Wigan-born war hero and renowned architect to be honoured with 2023 blue plaques
The remarkable achievements of a wartime heroine and the career of a renowned architect are set to be recognised.
Mary O’Shaughnessy, who saved the lives of RAF officers trapped in occupied France during the Second World War, and James Caldwell Prestwich, the designer of many of the borough’s civic buildings, will be named on blue plaques.
Wigan borough’s blue plaque scheme sees permanent memorials installed in public places, highlighting the impact recipients have made on local heritage and culture.
Coun Chris Ready, cabinet portfolio holder for culture, said: “We’re proud to have our blue plaques across the borough as they provide an important link between the past and present, and our rich cultural heritage.
“The accomplishments of both Mary O’Shaughnessy and James Caldwell Prestwich speak for themselves, and we’re delighted to be able to provide further recognition in their home towns.”
Mary O’Shaughnessy was born in Ashton in 1898 and lived in France.
During the war, through her courageous efforts alongside the French resistance and British military intelligence, she saved the lives of RAF aircrew by helping them to escape.
She was honoured by the RAF and, having survived interrogation by the Gestapo after being rescued from a concentration camp, gave evidence to war crimes tribunals.
Atherton-born James Caldwell Prestwich designed many civic buildings including Leigh Town Hall, Leigh Infirmary, the technical college and swimming baths.
He studied at Leigh Grammar School and was a founder member of Leigh Cricket Club.
Since 2018, two blue plaque recipients have been chosen each year, with ceremonies taking place through the year linked to the council’s cultural manifesto The Fire Within.