TOP OF STANDISHGATE5 Comments
Item #: 30380
Angry miners had rioted outside when they learned the Colliery owners were holding a meeting inside, the miners had been on strike for a while. All the windows appear broken. The top photo was taken some 50 years later of the same building.
A commentary on the illustration was "The scene directed the viewer’s sight directly into Millgate, with the Royal Hotel, which incorporated the ancient Eagle and Child Inn having a painted sign on the left (it has an illustration of an eagle) and on the right the entrance to Market Place. We see the entrance to Eagle Yard on the extreme left." - which I assume led to the Theatre, it was at the back of the building.
The Royal Hotel was formerly the Eagle & Child Hotel, behind which was "The Wigan Theatre" from 1803.
The old fishstone stalls are presumably out of sight on the right, they were removed possibly in 1866 and I believe the Royal Hotel may have been demolished in 1925 but I stand to be corrected.
I believe it was in this Eagle and Child that George, and/or Robert Stephenson met with various local interested parties pursuant to drafting the bills to submit to parliament enabling the building of local railways.
A little more info'....According to the excellent “The Music Hall and Theatre History Site”, from the evidence of a playbill dated Tuesday August the 2nd, 1785, a new Theatre had opened at the rear of the old “Eagle and Child Hotel “in Standishgate, which later changed its name to the “Royal Hotel“ as playbills of performances in 1824 and 1825 show.
The name is derived from the Arms of the Stanley family, Eagle and Child ('Brid and Babby'). This hotel was the main coaching inn in the town, and was used for important meetings and dinners, on occasions the upper rooms were used for theatrical performances. The Ostler (stableman) at the inn was Thomas Casson former coachman for the 7th Earl of Balccarres and 24th Earl of Crawford at Haigh until the coming of the railway to Wigan, and by 1850 Thomas had left his Lordships's employment. While at the hostelry Thomas continued to recieve £3 annually from the Haigh estate for attendance to the Earl's horses. The buildings many years later became Woolworths. There are a few threads on the communicate board regarding this Hotel.
According to the Wigan Town Trail information...."The Eagle and Child was Wigan's oldest known public house being mentioned in documents of 1619" and..... "Between 1865 and 1905 the vast majority of the town centre was rebuilt on a piecemeal basis '
"The Royal Hotel was the scene of major social events such as County Balls and less polite political speeches." according to the town centre guide.