Photo-a-Day (Monday, 6th November, 2023)
This nine-foot high stained glass window was designed in 1983 by local artist Gerald Rickards (1931 - 2006).
Photo: Joanne (iPhone)
This information is displayed in a frame next to the window:
The nine-foot high stained glass window has a large central section and two narrower panels, and occupies a central position on the main gable wall of the new chapel.
It is visible from the main door and also the upper rooms in the building. The design links the role of the mission church with the town and people both past and present. Religious tradition is represented with the shape of the cross, the three rings of the Trinity, the bowl, the cloth and the dove. The shades of yellow symbolise the message of peace.
Superimposed in a central position is the well-known symmetrical facade of the Queen’s Hall building. The outline of the tower and upper floor windows can be clearly seen. The shape of the open doorway is represented by a rectangle, which frames the bowl and the table. The drapery-like patterns at the top of the design are based on the lead lines in the original windows in the part of the hall that has now been demolished.
The buildings depicted in the background include the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and the old Wigan Grammar School. The former reflects the role the church plays in ministering to the sick, the latter is a reminder of speech days of the past. The seating plan of the original Queen’s Hall has also been superimposed on the lower central circle of the design. Near to the foot of the windows, images of Wallgate Station and the canal hint at links with other places. The bridge beyond the canal barge has been included to bring back memories of the boat trips which were organised on special occasions.
The Wesley brothers are represented in the side section. On the right, Charles Wesley stands near Plantation Gates, and is linked with the bandstand at Mesnes Park, and the pattern of organ pipes. On the left, John stands by the old Market Hall. He is linked with the community - terraced houses, pit heads, Trencherfield Mill and Wigan Pier. Cooling towers, mill chimneys, Coop’s factory and the high-rise flats can also be seen.
The designer of the window was Gerald Rickards (1931-2006), one of Wigan’s best loved artists. He specialised in depicting buildings in his own distinctive style, and meticulous attention to detail was an important feature in all his work.
Born in Aspull, he lived in Billinge near Winstanley College (previously Upholland Grammar School) where he was Head of Art for 26 years. He was the first Artist in Residence at Drumcroon Education Art Centre. Following early retirement, he devoted all his time to painting from 1985 until his death in 2006.
That is wonderful Joanne, what a window.
I always thought Methodist Churches were plain but the Methodist church in Sheringham, probable built in the 1960s is quite striking & has a stained glass wall. Good photo.
How beautiful that stained glass is. Far superior to stained glass ‘lookalike transfers’ that some modern churches use nowadays. You can’t beat the the real thing. Yes I realise how costly it is to install but I would rather have a plain glass window than a ‘tattoo film’ covered one. It’s one of my ‘bugbears’!
That really is lovely. Years ago, when I used to write for Past Forward, there were often pictures of Gerald Rickard's work in the magazine. They always depicted places in Wigan and were truly beautiful, and he seemed to be a very modest man. What an amazing talent and what a beautiful legacy he has left for our town.
Gerald was born in Aspull, Bolton Road, and read Art at the University of Edinburgh. He used to paint in situ within Borsdane Wood as a young man and his skill impressed my Grandad, a regular walker throughout the fifties - "thi favver real."
His father was a haulier and his mother a stalwart of St Elizabeth's Church. A close, careful and unpretentious family.
Really is quite beautiful, I wonder if there are more example of his work around the country. I would love to see more of his creations and should be celebrated as man of much talent.
When the bus station was built they carefully left a space so that you see the window from the bus station concourse at the back, it looks great when the lights are on in the Queens Hall.
In the foyer of the Queens Hall there two very interesting Blue Plaques on the walls, one commemorating Margery Booth 1906-1952 Opera Singer and British Spy and Wigan Athletic Football Club founded in the hall 9th May 1932. Pop in and take a look.
I think Gerald Rickards (1931-2006) is also worthy of a Blue Plaque.
I was never gifted with art, but consider myself fortunate to have him as my form master when I was at UGS in the 1960’s. He was a lovely man, and a creative artist. I own a few of his prints, unfortunately not the originals.
I think it's a bit too abstract and modern for our Wigan town.
I commissioned Gerald to create a window for St Mary's Lower Ince - in his style of incorporating reference buildings etc from the area (many of these were published in Past Forward). When talking to him about the project he produced sketches of a window associated with the Preston Guild which he'd produced. As a result of the St Mary's window, Gerald was commissioned to create one for Christ Church, Aughton, which I think was in a more traditional churchy style.
I discovered Gerald’s work on the walls of the Hospice whist working extra shifts there when the kids were young. Since then I had the privilege of meeting Gerald and listening to his many stories! My family comissioned a painting by Gerald of the old Ince St Marys church for a milestone birthday. A lovely man who is still missed.