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Atherton Town Hall
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Atherton Urban District was from 1894 to 1974 a local government district in Lancashire, England. In 1974 the urban districtAdministrative areas that had district councils and shared local government responsibilities with a county council. was abolished and its former area was transferred to the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester.

The villHistorical term describing a unit or area of land containing several dwellings or townshipDivision of an ecclesiastical parish that had civil functions. of Atherton historically lay in the large ecclesiastical parishAncient or ancient ecclesiastical parishes encompassed groups of villages and hamlets and their adjacent lands, over which a clergyman had jurisdiction. of Leigh and became a constituent member of Leigh Poor Law UnionEstablished on 26 January 1837 in accordance with the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, covering the townships of Astley, Atherton, Bedford, Pennington, Tyldesley with Shakerley and Westleigh all in the ancient parish of Leigh, plus Culcheth, Lowton and part of Winwick. when it was created in 1837.[1] Atherton was a local government district in Lancashire from 1863 to 1974.


In 1863 Atherton Local Government District was created when the township adopted the Local Government Act 1858. A local board[a] Local boards were set up to improve the sanitary condition of towns in England and Wales by placing responsibility for the supply of water, sewerage, drainage and so on under a single body. was formed to govern the town. The Local Government Act 1894 added part of the township to Leigh Urban District and reconstituted the rest of the township as an urban district, with Atherton Urban District Council replacing the local board.[1] The urban district council consisted of fifteen members, elected from five wards – Central, North, East, South, and West.[2][3] In 1974 Atherton Urban District was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 and its former area transferred to Greater Manchester to form part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan.


Atherton Urban District Council was granted a coat of arms on 29 May 1951. Two black diamonds on the shield reference coal mining; the lion’s leg is taken from the arms of the Powys family, who were lords of the manor after the second Lord Lilford married the Atherton heiressCountry house and estate in Atherton in Lancashire, England built between 1723 and 1742, demolished in 1824. in 1797. A shuttle and a millrind represent the town’s cotton and engineering industries. The sparrowhawk is from the arms of the Atherton family. Its motto, CONSILIO ET PRUDENTIA means by counsel and by wisdom.[4]