History of Leigh Hackspace

Where we came from

The Start

The first meetings of Leigh Hackspace took place in late 2014 at Cadence Cafe, Tyldesley, following the creation of a Facebook Group ‘Leigh Virtual Hackspace’. After two such ‘hacking’ meetings, the founders were offered the temporary share of a derelict shop at on Market Street by the Leigh Building Preservation Trust as part of a wider empty shop scheme. The trust used some of the space to publicise their drive to restore Leigh Spinners Mill.

The official opening ceremony took place on February 13, 2015. The establishment of the shop provided an opportunity for us to promote awareness of the hackspace and its objectives and the space gained popularity in response. Over time we took over all the space in the store, and the growing demand prompted us to initiate a search for new premises.

The Cotton Mill

In early 2016, the hackspace moved from the shop to a 4000sqft dedicated space in The Cotton Mill. The official opening was on Friday 12th February and was celebrated with an Open Hack evening and other events.

The Cotton Mill was large enough to have dedicated areas for the darkroom and wood work. Over the years we ran several events, including Raspberry Jam days, Maker Markets, hack days, quizzes, and even a film screening in association with Leigh Film Society.

The mill was a great home for the hackspace until 2019, when again we outgrew the space and was looking for something better.

Moving to Leigh Spinners Mill

Leigh Spinners Mill was being redeveloped by the Leigh Building Preservation Trust into an arts and local business centre during 2018, and the hackspace agreed to take space in the mill once it was able to.

The initial build-out happened during November 2019, but was paused early 2020 due to the global pandemic. Only during the latter part of 2022 was the hackspace able to return to fitting out the space, due to several building issues that prevented people working in the mill.

Leigh Hackspace ‘3.0’

The ‘3.0’ hackspace opened February 2023 and now consists of three units on the third floor of the mill. A shared main space, a workshop and craft area, and a social space. Some areas were still being built out, but the space was now open for members to use.

In early July the electronics bay was completed giving members a wide selection of tools and components for any projects they are created. Then in November the darkroom was finally fitted for power and could be used by our members.

Looking to the future

The hackspace will always be in a fluid state as we think of additional ways to utilize the space available to us. Our ongoing aim is to foster relationships with the mill residents and the wider Leigh community.

Become a member today!

Leigh Hackspace is open to all. Being a member gives you access to our space, tools, and community.

Join Leigh Hackspace