Other industry

Diccoson Mill

Although for a long time the textile and coal industries were the biggest employers in the area there were other employers. In the mid 1800s other occupations included ship carpenters, shoemakers, publicans, labourers and nail makers. During the end of the 19th century and 20th century, other important employers included:

  • Harrison McGregor and Guest Ltd - formed in Leigh by a partnership between Alexander McGregor and Henry Harrison in 1872. It became Harrison, McGregor and Guest Ltd in 1891 and by 1914 had around 1000 employees. Their first product was a mowing machine, with later products developed such as the Albion Harvesting Machines during the late 19th century and early 20th century. This became one of the two or three leading brands in Britain at that time.
  • David Brown Ltd - located in Leigh following the acquisition of Harrison, McGregor and Guest Ltd’s Albion range of farm products in 1955.
  • British Insulated Callender’s Cables (BICC) - manufacturer of insulated electric power cables, telecommunications cables and metals with a site in Leigh close to the Bridgewater Canal. They were formed in 1945 by the merger of two long established cable firms, ‘Callender’s Cable and Construction Company Ltd’ and ‘British Insulated Cables’. By 1970s the firm had works across the country including Leigh, Kirkby, Prescot, Belfast. In 1975 the company was renamed BICC. BICC owned the construction company Balfour Beatty and following the sale of the cable operations in 2000, the company renamed itself to Balfour Beatty.

Following the 2nd World War new industries developed, such as paint manufacturing, glass reinforced plastic manufacture, plastic bottle cap manufacture and chemical works.