Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 a.m. Monday 9th January 2012 at Tudor House, Hindley

Present -John O'Neill (Greenheart Partnership Board), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Tom Price (Wigan Civic Trust), Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Jan Johnston (LENDF), John Hill (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Dave Wilson (Bickershaw Conservation Group/Wigan Biodiversity Group), David Shallcross (Leigh Ornithological Society/Chowbent Chapel), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage), Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), Glenys McClellan (Leigh Family History Society), Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Allan Roberts (Wigan RSPB).

Apologies- Joe Taylor (Billinge History/Heritage Society).

The Chair John O'Neill welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Community Olympiad Project Performance Reward Grant (mentioned in minutes of last meeting) - deadline for applications is Monday 30th January.

Cultural Partnership wants to continue despite structure of Wigan Borough Partnership changing. Wigan Council are due to produce a 'Cultural Activity' strategy.

Past Forward magazine produced by Wigan Heritage Services - current edition has winners of the essay competition sponsored by the Heritage Network.

Waterloo Monument - John O'Neill has received the results of the 'x-ray' survey of the monument. There appears to be a metal spike inside with no flanges - stones are just built around it. Norman Lowe, a retired civil engineer, is helping with advice. 2015 will be the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and is a target for having the monument restored.

In Memoriam 2014 is a national organization offering Smart Water packs for marking war memorials to try and discourage thefts. www.inmemoriam2014.org Also the War Memorial Trust 07990 936 276 are a good contact. Carole Littler, who is a Heritage Network member, is a local expert on war memorials.

Lightshaw Meadows, run by the Red Rose Forest and part of Greenheart, are holding a workshop on Wednesday 8th February at the Museum of Wigan Life. The workshop will provide an update on habitat improvement work, discuss how to educate people about the scheme and provide interpretation work, and how it fits in with other schemes in the area. There is also some tree planting work the Friday before. Two people from each organization are invited - David Shallcross and Glenys McClellan are going.

Various certificates for member groups of the Heritage Network, which were not able to be presented at the evening event in November, were distributed at the meeting.

The Wallgate/Library Street area of Wigan town centre, including the two railway stations, is undergoing environmental improvement works such as flagged footpaths, tree planting, street furniture and some premises improvement. This has all come under the Wigan Townscape Heritage Initiative - the advisory group includes various representatives such as Tom Price from Wigan Civic Trust, the Rector of Wigan Parish Church, John Sanson manager of Grand Arcade and restaurant owner Howard Gallimore.

Minutes of previous meeting

Agreed as true and accurate.

Matters Arising

Our Heritage DVD - 330 DVD copies have been sold so far.

Our Network is planning to offer a prize for the best maintained war memorial in the Borough under the Wigan Borough in Bloom project.

Etherstone Hall (Leigh Sports Village) - the Greater Manchester Big Dig will stage an exploratory dig in March, with the main dig scheduled for June/July.

Greenheart has established a National Poetry Competition - as a contribution to the 2012 Wigan Borough Words Festival. As part of the Words Festival, Bedford High School in Leigh and a play in Jacks Wood will receive some support from Greenheart.

Following the correspondence at the last meeting from the BBC (via Heritage Services) looking for contributors for 'Nick Knowles Original Features' , Richard Sivill talked about his experience of working with the programme makers in the past on restoring a house in Howe Bridge village. The programme was made by BBC Bristol and went out on Sky. The BBC pay for the restoration work.

Projects for 2012

31st March 2012 - the Olympic torch is coming through Wigan Borough. Exact details are secret until nearer the time.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee - will be community events around this.

Wigan Borough in Bloom - important year for Wigan as it has been invited to participate in the national Britain in Bloom competition for the first time.

Local History Month will be in May. Local History Day will be Saturday 16th June with a special event in Manchester.

Later this month - Mesnes Park pavilion is due to re-open

Environment & Heritage Network meetings:

- need to schedule the 'Community Visioning' exercise outlined by Jason Kennedy - idea is to use Hindley as example

- 14th May meeting will be held at Pennington Flash. Meet in car park by golf hut at 10am. Short meeting, presentation, tour of Flash and 'nourishment'. Looking at ornithology, fauna and ecology. Likely to go on till 1pm.

- Dam House - Richard Sivill has spoken to them and they're happy to host a meeting and a visit. Network just needs to decide a date.

- Crooke Village - idea to hold one of the Autumn meetings at Crooke Hall Inn and learn about heritage, environment and community action in Crooke village.

- Evening event in Autumn - another Network Celebration Evening to build on success of last year's event.

- Lancashire Day 27th November 2012 is a Tuesday. Will be a range of events to mark Lancashire Day, which is organized overall by the 'Real Lancashire Society'.

John O'Neill Archives

John had brought in a range of historic artifacts that he has gathered together over the years. He passed them around the meeting and explained what they represented.

The artifacts included: medal commissioned by Francis Sharp Powell to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee; pipe from Pepper Lane pipeworks in Standish; lease for piece of land in Shevington from Wrightington Estate dated 1740; a Wigan Councillor's diary from 1914; Wigan Observer from 1859; school timetable from Pemberton Colliery School; and several other items.

The meeting enjoyed the display of artefacts and thanked John with a round of applause.

Members News

Astley Green Colliery Museum has been awarded a grant of £7,500 towards the total cost of £9,000 for a survey of the pit headgear, with a view to establishing in detail the restoration work that it requires. This restoration work will then need to be the subject of a future large funding application. 2012 is one hundred years since Astley Green Colliery opened. The Museum have renovated the pit engine to get it running again and hope to open it to the public.

Any Other Business


Next Meeting

Next meeting is Monday 13th February 2012 10.30am at Tudor House