Exciting discovery of secret tunnel at Wigan's historic Haigh Hall needs ‘careful handling’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A secret tunnel has been discovered during restoration work at Wigan’s historic Haigh Hall.

People are being asked for their suggestions as to what the tunnel may have once been used for, with the favourite so far being a possible priest escape hole.

The tunnel has now been temporarily re-sealed and made safe until future landscaping works can incorporate it into the design.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Celebrations as rooftop party is held to mark topping-out of new Wigan care home
The entrance to Haigh Hall's 'secret tunnel'The entrance to Haigh Hall's 'secret tunnel'
The entrance to Haigh Hall's 'secret tunnel'

People have commented by calling it an “interesting and important find” which needs “careful handling”.

In a post on the Friends of Haigh Hall's Facebook page, the group said: "During recent excavations whilst removing the invasive species growing on the embankment, a secret tunnel leading towards the hall has been uncovered.

"Though its full history is not yet known, the beautifully rendered structure has people thinking it could be the work of Sir Roger Bradshaigh, known for his extraordinary tunnel-making skills, like those in the Great Sough.

"The Haigh Hall team has ensured the tunnel is protected and marked, and it has been temporarily re-sealed and made safe.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
The secret tunnel was discovered during restoration work on Haigh HallThe secret tunnel was discovered during restoration work on Haigh Hall
The secret tunnel was discovered during restoration work on Haigh Hall

"Detailed posts about the secret tunnel are being held off until a serious archaeological investigation can take place and future landscaping works can safely incorporate this amazing find into the design."

The multi-million pound revamp of Haigh Hall began last year under a Wigan Council masterplan to transform it into a nationally significant arts, culture and heritage destination.

The Grade II*-listed building had stood empty for some time, since the council won a High Court battle to evict the firm operating a hotel there.

The work includes the restoration or replacement of stonework, with all the windows also being fully restored.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since the project began, a host of features have been uncovered – most recently the glass cupola, which illuminates the grand staircase at Haigh Hall, was revealed to have been made from four different metals which had not been seen for more than 75 years.

When restoration is complete there will be a permanent exhibition of work by Wigan artist Theodore Major, restaurants, an underground bunker cinema, a rooftop terrace for astronomy and other attractions.

Haigh Hall was built between 1827 and 1840 and was lived in as a country house until 1947.

During the first and second world wars, the hall was used to provide care for injured soldiers.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.