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Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Saturday, 2nd December, 2023)


St Patrick's Presbytery and Church, Hardybutts, Scholes.

Photo: Brian  (iPhone)
Views: 1,502

Comment by: PeterP on 2nd December 2023 at 07:18

A very imposing building. I presume at one time there was a statue on the plinth on the gable end?

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 2nd December 2023 at 07:22

Nice picture Brian, it’s a long time since I walked up Hardybutts, I must make an effort to take a stroll sometime.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 2nd December 2023 at 07:42

Yesterdays PAD.....
For 'e'
Just got home from a nostalgic trip to Liverpool last night & just read your poem...it brought a tear to my eye....all so long ago but the memory still burns bright & I will keep & treasure your words.
Thank you.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 2nd December 2023 at 08:07

With the red brick and the style of the building it reminds me so much of poor old St. William's in Ince....I grew up in a row of houses behind St. William's Presbytery and Church; I am not a Catholic but it was a huge part of my life and is currently being turned into apartments. I hope and pray that doesn't happen to St. Patrick's. Long may it continue.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 09:10

Still standing proud as always.
Sure a little bit of Ireland fell out the sky one day and nestled in the shadows of a spot not far away ….from my old home in John Street ….just 2 streets away.
A bustling vanished community gone forever.
It was the epicentre of Scholes for all who belonged there.
It warms my heart to see it. Thank you Brian..

Comment by: Poet on 2nd December 2023 at 09:44

Reminds me of the 'Crazy Cottage' that used to be on Southport Pleasure Beach .

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 10:05

It must be the way that Brian is holding the camera Poet……I can assure you it’s not falling down.. I hope it’s still standing well into the future. 2047 will be its 200th anniversary for that building. I won’t be here it would be a miracle if I was. Six generations of my family were baptised here as I was. My forebears departed from here as well. A lot of memories wrapped up in this church.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 2nd December 2023 at 10:08

St Patrick's used to have a manually pulled church bell, then in the 1970's they installed and electric bell or recording that blasted out through a speaker, is it still in use?
I also recall the priest coming back from a visit to St Peter's in Rome, he wanted the road in front converted to a similar large Piazza.
And before there are any comments yes a Piazza not Pizza, Dominoes wasn't around then!!!

Comment by: Rev David Long on 2nd December 2023 at 10:10

The shrine on the gable end is the church's WW1 Memorial. It used to hold a statue of Christ - which sadly eroded, and was also vandalised - leading to its eventual removal. There are images of the statue in my record of the Memorial on the Imperial War Museum's Register:
There is no accompanying list of the men commemorated by the Memorial.

Comment by: Arthur on 2nd December 2023 at 10:28

Very unusual design.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 2nd December 2023 at 10:44

PS I am soon off the Standish Christmas Market.
Lots of stalls, food, drink and entertainment available and St Wilfred's Church Bells are tolling merrily, it's wonderful festive annual event.
Hope someone who can upload pictures attends, I will take some pictures myself but still struggle in trying to upload them!

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh. on 2nd December 2023 at 10:55

A Jewel in Wigan's Crown. .
St. Patrick’s Parish.
Tom Walsh.
Miss Egan , long time head teacher of the boys school and a lifelong parishioner. her entire school life was devoted to the parish spending 38 years at the school; she always referred to St Patrick's Parish
' A Jewel in Wigan's Crown ' others would describe it as ' Thee Parish '. However, it is described there is no doubt that ' St. Pats ' is much loved parish with a fearlessly proud congregation. This became apparent when in the resent past the parish was part of consultation on the reorganisation of the parishes of Wigan. Thankfully, St Patrick's was spared, the steadfastness of congregation played no little part in its survival and under the outstanding leadership of Fr. O' Shea the parish goes from strength to strength. Josh Marshall was also inspirational in the dark days.
It is difficult for people with no connection to the parish to understand how all-consuming the parish family was to every aspect of life, everything seemed to revolve round parish life; particularly so before television and other means of entertainment. The social side of life also was taken care of by ' The Club ' with its 2 billiards tables, concert nights, and of course bingo ' The Nolan's ' were regular artists when they were at the outset of their careers .
When the club first opened it was a Mens only club, when the new club opened that rule was relaxed and women were 'allowed in ' at weekends. Later ' The Mother's ' would hold social evenings they raised many thousands of pounds for the parish. Father Lappin often was bowled over by the amounts they donated to the parish
I have recently been given access to the minutes of the club 1946 - 1960 they make fascinating reading .an example on 5th of June 1955 - The committee decided to buy the piece of land in Wellington Street for £20 allowing the new club to be the full length of the spare land , incidentally the minutes were scribed are signed by John Mc Dermott headmaster of the school and the voice of Rugby League in Wigan , older readers will remember him as an outstanding commentator on Wigan's matches.
After the tumultuous events of the past few years it was felt that a potted history of the parish would be appropriate . I have relied heavily of the research carried out by two stalwarts Colin Blake and Gerald Fairhurst R.I.P. and all the contributors to the wonderful and well written book 'with the sub title ' it's warmth undiminished ' published in 1997 to celebrate 150th anniversary of its foundation.
In the forward to the book Fr. William Naylor P.P. writes " As for you dear readers, may I invite you to take some pride in this story but not to stop at that. History continues day by day. Your

forefathers made you what you are; your children's children will be what you make them. Treasure your Faith, that they, too may enjoy ".I think his words are well worth repeating .
St Patrick's was not a parish when it was opened in 1847, it was a church of ease served by the clergy of St Mary's Mission (until a change in Canon Law 1918 Catholic Parishes were referred to as Missions)
The then parish priest, Fr. Middlehurst died only two months after the opening of St. Patrick's. He was succeeded by Fr. William Wells and entries in notice books of the time show St. Patrick's was still under the auspices of St. Mary's. In October 1848 St Patrick's baptismal records begins; it is reasonable to assume that this was when it became a parish in its own right .

To digress briefly, from being a church of ease at its inception, St. Patrick's 110 years later had plans to build a church of ease itself. The longest serving and much loved Parish Priest Fr. James Lappin (1953 -1985) applied for planning permission to build a church on land adjacent to Lamb Street, Whelley . A tentative name had been chosen, St. Bridget's, in the end the plans floundered, as things transpired it probably a blessing that they did.
Father Nugent a curate, at St Mary's was promoted to become first parish priest, he was to go on to found the Nugent Care Society , which still carries out invaluable work today. The work that he carried out among the poor of Liverpool is impossible to overstate. I think it's fair to say that Wigan's loss was Liverpool's gain. He died 1905. A statue of Fr. Nugent can be found in St.Johns Gardens Liverpool.
After Fr Nugent's short tenure St. Patrick's, was once again fortunate by the appointment of his cousin, Fr. Huge McCormick who would serve the parish for 26 years, he saw the parish through difficult days of the cotton famine 1862-1865. He was held in such esteem that when the new girls school was built in 1928, 53 years after his death the school was dedicated to his memory. An unusual aspect of the 'new' school was the senior girls playground was on the roof, it was designed thus because of the lack of space; it was certainly a novel use the land available. A street that ran parallel with the church also bore his name; I was fortunate to spend my childhood in 'McCormick Street 'and whilst they were basic houses, outside toilets etc, I would have not wanted my earlier years to be spent anywhere else in the world! In Wigan Cemetery there is a very impressive memorial to this obviously well respected priest, it was funded by public subscription ,which must have taken a herculean effort in those straitened times.
Including the present incumbent St.Patricks has had 15 Parish Priests, the people of the parish are rightly proud of all the holders of the office. A particular place in older members memories is held for the longest servicing, Fr. James Lappin, who was a curate for 4 year before his 32 tenure as Paris Priest. The parish has also been blessed with well over 75 curates, the longest serving of these was Fr. Thomas Carney (1912-1928). It would be remiss not to mention Fr. Joseph Burns (1977-1986) the last curate; he worked closely with Fr Lappin, they could fairly be called ' The Dream Team ' so well did they work together.
St Patrick's has rich history and has provided Wigan with many Councillors and Mayors. In the WW1 Wigan's (Wigan Brough) only recipient of The Victoria Cross was a former pupil of St.

Patrick's School, Thomas Woodcock V.C. The parish lost many parishioners in both world wars , May they Rest in Peace .
The Darkest Day in its 172 years existence was undoubtably 18th August 1908 , The Maypole Pit Disaster , 75 men were killed , 20 of whom were members of St. Patrick's congregation, many of these were part of the Irish Diaspora . One of the three survivors was also a member of the parish , Mr. Edward Farrell , many of his descendants still live in the community today. On the Sunday following the disaster a Requiem Mass was said for the dead. Dr. O’Dohaghue delivered the address. His remarks echo down the decades, he spoke of " THE VOICES OF THE DEAD CRYING OUT FOR PRAYERS " who could not be have been moved to tears by such a sermon !
On a brighter note the parish boasts many achievements; building six schools, the present primary school received OUTSTANDING on its last Ofsted inspection. Also building the largest church in Wigan which opened on the 18th March 1880 at a cost of £8000. (£905,000. today's equivalent) this in the difficult times of the late nineteenth century no mean feat .
Many sporting successes not least the wining The Daily Dispatch Shield in 1926 ( I ought to declare an interest, both my Dad and Uncle were part of that team ) which laid the foundation for ' St. Pats. ' Rugby Club which has a 'rugby worldwide' reputation, known from Fiji to Australia to New Zealand. The parish is rightly proud that the present Chairman of Wigan RLFC Ian Lenagan is a former pupil.
Please God St Patrick's celebrates its bicentenary in 2047. I would like to attend although I would be 102 by then , but you never know !

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 11:32

I remember the manually pulled bell it had a lovely sound you can see the niche in the bell tower on the photo. When that bell rang there were hoards of people all walking in the direction of the church on Sundays in the fifties. The massive bell that replaced that one was responsible for shaking the foundations of the houses roundabout. It was one of Fr Lappin’s great mistakes. I bet they got a lot for it in the scrap yard. It was horrible to look at - kept behind a wall to the side of the church. I believe it ended up with a crack in it! As children we had to collect silver bottle tops towards the cost!
Reverend David I can see the statue you mention in my mind’s eye. It was a grey colour as if it was in mourning for all the men who lost their lives. As a child I always wondered why it was such a dull grey colour. It was only when I was much older I realised why it was ‘ash grey’ ! It WAS actually a statue in mourning.

Comment by: Maureen on 2nd December 2023 at 12:22

Veronica, the song “sure a little bit of heaven fell from out the sky one day” is one of my favourite Irish songs, my little Irish grandma used to sing it to me, I can feel my eyes tearing up now.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 15:20

I must admit Maureen my little saying albeit with the words twisted somewhat, does spring from that song…Credit it to Ruby Murray who may have sung it?

Comment by: Kath H on 2nd December 2023 at 15:35

My grandparents lived in Vauxhall Road, with my Dad, his two brothers and sister Veronica. St Pats was a big part of my childhood.

Comment by: Kath H on 2nd December 2023 at 15:49

My grandparents lived in Vauxhall Road, with my Dad, his two brothers and sister Veronica. St Pats was a big part of my childhood.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 16:26

I looked up the information Reverend. The statue looked as if it was cleaned as it was almost white. I can only remember it being a mid ash grey. I thought that was its natural colour. Thanks for the information. It’s a pity there wasn’t any names of the dead to see. There must be a reason for that.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 17:26

You never forget your roots Kath. Sometimes I have a wander along Vauxhall Rd and picture who lived in the houses on the half of the road left. The most famous folk on that side was Isaac’s chippy. ;o) I can just smell them chips thinking about them. Spotless inside there.

Comment by: owd deputy on 2nd December 2023 at 20:03

Thomas Walsh - In the WW1 Wigan's (Wigan Borough) only recipient of The Victoria Cross was a former pupil of St.Patrick's School, Thomas Woodcock V.C.

There was also Alf Wilkinson VC who survived WW1 only to be killed by afterdamp down Bickershaw Colliery in 1940. Neither were from Wigan.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd December 2023 at 22:08

With respect owd deputy. You said yourself Thomas Woodcock V.C was a former pupil from St Pat’s. Yet neither of the two you mention were from Wigan ! Thomas Woodcock was born in Belvoir St yards from John St where I lived. His descendants went to St Pat’s as well.

Comment by: owd deputy on 3rd December 2023 at 00:01

Sorry if I'm wrong veronica. I didn't say he went to St Pats, Thomas Walsh did. I was led to think he was from Platt Bridge.

Comment by: Thomas (Tom)Walsh on 3rd December 2023 at 00:02

owd deputy , to reinforce Veronica's comment Thomas Woodcock V C. lived the early part of his life in Belvoir St . When he married he lived in Cambridge Street .
You're quite right Alfred Wilfred Wilkinson received a VC he lived in Leigh . There were 2 other local recipients of a V C s - William Kenelaly he was from Ashton in Makerfield . Colin Grimshaw from Abram . These areas were not part of the old Wigan Borough at that time, hence why I highlighted that fact in the article .

Comment by: Kath H on 3rd December 2023 at 08:45

Veronica. My grandparents lived in the corner house of Vauxhall road and Wellington St. I was only nine when they passed away, but I remember Rushtons shop, and another little shop on the opposite corner to them. My Uncle lived in Higham St. as you say you never forget your roots. Remember the chairs put out overnight at the bottom of Wellington St for the Whit Walks. I think I will have a wander round there to see what it’s like these days. Don’t know if you knew my family, but their name was Moore.

Comment by: Veronica on 3rd December 2023 at 09:44

I do remember the Moores Kath. I can’t remember the grandparents though. I must have seen them many a time . They lived next door to the Glovers if my memory is correct. Later on the Finney’s lived there. I could never understand why that side of Vauxhall Rd was condemned. Also Ginny Dyke’s shop on the other corner at the end of your grandparent’s row. I also remember Rushton’s shop which later became Wadsworth’s shop and they later emigrated toCanada. Then it became Rosaleen’s. I was 20 when the demolition started. It was never the same again. Communities were destroyed. I bet your mum and dad always spoke of Scholes. ;o))

Comment by: Kath H on 3rd December 2023 at 11:36

I’ve just checked Veronica. They lived at 52 Vauxhall Rd and Grandma died in 1956. My cousins Maureen and Eileen lived with them. Maureen was a nurse and went to live in America. You were maybe too young to remember them. Nice to chat to someone from Scholes. I was born in New Springs, but often went to My grandparents.

Comment by: Veronica on 3rd December 2023 at 12:51

Yes Kath it is nice to recollect folk from around there. I vaguely remember Maureen. I was 10 in ‘56. The house they lived in was on the corner of Stuart St and Vauxhall Rd. On the opposite corner to them lived the Gormans. One of those sisters used to work at Scholes Picture House in the little ticket office. They had a little dog that bit me on the ankle as I was roller skating past the house. My friend Theresa who I used to mind as a baby lived next door but one. Her mum was Marie Johnson married name Forshaw. Next to them was Miss Doherty a school teacher at St Mary’s. Her father used to play the fiddle - more so on Whit Monday .’.The Wearing o’the Green’ was a speciality. Your grandparents would have known them definitely. Those times have gone now never to return. I could write a book as they say. Nice to reminisce..;o))

Comment by: Kath H on 4th December 2023 at 15:39

I’m a year younger than you Veronica. Our paths may have crossed. x

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