New chapter for historic hall
One of Wigan's most beautiful historic buildings was unveiled following a comprehensive refurbishment at the weekend.
The grade-II listed Wigan Hall hosted a grand opening ceremony on Saturday afternoon to celebrate being restored to its former glory.
The New Market Street building was bought by former Wigan rugby league player and director Phil Clarke to be the headquarters of his business The Sports Office.
The development provides another chapter in the incredible story of the hall, which has previously served as the home of a wealthy and successful Wigan family and the official residence for the rector at the parish church.
The opening ceremony was conducted by Viscount Newport, a direct descendant of Orlando Bridgeman who ordered the construction of the hall back in 1875.
Other important guests included the Mayor of Wigan Coun Ron Conway, the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester and Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith.
The world of rugby league was also well represented, with guests including Wigan Warriors owner and chairman Ian Lenagan, while Pemberton Old Wigan DW Band provided the soundtrack.
Wigan Hall was built in the Arts and Crafts style to a design by architect GE Street who was also responsible for the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The restoration allows Wiganers to see the beautiful building and landscape once more as they pass along New Market Street after it was hidden behind overgrown trees.
Inside, a host of priceless artefacts, including Swiss windows believed to date back to 1550, have been restored and preserved.
Phil bought the building from Blackburn Diocese in 2014 and has now moved The Sports Office, which provides software for blue-chip clients including Manchester City, the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey franchise and New Zealand rugby union club Auckland Blues, into the stunning surroundings.
Director Andy Clarke said: “We’re proud to showcase Wigan Hall as an historic building which is now also a modern workplace.
“We believe this area of the town is developing as a vibrant hub for tech and online business and we are delighted to be playing a role in that process.”
The Sports Office also thanked Oakland Developments for the quality of workmanship on the building.