Meeting Place: Westhoughton Library

Meetings take place on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month in the room above Westhoughton Library in a friendly and convivial atmosphere.

For those who are new to Westhoughton, the Library is situated at the side of the Town Hall in Market Street.

Come along one Thursday morning between 10 and 12 to gain a fascinating insight into the life and times of yesteryear. Admission £1, which includes tea or coffee and a biscuit and time to meet others interested in our past.

All are welcome.


Events in 2019

3 January     WHLG in 2018 - A Loss and Many Gains with David Kaye and Phil Wood

                   with guest speaker Wilf Dillon

17 January    A Westhoughton Miner’s Story - Ron Shambley

                    Ron lost relatives in the Pretoria Pit Disaster in 1910. He will tell you

                    about his early working in Westhoughton coal mines and illustrate

                    his story with mining artefacts  

7 February   Georgian Kings - Graham Stirrup

                   Graham will tell us about the four Georgian kings who ruled England

                   between 1660 and 1830.

18 February  MONDAY - Trip to Houses of Parliament.

21 February  Ernest Shackleton - John Ramwell

                   John is a Westhoughton resident with a special interest in the polar 


7 March        Rivington Reservoirs - Ruth Duckworth

                   Ruth concludes her research into this amazing story of the building

                   of the reservoirs at Rivington

21 March      Charles Dickens and his Children - Veronica Walker

                   How many of you know about his children, Veronica will enlighten you.

4 April          Medals from around the World - Tony Foster

                   Tony making his fourth visit to the Group will tell you about tracing his

                   father’s war medals.

18 April        Building the Meccano Bridge - Dr. Paul Hindle

                   This talk tells the story of how the Manchester and Bury Canal Society

                    built the Meccano Bridge at Nob End in Little Lever.

25 April        Visit to Rochdale Town Hall and Museums

                    Rochdale’s fabulous Grade 1 - Victorian Gothic Town Hall is renowned

                    worldwide for its unique and detailed architecture. Optional afternoon

                    visit to the Touchstones Museum or Rochdale Pioneers Museum in Toad

                    Lane (time permitting).  

2 May           Educating Rita? - Dr Steve Harrington   

                    Steve is a long time participant of Westhoughton Local History Group.

                    This morning he will tell us about the education of Westhoughton’s

                    women and what his extensive research has uncovered.


16 May         Trip : Hardwick Hall

                    “An Elizabethan masterpiece” in Derbyshire created by Bess Hardwick

                    in the 1500s. Bess was the second richest woman in the country after

                    Elizabeth 1. Along the way, she experienced great loss and hardship -

                    two children and four husbands died and at times she had massive debts

                    and lawsuits against her. A National Trust property.

30 May         Trip : Stonyhurst College

                    The College is one of Britain’s leading independent Catholic schools

                    (perhaps second only to Ampleforth) which has played an important role

                    in Catholic education throughout the centuries.

6 June           Life in the 14th Century - Linda Sawley

                    We all remember Linda from our connection with Browsholme Hall. On

                    this year’s visit we go back to the 14th century with Linda’s story of

                    every day life 700 years ago.

20 June         The Highlight of the Rural Year - Stephen Caunce

                    The Agricultural Hiring of Fairs of Northern England 1890 - 1925

                    As the name suggests hiring fairs had a practical purpose in linking

                    employers with male and female who were looking for jobs but as

                    Dr Caunce will relate much more went on besides.

4 July            Wigan Casino - Marianne Howells

                    Marianne Howells is Chair of Lancashire Local History Federation and this

                    morning she will talk about the legendary Wigan Casino known as the

                    primary venue for Northern Soul music.

                    Will anyone in our audience remember dancing there?

18 July          A Walkden Childhood - Judith Atkinson

                    Judith makes another return visit to tell us about childhood days in

                    Walkden. Many will compare her story with a child’s life in Westhoughton

                    in the 1950’s.

1 August       A Guided Walk around Rivington’s Japanese Gardens with Elaine Taylor

                    (pre-booking necessary with £5 donation to Rivington Terraced Gardens


15 August      Westhoughton’s Links to Peterloo’ Events (see forthcoming publications

                     for further details).

5 September   Dark Days, Dark Nights - Bolton’s Home Front WW2- David Burnham

                     To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War 2, we

                     have invited social historian David Burnham to tell us about the lives of

                     the people left at home during the fighting abroad.

19 September  Railway Signalling in Westhoughton - Peter Stephenson

                      Railways are always a popular subject for many of our participants.

                      Pater has been researching the railways of Westhoughton and in

                      particular railway signalling. This morning we will hear of the result of

                      his endeavours.

3 October        Wharram Percy - a deserted Medieval Village - Ruth Duckworth

                      Ruth spent many summers on archaelogical “digs” in North Yorkshire.

                      Today she will recall the people she met and the discoveries made in

                      those days.

17 October      Details to be announced.

7 November    Pretoria - Alan Davies

                     Alan makes a welcome return this morning to talk about the Pretoria Pit

                     Disaster of 1910. Newer members of the audience may not be familiar

                     with the second worst mining disaster in English history which killed 344

                     men and boys from Westhoughton, the surrounding areas and beyond.

21 November The History of Liverpool - Malcolm Tranter                

                    A fascinating story of the evolution of a small settlement on the River

                    Mersey that grew into a large port and diverse city.

5 December   Charles Dickens - seasonal entertainment with Gordon and Veronica


                    Veronica returns with her husband Gordon for seasonal and surprising

                    entertainment based on Charles Dickens.