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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Thursday, 5th August, 2021)

The Royal Arcade

The Royal Arcade
Wigan’s oldest arcade.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX500)
Views: 2,497

Comment by: Mick on 5th August 2021 at 00:03

Royal Arcade on a bike


Comment by: The Real James Hanson on 5th August 2021 at 00:44

The Royal Arcade was built in 1899.
Grimes Arcade was built in 1870, which pre-dates the Royal Arcade by, at least, 29 years. It follows that the Royal Arcade is not the oldest and, in any case, it isn't "Wigan's".

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 5th August 2021 at 07:37

Goodness, this takes me back. I went to tap dancing classes, think it was Moore's School of Dancing in the buildings opposite the old bus station, next to the Congregational Church. I was bought my red tap shoes in the Royal Arcade. The shop was at the Standishgate end. This sort of arcade is what people want to see when they visit a place...not a glass warehouse.
Great pics Dennis !

Comment by: walt (nth Yorkshire) on 5th August 2021 at 07:51

Brilliant Dennis, you always make P a D so interesting,

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 5th August 2021 at 08:00

Are you allowed to ride a bike through the arcade ??

Comment by: Veronica on 5th August 2021 at 08:00

You wouldn't think it was a quaint arcade from the outside, inside is a different matter. I have always loved Wigan's Arcades. Many little towns make full use of arcades like this, such as Skipton and Southport. As I was wandering through them I thought of Wigan's efforts. Somehow the Grand Arcade doesn't work, but the others
( The Galleries )do... a bit more improvement to them instead of building that white elephant. It's my opinion....

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 5th August 2021 at 08:18

You should tell them to take that sign down over the door then James. We wouldn’t want anyone having a nervous breakdown about it would we?

Comment by: Elizabeth on 5th August 2021 at 08:23

Yes,you are spot-on Veronica.

Comment by: Joan on 5th August 2021 at 08:32

I think you will find that the Grand Arcade tenants sell far more stuff than those struggling tenants in the Royal Arcade.
I bet most town centre shopping Wiganers dont even know its there.

Comment by: irene roberts on 5th August 2021 at 08:41

I like The Royal Arcade and used to love the bag shop where they sold lovely leather bags and purses, and Peabody's Coffee Shop which smelled so deliciously of ground coffee, and where I used to buy little chocolate umbrellas for our Christmas Tree. I still love Makinson's Arcade, (which had the same wonderful smell of coffee when I was a little girl, from Makinson's Coffee Shop), but the one I loved most was The Market Arcade, (also known as The Old Arcade and The Little Arcade), which was demolished when I was 19 years old. I would love to do a "Gary Sparrow" and walk down that atmospheric little place once more. Although Commercial Yard, (where my husband worked as a young lad), wasn't an arcade, (not being covered over),it was still a homely little thoroughfare in our town, and I feel we have lost so much over the years in the name of so-called "progress".

Comment by: Edna on 5th August 2021 at 08:47

This Arcade is lovely, and the variety of things you can get in here is great, from tea & toast, birthday cakes,haberdashery, sewing, nails etc.Its amazing how so much has been crammed into it.Thank you Dennis for brilliant photo.

Comment by: Veronica on 5th August 2021 at 09:13

The Grand Arcade at one time may have sold more at the expense of stores in The Galleries closing. Now it's the Grand Arcade's turn for big stores closing down. Marks, Bhs, Debenhams el al - its not so grand now...in fact Poundland seems out of place in there..

Comment by: George (Hindley) on 5th August 2021 at 09:50

I think the real Hanson brother is correct, Dennis. I don'tknow why they are claiming it is the oldest arcade.

Comment by: Maureen on 5th August 2021 at 10:34

I have a vivid memory of having my ears pierced in that little arcade in my teens,much to the dismay of my Mam who waited at the end of the Arcade, she couldn't even look at the end result..I never understood why though as she was a very tough person.
Yes Arcades like this still give some semblance of the old Wigan,it is very classy..still is,oh how I wish the powers that be had left things as they were,you can go to other towns and they have kept their historic buildings and people from everywhere enjoy seeing them,and browsing in the shops..we haven't much left in Wigan in the way of historic buildings shops etc..they're gone forever.
Thank you Dennis.

Comment by: Mick on 5th August 2021 at 11:26

Helen, yes your allowed to ride a bike through the arcade, same as you allowed to push doubled up wide prams and wheelchairs that look like go carts.

Comment by: irene roberts on 5th August 2021 at 12:17

Was it not Moss's school of dancing, Helen? I didn't have dance lessons but I recall Miss Gee's School of Dance and Tommy Moss's. There may have been a Moore's but I don't remember it. I agree with Walt and Edna that you put some very interesting photos on here, Dennis. xx

Comment by: Jean on 5th August 2021 at 12:19

Does anybody remember upstairs in the arcade there was a restaurant called king Hal’s kitchen

Comment by: DerekB on 5th August 2021 at 12:19

Helen of Troy, I think it was the Moss School of Dancing you went to, run by a brother and sister

Comment by: Veronica on 5th August 2021 at 12:22

My heart was in my mouth when you were passing the old lady Mick. But the arcade was shown to its best advantage. The music could have been a bit more joyful. Felt like something from outer space.

Comment by: Veronica on 5th August 2021 at 12:34

ps Mick although you have videoed the arcade very well. I think riding your bike through it lowers the tone somewhat. If there were such quaint arcades in Shangri La where you live, the Parish Council would soon have you put in the stocks.

Comment by: irene roberts on 5th August 2021 at 13:17

Mick, I can't access the link. If I go on youtube on my computer, what do I type in the search box to see the video please?

Comment by: DerekB on 5th August 2021 at 14:22

Helen of Troy. Further of my referring to the Moss School of Dancing , I think the brother and sister who ran it were Tommy and Hilda Moss.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 5th August 2021 at 14:35

Irene & Derek, you are right it was Moss's. I just remembered the name began with an M & yes I believe they were brother & sister. Thanks for letting me know.

Comment by: Beryl on 5th August 2021 at 14:46

I love these hidden treasures

Comment by: Broady on 5th August 2021 at 14:49

I had my 21st Birthday party in Kings Hal’s Kitchen 50 years ago.

Comment by: Cyril on 5th August 2021 at 15:12

Jean, I do remember the restaurant, that was upstairs, my sister along with her friend and I would go in for tea/coffee after we'd been around town and we thought it ever so posh with sugar cubes, thanks for adding the name as I couldn't remember that.

See the other Hanson brother and his cousin George Hindley are on again with their disparaging remarks.

"in any case it isn't Wigan's," that's definitely a Tonker rant!

They are right in saying it is Wigan's oldest arcade, because it is an arcade of shops not an alleyway used as a toilet by the King St drunken revellers.

Comment by: Cyril on 5th August 2021 at 15:22

Irene, copy and paste the numbers and letters below into the Search bar on youtube.


Comment by: irene roberts on 5th August 2021 at 15:37

Got it Mick! Found it.

Comment by: Mick on 5th August 2021 at 16:29

It wasn't lost Irene

Comment by: irene roberts on 5th August 2021 at 16:46

Thanks Cyril. Got it. xx

Comment by: e on 5th August 2021 at 17:52

Be nice to have a ‘still the same ‘
A ‘nothing’s changed ‘
And a ‘ hope remain’
A ‘like old times’
Or a ‘that’s still there ‘
Still looks the same ,
‘cept for wear and tear.
Where progress missed,
Or never came ,
where time stood still ,
And remained the ——?

Comment by: Cyril on 5th August 2021 at 20:13

I'll probably get moaned at for going off topic, but regarding -

Grimes Arcade - King Street.
In the arcade notice the details in the original (on the
left) and the 1980’s windows and in the glazed section
the arched decorated metal trusses. From: The Town Centre Trail Booklet.

That is the reason it was originally called The Arcade because of the series of arched decorated window trusses. Architecturally -

An arcade is a structure made by enclosing a series of arches and columns. The word's roots go back to the Latin word "arcus," which means arc or bow. From: Vocabulary.com

It was built in 1870 and known as The Arcade and later became known as Grime's Arcade because William and Ellen Grime opened musical shops there. From:

Curiously, their youngest son James Grime considering he came from a musical family rose to become a principal baritone in many operas. He later became licensee of the Ship Hotel Millgate and then the Shakespeare Hotel King St, he died in 1912 aged 43. From: https://www.wiganlocalhistory.org/grimes-arcade/obituary-james-grime

Here for Irene, Veronica and Helen of Troy and anyone else that likes to look at nostalgic photos from long ago, one of Makinsons coffee shop in Makinson Arcade, a pity it isn't scratch and sniff, and a host of other shops etc. It's from a feature of Shopping in Wigan through the decades by the Wigan Evening Post with photos by Frank Orrell. Nice ones Frank.

Comment by: Veronica on 5th August 2021 at 21:53

Thanks Cyril I have looked at the photos and 'saved' them so I can look in more detail. Surprising how everything comes back to you when you see photos of the past and have forgotten about. It doesn't seem all that long ago - but it is really. So much has been lost.

Comment by: The Real James Hanson on 5th August 2021 at 21:55

So, Cyril, are you saying that Grimes Arcade is older than the Royal Arcade and that the latter is not the oldest in Wigan, proving Dennis's comment wrong?

Nice one, Cyril, Nice one, Son!

Comment by: Veronica on 5th August 2021 at 23:15

It's not just Dennis's comment though James it says 'Wigan's Oldest Arcade' over the entrance. The question is Who's responsible for that signage I wonder... if it isn't the oldest arcade...

Comment by: irene roberts on 6th August 2021 at 08:49

Thankyou Cyril, for pointing out the link to the photos. I have a couple of Frank Orrell's books of photos. They are fascinating.

Comment by: Cyril on 6th August 2021 at 17:35

The Real James Hanson, though The Arcade later Grime's Arcade (arcade said in an architectural sense) was built before The Royal Arcade, of which I agree, and you are entitled to your opinion, but in my opinion the sad fact is the Grimes Arcade has been closed for a long time and as far as I know there's no plans for its future, it's devoid of any shops on the ground floor and no longer in use as a walk through arcade with being boarded up. So, The Royal Arcade must be Wigan's only remaining and now by chance, the oldest walk through up and running with plenty of shops Arcade. How's the weather over in Spain?

Comment by: The Real James Hanson on 6th August 2021 at 19:48

"Makinson Arcade, constructed in 1887/1888 is Wigan's most elaborate Victorian Arcade"

..... and it's a "remaining, walk through, up and running with plenty of shops", older than the Royal Arcade, Arcade.

Comment by: Cyril on 7th August 2021 at 14:08

Mmmm, one wonders why you didn't mention the Makinson Arcade previously, was it perhaps that I reminded you of it in the post and link to photos to Irene and Veronica at 20:13.

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