Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Friday, 22nd February, 2013)

Wigan Pier

Wigan Pier
Taken on the 15th Feb.

Photo: Andrew Fishburn  (Canon EOS 5D)
Views: 3,771

Comment by: Ken R on 22nd February 2013 at 00:02

The old tippler again.Ominous sky.

Comment by: Ellen on 22nd February 2013 at 00:05

One again, a great picture Andrew! It has almost got a sepia tone- the lighting lends it an almost sinister effect! Love it!

Comment by: Lizzie down under on 22nd February 2013 at 00:05

Lovely Andrew......beautiful golden glow....cheers!!!

Comment by: Alan (on Van Isle) on 22nd February 2013 at 00:11

Beautiful. I love the colours. That view is my favorite of any part of Wigan. I don't know why.

Comment by: Gabbyd on 22nd February 2013 at 06:49

Wow,this is brilliant! One of the best pics I have seen on this forum.

Comment by: peterp on 22nd February 2013 at 06:55

Notice they have not repaired/removed the tippler?

Comment by: kathpressey on 22nd February 2013 at 08:51

classic shot. it looks like a cold night too!

Comment by: Dave (Oy) on 22nd February 2013 at 09:05

A classic shot very well done :)

Comment by: dirty harry on 22nd February 2013 at 09:25

its good what you can do in photoshop these days.....

Comment by: Lizzie down under on 22nd February 2013 at 10:17

DH......not a bit of photoshop anywhere.....if there was I would be able to tell......cheers!!!

Comment by: john on 22nd February 2013 at 10:27

now thats a real photo ,stunning to say the least .Andrew try it Monochrome XP2 IT WOULD BE EVEN BETTER .

Comment by: david on 22nd February 2013 at 11:21

I don't think it has been 'photoshopped.'

Comment by: Mick on 22nd February 2013 at 11:43

If I was going do that much touching up of a photo I would have moved that broken loose plank out of the way before I took it.

kathpressey you can make the night look what ever you fancy, I bet they could even have it covered in snow by pressing to right buttons.

Comment by: Janice on 22nd February 2013 at 13:49

Well said Lizzie and David. Why do (some) people believe that if a stunning photo has to have been photoshopped or manipulated in some way? Some folk just have the talent and skill to produce a good shot without having to resort to other means. A great shot Andrew - I can spot yours style and Oy's before I even see the name. Love it.

Comment by: Dan on 22nd February 2013 at 14:28

Good photo Andrew. What exposure did you use? Cheers

Comment by: Dave Marsh on 22nd February 2013 at 15:04

The cut looks as murk as ever,Andrew.Your photo sets the scene for a 'Murder Mystery'.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 22nd February 2013 at 15:27

The story goes that in 1891 an excursion train to Southport got delayed on the outskirts of Wigan not long after leaving Wallgate Station. At that time a long wooden gantry or trestle carried a mineral line from Lamb and Moore's Newtown Colliery on Scot Lane, to their Meadows Colliery in Frog Lane (where the Council refuse centre is now). This gantry was quite a structure as it had to span the Douglas valley crossing the river, the canal and the main rail line to Southport. As the delayed train waited for the signals to change one of the travellers remarked "where the b... hell are we?" and the reply became the basis for the immortal joke about the Wigan's Pier. George Formby Senior perpetuated the joke around the turn of the century in the music halls in Wigan adding that when he passed the Pier he noticed the tide was in (referring to the constant flooding in the low-lying area). George died in December 1920 and, with the demise of the collieries in the area, the gantry had long passed out of existence. Therefore when people looked for the Pier, the tippler for coal wagons at the canal terminus became the chosen object of the joke. This too was demolished when it became redundant in 1929. So when George Orwell, of "Road to Wigan Pier" fame, came to publish his book seven years later, he had to admit no such pier existed. Since then, of course, a replica tippler has been erected on the site of the old one and the whole area has become today's attractive cultural centre. But how many people realise its true origin?
Article by Bill Aldridge

To see a photo of a coal tippler refer:-

Comment by: Andrew Fishburn on 22nd February 2013 at 15:56

Thanks for the comments folks.

I am not sure why there is so much obsession about photos being 'Photoshopped'. All digitial photos have some kind of manipulation done to them, usually 'in camera' when the image is saved as a jpeg file (compression). The vast majority of cameras also 'sharpen' images in camera.

In this case, there is no doctoring, cheating, painting in bits that weren't there, removing things that were there. I plonked a tripod down, set the white balance to auto, put it into manual mode, set the exposure at about 30secs, and the aperture at about f8 i think. I then fired the shot, came home downloaded it, converted it from RAW to jpeg, as i prefer to control the degree of sharpening myself, i sharpened it a little (a digital de-fogging that most cameras do automatically), and hey presto, finished image.

I suspect the lense i used gives such a clear image that it is hard to believe that it couldn't be manipulated, but, no, it isn't doctored!

Comment by: Ellen on 22nd February 2013 at 16:49

Ernest, Thanks for the tutorial!
.....Seriously, though, I knew of the Music Hall and George Formby Sr. story, but never knew the "story behind the story". So now, thanks to you, I do. Since I have a personal aim to learn something new every day, my day is satisfied with this!

Comment by: Mick on 22nd February 2013 at 17:19

So it wasnt just a snap then Andrew.

Comment by: David on 22nd February 2013 at 17:19

The Canon 5D has a full-frame 12.8 megapixel sensor, this is particular useful in low light, but it doesn't detract from th skill of the photographer.

Comment by: Janice on 22nd February 2013 at 17:54

Way to go Andrew - well done :)

Comment by: alan good on 22nd February 2013 at 18:16

have say it looks to good to be true.still nice on the eye .

Comment by: AP on 22nd February 2013 at 18:59


It is an often repeated story, but HOW do you know that it is true?

Elsewhere on this site, a contributor gets much adulation for revealing the 'true' origin of 'Brass monkeys', though clearly, a little research would reveal that it is not true. They are interesting stories, but methinks asserting that they are true without evidence is unwise.

Comment by: AP on 22nd February 2013 at 20:55


These devices were called 'piers'for hundreds of years BEFORE the sea-side variety of similarly named devices come into being.

The earliest example I can find is:


I would guess it was a response to the Normans' need to move heavy loads of constructional masonry.

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 22nd February 2013 at 22:09

With regard to the use of the word "Pier"; the George Formby anecdote was probably just "a play on words" as "pier" has a proper industrial (and structural) use: e.g.

Wharf or Quay
1. A landing place or pier where ships may tie up and load or unload.

"Wigan Pier" was certainly a place that could be so described.

Hence the name "Pier Head" on the Mersey, Port of Liverpool.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 22nd February 2013 at 23:45

AP, I don`t know if it`s true and didn`t say so, after all it begins with " The story goes.."

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 22nd February 2013 at 23:49

Just found this at

Working piers.
Working piers were built for the handling of passengers and cargo onto and off ships or (as at Wigan Pier) canal boats.

Comment by: Art on 23rd February 2013 at 01:27

Obviously you don't know what a coal "tippler" looks like Ernie..

Comment by: Andrew F on 23rd February 2013 at 08:25

Mick, indeed it was just a snap - it took less than a minute to take (including setting up the tripod, framing the shot, dialling in the iso/shutter speed/iso and the 30 secs of exposure time). I know this because I was on my way to collect my daughter and was late so timing was of the essence!
And that is my point, good photos can be just a snap and many do not have anything 'doctored'!

Comment by: AP on 23rd February 2013 at 11:56

Nevertheless, It is the best photo of Wigan Pier that I have seen so far -


Comment by: AP on 23rd February 2013 at 12:12

I think Mr Formby's poke at 'Wigan Pier' is an early 20th Century variation of the phenomena we have witnessed more recently: Peter Kay's 'Garlic Bread'.

In both cases, the joke only works because some people will be too limited in the range of interpretation the can apply to the word 'Bread', or the word 'Pier'.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 23rd February 2013 at 12:34

Art, I certainly do and would remind you that I was a mechanical engineer. The info I gave was for those who don`t.
AP accuses me of not telling the truth and now you say I`m ignorant.
I wish you`d stop deliberateiy provoking me and I was in two minds to reply.

Comment by: AP on 23rd February 2013 at 12:55

Ernest Pyke:

Please accept my profuse apologies, I had not accused you of not telling the truth, and never thought that you might interpret it that way: I certainly had no intention to offend you.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 23rd February 2013 at 14:37

AP: You said that it is an often repeated story. It`s the first time I`ve heard (I`m 85 yrs.old) and so has Ellen, the fist part of this story.
I accept your apology in the spirit in which it is meant.

Comment by: Ellen on 23rd February 2013 at 19:25

.....And I'm almost 75 yrs old!

Comment by: AP on 23rd February 2013 at 20:03


You will find an account of this here:

Also, if you enter 'The Gant+Wigan Pier' into the search box, you will find a number of other threads.

Comment by: Art on 24th February 2013 at 00:58

Ernie, a Tippler is a construction which turns the wagon/tub over through 360 degrees. As in Gidlow Washer
A Tip/Tipper is a construction which upends the wagon/tub to 45 degrees (as in Crook Tip & Shevington Washer)...
The ball is now in your court....

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 26th February 2013 at 07:49

Art, in your comment 12th Jan.2008 at 14:30, in Communicate, General, Walmsleys Paper Making, you mention a draughtsman name of "Knowles".
You can see him in Album, Work, Walker Bros.Drawing Office. He`s the 6th chap up on the right.

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