Seen here shortly before demolition in 1978, the Viaduct Institute was built in 1876 by the London & North Western Railway Company to provide facilities for workers at the nearby Wagon Works. The institute contained classrooms, a library, reading rooms and a canteen where workers could have their own food warmed for them at lunchtime.
Personel of the ViaductFoundry contributed a penny per week for those with earnings over 10 shillings per week and a halfpenny for those earning less. The Institute and the nearby gardens and sports ground were the brainchild of Mr J.W. Emmett, whose name lives on through the brow named in his honour.
Viaduct Sports Club
The Institute and Recreation Grounds covered an area of over six acres, and contained three bowling greens, tennis courts, an outdoor gymnasium and cricket ground. It also contained a beautifully laid out miniature park complete with a fountain and seventeen classically inspired statues. The cricket club, formed in 1881, were originally called the Viaduct Institute Club but later adopted the name of the town and became the Earlestown Cricket Club. The Bowling Club was formed in 1890 and replaced the bowling club associated with the Old Griffin Hotel, which was demolished in order to expand the Wagon Works.
Viaduct Wagon Works
These Works, which in the early days were known as the Viaduct Foundry, were established about the year 1833, by Messrs. John Jones and Company, as a locomotive engineering works, the partners being Messrs. Jones, Turner, and Evans. In 1853 the works were acquired by the London and North Western Railway Company to provide facilities for the construction and repair of their stock of railway wagons. This work continued until 1964 when the works was closed down. Many of the buildings were reused as the site became the Deacon Trading Estate. The site has recently been redeveloped for modern housing.
The Griffin Inn
The original Griffin Inn was a much smaller affair than the magnificent building we see today. It was located on the other side of Earle Street and had previously been the home of John Jones, of Jones & Potts the original owners of the Viaduct Foundry. It was demolished to make way for expansion of the Viaduct Waggon Works. The site for the new Griffin Inn was exchanged by the Railway Company for the site of the old one. The current Griffin Inn was built in 1892 by the Bedford Brewery Company of Leigh. It was a controversial development, which was opposed by a significant section of the public and the many churches within the town.