Photo-a-Day (Sunday, 25th April, 2021)
Photo: Dennis Seddon (Sony DSC-WX500)
I emigrated from Wigan in1975, and Scholes did not look anything like that then. Beautiful now, thank you for the view, Dennis.
MEMORIES OF SCHOLES
A TOWN WITHIN A TOWN
BY TOM WALSH
I have very fond memories of Scholes. Born in McCormick Street, named after the second parish priest of St Patricks, this in itself made it part of the history of the the township. I describe the area as a township because that was what it was, a separate community in every sense. People had a feeling of belonging to Scholes first and Wigan second.
The majority of men were miners, many women worked in the cotton factories both in Wigan and further afield traveling to local towns by coach , putting hours on to the working day because the pay was slightly better. I remember hearing the knocker up rousing households and not leaving until a response was forthcoming , the lady who filled that role in the streets surrounding my home was Agnes Wynn who charged a shilling a week . Agnes, lived locally, and because of her job, went to bed early, children were instructed not play near her house, she needed her sleep, if she overslept half the parish would miss a days work!
Scholes itself had shops of every sort, so much so that many older people would rarely visit the town centre as almost everything could be sourced locally, from ladies fashions, Vi Almonds, to motor bikes, Millers, we had two cinemas, countless public houses and grocers, a Chinese laundry and a myriad of other businesses. Locals say that if they had put a roof over the street in its heyday, it would have been the first Trafford Centre! Many shops had nicknames, "Pie Joe's "being one, it's a wonder he didn't go bankrupt, I remember going there, sent by neighbours for a meat pie, they would send a large jug with the instruction to fill it with gravy, free in those days. I think the surplus was for use on the Sunday dinner! Another amusing name was "Polly do out", a clogger, it was said she could put a clog iron on a bladder without bursting it! One of the less hygienic shops often had a cat sat on a flitch of bacon. Needless to say most housewives avoided that shop's delights. A temperance bar, though fair to say it wasn't the most frequented of venues. Public houses seemed a more tempting prospect to most. Similarly many of these had colloquial names the two most famous the Dust Hole (Rose and Crown) this establishment was reputed to sell the best pint in the district, and was one of the last ale houses ( licensed to sell beer and porter only) and the Kill and Cure (the Regent) the latter because it was near to Dr Hoey's surgery .
Whilst times were difficult for many the feeling of community was tangible, even though many struggled and had little they would share what they had. Anyone without family who fell ill would be cared for in the neighbourhood. People could leave the door unlocked, in my Mother's case she would leave the rent on the sideboard for collection . I never heard of a house being burgled . When recounting this fact the reply often comes back "there was nothing to steal" on the contrary, every house had a gas meter full of money, talking of which after the gasman had emptied the meter and left the rebate there was unusually spare money in the parish, children armed with shillings bombarding local sweetshops. No deed for ASBOS, ,"I'll tell your mother", or a more a portent "I'll bring Farther Lappin, the respected parish priest of St Patricks, was enough to bring the most unruly youths to book.t
The overwhelming majority of houses were very well kept women would mop the step daily, and woe betide anyone who walked on their labours. Mondays was washing day, few had washing machines, dolly tubs and rubbing boards was the order of the day . It was said that there was a rainbow over Scholes on Mondays! There was great excitement when the first launderette opened, half a crown for a 9lbs wash, the price alas put it out of the reach of many families, an example that would have bought fish and chips twice, in the early 1950s! Every day a different task, bedrooms , baking another day and so forth. Thursday in our house was the day Mother would black lead the Yorkshire Range , I remember the cleaning agents Zebo and Brasso each with its own distinct smell, as had Mansion polish used on well cared for furniture.
I am proud of my background, and wouldn't wish to be reared anywhere other than my beloved, and much maligned Scholes of yesteryear. Maybe you had to be born within the sound of St Catherine's or St Patricks bells to fully appreciate the wonderful atmosphere and sheer goodness of its people. I am often accused of looking back with rose tinted spectacles. I suppose there element truth in that, but better that, than looking back in anger.
Dennis, when these flats were built it became a novelty for us young uns riding the lift to the top, looking out from there. Run back down the stairs and do it all over again, wish now I could still do that !. Good one Dennis.
A good photo Dennis - not the Scholes I knew, it might as well be another time another place. Surprised you didn't find another time another place photo as well. Thank you for taking the time to post...
Alan (on Vancouver Island). The tall flats were there in 1970 when I moved from Scholes ... most of the old property had gone by 1967/8.
I totally agree with you Dennis.
Veronica, I’m sure that some of the people living in those houses in the sky will look out of their windows and be reasonably content with what they see now but, it’s not the Scholes that I would prefer. The Scholes that you and I would prefer is the one that Tom Walsh describes so well in his post. The Scholes that was so active and alive in the 1950s/60s with its Pubs and Shops and even it’s Railway Bridge crossing the road to Central Station.
That’s why I wrote that I could never have imagined then taking a photo like this, a photo of grass, trees and a ‘host of golden daffodils’
I went out on a mission on Friday, to try and find the source of the river Douglas, and as I followed the river through Scholes village I was very surprised to see a Pheasant.
You can see the Pheasant flying off on my video @2.30
Makes a huge difference to ANY area if trees, flowers, and green areas are planted, created and maintained. This is why it automatically uplifts us when we go to the countryside or even just sit in our gardens. When we stop doing this it cuts off the oxygen to our spirit.
Dennis I agree with you entirely. Tom and I lived a couple of streets away from each other. His memories are my memories, I still get a lump in my throat when I read his tales of yore.
Unless you lived in Scholes it's impossible to comprehend how it was. Maybe it's in our DNA from our Irish heritage I don't know. I have often pondered on why there's such a 'pull' for the Scholes that was. Maybe it's the roots of home and the people, many long gone now I don't know. It certainly seems looking back -a poor man's Shangri- la. To me anyroad!
The Scholes I remember was the one Thomas has posted about.Which was good at the time, I don't think communities are the same now as when I lived in Scholes, were everyone looked out for you.The tall flats started being built early 60s. Trees and flowers make a big difference.When we were kids, we used to walk up to the Bowling Green, near longshoot to get some space.Very refreshing phot Dennis.
the flats look nice on a picture but they have been plagued with damp and leaks over the years. Its a good job they have lifts would not fancy climbing up to the top if the lifts were broke
If you did live in one those houses in the sky and look out of their window at the going down of the sun you would be able to see my house up here in sunny Shevy
I must admit it does look nice, especially with the daffodils, but the sunshine makes a huge difference to a place and shows it at its best. I never really knew Scholes as I lived in Higher Ince and by-passed it on the bus to Wigan which turned left at Clarington Brook and headed down Darlington Street, but I love Tom's and Veronica's memories and indeed it does sound as if it were a very special place to those who lived there; I have heard the same of the close-knit community that lived in Wallgate. The Viaducts area of Ince was another such place. I think it is the memories of the people and the feeling of sadness for a community now lost that makes those places so special. The Houghton Weavers' song, "Room in the Sky" sums it up exactly.
Irene,Tom could be talking about Wallgate,the similarities are so close...Happy memories for us all tinged with sadness...'Room up in the sky' says it all.
sunny?? clouded over with diesel fumes from the motorway more like, when I hang out washing it gets covered with black flecks in no time and anyone noticed that us Shevyers speak with croaky voice, even the birds sing with croaky tweets, reckon I'd be better off in Scholes it looks a lot cleaner and greener
Miles,now you should know that the sun only shines in Shevy..( tongue in cheek) and only Mick has a house.
I regularly walked to Wigan with my auntie who lived with us then,when I was growing up in Higher Ince.I can remember there being shops,pubs and houses all the way down Scholes into Wigan,great memories.
At last someone speaks the truth about 'Shevvy'. It's not Shangri- la at all. Looking at the tall flats in the sunshine they could be the skyscrapers overlooking the Hudson River and not the Duggie at all. ;o))
The thing about Scholes of course it was as Tom says" a town within a town". It wasn't just the Main Street of Scholes it was the surrounding district which stretched quite a way. It encompassed many streets around the churches in the area. It looks nothing now towards what it was. You grew up knowing the names of all the streets and nearly every street had shops within them besides all the ones on Scholes it was quite a large district.
Veronica, thank you for the update. I lived in Orrell, and hadn't seen Scholes since the late 50's. My post didn't make that clear.
Hope you are all coping with the Covid 19.
Many towns have an 'out of town' area named Scholes. Apparently, it means 'temporary sheds' and was a place where outsiders would be housed while waiting to be allowed into the town itself proper.
Scholes, in St Helens
Scholes, in Wigan
Scholes, in Rotherham
Scholes, in Cleckheaton
Scholes, Holme Valley, Kirklees
Scholes, in Leeds
Scholes, in Bradford
A town within a town it certainly isn't.
Actually The church of St Patrick was built for the great influx of the Irish people after The Famine of 1845. Previous to the new church built in 1847. The church was a chapel of ease to the Mother Church of St Mary's in Standishgate " a town within a town" is in quotes. The Irish contingent swelled the numbers in the town by thousands especially in Scholes itself. You could say it was a "town within a town" ! Scholes wasn't only the poorest place to live during the Industrial Revolution. Thrown up terraced housing was rife in most towns at the time.
If I'm not mistaken the name Scholes comes from the Old Norse.
"The name 'Scholes' is a reminder of the settlement of Norse people in the 10th Century".
*. John Hannavy - History & Guide WIGAN.