Leigh Spinners Mill is one of the largest, most exciting, combined community and heritage projects in the North West of England, probably in the whole of the UK. With assistance from Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, Sport England, Wigan MBC and other supporters the Grade II listed buildings are being renovated and preserved for future generations.
Leigh, like other mill towns across the North West of England, developed on the three C’s – Coal, Cotton, Canals. Here at Leigh Spinners Mills we are bringing back the valuable heritage of cotton and the mills to our town for our future generations to learn and to enjoy. Construction work began on the Mill 2 building in 2015 and has reached a point where tenants have moved in and by 2018 we had a whole floor dedicated to sport.
Alongside this, a heritage centre has been developed in Mill 2 and the neglected (since mid 1970s) steam engine has undergone major renovation. Our development work continues to complete our objectives for Mill 2 (which is almost fully occupied) and to begin our development for Mill 1, which will provide increased space both the community areas and heritage areas.
We are extremely grateful to everyone who has worked on this huge project so far, our progress to date is entirely due to their hard work. Our volunteers are the valuable backbone of this entire task, we need them and we need more of them as we continue to develop what will become the largest cotton heritage centre in the North West, probably the largest in the UK.
There are a wide range of tasks available for our volunteers, from basic to very advanced – and every single one of them is valued. We have a wide age range of volunteers from young to, errrm, older! It’s a fantastic team of people who all come together with one common objective, not only are we volunteers, we have also become good friends.
Not sure what you would like to do? Not sure where you could fit in? Not sure how much time you can commit? Come along and have a chat with us, we will be happy to give you more information and advice, and you can see what a nice group of people we really are!
We have ‘teams’ to help us to achieve our objectives in specific areas, but these are not boundaries, our volunteers move around to help where they can and get involved where they are most interested. Click on a particular category below to read about the opporunities available to you.
The education team are responsible for organising school trips and expanding our education offer. Get involved with organising the day, source materials & props or being there on the day to show the children different aspects of the history of Leigh, industry and heritage.
The main, and undoubtedly the biggest, attraction to our site is our mill’s huge steam engine.
For those technically minded, it is a twin, horizontal cross compound condensing engine of 2500 horse power, the third largest surviving mill engine in the UK and possibly the world.
It’s a Beauty and a Beast, the engine has been renovated over a number of years to bring it back to the original standard. It needs lots of time and attention to keep this magnificent piece of equipment in good health.
If you are an engineer, have experience of steam engines, have a vast knowledge of mill engines or years of experience in the operation of such a huge project, of course we want to hear from you. But if, like many of our team, you have an interest or passion for these huge steam engines and would like the opportunity to work closer with them and learn more about them, then come and have a chat with us.
We never tire of talking about our engine and will be pleased to share our knowledge and guidance with new volunteers.
Oh, did we mention that our future plans including re-installing a steam engine in the other mill? We have already sourced the engine and you could be a part of building a newly installed steam engine – which is a rare experience anywhere in the world.
The Leigh Spinners Mill complex are Grade II listed buildings. Construction started on the site in 1913, with cotton production commencing in 1915 and Mill 2 completed on the site in 1925. We are fortunate to have inherited a wealth of documents, plans and information dating back prior to the construction of the first mill, right through to today.
The Leigh Spinners Mill company are meticulous record keepers and this will provide us with a detailed history of not only the mills and their operation and development but a clear insight into the evolution of the cotton industry through the twentieth century.
We have already experienced several ‘Eureka’ moments as key documents have come to light, for example uncovered plans for a third, or even fourth mill to be built at the existing site, or the original estimate for the manufacture and installation of our mill steam engine.
If you are fascinated by the history of these mills, or the documents and plans that were produced over the years or have a mind to sort, catalogue and organise this vast quantity of documents we have inherited, we would love to hear from you. When the archive is fully established it is likely to be the only detailed and comprehensive collection in existence to record the construction and evolution of the Lancashire cotton mills.
Leigh Spinners Mill is actually two five floor cotton mills. We have completed lots of the work in our Mill 2, but there is lots more to do. After that, we will need to maintain and redevelop the vast areas in this mill, so the work will never end!
Soon, we will start the whole process all over again with Leigh Spinners Mill 1, five huge floors of former cotton mill which will be converted for community and heritage use.
Our operational team are in constant demand, from building whole new areas of the site to simple daily maintenance tasks throughout the mill. We never have enough hands to meet all of the tasks we need to undertake and more willing volunteers, with or without building experience, will be very helpful.
Come and join us, whether you can offer an hour a week or five days a week, we will appreciate your help.
The work of our volunteers is wasted if the community resource and heritage centre isn’t known by the public and other interested parties. We need to get the message about Leigh Spinners Mills out there to the local community and to the wider audience of visitors to our site.
Our promotions team will be organising various themed events at the mill which will require on-sight supporting decoration and organisation plus off site advertising support. We have a range of souvenirs for visitors to the mill which is being constantly expanded.
The promotions team will support all of our colleagues with promotional materials where needed throughout the mills and for any external promotions which Leigh Spinners Mill is involved with. Our job is to advertise and promote visits to the mill and ensure that the visitors have a positive experience while they are here. This is an interesting, fun and creative role and if you would like to be a part of it come and have a chat with us.
A heritage cotton mill without textile machinery is like a sweet shop without sweets!
There are huge plans for the heritage sections of Leigh Spinners Mills and the core of these plans is our display of working textile machinery. To achieve our objectives we will need a group of people to work on renovating and rebuilding our historic cotton processing and spinning machines.
We are fortunate to have some of the most knowledgeable and experienced engineers to guide you through the whole renovation and building process. The cotton industry had many incredible inventors and innovators and this could be your opportunity to work on their inventions.
Plus the finished machinery will need maintenance and operators when fully installed. We are already renovating and re-building carding and spinning equipment in Mill 2 Scutching (yes, that’s the right word, Google it!) Room, where there will be a small display adjacent to our engine house. Mill 1 with a whole floor of working cotton processing machinery will be an impressive sight, to say the least. If you have the inclination to help with this huge project come along and get involved, we will guide you through each of our projects and help you achieve your objectives.
If you would like to volunteer at the Mill, please download, print and complete both pages of our Volunteer Registration Form and return them to us.