Wigan historian celebrating after receiving national award

Stan Aspinall has been awarded for his Outstanding Contribution To Local History'

Friday, 18th June 2021, 2:30 pm
Stan Aspinall

A former teacher and Wigan historian has been given a national honour.

Stan Aspinall, who used to be a deputy head at Standish High School, is considered the foremost authority on the history of the township.

His efforts have seen him awarded for his ‘Outstanding Contribution To Local History’.

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Stan in his younger days as deputy head at Standish High School

Just six people in the country every year are given the award by the British Association for Local History.

This recognises local historians who have made significant voluntary contributions to the subject.

Normally, the ceremony would take place in London but in these difficult times Stan, who was born and bred in Standish but who now lives in south Cumbria, was honoured in a Zoom presentation.

Stan said that although it was just a certificate, it was a “good feeling” to have been rewarded.

Stan has written several books on Standish as well as regularly contributing fascinating articles to neighbourhood forum Standish Voice and Facebook group Standish Then And Now. He has also written local history on his adopted home area. This saw him collate information into a book called Lockdown Glimpses into the History of Broughton-in-Furness.

The book contained stories ranging from where conscientious objectors from Broughton gathered during the First World War to local scandals in the past.

Other work has seen him give a fascinating insight into the history behind Standish’s emblem. The owl and rat symbol can be seen on several buildings as you walk round Standish, including on the old water tower at Prospect House, the Boar’s Head pub and St Wilfrid’s Church on the top of the church spire.

In every sense it is the accepted symbol of the village and used today by both residents’ group Standish Voice and Standish Community High School. But Stan unearthed a mystery about this ancient heraldic symbol of the Standish family, as until the early 18th century the rat was quite clearly upright.

He also recalled past school trips when he was deputy head at Standish High School.

This was in 1981 to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

It saw him sail a house barge with a group of pupils called The Lewis R. Jenkins from Skipton across the Pennines to Wigan. Pictures revealed by Stan showed the craft negotiating one of the many locks on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

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