More years ago than I really care to count I played at the Grand Hotel; I was a singer and guitarist in a band in my early twenties. Over the years I have seen many acts play in the upstairs function room. The Grand also functioned for me as a regular haunt for drinking with friends - it was a very busy venue for many years and had a real buzz about the place.
Sadly, it fell out of popularity and soon became a tired and pale shadow of its former self.
Now, it stands empty, seemingly unloved and neglected. Yet, whilst clearly neglected I do believe it is actually cherished, especially by those who recall the happy days of the past.
Perhaps it is a testament to modern life that this beautiful building stands near-derelict.
It is a wondrous building to behold, something majestic in the heart of Leigh. If nothing else, the external visage must be retained because nothing like it will be built again in this area.
We have had a number of false starts as regards to putting life back into the Grand, and maybe it is the cynic in me that thinks some of this is because the developers want to radically alter the building. I hope I am wrong.
Whilst we should not obstruct progress, neither should we see culturally important heritage architecture trashed in the rush to develop an area. I hope The Grand's structure is largely preserved for future generations to enjoy.