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Does anyone remember the Ribble Cabinet Co., Mrs Jolly's electrical shop, she was often seen sat in the window as you passed by.

Comment by: Susan abram (wigan, Uk) on 24th June 2020

My great grandads, grandad ,uncle i would spent all my school hols being on waterways the horses .my great grandad martland dies when the swindle tree snapped when Maggie the horse pulled too hard rope snapped and hit him in the head .I loved my days getting full of coal (They were one of the best days of my life .I would be about 3 )my great grandad was a funny lovely strong and handsom man whilst my other great grandad was tiny but a star of a man .we had 25 wonderfull happy times .Now its gone .

Comment by: Gary (Wigan , Lancashire ) on 21st September 2015

Can anyone help me with my family research. My great grandma (Mary nee Armstrong but known as Polly) lived with her family at the family Cobblers business 52 Millgate. Her father James was a cobbler and originally from Ireland. There were additional dwellings behind the shop I believe in the yard (Fairhurst Yard) which is where she later lived with her husband Samuel Speakman. Any snippets would be wonderful and especially any photos.

Comment by: Alan Spacer (Wigan, The United Kingdom of Great Britain & NI) on 18th December 2013

Wigan has always been a total crap hole. Ever since it was founded. In fact it's such a crap hole it even had a book written by George Orwell who needed to use 200 pages to describe how much of a crap hole it is. Despite this, I wouldn't want fer live anywhere else, no other town compares! LONG LIVE WIGAN!

Comment by: Mike Browne (Weymouth, Dorset, UK) on 26th March 2012

I am enquiring about the picture on the right at the top of this page. Could any of you Wigan folk confirm to me please that this was almost next to the Council Offices at the top of Millgate and was No 18, and back about 15 years ago it had a shop fascia saying Liz Elastic, and previously had been a furniture shop. If so this was in the 1860/70s the Saddlers Shop of my GGGrandfather John Ashton, the family later under his som William moved round the corner to The Wield

Comment by: Catherine Smith Uffen (Toronto, Ontario Canada) on 14th February 2012

I'm looking for Michael Barrington - his mother Norah married my Uncle Leslie Stephen Smith around 1946 - they came to Canada. Norah died and Michael was returned to England to his father. Michael's middle name might have been Howard. If you know him, please call me 1-519-273-3336 or catherine.uffen@rogers.com

Comment by: Steve Connelly (Standish, Wigan, England) on 11th December 2011

My great uncle, John Holland, who lived at 33, Wall St., Wigan, was a director of Boardmans and Ribble Cabinet. I remember the pet shop opposite and the cafe on the corner where my mate Terry Goulden an I used to go in for a coffee and a fag and play the jukebox, but we always called it 'Black Sams' and many a time we went in to the Empress Hall through the Palais entrance.

Comment by: Angie (Whitworth, UK) on 24th November 2011

Does anyone rememeber Orme Singleton or Jean Whittaker from the Ribble Cabinet Company I think they married

Comment by: Ray Parr (Chorley, Lancashire) on 23rd June 2011

I remember Kelly’s Cafe at the bottom of Millgate where I spent a lot of my youth drinking coffee and playing at Billy big time. I also have very fond memories of Moss’s dance rooms opposite the old bus station and Platt Bridge Pro great places for Rock and Roll in the 50s.

Comment by: Edna Booth (Warrington, UK) on 3rd March 2011

Yes I remember the Ribble Cabinet Company shop. In the 1950s it had become part of the Boardman Furnishing Company, Head Office in Leigh, owned by a fellow called Jack Rubin, who I think was also a director of Leigh Rugby League Club. I was then working as secretary to the Credit Manager at Boardmans, and sometimes, to earn a bit extra, I worked on Saturday mornings at some of the subsidiary shops - one being the Ribble. I think it was then managed by a fellow called Whitworth (the previous owner). Also on the town-centre side of Millgate I remember a shop which sold waterproofs (then known as "macs".

Comment by: Ashley (Wolverhampton, England) on 20th July 2010

A collection of moments for me when my life came into contact with Millgate. Earliest was in the 1940's, attending a Boxing match at the Baths including the 3d lucky dip bran tub, filled with sawdust and a few (very few) lucky tickets as you plunged your hand deep into it to try and find a prize number (never did). My father took me along with an acquaintance of his, who it turned out, I believe, to be an uncle of Johnny Bradburn (owner of the JJB shop), not that it mattered, what did matter was that I was more than alarmed to be standing next to him and he seemed to have the loudest voice in the world. As the bouts began he never stopped for a moment throughout the tournament with continual shouts of advice to the fighters, it was both deafening and alarming to a six year old. Another was attending the Medical centre as a 5 year old for a health check (I'd had scarlet fever the year before) and as a student at the Art College housed in the Technical College in the late 50's which overlooked Millgate and finally kissing my first girlfriend at the top of Stairgate. Indelible memories, thank you Millgate.

Comment by: Dave Cockrell (WIGAN , UK) on 16th February 2010

My late Grandfather, Jack Cockrell was the Baths Manager in Millgate for many years until his retirement in the mid-1960's when the new swimming pool was completed. The Baths Building had many other functions besides swimming. Do people remember the winter months when the Gents Plunge was drained and a wooden floor placed over it ? Throughout the winter months, Boxing, Wrestling, Partys and Dances took place on it, but my favourite pastime was riding my bike or roller skating on it when it was empty. In those days the Ladies Plunge was open to all through the winter, not just Wednesday afternoons. As I remember it was always 10degs warmer, or is that my imagination? Once you'd got through the gate at the ticket office there was a trophy cabinet in the wall on the left of the Hallway, full of Wigan Swimming and Water Polo Clubs Trophys, including a couple my Dad (Also Jack) won during his swimming career. There was a side entrance to the Building accessed from the yard behind Dewhursts shop which was on the bottom corner of Millgate. This lead you eventually to a Ballroom at first floor above the Laundry, complete with Bar and "Lloyd Loom" wicker chairs and tables. We still have a couple of photos of the Pool with the wooden dance floor down and a stage adorned with potted Palm Plants. One of my Grandfathers favourite haunts was the Bath Springs Hotel across the road and the Landlord was a great friend of his. Sometimes on a Wednesday, when they took a day off, they would catch the train to Liverpool and sail to either Llandudno or the Isle of Man by steamer. The Landlord had a grandson called Bobby who used to come across to the Baths for a swim when we were toddlers. There was also a Leather Shop higher up than the Pub which eventually became Rugby Motors,owned and operated by a few players at Wigan RLFC. The Clinic, the Pet Shop,Makinsons,Jolleys Sweet Shop, a chapel, Wigan Mining and Technical College, Stairgate, together with a good number of houses and yards, with such businesses as Cloggers & Shoe Repairers and Upholsterers dotted around them, all made Millgate quite a busy place in the 1950's

Comment by: Irene Roberts (wigan,lancs, England) on 6th February 2010

I remember as a very small child being taken to the Welfare Clinic on Millgate, where we got Welfare Orange Juice in little bottles, extremely concentrated and sweet, and they also supplied tins of National Dried Milk for babies.

Comment by: julia fairclough nee o' neill (wigan, lancs) on 20th January 2010

i remember the new way cafe in station rd also oxley's clothes shop waring & gidlow furniture shop .does anybody remember howard's toy shop next to joan barry's top of wallgate think is now subway cafe, moon under water did'nt used to be bullogh's television shop

Comment by: tom eccy (wigan, england) on 10th October 2009

we're having a debate in our pub, (bath springs bryn) can you help, was there ever a pub across the road from the ship ? i don't remenber one personally so if there was it has to be in the 1950.s

Comment by: Norman (Adelade, Australia) on 7th July 2009

G'day mayte I dont remember I'm afraid

Comment by: Ed Rudd (Ashton, UK) on 17th June 2009

Ned. Did that Jesse James Holding go to St catherines School, if so, where is he now?

Comment by: stephen foster (blackpool lancs, uk) on 10th February 2009

i remember the pet shop owner walking a mountain lioness through wigan on a rope lead

Comment by: Norman Cunliffe (Wigan, England) on 2nd January 2009

Yes,I remember Tom Whalley's black panther. I used to live in Millgate. My mother was Mrs.Sally Cunliffe who had the grocer's shop opposite to the pet shop. I once saw the panther drag Mr.Whalley up and down the railway embankment between the River Douglas and the Central Station in Station Road (where the Grand Arcade now is). He couldn't control the animal; he was dragged down the embankment several times on his backside. Health and Safety Regulations weren't in existence in those days.

Comment by: MIKE (STANDISH, ENGLAND) on 30th December 2008


Comment by: carol kelly (wigan, england) on 10th September 2008

does anyone remember kellys cafe 86 millgate the teddy boys went in there to play the juke box it was my nans and grandads elsie and thomas kelly

Comment by: Ned Melling (Wigan, England) on 8th July 2008

I was banned from Harry's cafe in Millgate thanks to the notorious Jesse James Holding and his motley crew of miscreants. They loosened the tops of the salt and pepper pots. The punters got a shock. We got the boot and I, completely innocent, hadn't finished my prato pie.

Comment by: joependlebury (elsiewagga, australia) on 3rd July 2008

yes i remember this shop.a bloke called derek tootill worked there. i wonder if he is still alive he must be pushing 70 if he is.it was rumoured he was mrs jolleys toy boy but i dont think so he had a dommineering wife he was frightened of if anyone knows him give him my regards i will be over july to visit family

Comment by: Jean Glover (nee Ashcroft (Orrell, Wigan, England) on 9th June 2008

In 1946 I started work in the old stone warehouse opposite the Ribble Cabinet Co. It was occupied by the Wigan & District Chamber of Trade and The Wigan Traders Transport Association. This was for the traders of Wigan who Pooled their petrol coupons to ease the difficulty of petrol rationing. When rationing finished they closed down and the Chamber of Trade moved to Clarence Chambers in Wallgate (over Hellers)

Comment by: LEONARD GORE (wigan, england) pre 2009.


Comment by: derek tootill (wigan, england) pre 2009.

i remeber slow joes cafe in millgate we where in that saterday when joe pendlbury and is mother did a runner it was a sad sight seeing slow joe running down millgate derek

Comment by: amanda lyon (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

many apologies to chris(tine) fleetwood didn't recognise the married name. after consulting my dad (david Lyon) I realised my mistake sorry!!!!!!!

Comment by: amanda lyon (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

my great-grandma was mrs jolley my nan (her daughter) used to take me and my sister there as kids my favourite "toys" were the battery testers. We used to go in the cellar and tell ghost stories. don't know who Chris fleetwood of NewZealand is though?

Comment by: degs (fernie, canada) pre 2009.

Wasn't the cafe across from the ritz called the New way in the fifties I remember it?

Comment by: chris fleetwood (Christchurch, New Zealand) pre 2009.

My grandma was Mrs Jolley who owned the electrical shop on Millgate opposite The Wigan Casino .Does anyone remember the pet shop and the black panther that used to go for walks on his lead !!!

Comment by: Ste Gallagher (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

Mrs Whitney ran the Empress cafe, blue rinses abound...Wonderful old lady:)

Comment by: alf j, wigan (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

Hello Doreen C, Wigan:- My grandfather Frank Julien married James Armstrongs daughter Eliza @ Christ Church, Millgate in 1903.I remember James Armstrong (the owner) but there were at least two other men working in the shop.Perhaps one of these could be your father.

Comment by: d orrell (billinge, uk) pre 2009.

the cafe just before the top of millgate was thurstons.mr thurston lived opposite us in lessingham ave.what value for money though.

Comment by: Beth Dewhurst (Diss, Norfolk) pre 2009.

Hello Doreen C, I certainly do remember Dewhurst's toffee shop. It belonged to my grandad until mum and dad (Norman and Millie)took it over. They moved out in the early sixties to make way for the Wigan baths. We lived in Marsh Green for a while after that. My best memories of that early child hood was sitting in the shop window watching the walking day parades.

Comment by: James Holding (Wigan, Uk) pre 2009.

Was Slow Joe's cafe the same one as Harry's cafe? We used to go to Harry's cafe during the school break in the 60s. We always had his potatoe pie. A lad called Norm Melling asked Harry if the there was any meat in his potatoe pie. Harry asked what it would be without meat and we all chorused "potatoe pie". Eventually we were banned for unscrewing the top of the pepper pot which was used by two blokes we called "the tramps". They wore scruffy old overcoats. We were already banned from the chippy opposite for unscrewing the tops of the vinegar bottles. We must have been a terrible bunch of kids - not like the well behaved little angels of today.

Comment by: Jim Fairhurst (Fleetwood, England) pre 2009.

Joe, your last entry made me laugh. We used to go to Slow Joe's for our lunch during the sixties. We were on day release at 'the tech'. We got about an hour and half for lunch, but at Slow Joe's it was touch and go if you'd manage to get all the courses... Pie Chips and Peas, without being late back. Does anywhere else other than Wigan have characters like 'Slow Joe'? God bless him. Does anyone else remember the cafe opposite the Ritz, next to the wigan casino? Was it called the empress? All I remember was that you had to buy a ticket at the counter, which you presented at a serving hatch for your food. Great food though.

Comment by: joe pendlebury (winstanley, england) pre 2009.

i remember slow joes cafe in millgate it was on the right hand side coming up from woolies me mam used to bribe me into helping her with the shopping on satudays by taking me for babbies yed chips peas and gravy. the place was a dump the service painfully slow but well worth the wait. ive often wondered what happened to slow joe. he probably died of exhaustion because you never saw anyone else working in the place

Comment by: MarionCampbell(nee green) (preston, lancs eng) pre 2009.

Iremember going to the court school of dancingin 1960 then onto the wigan Emp every Friday night.I met a lad at the "court school"His name was Harold Barringer Athe Emp my last night was 1963 when i moved to preston.Ileft behind a lad named Terry,cried my heart out,Iwonder if either remember Terry was from worsley mense

Comment by: Doreen wigan (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

I also worked at Ribble Cabinet and left in 1958 to get married.The manager then was Frank Tomlinson and the salesman Jim Davidson.Iworked in the office with two other girls Olive and Margaret who i have not seen since then.

Comment by: Carol Watson (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

My cousin, Jean, worked in the office in Ribble Cabinet Co. I stayed on at school, funds were low and I was more than grateful when she got me a Saturday job there. We had lots of good laughs and good times. People used to come in every week to pay money off the purchases they had made. A lot of the customers had been trading with the firm for many years. There was always a good deal for regulars. I was there from 1958 to 1961 and remember the staff and customers as being very friendly. During holiday periods, I was sent to help out at Boardman's in Mesnes St and Whitworth's in Darlington St.- all part of the same firm. Our Jean and I were only talking about the others, who worked there, when she came to visit recently.

Comment by: doreen c (wigan, england) pre 2009.

i have a friend Margaret, and she was telling me that her dad used to work in armstrong's boot repairer's in millgate does any-one remember them and marsden's wholesaler's, dewhurst's toffee shop, walker's leather merchant's, and the bath hotel pub, her dad's name was mr; walker

Comment by: S Bellis 'nee Maycock' (Wigan, Lancs) pre 2009.

I remember the Ribble Cabinet. I lived next door at no 11. The barbers shop was on our other side at no 9 and Mrs Hough's grocer's shop at no 7. I remember the Jolley family and the Farimond brothers at the Ship Inn. My grandmother lived at no 72 and my aunt at no 70 Mrs Cunliffe 'grocers opposite the clinic The Sutherland family used to live at what is the old Pennington;s furniture shop The chip shop' The Borough Cafe' Bill Lowe's the builder The Ellison Family The Kelly Family Most of my ancestors lived in Millgate and the Wiend The old Palais de Dance and the old swimming baths

Comment by: RON HUNT (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

I remember a small bar known as "THE GREEN CURTAIN" Did it have a proper name? or was that it? It was next to the entrance to the Palais.

Comment by: Rose Khan (Clinton Iowa, USA) pre 2009.

Does anyone remember "Dirty Dicks" chippy? I think it was up a street that was opposite where Woolworths used to be, was that called Fishergate? Im not sure?. I remember once when we went in there, I was only about 7 yrs old at the time and he asked if I wanted a mineral water with my chips, I said "I dont want that Mineral water, I want Pop"!!! I used to love going in there, they were really good fish and chips.

Comment by: Pat van Vliet (Zutphen, Netherlands) pre 2009.

I remember the chippy in Millgate, though can't remember the name. A group of us kids would very often go swimming at the old baths on a Saturday morning (water very cold in those days)and we would call at the chippy in Millgate afterwards for a bag of chips and a penny crust. (They had a little cafe in the back and sold bread and butter with the meals and the crusts that were left over were sold to the kids.)

Comment by: Gerry Mawdsley (Higher Ince, England) pre 2009.

Who remembers "Slow Joes Cafe" in Millgate. Chips pudding gravy 2 bread and a cup of tea for half a crown...