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 world.
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, Greater Manchester.
Official Town of Leigh, Greater Manchester website: www.wiganmbc.gov.uk
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