Photo: Frank Orrell
Item #: 32635
We really have lost so much...... Progress?....I don't think so. Thank heaven for Frank Orrell who captured so much of our town before it was lost forever. At least, thanks to Frank, we can look back.
Many's the time I have run down there to get home for 11 00 after the pictures.
Is this were the pet shop was at the top of Millgate? I remember the staff who worked there, but not the name of the shop.
Thanks Irene, I can't claim all the credit for the pictures that I post. The pictures that I post are ones that I research from the newspaper files at the Wigan Observer office and were taken by photographers from the Wigan Observer and Post and Chronicle over the years. I can't identify exactly who took which particular picture but thanks to photographers living and dead for their contribution to Wigan's past. I'll continue researching and posting pictures for as long as I can unless somebody objects to me doing this.
Frank, I agree with everything what Irene says, but who will be the Frank Orrell's of the future? I can relate to this because this was my history, the young people's history is the one they are growing up in . They will, I suggest look back on now, their history. Will they look back on these pictures? Maybe. Their world is completely different to the one we grew up in. Social media allows them in a second to access the invaluable pictures you research and post. With so much be offered to their brains, I just wonder will they? This is an open question. History is one of the most important things to each of us as it teaches us who we are and where we came from. Everyone on WW can see that the face of Wigan is changing more and more with each passing year, so historical records are even more important , to capture it before it is lost forever.
I hope for Wigan's sake , some of the younger generation , take from you the baton of work and historical record you continue to provide, and keep it alive for the next generations to come. As Irene so rightfully puts it, Thank heaven for Frank Orrell.
Future generations won't have much to photograph at all the way town centres are disappearing. Nothing with character anyhow. There was many passageways that made Wigan so interesting to shop there and socialise which have all but vanished. I dare say you won't see many people walking through the town centre in the evening. It used to buzz at night, with all the favourite meeting places before going for a drink or the pictures or dancing. The only hive of activity at night is on King St at weekend when the nightclubs open. Not a pretty sight with the crowds waiting to get inside them as I witnessed on one occasion leaving the railway station after a day out in Edinburgh.
Thank you Irene,you have jogged my memory.We used to go there for our pet Labrador's food.Lovely memories
I remember Tom Whalley he was in the same class as me in the juniors. One day teacher was asking everybody where their dad worked. I remember as clearly as yesterday he said his dad drove wagons and he got £20 a week! That was 1956, it sounded like a fortune to me. I don't know why that has stuck in my mind.
Some years sgo I was told a story by an elderly gentleman, about him and his pal, turning out for a night in Wigan. Both young chaps well scrubbed up, feeling on top of the world, suited and booted, sporting their best 1940's clobber, they took the short cut on foot via Stairgate. Very dark up Stairgate, with no lighting at that time. Unfortunately neither could see what was in front of them. Suddenly the two young chums found a deep hole, by accidently falling into it. Shocked but relatively unscathed it took ages for the two pals to clamber out, eventually they emerged at the other end of Stairgate, where they both discovered themselves, covered from head to foot in white powdered dust! Their finery, and night out ruined before it had started. With wounded ego, they turned tail and headed back home, via Station Rd for the return trip. Happy memories of uncle Ted his pal and Stairgate, Wigan. RIP.
Good story TD it must have been what is called a 'sink hole' these days. Good job they were young and fit, surprised if it wasn't reported in the Observer!
Veronica: Thank you. Presumed it was some type of ground works, but with no safety barrier or oil lamp in place. Don't recall him saying they made the community spirited choice of reporting the incident to the relevant local authorities. Would like to think in the interest of the public, they could have found a constable on his beat in those days, but it is possible the young fellows may have taken the less embarrassing option, in their haste to get home away from observers.
Veronica: You must have been very fit, daring to run down Stairgate at break neck speed? Brings back visions of the actress Dianne Coupland running to fast in her heels, down a similar steep cobbled slope, and taking a heavy tumble for real, during filming of a scene for the film Spring and Port Wine. The editor didn't cut her fall. The film also starred James Mason. After surviving the test of Stairgate on so many occasions Veronica, I do believe Dianne Coupland should have had someone like you, as her excellent stunt double.
Frank: Your interest in research, the effort in making all those interesting images available to view, and time you have spent contributing here, is greatly appreciated. Thank's.
Sorry Veronica, it was Diana (not Dianne) who's momentum sent her crashing to the cobbles.
TD, I was fit and still am but without high heels! It was a case of fear of being late home and my dad. 11 00 and no later.! As soon as I saw the photo I could see my self clattering down there and across Station Rd towards Scholes. I know which film you meant. They were still happy days...I wish they could come back.
Your right about clattering down Stairgate Veronica, It was a nightmare trying to walk on cobbles in high heels, especially when in a hurry.What memories!!