See caption
Leigh Town Hall
Wikimedia Commons

The Municipal Borough of Leigh, a local government district in Lancashire, England, was created in 1899 and abolished in 1974. The borough was made up of the townshipsDivision of an ecclesiastical parish that had civil functions. of Pennington, Westleigh, BedfordSuburb of Leigh in Greater Manchester, one of the three ancient townships that merged in 1875 to form the town of Leigh. and part of the township of Atherton.[1]

In 1875, Leigh Local Board of Health[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 comprising the townships of Bedford, Pennington and Westleigh, all members of the Leigh Poor Law Union.[1] The area of the local board was created an urban districtAdministrative areas that had district councils and shared local government responsibilities with a county council. by the Local Government Act 1894.[2]

Leigh Urban District was granted a charter of incorporation on 2 August 1899 and the municipal borough, named after the ancient ecclesiastical parishAncient or ancient ecclesiastical parishes encompassed groups of villages and hamlets and their adjacent lands, over which a clergyman had jurisdiction., was created. The borough was divided into eight wards and governed by a mayor, eight aldermen, and twenty-four councillors.[3] A minor boundary change was made with with Golborne Urban District in 1969.[4] In 1974 the borough was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 and its former area was combined with others to form the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.[1]

The market town of Leigh was its administrative centre until its dissolution in 1974. The borough council commissioned local architect, J. C. PrestwichJames Caldwell Prestwich (1852–1940) was an English architect. He was born in Atherton, Lancashire and educated at Leigh and Nantwich Grammar Schools. , to build Leigh Town HallLeigh Town Hall stands facing the parish church across the Civic Square at its junction with Market Street in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England. It was designed for the Municipal Borough of Leigh by James Caldwell Prestwich, who had an architectural practice in the town. which was completed in 1907.[5]


Arms were granted to the Municipal Borough of Leigh on 23 December 1899. They comprise a shield of four quarters each representing a local family who was involved with a township that became part of the borough. Westleigh is represented by the spear head of the Urmstons, Pennington, the five-point star (mulet) of the Bradshaws, the Shuttleworths of Bedford are represented by the shuttle and the Athertons of Atherton HallCountry house and estate in Atherton in Lancashire, England built between 1723 and 1742, demolished in 1824. by a sparrowhawk. The bear’s paw on the crest is taken from the crest of Lord Lilford. Its motto, “AEQUO PEDE PROPERA” is translated as “Progress with sound steps” or “Hasten steadily”.[5]


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.



Farrer, William, and J. Brownbill. “The Parish of Leigh: Introduction, Church and Charities.” A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, edited by William Farrer and J. Brownbill, 1907, pp. 413–21,
Great Britain Historical GIS Project. “Leigh UD/MB through Time. Census Tables with Data for the Local Government District.” A Vision of Britain through Time, 2004,
Greater Manchester County Record Office. Greater Manchester Gazetteer I to L.
Lunn, John. History of Leigh. Leigh Borough Council, 1958.
Young, Robert. Civic Heraldry of England & Wales.

External links

*Boundary map 1933