Mesnes St19 Comments
Photo: Frank Orrell
Item #: 32414
Aspinalls - sold decorating and DIY supplies. I worked there for a short time in the mid 70s.
I didn't stop long. They believed in a fair week's work for a fair day's pay.
Brilliant set of photos, Aspinall's shop window reminds me of helping to 'dress' the window every Monday morning, changing all the tins of paint around and swatches of wallpaper. Exactly how I remember the scene in 1961. Far nicer in those days and a lot more crowded and busier.
You are right there Mick LD. I only stayed 3 months, it was my first job on leaving school. My dad wasn't happy at the amount I received, £2 12s 6d a week! Very low paid work. I did see sense though and got away.
Mesnes Street in the 1960s and the cars are a Ford Popular, Austin Cambridge, two Minis, an Austin A30, Triumph Herald, Humber Hawk, Ford Anglia, Ford Zephyr Mk3 and a Zodiac with its more elaborate front, and a Humber Hawk. There are no leaves on the trees so it is not summer. The last two or three shops were demolished to make way for the ring road in 1985, and one I think was Oliver Somers that had the Michelin man mounted where the clock is.
Veronica - I was there in 1974, and started on £12.10p per week - £11.35p after stoppages, and I only got that when I finished at 5.30pm on Saturday night, because I wasn't working a week in hand.
It was a bit like working for Arkwright in 'Open All Hours'!
The Austin Cambridge registration looks to end in B, which would time this photograph in 1964 or after.
Thanks to the Wigan Observer, Brilliant.
The second car from the bottom right is a Morris Oxford,
Mick LD when I had given my notice in, I had to ask for my wage on the last day! He said he had forgotten! I felt like a beggar, no wonder they had a big posh house in Wrightington St!
Veronica - when I worked there, one of the services the shop provided was cutting picture frame moulding to size, on a mitring guillotine, for customers.
John Aspinall told me he'd pay me a penny per foot commission, for every foot I cut.
Most weeks I was lucky if I earned an extra fifty or sixty pence through this, but the last week I was there, working my notice, I made almost three quid commission out of it, largely through Wigan Tech, who ordered framing for posters.
I'm sure he thought I was ripping him off, when I demanded this, along with my final wage!
There was a foreman who worked there in 1961 and he was a wonderful artist but I can't remember his name. I found out years later that Mr Aspinall flew spitfires during the war. I didn't know that then though. Yes Mick he was what you would call 'tight' with the wages.
Veronica, I had forgotten how many shops were in Meshes St.Was Aspinall's the shop that sold Laing's and crafts?
Yes it became Times and Crafts I think. I used to buy all my art materials there Edna. I don't know what happened to Aspinall's.
Veronica and Edna - after the shop in Mesnes St closed, he relocated to Bretherton Row, above Crawfords wool shop, where he opened up as 'Frame It Studio and Gallery'.
I went there in the run up to Christmas 1987 to get a couple of pictures framed.
I went to Crawford's shop many times as I used to do a lot of knitting, but never knew about the framing shop over the top Mick. He must have sold the shop in Mesnes St, it was massive inside, he would have made a fortune from it if he owned it.
Great photographs of Wigan streets again from Mr Orrell, and not a BMW car in sight.
Such a vibrant busy shopping street - in comparison with how it looks now, it is shocking. Senior people in Wigan Council should be shown photographs like this and at least make them realise how bad the town centre has gone in recent times. Market Street & Wallgate have gone to the wall too.
Good point methinks about the cars all British and also, the buses (none in the Wigan Observer photo) all Leylands.
Bleachworks bus would stop here service number 8