Spiritualism has been alive in Leigh for over 130 years. It had sheltered at several addresses before 1914 – including Railway Road, Newton Street and Brown Street.
The foundation stone (see picture) for the Temple was laid in 1914. Apparently, it cost £660 in 1914, and at the time over £200 had already been raised! The meetings had been exceptionally well attended at that time, which is obvious from the results of their fundraising efforts!
One of the founding members, and President at that time, was Mr. William Blackshaw, JP, who in 1935 was the Mayor of Leigh. His picture hangs in the Temple beside the rostrum, wearing his mayoral regalia.
In March 2004, the building was rededicated at a special service, conducted by Mr. Duncan Gascoigne (President of the Spiritualists’ National Union) and assisted by Mr. Charles Coulston (General Secretary of the Union) and the then Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Wigan, Councilor John and Mrs. Margaret Hilton.
Councilor Hilton commented at the time that he was actually standing in for the Mayor, who was indisposed. However, he had pointed out that it was the normal practice for the Deputy Mayor of Wigan to wear the Leigh Chain of Office, which was the same one worn by Councilor Blackshaw on the picture hanging on the wall to his left at the time!
There is also a book of the History of Leigh Temple available to celebrate the centenary. It is available from the Temple.