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Photos of Wigan
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Wigan Album



Typical Wigan Back Yard
Typical Wigan Back Yard
Photo: John Spencer
Views: 5,331
Item #: 31073
Taken from the book by Dave Labrum

Comment by: Veronica on 17th March 2019 at 22:28

It must be Monday... Just how it was.

Comment by: irene roberts on 17th March 2019 at 23:02

What's wrong with it? Ours looks just like that. I am proud to hang out my washing in a "Typical Wigan Backyard".

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 18th March 2019 at 07:39

More private space that some get today. Our son lived in Manchester & had a smaller back yard than the one shown, it was awash with greenery & flowers.....there was not much room for the washing!

Comment by: Wiganer on 18th March 2019 at 08:27

Irene who is saying there is anything wrong with it? It shows a TYPICAL BACK YARD as the title says. No doubt the majority of wiganworld members had one just like this.

Comment by: Pw on 18th March 2019 at 08:46

Ours was like this but there was a coal hole at the back of the lavvy

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 18th March 2019 at 08:47

A question.....the alley at the back of our sons terraced house was called a ginnell..... not sure of the spelling is correct....what is/was the alley called in the Wigan area ?

Comment by: A.W. on 18th March 2019 at 09:35

Reminds me of my Nan's backyard.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 18th March 2019 at 10:08

You're right, Wiganer. I had read it in the wrong way and felt it was a derogatory remark which I now see it wasn't. Also my apologies to my friend Veronica as her comment went on just before mine, making it sound as if I was answering her, which of course I wasn't....we probably both posted our comments at the same time.

Comment by: Philip G. on 18th March 2019 at 10:15

It's been many a year since I last see a towel of that particular 'piping' yet; I frequently see the small crisscross patterned towel offered in packs of three. But Oh, how firmly that lady stood by her wooden pegs.

Comment by: Poet on 18th March 2019 at 12:39

Always simply called ' the backs', Helen.

Comment by: Veronica on 18th March 2019 at 12:43

Never gave it a thought Irene.... I am trying to imagine how my dad built his shed cum aviary for his birds which nearly took up all the room in the yard. We barely had room for the dustbin and the path to the outside lavatory! I don't know how my mother coped trying to dry the washing.

Comment by: Maureen on 18th March 2019 at 12:56

Some years ago we had a back yard..we took some flags up beneath the wall,put loads of compost down and beautiful bedding plants in..it looked so nice,then did all the yard walls in cream.it really was lovely.

Comment by: Cyril on 18th March 2019 at 13:10

I've always known them as Ginnels Helen, though I've also heard them called thalley, thalleyway and backs.

Comment by: DerekB on 18th March 2019 at 13:59

Helen of Troy the alley running at the rear of terraced houses was just known as 'the backs' when I was growing up in Whelley.

Comment by: Poet on 18th March 2019 at 14:09

I always thought the ginnel was the narrow passage way , often only a tunnel, that connected the front of the terrace to the 'backs'.

Comment by: Albert..S. on 18th March 2019 at 15:14

Some of the ladies had a habit of stringing the line across the street, or the back alleys. On several occasion I nearly strangled myself on night duty, when my helmet got caught up in the line, and my chin strap was down.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 18th March 2019 at 21:10

Thanks to everybody in answering my question about the back alley.

Comment by: Jinksi on 18th March 2019 at 21:53

In Spring View Outside Lav was called Petty Back Ally was Thentry.

Comment by: Veronica on 18th March 2019 at 23:04

I recall every so often the 'lav' was whitewashed inside, one of my jobs was cutting squares of newspaper - then there was some progress made, we got the shiny toilet roll called 'Izal'...

Comment by: irene roberts on 18th March 2019 at 23:25

The Wigan Observer was better than the Izal, Veronica.....it was more absorbent and you could have a read at what was on at The Pictures!

Comment by: Owd viewer on 18th March 2019 at 23:37

My mam put the washing out on Monday in the backs and went mad when the soot from the trains got on the washing.

Comment by: Veronica on 18th March 2019 at 23:44

That shiny paper was awful - it can still be found even today Irene, usually in some public toilets or other.

Comment by: Jinksi on 19th March 2019 at 09:17

Don't forget little Parafin Lamp in Winter stop pipes freezing up.

Comment by: Albert.S. on 19th March 2019 at 09:48

Our lavatory was in a comunal back yard. It had a key to it. My dad put string on the key, and a big bobbin. If you had dropped it on your foot, it would have broken it. I have said this before. My dad took the Daily Dispatch newspaper, and that was used for the necessary. I always thought it was an appropriate name for its final usage.

Comment by: John D on 19th March 2019 at 10:15

I was brought up in Ellis Street, Whelley and I'd swear this is the backs between Thompson Street and Ellis Street although it could be almost anywhere in Wigan. I had a nostalgic walk around there recently and noticed that the backs are now gated which is a terrible indictment of society today. Our backs was alive with children playing, rag and bone men,the coal man and bin men etc. Now it looks so forlorn.

Comment by: Albert.S. on 19th March 2019 at 10:24

Jinksi. My dad had a miner’s oil safety lamp. Lavatory still got frozen up, I suppose it saved the pipes from cracking. It was a bind taking buckets of water across the yard.

Comment by: Albert.S. on 19th March 2019 at 10:41

Jinkski. Can you remember in Margaret Street. The washing line was always strung across the street. They had to lift the lines, and clothes up, when the rag and bone man came. Nobody had a car, and everybody knew when the coal man, or dustbin men were due.

Comment by: Maureen on 19th March 2019 at 11:00

I used to be terrified of going to the outside loo when it was dark..I always
met with a couple of spiders hanging down..but on another note,I can still visualize my Mam in the yard when it was snowing and she was lifting the clothes out of the dolly tub to put through the wringers..we don't know we're born today..mind you if she knew I was telling everybody this she would have a fit..proper Mrs bucket was my Mam..and one of the best.

Comment by: Fred foster on 19th March 2019 at 11:27

Our grandmas toilet was in a communal backyard in Victoria street we loved going to it with a key to lock ourselves in

Comment by: Veronica on 19th March 2019 at 12:30

We as kids used to love playing in the backs and other kids backyards were always better. I too went on a 'sentimental journey 'a while back and discovered gates which stopped me from walking along the backs. I used to picture the people who lived there and the yards we played in. They seemed even smaller to me, but I could see over the walls by then. The mangle that Maureen mentions was at the bottom of the stairs in our house behind a curtain. Before long my Mam got a washer heated by gas. I had to help by moving the 'paddle' to and fro.... still hard work...

Comment by: Maureen on 19th March 2019 at 13:38

Veronica,the backs of our houses have been blocked off as well,which is a pity as I just wanted to go down the Ropewalk as it was called to see where my Brother Michael and I had out photos taken with my Mam..my Grandma lived at the top of our street and I can still see ..just..the hook where she hung her washing but can't get anywhere near...we could go on and on couldnt we about our back yards and back alleys.

Comment by: Veronica on 19th March 2019 at 14:52

It doesn't do Maureen to go back really - I would go home with a lump in my throat! As for the washer where I had to work the paddle it was a bit like being a 'punkah wallah' in the series "It Ain't Half Hot' ... ... Oh for the good old days - you have to laugh or you would cry.

Comment by: Jinksi. on 19th March 2019 at 18:15

Albert,do remember Washing Lines across Margaret St,we used to play Tick & Pass int st that's were I learned to Side Step round Washing Line Prop's. One more thing a Torch was always handy in't Petty reading Beno or Dandy at night.

Comment by: Xpat on 19th March 2019 at 18:30

Careful you lot you are bringing a frog to mi throat ! But, be thankful you had a backyard this big . Ours , In Prescott st , was 6x6 at a push in Wallgate , and tuther house we moved into , triangle , 8 bi nowt . Poor mam , god bless her , had to swing a line from that . This looks plenty air for washing to me , and beg you were lucky , I don’t remember space like this .

Comment by: Albert.S. on 19th March 2019 at 19:27

You could go on, and on reminiscing about tales of yore, and it does you good to so.. When you got some bid item, like large towels to put through squeezers, it took some turning on the handle of the wheel. You used to see the squeezer wheels being used as wheels on wooden trucks, for carting coke from the gas works. Another job I did hate, was holding my mother’s wool wrapped around my outstretched arms, whilst she made it into balls of wool.

Comment by: Maureen on 19th March 2019 at 20:50

Coat my Aunty Mary Rowe lived in Prescott St.
And Albert..my Mother In Law used to grab me for her wool winder..I also used to hate it.

Comment by: Maureen on 20th March 2019 at 07:52

These iPads do come up with some funny words...on my last comment,the word "coat" should have read Xpat.

Comment by: Veronica on 20th March 2019 at 08:36

Maureen I knew it was your iPad - mine does the same.

Comment by: Jinksi on 20th March 2019 at 09:17

Albert,Maureen,did the same for mi Mam now do same for mi Wife .She says I've got some use.

Comment by: Janet ( jouell ) on 20th March 2019 at 13:46

Can't express the emotions from seeing this .. takes us back doesn't it.. Dreadfully hard times for the adults, the children didn't know any better, and made the best of times.. I'm 74 now and the difference between now and then and the standard of living re, homes, appliances, cars, holidays etc,etc, is huge.. I still say though, that my childhood memories are among my most happy memories..

Comment by: Maureen on 20th March 2019 at 20:44

Janet,you are so right.

Comment by: Veronica on 21st March 2019 at 08:28

It was far safer living in Scholes when I lived there, than many places in today's world. Give me the society of those days and the values to anywhere else on God's earth in these present times.......

Comment by: Janet ( jouell ) on 21st March 2019 at 12:53

Veronica. I agree 100% with the safety and values.. Most of us had next to nothing, but everyone helped each other when they could..and even though we had nothing, it never entered our head to steal, or God forbid hurt or kill to get something.. The 'Good old days' were hard, but in some ways, were a lot better than the mad and crazy world of today..

Comment by: Maureen on 21st March 2019 at 15:10

I was brought up in Wallgate where men did fight after they'd come out of thr pub..but no child was hurt like today..and obviously no drug taking,there used to be a man who after a few pints would stand under the old gas lamp and sing beautifully..I used to try and stay awake in bed just so I could him.
There was a child murdered by someone from Hallgate..and everybody still mentions him today..now there are children being murdered everywhere..there was no stabbings or shootings,everyone just got on with their lives whether they were poor or not..and I know I'm not looking through rose coloured glasses,we all felt secure and I honestly think that it is the basis of a good childhood...I will stop there but I could go on and on about "The old days".

Comment by: Veronica on 21st March 2019 at 16:42

I use to love listening to the singers coming home from the pubs and all the merriment that went with it. I thought I had left all that behind when I came to Westhoughton. There was a Scottish gentleman walked,or should I say staggered,up King St every Saturday night singing his head off. I couldn't resist getting out of bed to watch him. One particular night he stopped in front of a posh bungalow - doing all the actions with his arms swinging to an invisible audience! When,low and behold,he toppled over the garden hedge backwards. It took him a while to get up and carry on singing and staggering home. This went on quite a few years - I would be there thinking, not long now before Campbell comes,little did he know he was being watched!
A friend of mine related a story of her father who was a very quiet man until Saturday night. He would come home and stand at the bottom of the stairs singing 'I'll take you home again Kathleen' whereupon her Morher would usually lock herself in her daughter's bedroom. One night he just would not shut up so she hit him on the head with a poker. He had to be taken to the Infirmary for a stitch or two. He always wore a trilby and came out with his head bandaged up and the trilby on top! He never felt a thing!

Comment by: Veronica on 21st March 2019 at 17:01

Actually it was a frying pan not the poker!!!

Comment by: Rev David Long on 23rd March 2019 at 17:35

Maureen - there were actually three young boys murdered at that time, between June 1954 and April 1955. One was from Wigan, one from Higher Ince, and one from Lower Ince. Norman Green of Hallgate was hung for the last one. There were similarities between all three murders - but Green was only charged with the one.
You may have heard about the last murder - but I never did in my 16 years in Lower Ince, even though I was often told of drownings in the Trenchies.

Comment by: Veronica on 23rd March 2019 at 20:13

I remember 2 of those murders,at the time I would be about 8 yrs old. I recall mothers being more watchful when children were playing outside. It was unbelievable for anyone to be murdered in Wigan of all places. Do you mean accidental drownings in the trenches Reverend? I have read about soldiers drowning in shell holes when injured. I know they suffered from 'trench foot' when stood in the trenches for days on end.

Comment by: DTease on 23rd March 2019 at 20:44

Reading Albert’s comment about the “Squeezers” brought to mind my father telling me that when he was a youngster his mother would wind his shirt lap into the Mangle so that she could keep an eye on him while she did the washing.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 23rd March 2019 at 22:50

Veronica - my machine tried to tell me it should have been trenches - but Trenchies was the word - it's short for Trencherfield - the name of the flashes behind the site of the old St Mary's church in Lower Ince.

Comment by: Veronica on 24th March 2019 at 00:17

Oooh I see - that makes more sense Reverend....

Comment by: Linma on 24th March 2019 at 06:34

Brilliant post, brought back so many memories. In those days we had nowt but we had everything.

Comment by: Maureen on 24th March 2019 at 08:05

Reverend,I only remember little Billy Harmer,he used to go past our house,he and his family lived either at the bottom of Great George St (which was very long) or in Miry Lane..I can still picture his parents..he was a quiet little lad and Dave Marsh a former member of WW often spoke of little Billy..Dave has since passed away bless him.Im not aware of any other murders Rev, I probably only recall little Billy's because it was so close to home.

Comment by: Jinksi. on 24th March 2019 at 10:27

Rev,remember the little Girl who was Murded in Spring View,be early 50's.A little Girl Drowned in the Clay Pit were the tip used to be in 50's.Also a little Boy Drowned in the Trenchie.early50's.wont put there names on site out of respect for there Family's.

Comment by: Maureen on 4th April 2019 at 11:15

Jinksi,if you put Billy Harmers name in the search box,you'll find that everybody but everybody spoke his name..out of respect.

Comment by: Elizabeth on 8th April 2019 at 20:05

A young boy named Wilfred Schofield was one of the 3 children murdered in the 1950's.He was from the top of Belle Green Lane,Higher Ince.His best friend,Brian Calvin had been tragically killed in a road traffic accident earlier and Brian's parents allowed Wilfred to be buried in the same grave.So sad.

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