Wigan and Leigh Archives Online



The Old Market Place - Leigh’s tank


The end of the war was commemorated in lots of different ways, not all of them sad. In 1919 the people of Leigh were awarded a tank in appreciation of the splendid work done by the Leigh War Savings Committee. A large crowd congregated along Brown Street, Bradshawgate and the Market Place at 10 o’clock on the 6th May to watch the tank travel from the Goods Yard to the Town Hall Square. Mayor Ashworth was on board along with Mr. Fox, treasurer of the Leigh War Savings Committee.


The No. 228 tank was a ‘female’ tank which meant that it was fitted with machine-guns. It weighed around 36 tons and was 30 feet long, 11 feet wide, and 7 feet high. It was one of the old type which had taken part in the attack on Cambrai in 1917. Unfortunately, ‘she’ was clearly feeling her age as she broke down on the way to the Town Hall Square. Repaired using some old rope as an improvised fan chain, ‘she’ finally reached the Square where the Mayor took the opportunity to sell more war certificates promising any purchasers that they could look inside the tank.


During the council meeting that followed a procession was organized near the obelisk headed by the Anchor Cable Boy Scouts, Leigh Borough Band, Fire Brigade and Prisoners of War Guard, the rear of the procession being brought up by the tank and the Bedford Church Band. Unfortunately they set off without the Mayor and his councillors who had to run to catch up but the tank broke down again on Church Street so the Mayor had to give his acceptance speech on top of the tank. The tank finally arrived at Lilford Park at 11.40pm where it was installed on a concrete bed with a granite surface where it stayed for many years. The park celebrated its centenary on the 5th June this year and the 12 September 2015 mrks the launch of heritage art works, a guided walk and listening pod, all funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thank-you for your patience, energy and interest today. We hope you enjoyed hearing about the WW1 history of the local area and share our pride in the town of Leigh and its people.

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