Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 a.m. 6th June 2011 at Tudor House, Hindley

Welcome and Apologies:

Present: John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board); Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum); Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group); Joe Taylor (Billinge History/Heritage Society),) Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society); Rachel Bryant (Heritage Services), Gordon Winnard (Lancashire Irish Heritage Centre), Jackie Roberts & Avis Freeman (ETNA); Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society); Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage); Peter Goodwin (Mirabilis Media), Vince Price (Atherton); John Hill (Wigan L& CT)

Apologies: Tom Price & Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust), Jan Johnson (Hesketh Meadows Action Group); Carol Tyldesley (Heritage Services); Brian Parr (Discovery Group); Simon Martin (Lancashire Local History Federation), David Shallcross & Dave Wilson (Leigh Ornithological Society); Allan Roberts (RSPB), Glenys McClellan & Margaret Harrop (Leigh & District Family History Society); Jason Kennedy (conservation officer Wigan MBC)


The chair regrettably informed the meeting that our colleague Tom Glover, a founding member, had passed away. The meeting stood and observed a minute's silence in memory of an outstanding member of the Heritage community and the many and varied contributions he made over the years. The secretary, who will attend the funeral, will forward appropriate condolences to the family.

The meetings for the rest of this year will be held 18/7; 5/9; 10/10; 21/11; the meetings for next year will be held 9/1; 13/2; 26/3; 14/5; 18/6;


The minutes of the preceding AGM were accepted as true and accurate.

It was noted that it isn't possible to remember the detail of a meeting held one year ago with any degree of accuracy and it was agreed that the minutes of this AGM, along with the minutes of the regular meeting, would be circulated for accuracy immediately.

Annual Reports:

The chair then read out the annual report, highlighting the many and varied contributions members of the Network and their various associates have made to causes concerning the environment and heritage over the preceding year and the many contributions to pertaining to the governance structure of the Local Authority by direct involvement. A vote of thanks was given to the chair for his personal contribution to the Network.

The financial report was presented and accepted.

Election of Office Bearers:

The following persons were elected as office bearers for the forthcoming year:
John O'Neill (chair), Avis Freeman (vice-chair), Peter Taylor (treasurer), Joe Taylor (secretary), Jackie Roberts & Richard Sivill (committee members).

Ordinary Meeting Environment & Heritage Network

Minutes Last Meeting: accepted as true and accurate.

Matters Arising:

The booklet concerning Roman Wigan has been published - copies were distributed to everyone present.

The Network's action plan is being followed as stipulated.

Avis asked about how suggestions for the name of street are made to the relevant council department and how the segments of the Millennium Map had been distributed.

Wigan Parish Church is seeking a HLF grant, which we have supported.

A Heritage Crime seminar will be held in Manchester 26th June at the Cube from 5.00 - 7.00.

Network Programme for 2011 - 2012:

It was decided that we would continue with the cycle of six-weekly meetings and in addition arrange visits to other venues around the borough and perhaps, depending on circumstances, hold the meeting as part of the visit. Dam House Astley and Howe Bridge Village were suggested - Richard Sivill offered to make inquiries and report back. A walk around a selected part of Greenheart was another option.

Heritage DVD & Celebration Event:

Peter Goodwin reported that the DVD is almost finalized. It will be 90 minutes long - almost the equivalent of a movie. It was suggested that we should arrange a 'gala evening' at Robin Park Arena, as was the case with the Wigan Dialect DVD, when 100 people, including the Mayor, attended. The appropriate date for such an event would be September. John Hill will make inquiries as to availability of the venue, September 8 being a preferred option.

It was proposed that we have a celebration event at the Museum of Wigan Life in the week starting 21st November to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of the Network. Rachel will make enquires as to availability.

Members Reports:

Stubshaw Cross Residents Group

· Seeds of change exhibition currently being held at Museum of Wigan Life until end of August 2011.
· Educational project with St Wilfrid's RC Primary School, 13 to 18 June 2011. Project features sessions delivered by Wigan Heritage Services on various Victorian themes and a World War 2 theme. Exhibition "toolkit" session at Museum of Wigan Life on 10 June.
· Local History night at Stubshaw Cross Labour Club at 7.00pm on 23 June. Starter session by a member of the Lancashire Society.
· Children from St Wilfrid's and Willow Grove Primary schools to help plant perennial plants early July in Heritage Garden.

Astley Green Report

Progress lately has been marred by metal thefts, some idiots actually cutting through potentially live copper cables, as short as 2 feet in length.
Our generator has been broken into and batteries worth £400, and yet more cable, stolen. This has stopped us turning the Winding Engine until repairs are affected. Other heritage sites throughout the country are also seeing a rash of such occurrences due to the high price of non-ferrous metals.
To combat the blatant crime, we have had to invest further hard won funds into more cctv cameras and alarm systems, but the rural setting, although scenic permits unseen intrusion of the site.
We continue to welcome visits from all corners of the globe and local schools. We also support outreach activities throughout the year and our diary is filling fast. St Wilfrid's School are to visit during the activities mentioned in the Stubshaw Cross Report, but our biggest claim to fame is a future visit from Hong Kong University in August. It just goes to show how websites are powerful messengers!
Laying of the narrow gauge railway is proceeding well, and a spell of good weather has helped in this.
An English Heritage funding application is being prepared for the structural survey of the mine Headgear. This is following supportive contact with them. Various activities in support of Wigan Heritage Service have and are, taking place including four prospective Family Days in August, which will be on site.

Atherton Heritage:

On the 18th May 2011 the Community Group in Howe Bridge held a "Looking after yourself, look after your area" Day. Advice was available on diets and exercise, housing, welfare, safety in the home, crime prevention, recycling, gardening, adoption, the environment and local history.

On the 17th June a one-day conference will be held in Howe Bridge to show how the " Bridgers" Community Group operates, its partners and the events it organises. Walks will be held to show the environmental work undertaken and on local heritage.

On Sunday the 12thJune a plaque will be unveiled to Jim Fletcher, the last of the family to be involved with local Coal Mining industry at St. Michael and All Angels Church. The Fletchers started mining in Atherton in 1770's and Jim died in December 2010.

Next Meeting:
July 18 at Tudor House at 10.30 a.m.