Howe Bridge St Michael and All Angels
As with Hindsford St Anne, the present church of Howe Bridge St Michael and All Angels was built in response to late Victorian urbanisation. Howe Bridge was originally a small settlement on the road from Atherton to Leigh, but became something of a coal company town once deep mining commenced at the nearby Howe Bridge Colliery, and Gibfield Colliery not far to the north. In 1869 a school and mission dedicated to St Michael and All Angels was opened at Howe Bridge in Atherton parish, and served till a new St Michael’s church was built and consecrated on 08 February 1877. In August 1878 Howe Bridge became an ecclesiastic parish separate from Atherton, and remained so for some 124 years. On 26 June 2002, an order was made at the Privy Council that united the benefice of St Michael and All Angels, Howe Bridge with Atherton & Hindsford, and established a new Team Ministry for the area, in the Diocese of Manchester.
The first baptism at Howe Bridge was on 17 Aug 1873 in the licensed room at the mission. The first marriage was on 19 Aug 1878 at the new parish church of Howe Bridge. There were no burials at St Michael’s.
Resources for Howe Bridge St Michael and All Angels
Wigan History Shop and Leigh Library hold the following records:-
Howe Bridge Village
In the early 1870s the coal owners John Fletcher & Others (Fletcher, Burrows & Co. from 1874) employed a Dutch architect to design a ‘model’ village at Howe Bridge for the workers in their Atherton Collieries. Rows of terraced houses, a communal bath house, school, shops, and a village club were built either side of Leigh Road, just north of Chowbent (later Howe Bridge) Station on the L&NWR Co’s Tyldesley-Wigan line. The collieries and railway have gone, but the village remains and is the most significant reminder of Atherton’s coal mining era.