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The present Haigh Hall was built during the reign of George IV by James who became the 24th Earl of Crawford in 1825 and was made Baron Wigan of Haigh Hall. The old Hall, a relic of Norman times, had been enlarged during Lindsay’s reign and became neglected  after the death of the last Sir Roger Bradshaigh.


The work was started about 1830 and finished about 1849. It was built on the site of the old Hall and Earl James lived in Park Cottages while the work was being carried out. He earned himself the nickname of ‘Jimmy in the Trees’, drew his own plans and directed the workmen himself and used his own materials.


During the Great War, Haigh Hall was used as a military hospital and housed casualties from 1914 onwards;the first inflow being Belgians and later English soldiers. During the Second World War the Hall was equipped to take overflow from Wigan Infirmary in the event of an air-raid. Bombs did actually fall in the grounds, but they would have been jettisoned by returning aircraft. Fortunately Wigan escaped with very little damage.


The lower Plantations have been open to the public for many years except for one day a year to preserve the ownership rights. In 1947 the Hall and grounds were purchased by Wigan Corporation. For some time the Hall was used for exhibition purposes and later the main rooms were leased to a private caterer, and used mostly for wedding parties.


On April 1st 1947, following local government reorganisation, Wigan became a Metropolitan Borough. Extensive facilities were introduced including a miniature zoo, model village, play facilities, crazy golf course and picnic areas.