Wingates Band to be immortalised with blue plaque
THE famous Wingates Band is to be immortalised — with its own blue plaque.
The band which last year celebrated its 140th anniversary, will have its own landmark at Wingates, presented by Westhoughton Local History Group.
It will be unveiled next week at the entrance to Wingates Square, marking the birthplace and home of the band since 1873.
It will be placed above the black and white Wingates Square sign on the gable end of number 12, Chorley Road, where it will be seen by passing traffic.
The band’s home is just yards away. Originally the musicians used to rehearse in one of the village’s independent Methodist chapels which it bought in 1896 for £60.
It was demolished in 1930 and rebuilt and became a permanent base for the band.
President David Kay, who wrote the book “From Bible Class to World Class” to mark last year’s milestone, said: “Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, John Logie Baird, Ian Fleming and John Lennon all have one, and so do Bow Street and Scotland Yard — and now Wingates Band is getting one.”
The unveiling ceremony will take place on Thursday, at 7.30pm and will be heralded by a fanfare from the band's musicians.
Band supporters and members of the public are welcome at the ceremony.
The blue and white plaque has the heading Wingates Square and reads: “This place was once a vibrant spiritual and cultural hub of the Wingates community, based on the Independent Methodist Chapel built in 1835.
“The world-famous Wingates Band was formed here in 1873, and ‘Th’ Square’ has been the band’s home ever since.”
Mr Kay added: “Wingates Band has been a magnificent ambassador — both nationally and internationally — for Westhoughton, Bolton, Lancashire, and indeed the country, for over a century.
“The plaque represents the third tangible tribute to the band from the local community, following the award of the Westhoughton Community Medal in 2007, and the erection in 2009 by Westhoughton Town Council of three boundary road signs, declaring ‘Welcome to Wingates — home of the world-famous Wingates Band’.”
The other two plaques erected in Westhoughton by the History Group are at the White Lion in Market Street, unveiled by Julie Hilling MP in 2012 to mark the bi-centenary of the burning of Westhoughton Mill, and one at the site of Hulton Cottage, Manchester Road, Over Hulton, to celebrate the Hulton family dynasty which owned Hulton Hall and estate for eight centuries.
Blue plaques first appeared in London in 1866, and have subsequently become a world-wide phenomenon, linking famous people with buildings in which they lived and worked.