Wigan and Leigh Archives Online

1900-1901, George Shaw, Mayor of Leigh

1900 -1901, George Shaw, Mayor of Leigh

Mr George Shaw J.P. of Pennington Hall and the second Mayor of Leigh was born at Ashton-under-Lyne in April 1860, the son of brewer William Shaw.

He was educated at Southport, and Cranleigh College near Guildford. During his time there he was connected with various commercial interests including brewing, electric cables, cotton spinning, landed estates, India-rubber manufactory and harvesting machinery. Later he became associated with his father in the Dukinfield Brewery.

In 1880 he moved to Leigh and worked to promote the success of the Bedford Brewing and Malting Company and it was believed that through his foresight and tenacity that his firm bought out the Bond-street Brewery Company. The name of Bedford Brewery was dropped and later became known as Messrs, G. Shaw and Company, Limited, Leigh Brewery with George being the managing director. He also became the director of the Ancoats Vale Rubber Work.

He had great interest in sport. In addition to being a cyclist, George was the full back for the Leigh Association Football Club, and at one time the president of the Leigh Rugby Club. He was also a member of the Leigh Bowling Club and vice president of the Leigh Cricket Club.

George was also a prominent conservative and Freemason and was once a member of the Leigh Literary Society.

In 1883 he married Bessie Pendlebury. They had two sons William and Frank and a daughter Mary.

In 1894 George was elected a member of the Leigh Local Board but he did not occupy a seat on the District Council. On November 1899 he was at the head of the poll for Etherstone Ward with 305 votes being recorded for him. He served on many committees of the council and was a Chair of the Surplus Land Committee.

On the 8 November 1900 he was elected the second Mayor, and the first conservative Mayor, of Leigh with his wife Bessie being the first Mayoress. His relatives seized the opportunity of his Mayoralty to present him with a magnificent gold Mayoral Chain and the ladies of Leigh presented Bessie with a gold chain.

In January 1901 he gave the children of Leigh the first fancy dress ball it is believed to have ever been held in Leigh. Around 500 children were present. The ball was a great success.

After the town went into mourning for the death of Queen Victoria he proclaimed King Edward VII in the Market Place. 

Being a religious man and a man often seen at the church, he contributed largely to various religious and philanthropic movements. After his election of Mayor he announced the gift to the town by Lord Lilford of a plot of land for the Infirmary. He afterwards became the Chair of the Infirmary Committee. For a short time George was churchwarden at Pennington Church and donated a brass lectern. He also laid the foundations stones of an Infant School and Parish Rooms in Wilkinson Street and he opened the St Joseph’s R.C. Infant School. He also promoted the Technical School and Free Library and donated largely to the fund.

In 22 June 1918 George died at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Southport at the age of 58 after suffering failing health for some time.

Bessie Shaw also passed away in 1924.

Written by Darren Turner


Biographical Cuttings - George Shaw. Available at Leigh Local Studies.


2 items were found within 1900-1901, George Shaw, Mayor of Leigh