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Wigan Heritage Services to Extend Opening Hours
Friday 21st December, 2007

Public access to Wigan and Leigh’s key heritage sites will increase in the New Year.

The History Shop in Wigan, together with Leigh Local History and Leigh Archives, will increase their opening hours significantly from Monday 28th January 2008.

The History Shop’s new opening hours will increase from 21 hours to 27 hours per week:
Monday 10am to 4pm
Tuesday 10am to 4pm
Wednesday closed
Thursday 10am to 4pm
Friday 10am to 4pm
Saturday 10am to 1pm

Leigh Local History at the Turnpike Centre Leigh will continue to open on Mondays and Thursdays but will now also be available on alternate Saturdays. In addition, a new Family History helpdesk provided by volunteers from Leigh Family History Society will be open on Monday afternoons from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

Leigh Archives at Leigh Town Hall will re-instate the appointment system it previously operated on three days per week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Opening hours at these services were reduced in April 2007 to allow heritage services staff to work on a variety of key projects. All have made significant progress:
  • a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has secured a £500,000 grant towards the £1.3m investment to improve facilities at The History Shop;
  • new heritage based learning activities have been introduced through schools, community groups and for families and adults with special needs;
  • work has progressed well in the exhaustive project to assess Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s collection of 25,000 heritage items;
  • a new ‘Curating in the Community’ project was launched in September involving four community groups and will be rolled across the borough in 2008.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s Heritage Services Manager Carole Tyldesley said: “We are pleased that we are now able to significantly increase our opening hours at these popular sites. The hard work of staff and volunteers has ensured that the number of people who have accessed services at The History Shop and in Leigh have not dropped significantly in comparison with 2006. However, we feel it was important to increase our hours wherever possible going into next year.

“Many of the projects that staff have been developing have made huge advancements and will help us allow access to heritage to all sections of the community. There is still a great deal of work to be carried out to ensure that these projects are completed successfully but we believe they will be of benefit to the people of Wigan Borough for many years to come.”

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s ten year vision for Heritage Services is: “To engage people in their own and Wigan’s heritage through creative management and use of archives, collections and heritage resources.”

The long term objectives to improve the quality of Heritage Services across Wigan Borough include:
  • the development of the Wigan Pier Quarter's Arts and Heritage Learning Centre;
  • broadening access to the heritage collection at The History Shop; Leigh Archives at Leigh Town Hall and Leigh Local History at the Turnpike Centre, Leigh;
  • ensuring that learning is at the centre of the service through exhibitions, activities and outreach work;
  • providing support to all groups who wish to learn more about their own heritage.
For further information about the new opening hours contact Philip Butler, Visitor Services Manager, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust on 01942 827594 or visit www.wlct.org/heritage.

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