How to visit us

A poster from Wigan carnival in 1928

The mission of Archives: Wigan and Leigh (AWL) is to make Wigan’s archives and local studies collections accessible to all for learning and enjoyment, and to foster a sense of belonging and pride in local heritage through the collection and preservation of archive records. This mission is carried out in four ways:

1. Collections Management

To promote the preservation of documentary records and acquire archive collections in all media, relating to the history of Wigan Borough and to store, document and conserve these collections for future generations.

2. Access

To make unique collections of records freely available to visitors and researchers in a variety of formats, and to support the fulfilment of Wigan Council’s Corporate Strategy and the Wigan Deal through the creative use of archive collections.

3. Learning

To encourage investigative learning, and the creation of opportunities for self-directed learning, creativity and research. To interpret collections through a variety of media for a range of audiences and to provide opportunities for life-long learning through the use of archive collections, within and beyond our buildings.

4. Customer Excellence

To provide a quality service which recognises the needs of our users and stakeholders, and to continuously develop staff and services to ensure that the customer is at the forefront of all improvements.

We welcome you to view our collections and exhibitions. There will also be staff and volunteers on hand to help you locate relevant material, if needed

How to book your visit

To book your research visit to the Archives: Wigan and Leigh searchroom or to the Wigan Local Studies searchroom to consult the collections, you will need to:

Once we receive your request we will contact you within 48 hours to confirm booking arrangements or answer any questions.

You are welcome to visit both venues without a booking to view collections but we cannot guarantee that material will be available on the day.

You can visit the Archives: Wigan and Leigh exhibition at Leigh Town Hall without making a booking.

Before you visit – Caring for collections

Before you visit the Archives or Wigan Local Studies, please read and familiarise yourself with the Reading Room Regulations and Guidelines.

We ask all researchers to adhere to basic precautions when consulting records to ensure they remain available in the future.

Opening times and locations

We are currently open for visitors at the following times and locations:

  • Archives: Wigan and Leigh - Tuesday to Friday, 10am - 1pm and 1:30pm - 4pm, Saturday, 10am - 2pm
    Find us at Leigh Town Hall, Civic Square, Market Street, Leigh WN7 1DY. The bus station is a five-minute walk away and car parking is adjacent to the Town Hall on Bengal Street
  • Wigan Local Studies - Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4pm and Saturday, 10am - 2pm
    Find us at the Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU. Railway and bus stations are a five minute walk away. Street parking is limited but the main car parks are within easy walking distance.

Accessibility of venues

Visitors with assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome, but please contact the archives team in advance to let us know.

Visitors on the autistic spectrum

We've put together are a few tips to help you get the best out of your visit.

  • Plan Ahead - We know that sometimes it's reassuring to know what to expect during your visit, so we have created a Social Story, why not read it and learn more about what a visit to the archives is like
  • Visit as often as you like - Take as much time as you need to visit our site and feel free to come back and see the things you enjoy the most
  • Quieter times - for visitors who prefer not to be here during our busier times we host regular ‘Quiet Openings’, for more information on these please contact the archives team
  • Visiting as a group - we have run group workshops for the True Colours CIC so have some experience of preparing ‘sensory’ experiences. If you would like to visit as a group for a tailor-made visit that will suit your needs then please contact the archives team
  • Relax and enjoy - our team have had training to raise their awareness of autism and the challenges autistic people may face during their visit. We want to reassure you that we will do everything we can to make your visit as comfortable as possible. If you have issues with queuing or need to use our accessible facilities, please ask a member of staff.

Wheelchair users and those with limited mobility

We’re a fully accessible visitor attraction so visitors with wheelchairs and limited mobility can relax and enjoy their day. We offer:

  • Free disabled parking near the main entrance
  • Accessible pathways
  • A lift onsite
  • Accessible toilets.

Food and drink

We're lucky that both our sites are surrounded by fantastic local shops, cafes and restaurants.

We ask that no food or drink is consumed within our public reading room or exhibition areas to ensure no accidental damage occurs to collections in use or on display.

© Wigan Council