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History Shop’s Bright Future
Tuesday 2nd December, 2008

History Shop’s Bright Future
Inside the History Shop

WIGAN History Shop’s £1.3m transformation into a “heritage hub” will begin in earnest on December 23.

Services will be temporarily switched to Wigan Library and will be available from January 5th for the next twelve months as the building where George Orwell once researched ‘The Road to Wigan Pier” is dramatically improved.

Following a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £500,000 and match funding from Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust the exciting work will see new museum displays, major access improvements, a full refurbishment of the study and research areas and new toilet facilities on the ground floor.

Carole Tyldesley, Heritage Services Manager for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust: “This marks the start of an exciting time for The History Shop which will transform it into a hub of heritage activity.

“When the building work is completed we will have a more user-friendly, easily accessible facility that will allow more people to get involved and explore their own and Wigan’s heritage.”

The work is expected to be completed on the Library Street building by early 2010.

Services at Wigan Library, Wigan Town Centre will be scaled down but there will be an active study area manned by heritage staff while the computer based genealogy service will still be available. Heritage services can also be accessed via Leigh Local History (Leigh Library) and Leigh Archives (Leigh Town Hall).

Education and learning outreach work will continue in the community and schools.

The History Shop, formerly the Wigan Free Public Library, was designed by renowned architect Alfred Waterhouse who also created famous buildings such as Manchester Town Hall and The Natural History Museum.

The library was transformed into The History Shop in 1992 and became one of the first historical research and study centres of its type in the UK. It is now hugely popular with genealogical researchers and local historians.

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