Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Saturday, 6th February, 2016)

Market Arcade Plaque

Market Arcade Plaque
Plaque on the wall at Boots Optician's - Market Place Wigan.

Photo: Dave (Oy)  (Nikon D800 with Nikon 16-35mm F/4 AF-S G VR)
Views: 3,824

Comment by: Michael Gormally on 6th February 2016 at 04:09

It was very public spirited of Cllr. Davies, Cllr. Hunt and Cllr. McLoughlin to fund this project. How much did they each stump up? Nowt, I suspect.

If only these generous chaps had paid a little more they could have employed a proofreader with a brain.

What, for example, is a "public bar"?

Who was "Ali Kan"? I remember Ali Khan.

Finally, they seem never to have heard of the possessive apostrophe.

Do people wonder why Wigan is in the state it's in with dolts like this at the helm?

Comment by: Helen on 6th February 2016 at 08:11

Was this arcade the one that I knew years ago as the Little Arcade, by Mesnes St ?
If it was, there was a shop at the far end on the corner that sold dance stuff, ballet and tap shoes etc.

Comment by: JJP on 6th February 2016 at 08:19

you could hear that chap with the weighing machine calling out "TRY YOUR WEIGHT NOW FRIENDS" (3d) threepence owd money wasn't it ?.

Comment by: PeterP on 6th February 2016 at 08:48

At the rate of shop closures around Wigan these plaques will be the only way to remember what shops we had.

Comment by: Kath H on 6th February 2016 at 09:24

I remember sitting on those jockey weighing scales to get weighed. Think it cost an old penny. I used to love going into that arcade, it had a wonderful atmosphere, which is sadly lacking in today's arcades. Thanks for the photo, brings back so many good memories of Wigan as it used to be.

Comment by: Andrew on 6th February 2016 at 09:45

Michael, it is confusing. There is a brighter borough fund - it may be that each Cllr pays into the fund for their area. However it may well be taxpayers dosh!

Regardless, the plaque, although welcome and should be celebrated, gives the impression that the Cllrs paid for it - I wrote to my Cllr suggesting a plaque to celebrate Sir Edward Bairstow and Sir Ernest Bullock, who are world famous in classical music. The response was not a chance - austerity / skint etc etc.

Comment by: A.W. on 6th February 2016 at 09:53

Helen, the arcade you remember is the Royal Arcade which still exists, goes from Standishgate to Marsden Street. the arcade in the picture is the Old Arcade, went from Market Place to Woodcock Street, it was demolished early in 1971 and Wigan Centre Arcade, now called Marketgate was built on the site. I have fond memories of spending Saturday pocket money at the little toy stall in the old arcade. Also remember buying a vacuum flask at Bolton's when they were having their closing down sale. There was also a small gent's outfitters called Eller's? somewhere at the Market place end of the arcade near where Baker's had a side window with silver plate displayed in it.

Comment by: Vb on 6th February 2016 at 09:54

Such an interesting arcade -I liked this one best of all. I seem to remember flagged paving on the foor -unlike the other arcades.

Comment by: Helen on 6th February 2016 at 10:27

Sorry you are on the wrong horse ( or jockey scales) this arcade ran from Market Place to Woodcock Street. An arcade that has been described with lots of character.

Comment by: Carolaen on 6th February 2016 at 10:30

Helen. I think you are referring to the Royal Arcade which - wonder of wonders - I believe is still there !

Comment by: Carolaen on 6th February 2016 at 10:58

Helen. My comments about the Royal Arcade referred to yours about the one off Mesnes Street and the dance shop. I have just seen your second comment about the weighing machine. This most definitely was in the Little Arcade (I Never ever heard anyone refer to it by any other name). The jockey weighing machine was at the bottom - Woodcock Street end of the Arcade alongside the legs of Man pub and almost opposite Sid Smiths magazine stall.

Comment by: Vb on 6th February 2016 at 11:22

I wonder when it was made into an arcade. To me it looks like it had been a narrow street or alleyway at some time in the past.

Comment by: Kathleen. on 6th February 2016 at 11:45

Even Councillors can't get it right. It was called the OLD ARCADE.

Comment by: Brendelll on 6th February 2016 at 11:50

Loved this old Arcade, best of them all. Such a great atmosphere. Went down every Saturday to the newsagents at the bottom to get my Mersey Beat.
This must have been early to mid 60's.
I thought it was an elderly lady who had the weighing machine on the left, just before the arcade narrowed to exit onto Woodcock Street.

Comment by: Aubrey on 6th February 2016 at 11:52

Oops, The last message re the wrong horse was from me to Helen, not from Helen.

Comment by: irene roberts on 6th February 2016 at 13:20

I loved The Old Arcade! Gorner's café, Smith's Bookstall and a little shop where you could buy strings of paper toffee-bags, and my Mam would buy some for me now and again to play "shops" with.....I still have a passion for them and have a string of paper bags hanging up in my kitchen! The toffee-bag shop also sole LOOSE fireworks in a big container outside around bonfire night.....can you imagine that happening today? I remember Ali Khan's stall and his surprising,(just in the odd word), Lancashire accent. A wonderful, much-missed place.

Comment by: irene roberts on 6th February 2016 at 14:13

I have to agree with Michael about the lack of punctuation. It seems to be widespread these days, with apostrophes being left out or, even more annoyingly, put in when there shouldn't be one. The Wigan Observer's obituary column drives me potty....Mr. So-and-so of Hindley, FORMALLY of Ince, when it should read FORMERLY of Ince. Even if the people ordering plaques and newspaper adverts don't have a good grasp of Grammar, surely the signwriter and newspaper editor's their job! And the current trend of people putting "I would of" instead of "I would have". GRRRRR! Sorry, rant over!

Comment by: Jonno on 6th February 2016 at 15:02

Brendelll, Bob Rudd was on the jockey scales in the 40s and 50s, he was a dancing partner of my mums, i had moved on by the 60s so maybe it was an elderly lady who had them then but i cant recall her.Two pubs in the arcade, Top Legs and Bottom Legs, Top Legs just on photo extreme left.

Comment by: Carolean on 6th February 2016 at 15:04

Irene. It's everywhere I'm afraid. Passed my local pub here in Somerset yesterday and there was a sign outside - properly painted - saying that it was closed for "REFERBISHMENT". as you say GRRRRR!

Comment by: Neil Cain on 6th February 2016 at 15:40

Irene you should see the Boar's Head website...cattering, locaction, 'how it use to be' for example.

Comment by: Fred Mason on 6th February 2016 at 16:32

Another good shot, Dave.

I do not understand though. Why are councillors placing these plaques showing old Wigan, the Wigan of character and atmosphere which the council has destroyed.???

By the way, have to agree with Irene and others about the punctuation and spelling, etc. What is happening to our youth and our schools? I have seen all those poor spelling mistakes as well. In the past I went to look into an online computer course. My tutor was a young girl who told me about the 'manor' in which things are done, or something similar.

Look forward to your next shots, Dave.

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 6th February 2016 at 17:35

I believe the correct name is Market Arcade, also known as Old Arcade but I always knew it as the Little Aarcade. see this:

Comment by: Maureen on 6th February 2016 at 18:15

I always called it The Little Arcade..and I absolutely loved it,every Saturday afternoon in my teens I would go shopping with my Mam
and we would always end up having our
tea in Gorners Cafe,I remember it was always immaculate..then my Mam would always get on the weighing machine,
but the first shop after the Legs of
Man on the left going down used to have a big glass cabinet at the front
of the shop and as a child I was fascinated with the many wedding and christening articles in it..I loved
it..oh where did that child go..of
course later on Mr Smith who was a lovely man,I have since been in contact with his Son Trevor..Margaret
Razak etc..we certainly had the best
time of Wigan town centre..that's my
opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Comment by: Maureen on 6th February 2016 at 18:28

We have a friend who was a Policeman
at the time the Legs of Man was being pulled down..on the Saturday night they asked him if he'd keep an eye on things on their day off..of course he did..on the Monday morning he went to
check if everything was okay..the boss of the gang said "come and look at this",they'd found another room
while knocking a wall that room was a lecturn and rows of old chairs..on the return was a large
book with all he names of lodgers and prices of bed for the night..when the demolition was finished he went back
and asked what had happened to the lecturn and chairs"Oh,we burned them"
was the reply,he couldn't believe it,
just imagine the loss.

Comment by: irene roberts on 6th February 2016 at 18:44

You are right, Neil Rigby; it was officially named The Market Arcade but was known by Wiganers as The Old Arcade or The Little Arcade, just as Mesnes Park will always be Wigan Park to us Wiganers. I had expected criticism over my remarks on spelling and punctuation and it has come as a nice surprise to find that people agree with me. Thankyou.

Comment by: Maureen on 6th February 2016 at 19:04

Speaking of spelling
hand needs slapping over the incorrect spelling of lectern..and I
thought my spelling was tops,why I thought it was lecturn I shall never know..oh,the shame.

Comment by: irene roberts on 6th February 2016 at 19:25

Carolean, Neil Cain and Fred, thankyou for your comments and I am so glad you agree with me; Maureen, the shop with the wedding and christening articles for sale was the same shop that sold the paper bags and loose fireworks. I can see it, and smell the aroma from Gorner's café, as if it were yesterday. A man called Keith Roberts, (no relation), wrote a poem about The Old Arcade which is shown in one of Geoff Shryhane's books on Wigan, but I don't know if I would be allowed to type it here.

Comment by: Ian on 6th February 2016 at 19:45

I used to go into the Legs of Man in the 60s and if you were meeting up with friends they used to ask whether you'd be going into 'the top legs or the bottom". Happy days!

Comment by: Vb on 6th February 2016 at 19:54

I think our generation on the whole were better taught. The teachers were a lot stricter then and children read more. Nowadays texting is the norm and because shortcuts are made when doing so - it leads to 'sloppiness' in the use of English language. I find it annoying but what can you do? Things like getting the word '"tomorrow"as "tommorrow"!

Comment by: irene roberts on 6th February 2016 at 20:21

Vb, I will admit myself to actually texting "tomorrow" as "tmro" to save money on texts by using less letters, but the point is that I KNOW how to spell it properly and how to use punctuation when writing a proper letter; I agree with you that a lot of young people today just haven't a clue, as in "I would of", but, as Fred pointed out, if his TUTOR referred to the " MANOR" of things, what hope do her pupils have?! With apologies to Dave "Oy" for going off the subject of his photo-a-day, but one thing leads to another on here, and we have all commented on our memories of The Old Arcade as well as putting our two-pennorth in about grammar. A very interesting photo-a-day and a lovely memory.

Comment by: david.b on 6th February 2016 at 21:19

Does anyone remember the man who 'cut' new door keys. He used too stand near the entrance to the old Market Hall.

Comment by: Vb on 6th February 2016 at 21:23

Strictly speaking Irene I don't count abbreviations as you said with regard to. "tmro" as annoying on the whole. It's when obvious misspellings as I stated with"tommorrow" occurr. The plaque above is disgraceful with its lack of punctuation and misspelt names. Whoever is responsible should be reprehended. Having said that the older I get I find simple words escape me and I have to think very carefully before committing myself. I don't think we have strayed from the thread!

Comment by: Fred Mason on 6th February 2016 at 22:07

I second that, Irene.

Cheers lass.

Comment by: christine on 6th February 2016 at 22:38

loved it ,the atmosphere was electric .sad day when it went ,also market hall,times eh

Comment by: Helen on 7th February 2016 at 08:30

Goodness what a lovely lot of comments !
I think we have 2 Helens here..I'm the one asking if it was the Little Arcade.

Comment by: A.W. on 7th February 2016 at 10:21

I always knew it as the Old Arcade but I have heard it called the Market Arcade which may or may not have been the proper name.

Comment by: irene roberts on 7th February 2016 at 10:35

David b....he is still there, just near to the alleyway that goes between Morrison's and The Market Hall....same man.

Comment by: Vb on 7th February 2016 at 11:27

Helen you could distinguish yourself as "Helen of Troy"!, (joking) but an idea!

Comment by: irene roberts on 7th February 2016 at 11:35

Helen, the arcade on the plaque was officially The Market Arcade but most Wiganers knew it as The Old Arcade, and I have also heard it called The Little Arcade, as opposed to the nearby Makinson Arcade, which is still there, and was much bigger. The arcade quite a bit further down Standishgate, just before it meets with Mesnes Street is also still there and is The Royal Arcade. The Royal Arcade shops were always a bit "upmarket" but the Old, (Market), Arcade was much more homely and much-loved by us all in Wigan.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 7th February 2016 at 12:34

There you go Vb !
Thanks Irene it was the small arcade that I remember.

Comment by: Johnny on 7th February 2016 at 13:04

I remember this arcade and the others...great for moochin'around on a Saturday...and gettin ideas for prezzies!

Comment by: Aubrey on 7th February 2016 at 14:47

It was me that made the error, not another Helen.

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