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Wigan Borough MP repeals Wigan Free Grammar Schools 1812 Act of Parliament
Wednesday 5th December, 2012

A little known committee of both Houses of Parliament met last week to repeal Acts of Parliament which have been identified as being ‘spent, obsolete, unnecessary or otherwise not now of practical utility’.

Over the past 43 years the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission, which are independent statutory bodies set up under the Law, have published 19 reports on statute law repeals, with draft Bills attached, that have been presented to Parliament. The 18 previous reports have resulted in the repeal of 2,300 whole Acts and the part repeal of thousands of others.

The 19th report went before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills and contained proposals which included the repeal of more than 800 whole Acts and the part repeal of 50 others. This makes it the largest statute law repeals Bill that the commission has ever produced.

Makerfield MP, Yvonne Fovargue was a member of the committee which considered the repeal of;
  • 38 obsolete Acts relating to the various railway companies operating in British India and the wider East Indies

  • A 1696 Act to fund the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire 1666

  • 57 obsolete Acts to raise money for the parish poor.

  • 295 obsolete railway Acts. Many of the railways projects outlined in these Acts collapsed in the banking crisis of 1866

  • 16 Acts passed between 1798 and 1828 to impose duty on every pint of ale, beer or porter brewed or sold in parts of Scotland

  • A 1322 Act relating to the old Exchequer Court during the reign of Edward II

The 365 page Bill included the repeal of ‘The Wigan Free Grammar School Act 1812’.

The school was built in or around 1597 from an endowment by Thomas Bankes, a goldsmith. The school was added to in 1723 and the old buildings were replaced in 1730. The school was rebuilt in 1879 and again in 1937 before it closed its doors on 7th July 1972.

The site of the school is now better known as the Thomas Linacre Centre which is used by the local NHS.

The Act incorporated the school as the Free Grammar School of the Borough of Wigan in the County Palatine of Wigan. The act increased the powers of the school governors and authorised them to make bye-laws. The closure of the school means that the act can no longer serve any useful purpose and could be repealed.

Yvonne Fovargue said:

“This was a fascinating experience and insight into 700 years of the history of our country and the Wigan Borough from the time of Edward II to the present day and reflects the necessary and painstaking work that the Law Commission undertakes to modernise and update the law.”

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