Photo-a-Day (Tuesday, 30th January, 2018)
The Dinner Hour, Wigan
Photo: Mick Byrne (Panasonic TZ100)
I can see the painting but I can't see Wigan.
Wigan women didn't look so nice.
Can't recognize the area.
Although in a different era and in Wigan rather than Battersea, this scene, as soon as I saw it, took me straight to the film "Up The Junction", (the colour version with Suzy Kendall and Maureen Lipman), and the scene showing the dinner-hour in the yard of the toffee-factory where they worked... a scene which has always fascinated me. It's the same women, same gossip, just different era and different clothes.
My Dad had a metal drinks-can similar to the ones in the photo. He used to take tea and sugar to work wrapped in a screw of newspaper and the Wagon Works in Ince provided the hot water with which he "brewed up". The "billy-can" was white with a navy rim. His butty-tin was flat and oval and was known as a "tommy-tin".
By the way, where is Ozy these days? He's gone very quiet.
They are cotton mills, are they not ? The subject depicts a northern town, Wigan is a northern town that had cotton mills....so in my book its a very relevant item to show.
I love it anyway, Wigan or not.
It's a lovely painting if a bit idealistic. The mill girls look more like milk maids with their fresh complexions.
Crowe is not known to have had any family or personal connection with the north-west. It is likely that the The Dinner Hour, Wigan, was inspired by a visit to the cotton mill shown in the picture – Thomas Taylor’s Victoria Mills in Wigan – during one of Crowe’s trips around the provinces in his capacity as an Inspector of Schools of Art. During the 1860s, he spent weeks or months of every year travelling. He took a great interest in the places he visited, and was known to have enjoyed being shown around factories and other industrial works. An entry in his diary, dated 28 October 1869, reveals that Crowe purchased shawls and petticoats used by working women at a Wigan pawnshop, and that he was already considering that ‘a good mysterious composition’ might be made of people coming out of the mills after a day’s work. It is unsurprising that Crowe should look around him for subjects for his paintings; and as can be seen in terms of his slavery paintings and some of the paintings produced in the previous decade, he was unafraid to tackle difficult, unusual or idiosyncratic topics. His interests and inclinations coincided with The Dinner Hour, Wigan.
Interesting analysis on Google about the policeman and the girl with bare feet.
The view is at the top of Miry Lane..and I just love this painting.
The original painting is in Manchester Art Gallery, the building in the centre distance of the picture still exists as part of Shearing's Miry Lane office, The Star pub existed till about 1990.
Thanks for the very interesting info Mick.
When I was a member of the Auxiliary Fire Brigade, I was sent to dampen down of what was left of Thomas Taylor’s mill.
Surely misnamed. Very much doubt they got anything like an hour for their dinner in those days.
Most workers in this country today don't get an hour for dinner, more like half hour and is usually unpaid.
Helen, What this picture says to me is , for
women in those days , the option of going to work or not going to work, did not exist , no matter how many kids they had . Not only did the women raise the children, cook , clean and feed , they had the strength of purpose to go to work as well. They grafted like hell but it was the women who had the meal ready for the husband when he came home from work. It was the women / the wife , who washed of the child as the husband ate his tea. It was the women who had the husbands shirt ready for work next day , as he passed her cleaning the doorstep, before she went to the mills.. Women , are by far superior to men and always have been. What a women has to go through in her life , is ten fold what a man has to . We have got one job , women have a hundred each day .
We men could not cope . Other cultures ,
now heavily in our country, engrain them in this role forever , but with one huge exception, in those cultures , women don’t work. Sorry if off tack, but this picture , for
me , speaks of working women and the debt we owe to them.
Maureen, you are spot on saying it's at the top of Miry Lane. An Aunt of mine lived on Miry Lane and this picture defines it well.
As anyone got any insights concerning the figure on the right seemingly cleaning the gaslight with her apron?
As others have pointed out... it's Miry Lane, Wigan. No mistake about that. However, the girls look nothing like those who worked in that area at that time.
I used to only get half an hour for my dinner hour
It definitely looks like Miry Lane but I would have been surprised if the women looked so fresh-faced in a town in this heavily industrialised era.Still a good painting though.
Dave..you're a diamond.
I totally agree with you Dave, women today could not cope with the lives that women of yesterday had to deal with, myself included & I sometimes totally despair of my own sex these days. Wonder what other WW women think ?
Agreed, Helen. xx
Well Helen,you have a point there,mu hubby very often praises my ability to cope with most things..I am determined not to let anything get me down,but when I think of my own Mam and the memoriy of her in the yard bending over the dolly tub with the mangle and it's snowing,she was five foot in height but boy was she tough and worked all her life,my Grandparents lived at the top of our street so no feelings of being a latch door kid for my Brother and myself.
What about the girls way back working in the cotton mills,when they had a baby,they had to take it to the mill and hope the boss didn't hear the baby crying..how tough were they,having to keep control of a machine and feeding the baby then hiding it until it's next feed..my heart goes out to them..today's young women are upset. if they haven't got the latest model of iPhone.
I take my hat off to them all.
Some statistics maybe of interest.
In this period 116,300 people were employed in the Lancashire mills just over half being women. Of these 75% were single and aged 16 to 21.
Many mills insisted women leave their jobs on marriage.
So we are left with around 10,000 married women at work in the cotton industry in the 1870's a significant minority. By 1911 only 9% of married women were employed.
Women have always been the best at multi tasking it's inbred in our DNA but its nice to be appreciated. We have now come full circle as women with families now go out to work. Its quite rare if they stay at home looking after their children. Even in the 70' s it was the norm to stay at home looking after the family. Always looking for ways to save money by knitting,sewing, baking and cooking proper meals. It was only when the children started school that we would go and look for part time work. That's my view anyway.