• Martin Holden

Wigan Town - Part 1

On the home page of this website, you will see all the various sections and categories that split the town of Wigan up into its various parts, but I thought I would try and provide some further insight into the town and the landmarks that I have captured along the way.

This is Part 1 of a series of posts (who knows what the final tally will be?) that will showcase a variety of shots that I have taken and created and will hopefully provide a bit of a backdrop and story as to why they are important in the town.

So on such an epic project where do you start?

I have decided to start with the creative centre of Wigan and focus firstly on the Old Courts on Crawford Street just near the Parish Church of All Saints.

The image below was taken, stood under a tree in the church garden looking over to the magnificent rooftop and brickwork that make up the Old Courts.

As the name suggests, the building was formerly the courthouse in Wigan before it was left to crumble away a bit for a few years, before being rescued by the thriving arts and culture movement in the town. It now houses all kinds of things, from a theatre, to a music venue, record store, cafe, and bar whilst retaining such incredible character.

Whilst in the churchyard, if you spin right around here then you will see the Cenotaph in front of the Parish Church of All Saints. A sombre reminder of the sacrifice so many local people gave in the pursuit of freedom and democracy - the ornate carvings of the cenotaph in Wigan are quite fantastic.

The next image is perhaps more recognizable as a landmark of the old industrial town and its roots and heritage. You would need to walk down Wallgate away from the Cenotaph and you would immediately see the tower of Trencherfield Mill with 1907 carved on the facade.

It's probably a 5-10min stroll to reach the mill from the centre of town and you can walk all around it, past the canal and back again.

Once a hive of activity when cotton was king, it is now a refurbished mix of residential, retail and commercial premises - with a performing arts academy and theatre to boot. Some of the mills' old machinery lie dotted around the car parks, which reinforces just what a place this must have been.

After a quick rest and appreciation of the Trencherfield Mill architecture, it's back up Wallgate and back into the heart of the town to the small square near the Library and Life Centre. The square was named Believe Square a few years back which I am not all too sure of, but that is what we have right now.

However, contained in the square there is (for me) one of the best pieces of public art in the whole town - the incredible FACE created by artist Rick Kirby to represent all the faces of all the people of Wigan.

It really does command a very imposing position and works so well. Definitely a favourite of mine.

I couldn't leave Part 1 without touching on the very thing that I love about the architecture of the town - the old buildings have so much character and class and none more so than those on Library Street.

Just a short walk down Millgate from the FACE you can turn right into Hewlett Street and be greeted by simply the most stunning works of craftsmanship you could hope to see.

The Council Offices, the bottom of the Library and the Town Hall were constructed by men of genius proportions - the sheer artistry in that brick work is beyond belief. There are towers, balconies, all kinds of decorative work - just incredible.

Wigan really is a magnificent place and has some buildings and assets that need to have permanent protections in place to help secure them for future generations.

I hope this little tour of the town gives you an idea of why I have such a passion for Wigan.

I hope to share much more over the coming months.


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