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Apr 2017

Tue 11 Apr 2017
Russell Parry  – The Appley Bridge (Wigan) Meteorite..


Tuesday, 13 October, 1914 at 8.45pm is an important date and time in Appley Bridge’s history.

Russell explained that, that was the date and time a meteorite weighing 33lb hurtling at 8 miles a second landed in a field at Halliwell Farm.

It started out as a piece of space debris left over from the formation of the planets at the birth of the Solar System some 4.5 million years ago. Orbiting in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter’s orbit it, at some point in time, became set on a collision course with Earth.

It appeared in the sky approximately 30 miles above Stoke-on-Trent and blazed a trail, lighting up the sky for just a few seconds before impact.

The conflict, which became known as World War 1, was just 2 months’ old. Not surprisingly, public reaction and contemporary newspaper reports told of it being a Zeppelin raid.

Russell Parry with his book
and piece of meteorite

Following its retrieval from the field it was confiscated by Lancashire Constabulary.

A Prof. Jenkins at Manchester and the British Museum, which later bought it off the landowner for the then princely sum of £252, secured its release. Over the coming years the meteorite made journeys to several museums around the world, including the Smithsonian in Washington DC, which still holds a piece.

It now resides in the British Museum. However, Russell said it made a TV appearance at Halliwell Farm on the 100th anniversary of its landing there.

Because of their scarcity and scientific value meteorites are highly valued. Russell said a piece of meteorite weighing just 1.8 grams was recently sold for £300. Apparently, 3lb of the Appley Bridge meteorite remains unaccounted for from its time in police custody.

Another fine evening of interest and enlightenment.

Peter Robinson

The Appley Bridge Meteorite book
by Russell Parry