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Hindley, Greater Manchester

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Title: Hindley, Greater Manchester  
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Hindley, Greater Manchester


Hindley Council Offices
Hindley is located in Greater Manchester
 Hindley shown within Greater Manchester
Population 25,000 [1]
OS grid reference
Metropolitan borough Wigan
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WIGAN
Postcode district WN2
Dialling code 01942
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Makerfield
List of places
Greater Manchester

Hindley is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester, England. Lying three miles (5 km) east of Wigan it covers an area of 1044 hectares. Historically in Lancashire, Hindley (which includes Hindley Green) borders the towns of Ince-in-Makerfield, Aspull, Westhoughton, Atherton and the former borough of Leigh.[2] In 2001, Hindley had a population of 23,457.[3] It forms part of the wider Greater Manchester Urban Area.


  • History 1
    • Toponymy 1.1
    • Early history 1.2
    • Industrial Revolution 1.3
  • Governance 2
  • Geography 3
  • Demography 4
  • Transport 5
  • Education 6
  • Religion 7
  • Landmarks 8
  • Notable families 9
  • Other noted residents 10
  • Sports and leisure 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13



The name Hindley is derived from the Old English hind and leah, meaning a "clearing frequented by hinds or does".[4]

The town is first recorded as Hindele in 1212 and then variously as "Hindeleye" [1259], "Hyndeley" [1285 and 1332],Hindelegh[1301], "Hyndelegh" [1303 and 1375]. The first recorded use of its current spelling, Hindley, was in 1479.[5]

Early history

Hindley was one of 15 berewicks of the royal manor of Newton before the Norman Conquest in 1066. After the conquest it formed part of the Barony of Makerfield.[6] The area was held by free tenants until 1330 when Robert Langton, Baron Makerfield, gave the lordship of the manor to his younger son. His descendants were lords of the manor until 1765 when it was sold to the Duke of Bridgewater.

From the Middle Ages until the 18th century the land was a mixture of pastoral, farming and woodland and the farmers were tenants of a variety of lords. Parish registers from the end of the 17th century reveal that residents were Yeomen, independent farmers who supplemented their income by spinning and weaving. There are also references to Blacksmiths, whitesmiths, nailers and wheelwrights. Hindley was noted for its nail making between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Industrial Revolution

The first recorded coal mine was in 1528[6] and by the end of the 19th century there were over 20 collieries in the area. Ladies Lane Colliery belonging to the Wigan Coal and Iron Company employed 282 underground and 40 surface workers in 1896.[7] At the start of the 20th century profitable coal seams were nearly exhausted and concerns were raised regarding the need to diversify industry and further develop the cotton mills. Peak production of coal was achieved just before the First World War. The period between the First and Second world wars was marked by the closure of most collieries and mills including Hindley Field and Swan Lane collieries in 1927, Hindley Green Colliery in 1928; Lowe Hall Colliery in 1931; Lowe Mill closing in 1934 and Worthington Mill was demolished. During the post war period the Hindley workings became part of the large colliery complexes developed at Bickershaw, Parsonage and Golborne.

Cotton manufacturing became important from the end of the 17th century until the middle of the 20th century.Hand-loom weaving was one of the chief industries, each cottage having a weaving shop attached and as the Industrial Revolution developed, larger mills were built. The first cotton factory was built in 1785 by Richard Battersby at Lowe Mill, a former water corn-mill. In 1822, John Pennington constructed his first power-driven mill. He was a significant employer of hand-loom weavers in the late 18th and early 19th century.

In 1790 Market Street, then known as Mill Lane, remained unmetalled and undeveloped but by 1835 John Leyland provided an insight into the growth of the town when he wrote, "Mr Pennington is extending his works, and a new mill is being built by Mr Walker. When these get completed a large increase in inhabitants must follow. In a small time it will doubtless rank as a small town."

The population of Hindley increased during the 19th century from 2,300 in 1811 to 23,000 in 1911 reflecting the transformation of the town from a country village to small, densely populated industrial town. The economic depression of the 1920s and 1930s hit Hindley hard and by the time of the Second World War the population had declined to 19,000.

The coal mining and cotton spinning have all disappeared and most residents of Hindley now work in Wigan, Bolton or commute to Manchester or Liverpool.


Hindley Council Offices viewed from Cross Street in 2006.

Hindley was a Metropolitan Borough of Wigan.


Hindley covers an area 2,527 acres (10.23 km2), mostly pasture and the underlying rocks are the coal measures.[8] Some ancient woodland remains today in Borsdane Wood which is protected as a Local Nature Reserve. Hindley town centre is approximately three miles east of Wigan and adjoins Leigh on its south east side. The pattern of roads is little changed from medieval times, the road from Prescot to Bolton, A58, and road linking Ormskirk with Boothstown, the A577 cross near the town centre.


The population of Hindley increased during the 19th century from 2,300 in 1811 to 24,100 in 1911 reflecting the transformation of the town from a country village to small, dense industrial town. The economic depression of the 1920s and 1930s hit Hindley hard and by the time of the Second World War the population had declined to 19,000. The Census of 2001 showed that the population had returned to that of a century earlier.

Population growth in Hindley since 1901
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 1981 1991 2001
Population 23,504 24,100 23,563 21,632 18,993 19,415 19,396 21,493 22,581 23,457

Urban District 1901–1971[10]  • Urban Subdivision 1981–2001[11][12][13]


Public transport in Hindley is co-ordinated by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. There are public transport links by rail from Hindley railway station to all stops between Southport and Manchester operated by Northern Rail. There are two platforms in use, with the remains of two older and disused platforms still in existence.


Hindley and Abram Grammar School established in 1632 survived until the 1980s when, as Park High School, it was closed. The building survives as a teachers' centre on Park Road. The original school was situated in "Lowe Hall" and the first edition of the Ordnance Survey map (1848) shows it was at the end of a short track off Stony Lane, now Liverpool Road. It was known as "The Lowe School". The school relocated to Park Road in 1856 Originally pupils attended without payment but by 1829 the master was at liberty to make charges for instruction in Latin, writing and arithmetic. By 1882 the building consisted of a large school room, a smaller classroom and headmaster's house. Between 1900 and its closure Hindley and Abram grew in size. Mornington High School was established in the early 1960s and became a comprehensive in 1976. The school was renamed Hindley High School in 2006.[14]


All Saints' Parish Church.
St John's Methodist Church.
St Benedict's Catholic Church.

The first chapel was built by public subscription in 1641 on land given by George Green. It was built as a Chapel of ease to Wigan Parish Church with the blessing of the Rector of Wigan, Bishop Bridgeman. The church was originally Puritan, and its first minister, Thomas Tonge, preached the Presbyterian discipline. He was succeeded by William Williamson, and James Bradshaw who was ejected for noncormformity in 1662. The chapel was unused for six years. It was consecrated in 1698 on All Saints' Day. All Saints' Church was rebuilt in 1766 and modifications made in 1863. It remains much the same as then, with an upper gallery and wide nave. There are windows dedicated to Hindley's families and an east window depicting early English saints.

Edmund Schulze since replaced by an electronic organ. The clock tower contains a set of bells. The war memorial, outside, was unveiled on 4 November 1922 and was built in a simple style.

Hindley has a tradition of Methodism and non-conformity. The Wesleyan Methodists acquired land in 1846, and built a chapel in 1851. The United Methodist Free Church had two chapels at Hindley Green, Brunswick Chapel, built in 1855, and another in 1866. The Primitive Methodists had a chapel at Castle Hill, built in 1856. The Independent Methodists had a church at Lowe Green, built in 1867, and later on Argyle Street. The Particular Baptists built Ebenezer Chapel in Mill Lane in 1854, converted to a restaurant in recent years. The Congregationalists made an attempt to build a church in 1794, but no church was formed until 1812; St. Paul's Chapel was built in 1815, meetings for worship having been held some years earlier in cottages. Presbyterians built a chapel in 1698, the present congregation is Unitarian in doctrine. St John's Methodist Church at the top of Market Street was built in 1868.[6] The Church of Christ in Argyle Street from mid-1800s to present.

Nothing is known of the permanence of Catholicism during the 17th century, but mass was probably said at Lowe Hall as Dom John Placid Acton, a Benedictine, was stationed at this place in 1699 and died there in 1727. Succeeding priests, who till 1758 resided chiefly at Park Hall in Charnock Richard, or at Standish Hall, moved the chapel to Lowe Hall and then to Hindley village. From 1758 there has been a resident Benedictine priest in charge of worship and the present church of St. Benedict in Market Street was built in 1869.[6]

The cemetery on Castle Hill Road was opened in 1879 and is divided into denominational sections and of note is the amount of masonic gravestones to be found throughout. Hindley has a long masonic tradition that still survives today.


Leyland Library and Museum was built in 1886 by Thomas Worthington. It is designed in a Free-Elizabethan style and given to the people of Hindley by Nathaniel Eckersley, on the instruction of John Leyland upon his death.

The Bird I'th Hand public house at the main crossroads in the town and the Lord Nelson Hotel on Bridge Street both have eighteenth-century origins. The Lord Nelson is a Grade II listed building. The 'Last Orders' public house with its painted red brick, moulded brick eaves cornice and Doric doorcases dates from the nineteenth century.

No.5 Deansgate is a rare surviving example of a modest vernacular cottage dating from the eighteenth century or earlier and illustrates a type once common in Hindley.[15]

Borsdane Wood is a place of outstanding natural beauty and in 1986 was declared a Local Nature Reserve.

Notable families

John Leyland (1832–1883), mill owner and benefactor, was born in Mill Lane (Market Street) in 1832 to a family of cloth makers. He was a governor of Hindley and Abram Grammar School and published a history, "Memorials of Hindley" in 1873. He left his estate to Nathaniel Eckersley and instructed that it should benefit Hindley. It paid for extensions to the Grammar School and built the Leyland Public Library, and Leyland Park, on Park Road, Hindley.[15]

Colonel Nathaniel Eckersley (1779–1837) of Laurel House on Atherton Road had a distinguished military career and served with Duke of Wellington in Portugal in the Peninsular Wars where he constructed defences for Peniche and led numerous attacks. He saw action in the siege of Badajos and led the Engineers at the siege of Fort Piccurina where he was shot, mentioned in dispatches and invalided home. Among his trophies of war was a pair of duelling pistols, taken by troopers after the battle of Vittoria, from the carriage of Joseph Bonaparte, the King of Spain. He was a guardians of the poor, and helped acquire an extension to the graveyard of Hindley Chapel.

Nathaniel Eckersley (1815–1892) left a legacy as banker, mill owner, mine owner, J.P., M.P., mayor and magistrate. He formed the 21st Lancashire Rifle Volunteers as Captain. In 1878, he served as High Sheriff of Lancashire. He married on twice, his first wife died at an early age leaving two daughters. His second marriage provided three sons, the youngest lost his life in Burma.

James Carlton Eckersley (1854–1926), continued his father's philosophy and was instrumental in education and church welfare. He laid foundation stones at the new infants' school, All Saints, Hindley, St. Nathaniel's Church, Platt Bridge, the Hindley & Abram Grammar School, Conservative Club, Church of St John The Evangelist, Hindley Green, St. Nathaniel's Mission Church, Platt Bridge, and St. Nathaniel's School (infants). He was a J.P. He settled at Carlton Manor in Yeadon and was known as "the Squire of Yeadon". A charity continues named the "James Carlton Eckersley Charity".

Nathaniel Ffarington Eckersley (1857–1935) built the Western Mills at the Eckersley Mills complex. He realised the potential of ring spinning and became one of the biggest ring spinners in Lancashire. He served as Mayor of Wigan, and as Captain in the Boer War. He amalgamated his mill interests with his grandfather's ocompany to form Eckersley's Ltd. He settled at Wem, Shropshire. In 1927 he gave the Leyland Free Library & Museum a memorial case, collected by his brother James Carlton. One year later, he opened the Eckersley Gardens at Poolstock, a memorial seat was placed in memory of his father. He was appointed High Sheriff of Shropshire in 1919.

The Penningtons were industrialists in the late 18th and mid 19th centuries. Their empire began with a single mill in 1822 which John Pennington expanded to six by the middle of the century. His son and grandson became powerful figures in the town, employing many of the population. Frederick Pennington became a Liberal MP and supporter of many women's causes; Pennington's daughter Maria married Thomas Thomasson, the philanthropist, and another daughter was the mother of the suffragette Ursula Mellor Bright who married Jacob Bright son of the famour orator John Bright. The Penningtons donated over half of the £9,000 required to build St Peter's Church in 1866 and contributed to other improvements in the town.[15]

Other noted residents

Among other noted past or current residents of Hindley are:

Sports and leisure

Hindley has a long tradition in local sport with the town having amateur football, cricket and rugby league teams. The town also has a long tradition of producing long distance runners and cyclists of note. Arthur Farrimond, for instance, competed in the 1924 Olympic Games.

A new purpose built sports pavilion has been built on Wigan Road, and Ashton Gymnastic Club are based in town's main street. The town has a swimming pool and a local authority run leisure centre.

Hindley also has thriving youth based groups including two Scout troops, Boys' Brigade, Guides and Brownies and Army Training Corps. Local schools also provide out of school clubs and activities.

The new St. Peter's Pavilion building (left) pictured alongside the old cricket pavilion (right) during the 2009 Surridge Divisional Cup final between Hindley St. Peter's and Deane & Derby 2nd XIs.

Hindley St. Peter's Cricket Club, participate in the Manchester and District Cricket Association, Southport & District League and West Lancashire League, and won the inaugural Manchester Association Twenty20 tournament[22] in 2007 and the Manchester Association Premier League championship in 2008, retaining the title in 2009.

Hindley Amateur Rugby League Club have two Open age men's teams and are the fastest growing club in the northwest. Initially a national conference 3 team and a North west counties division 4 team. The club currently has teams playing from ages 7 to open age and has a long tradition of developing players that have gone on to professional careers in the sport including;

John Clarke - Warrington Wolves Paul Deacon - Wigan Warriors Paul Johnson - Warrington Wolves Tony Stewart - Leigh Centurions Rob Draper - Blackpool Panthers Matthew Schleiner - Widnes Vikings Alex Gerrard - Widnes Vikings Liam Thompson - Wigan Warriors Kieron Harrison - Wigan Warriors Grant Gore - Widnes Vikings Thomas Makinson - St Helens Grant Murhpy - Leigh Centurions Bob Higham - Leigh Centurions Craig Briscoe - Leigh Centurions

As well as several academy and U16-19 players who are signed for various superleague clubs.

Hindley Junior and Hindley Town both run football teams at all ages from under 6 to under 16.


  1. ^ Wigan Core Strategy 2013 (PDF), Wigan Council, 30 Sep 2013, retrieved 12 February 2014 
  2. ^ "Hindley Township Boundaries". Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  3. ^ 2001 Census for the Wigan area -
  4. ^ Mills, A.D. (2003), A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford: Oxford University Press,   (subscription required)
  5. ^ "The Place Names of Lancashire" by Eilert Ekwall. url=
  6. ^ a b c d e William Farrer and J Brownbill (editors) (1911), "Hindley", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4,  
  7. ^ Wigan Coal & Iron Co. Ltd., Durham Mining Museum, retrieved 7 February 2011 
  8. ^ a b "Hindley", A Topographical Dictionary of England (British History Online), 1848: 514–518, retrieved 15 September 2010 
  9. ^ Workhouse,, retrieved 15 September 2010 
  10. ^ "Hindley UD Through Time > Population Statistics > Total Population",  
  11. ^ "Census 2001 Key Statistics - Urban area results by population size of urban area", (Office for National Statistics), 22 July 2004, KS01 Usual resident population , retrieved 22 September 2009 
  12. ^ "Greater Manchester Urban Area 1991 Census". National Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2008. 
  13. ^ 1981 Key Statistics for Urban Areas: The North Table 1, Office for National Statistics, 1981 
  14. ^ Inspection Report: Mornington High School (PDF),  
  15. ^ a b c (part two) at Hindley Town Centre Conservation Area
  16. ^ John Crank biography - Turnbull server website
  17. ^ John Crank Biography
  18. ^ Arthur Farrimond 1924 Olympics - Bolton revisited
  19. ^ Lily Brayton - Shakespeare and the Players
  20. ^ Emmons, Max (4 March 2009). "Ian Howarth". The Guardian. 
  21. ^ John's part of Hindley history - Wigan Today
  22. ^ History for Hindley -

External links

  • Wigan Borough Council
  • Wigan History Search
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