unknown walking day5 Comments
Photo: Bill Eatock
Item #: 14427
The Whit Walks never went near Seven Stars.
You could be right,the Whit walks never went near Seven Stars but it does look like Wigan Pier which in that case could make it St Josephs church walks.
The statue is of St Patrick so would imagine that the group are from St Patricks returning back into Wigan and on up to the church after passing through St Josephs Parish.However dont remember going down as far as Wigan pier thought the route went down Chapel Lane along Caroline St up wallgate Down Library St and back up to St Patricks.
After seeing the photograph showing the walking day procession, which came along Wallgate in the area between Tickle Street and Dobb’s Fold, I decided to make some enquiries with people who may know the area a lot better than me and who also know what happened in those days. One person who I asked was Albert Eckersley who was a Mayor of the Borough.
These are his memories.
The original St Edwards was on the main Ormskirk Road at Newtown, to the west of the River Douglas and roughly opposite the road now leading up to the Fire Station. They walked on a Whit Monday in the middle 1940s. This was a Church, used by the people who lived in the Newtown area and was serviced by the Priest’s of St Josephs. The children attended St Josephs School.
The Priests of that time at St Josephs were, Fr.Shee, Parish Priest for over 30 years, Fr.Brown Assistant for over 20years, Fr.Rimmer, Assistant for some 15 or more years, Fr.Kelly a couple of years and different fourth Priests over a period of time.
The then new St Edwards was built on Scot Lane. Its first Parish Priest was Fr O’Hara, a big Irish fellow who called on me regularly to ask for advice on different subjects such as how to start a men’s club, C.Y.M.S, St Vincent de Paul (SVP) etc, etc.
He was a very blunt sort of person; a spade was a shovel and nothing else.
Originally that area belonged to the Urban District Council of Pemberton, and only came into the Wigan area of Councils in the 1950s.
Thanks to Albert for passing on his memories and for showing that things are not always as we remember them.
Whit Walks Yes I remember,I was at St Josephs School from 1933 to 1941, In 1947 I carried the St Josephs Banner,Then in 1949 I was made Marshal of same,Those days after the walk you put the Banner away till the following year, then you went into St Josephs Club and sat at the Table was a Mr Richard Brown who gave you a Half Crown[12&half pence] Sat next to Him was a Mr Cunningham who you gave the Half Crown back to as a donation to the Church.I am sure that same Half Crown was used for the Whit walks until the last Whit walk in 1968,The walks where stopped by the Police saying it was impossible to cary on because the whole town came to a standstill roughly from 8am till 3pm, On Walking Day the Police used to turn a blind eye to the pubs opening ,I remember calling in The Buck ith Vine[Commonly known as the Whitewash} [In Clayton Street one of the oldest pubs in Wigan it was originally a Coach house for the coaches from London to the north, The side of the pub was in Mill Street and the Stable and tack room was turned into houses the Cellar was a natural cellar hewn out of rock with a constant small stream of water running through it I was the Barman there for some 5 years] The Landlord Jimmy Lynch would mix what he called a tummy settler before we went to the School in the morning to get out the Banner[Approx 8.30am]In the late 40s early 50s the Priests wore Top Hats and Tails to walk in front of their respective Parishioners,I remember in the early 60s being asked to walk in front of St Josephs with the Priests because by then I was a Councillor,Those Days St Josephs Had 4 Priests and each Priest would walk with the Different Banners The Parish Priest obviously with the Leading Banner,Yes Happy Days to look back on I was Born, Baptised, Christened, and Married at St Josephs,Here is a memory for you after our Marriage at St Josephs in 1950 [Nuptial Mass]9am because in those days you could not have a Nuptial Mass after 10am,We went to Baileys Cafe in Market Street for breakfast,[25people]the cost wax £5-17s-6pence I still have the bill it was stamped and signed by George Bailie with thanks, and because I paid cash He gave me Half a Crown Back, But then My Good Wife and I had to go through the day till we left for the Midnight Boat to the Isle of Man from Fleetwood,Thats another story.