Leigh a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater
Manchester, England, is 14 km. (9 miles) west of the City of Manchester
and 16 km. (10 miles) south-east of Wigan.
Historically part of Lancashire, Leigh has a total population of around
44,122 according to the 2001 Metropolitan Borough of Wigan census survey.
Before the Industrial Revolution, Leigh was famed for its dairy industry and
production of Lancashire cheese - reputed to be the best toasting cheese in the
In the 18th century Leigh had a thriving domestic textile industry, mostly as
a result of the large number of by hand-loom weavers manufacturing in their own
homes. By the latter part of the 19th century there were at least a dozen mills
in the town.
In the second half of the 19th century coal began to be an important industry
and coal mining became the largest user of labour after the textile industry in
Leigh. Parsonage Colliery was one of the deepest mines in the country going down
to over 3000 feet.
The Bridgewater Canal was extended from Worsley to the middle of Leigh in
1795, and in 1819 the Leigh branch canal was cut from the Leeds-Liverpool Canal
at Poolstock, Wigan.
In 1899 the Urban District became a municipal borough. In 1974 the borough
was abolished and its former area became part of Metropolitan Borough of Wigan,