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics (external link)
  • The history of Leigh Girls’ Grammar School as former students and teachers celebrate 100 since the opening of the school
  • Around the Match, a special exhibition celebrating the amazing women footballers of the borough through a specially commissioned documentary as part of the Women’s Euro, hosted by leigh in July 2022.

Get involved

We want our exhibition to change and evolve over time and we want you to help us on that journey.

Have we missed important stories? Are there groups or communities we should feature? Have you got objects or archives you’d like to donate or maybe see on display in the future?

We’re always looking to build new partnerships with organisations to help us co-curate displays and share the rich and diverse heritage of the borough.

© Wigan Council