Historic Wigan steam engine is not closing, council insists

Trencherfield Mill's steam engine
Trencherfield Mill's steam engine

Trencherfield Mill’s famous steam engine is not at risk of falling silent, the town hall has insisted.


Concerns about the future of the engine, which is over 100 years old, had been raised after the departure of mill manager Bill Rowley, who was made redundant earlier this week after 11 years at Trencherfield.

Trencherfield Mill Residents Association' chair Dave King and engine house manager Bill Rowley

Trencherfield Mill Residents Association' chair Dave King and engine house manager Bill Rowley

The engine, which packs 2,500 horsepower, played an instrumental role in Wigan’s industrial development, and is now a popular tourist attraction for schools and history buffs alike.

Fears about its future were raised in 2018, with several people getting in touch with the press to express their concern the engine might no longer be open for visitors. A recent visitor to the mill, upon hearing about uncertainty of the engine’s future, said: “It would be such a crime not to have the public see this masterpiece of engineering in full steam.”

But Wigan Council has today reiterated that there are no plans to end operations at Trencherfield Mill, despite no definitive answer on who will now look after the mill.

Lesley O’Halloran, assistant director for customer services said: “We are looking into the future options for the Trencherfield Mill steam engine and are working hard to create a plan that builds on what the engine offers to the borough.

"As part of this we are looking at the wider site where the engine is based and realising the huge potential it has. Despite the financial pressures we face following budget cuts, we are not planning to close the engine as we understand its historical significance and importance to local people.”

Mr Rowley confirmed that Thursday, had been his last day as manager, but politely declined to comment further.