WITH new bars, coffee shops, and improved shop fronts, Tyldesley has gone through somewhat of a transformation in recent years.

A historic town located on the edge of the borough, Tyldesley was struggling not too long ago as it adapted to changing shopping habits and competed with nearby towns like Leigh and Atherton, as well as dealing with the ultra-pull of cities like Manchester and Salford.

However, as trendy bars have attracted people from out of town and shops have become more welcoming and inviting, there seems to be a change in the air in Tyldesley and more residents are happy to stay local.

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Hop and Hazlewood inspires transformation

Leigh Journal: Barry Smith, the owner of Hop and Hazlewood on Elliott StreetBarry Smith, the owner of Hop and Hazlewood on Elliott Street (Image: Leigh Journal)

Following the success of the Hop and Hazlewood bar, set up by a former chef on Elliott Street in 2018, Tyldesley residents saw this as a perfect location to build the high street around and help other venues develop in a similar fashion.

With the 'For Tyldesley' community group and Heritage Action Zone set up, Tyldesley was one of 68 projects that received funding from Historic England to restore its high street - and only one of two that have been community (and not council) led.

Intended to restore buildings along Elliott Street and celebrate the history and culture of the town, £1.5 million was delivered by Historic England.

Wigan Council then matched this with £1.5 million for the refurbishment of Tyldesley Library, which was agreed to stay at Stanley Street after a campaign from 'Friends of Tyldesley Library'.

Businesses benefit from revamped fronts

Leigh Journal: The improved front of Davina pharmacyThe improved front of Davina pharmacy (Image: Leigh Journal)

Led by Tyldesley resident Ian Tomlinson, the Heritage Action Zone project has delivered new and improved shop fronts to the former Franks Cafe, Mayhap Coffee, Cellar Five, Pen to Paper, Davina Pharmacy, and the Heritage Action Zone office.

There is also much more on the way for Elliott Street, with construction currently underway at the Action Station charity shop, and around six or seven more revamps in the pipeline.

Leigh Journal: Ian Tomlinson outside of the Tyldesley Heritage Action Zone officeIan Tomlinson outside of the Tyldesley Heritage Action Zone office (Image: Leigh Journal)

Ian, who set up the For Tyldesley project with his late friend Paul Kinsella, said: “There are three strands to this project which is the physical improvement of the high street, community engagement to make sure local people are involved, and a celebration of heritage and culture.

"We're aiming to encourage people to come to the high street by improving its look, reducing the fear of crime, and restoring a pride of place.

“Since the start of the project we have seen year-on-year improvements in footfall on the high street, and the feedback has been amazing now we are seeing completed designs.”

Tyldesley is 'definitely improving'

Leigh Journal: Sam (middle left) and the Crawshaw family at Cellar FiveSam (middle left) and the Crawshaw family at Cellar Five (Image: Joanne Crawshaw)

One of the businesses that has benefitted from the revamped shop fronts on Elliott Street is Cellar Five, which was launched as a wine and cocktail bar from the premises of a former off-license back in March.

Sam Crawshaw, who runs the bar along with his two brothers and parents, said: “The shop front was already in the process of being completed when my mum and dad were looking to open a bar, so it made a lot of sense really.

“Business has been good so far, it's steady through the week and really busy at the weekends.

“There are a lot of good spots along the high street now and all the bars seem to bounce off each other. Tyldesley used to be a really good night out so it's good to see that returning again.”

Leigh Journal: The new shop front of Cellar FiveThe new shop front of Cellar Five (Image: Leigh Journal)

Pen to Paper, which has operated as a family-run card and balloon shop at the same premises since 1985, also benefitted from a new shop front in December.

With a great reaction to the design, manager Mat Sofield said that the restorations have made a huge difference in the community.

“Like every town centre, Tyldesley had seen a decline so it’s been really good to see the improvements. I’m really pleased with our front and we’ve had some amazing feedback and comments from it", Mat said.

“Even the businesses which haven’t had funding have started making an effort to be more welcoming, so there has been a knock-on effect and I'd say Tyldesley is definitely improving.”

Leigh Journal: The new shop front of Pen to Paper, which has stood since 1985The new shop front of Pen to Paper, which has stood since 1985 (Image: Leigh Journal)

One of the first businesses to move into a ‘For Tyldesley’ revamp was Mayhap Coffee (formerly Redemption Coffee and Kitchen), which has enjoyed huge success since launching from a formerly derelict building on Chapel Street, just off Elliott Street.

Describing the Mayhap launch as a “bit of a gamble”, owner and former property developer Matt Whitehead explained that the coffee shop is thriving in Tyldesley, despite the challenges arising from the cost of living crisis.

Selling speciality coffee, loose leaf tea, and a fresh brunch menu, queues form outside of Mayhap almost every weekend and the business has recently made it into the coveted ‘Independent Coffee Guide’ magazine.

Leigh Journal: Mayhap Coffee employees Connor and Reece outside the Chapel Street shopMayhap Coffee employees Connor and Reece outside the Chapel Street shop (Image: Leigh Journal)

Tyldesley seen as an 'up and coming town'

As more businesses enjoy the benefits of a revamped shop front in Tyldesley, it seems that the historic town is thriving, despite the cost of living crisis and pressures facing the high street.

And with more revamps on the horizon and more residents happy to spend money locally, it looks like there is definitely a boom in the Bongs at Tyldesley.

Leigh Journal: Joanne Marshall (left) and Jess Eastoe, Labour councillors for Tyldesley and Mosley CommonJoanne Marshall (left) and Jess Eastoe, Labour councillors for Tyldesley and Mosley Common (Image: Leigh Journal)

Commenting on the recent transformation of Tyldesley's high street, Joanne Marshall, councillor for Tyldesley and Mosley Common, said: "The 'For Tyldesley' group has worked incredibly hard for many years, even in difficult times during the pandemic.

"The group has worked with traders, community groups, schools, and Wigan Council to ensure that the people of Tyldesley have had the opportunity to be involved.

"For Tyldesley has done an amazing job transforming the town centre in delivering The Heritage Action Zone programme. The new shop fronts which have benefitted, including Cellar Five, Pen to Paper, and Franks Café look fantastic.

"We have seen new businesses opening and increased footfall in the town centre, which is great for our local economy, we have had festivals, makers markets, community events all bringing local people to together.

"Tyldesley is now being seen as an up-and-coming town."

Leigh Journal: Matt Whitehead outside of the hugely successful Redemption Coffee and Kitchen - now Mayhap CoffeeMatt Whitehead outside of the hugely successful Redemption Coffee and Kitchen - now Mayhap Coffee (Image: Matt Whitehead)