Goose Green , Wigan , WN3 6SB
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Wigan's Architecture

In 1698 Celia Fiennes on her journeys round England described Wigan as a "pretty market town built of stone and brick. "

Wigan Arcades - 3 traditionally glazed arcades were:

Grimes 1870 (King St.)
Makinsons 1898 (Opposite Menzies)
Royal 1924 (Opposite Debenhams)

There is also a short one with no name next to the Post Office and more recently The Galleries have been built.
Roof Lines

There is an interesting mixture of roof styles that have remained the same even though the shop fronts have altered over the years.
Styles include : triangular, gabled, elaborate shapes, turrets and "Cupola" roofs with a "Finial."

Parish Church Roof

The original Sandstone slates were replaced by Welsh Blue slates and Green Westmorland slates. The Walmsley Chapel was built in 1620 but there is part of the tower wall that dates back to Roman times. Apart from the Parish Church, Wigan was a traditional town of half timber buildings with thatched roofs. There are still some black and white Tudor style half timber buildings but these are actually only imitations with cladding over the brickwork (in the 1920's).
Hand-made Bricks

In the 1600's bricks were mostly hand-made and examples of these are seen in The Weind, Coopers Row and the Whitesmiths Arms in Standishgate.
Hand-made Georgian, Regency and Victorian brick can be seen in Millgate, King St., The Weind and Rowbottom Square.
Ornate (fancy) ironwork is seen above the entrance to Wallgate Station.
Buildings in King St., Millgate, "Beyond the Walks in Standishgate," Water St. and Dicconson St. are all Georgian.
Behind 35, Hallgate in 1847 were cramped courts and rows of cottages as were the backs of all the main street buildings eg "The Chatteries"
47 King St. is an unusual Italian Palazzo Style.
Between 1865 and 1905 much of Wigan was rebuilt in a variety of styles which next to one another gives an unusual effect. Wigan has, however, retained much of its Medieval Street pattern.

Roman Times

Wigan was known as "Coccium."
There was cemetery where the Gasworks used to be. Coins and pottery found in Library St., the altar in the Parish Church are all pieces of evidence that the Romans lived in Wigan during the 2nd century.
The width and winding shape of the River Douglas and the steeper slopes than we see today, all made Wigan an easy place to defend.
When the shops in the Weind were being renovated, a Roman road and traces of large timber buildings were discovered and suggest that Wigan was a large and important military settlement of the time.
After the Romans the Anglo Saxons came to the Wigan area. Place names such as Bryn, Makerfield and Ince are Anglo Saxon. Scholes is Scandinavian.
Wigan as a name is not mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086 but the "Church in the Manor of Newton" is.
Lord of the Manor

The Rector of Wigan was also Lord of the Manor and had great power over the town. After the charter of 1246 people could become a Burgess or Freeman for an annual rent of 12d (5p today) and in return were given 5 Roods of land (1.25 acres), the right to feed pigs on common land, take timber from the woods and free access to the market without paying a toll.
They did, however, have to grind their corn in the Rector's mill and bake bread in his ovens. Wigan Manor House or Hall had a moat and is now known as the Rectory. Wigan is one of the 4 oldest Boroughs in Lancashire and ranked equal to Liverpool, Lancaster and Preston.
In 1635 it was the wealthiest!!
Up to the 1300's Wigan's main source of income was the market but over the following 100 years they developed Pottery, Brewing, Tanning. Woollen textile Mills, Linen, Felt Hats and coal Mining.
Robert De Standish reserved "fyrston" (firestone) and "secole" (sea coal) in an exchange of land. He got Pemberton and Orrell in 1434 and parts of Wigan in 1450. Metal working also began at this time.
In 1538 John Leland described Wigan as "as big as Warrington but better builded. There is one Parish Church amid the town. Some Marchaunts, sum artificers, sum fermers, and Mr. Bradshaw hath a place called Hawe a myle from Wigan. He hath founde moche Canal like Secole in his grounde very profitable to hym. "
The Town Wall

People have always believed that there was a wall around Wigan especially as the name of a major road into Wigan is called Wallgate, but there was more likely to be just an embankment from the side of the River Douglas, through Dicconson St., along the Mesnes, New Market St., to the moat at the Rectory along Dorning St., King St. and Rodney St. back to the river Douglas.

The Moot Hall

This was where the seats of Government were placed and was sited in the Market place on the corner opposite Library St.

The 4 main streets

Standishgate, Wallgate, Hallgate (to the Manor house) and Millgate (to the Douglas). There used to be a Holy Well off Millgate, Granaries off Hallgate and Stairgate and Jews lived in Jews Yard off Millgate.
Public Houses

Many are named after famous people of the time eg The Victoria Hotel. Pubs are constantly changing to keep up with the times and appeal to new customers. Their names are one easy way to do this eg. Buck i'th Vine (a 18th century coaching Inn to Liverpool that has been refaced several times) has been known as The Clarence and now Harry's Bar, the Dog and Partridge (another 18th century Inn) is now the Bees Knees.


These also are constantly changing. The old Town Hall in Rodney Street is now.
The Old Library is now the History Shop
The old Savings Bank in King Street is now Platt and Fishwick's Solicitors
What were rich people's houses in King Street are now shops.
The shop fronts may be regularly kept neat and "modern" but the upper storeys and roof tops tend to stay the same. Unsworth's Solicitors has a shop on either side but when you look up it is obviously one building.
Although it has an Italian Palazzo style (Greek column) front, it is a Georgian (1790's) style house with fanlight window above the door. The houses opposite have also changed into shops and have a tradesman's entrance inbetween.
The Old Blue Coat School behind the Parish Church had a thatched roof in the 1700's and a fireplace at one end (where the "good" pupils would be allowed to work). It was the very first school in Wigan and has been used as a garage amongst other things.
You can see the oval shaped wall supports on the front wall above the door.

Theatres and cinemas

Many have been knocked down
The Hippodrome boiler-house chimney can still be seen in King Street with the letters H I P on it.
The Royal Court Theatre became a cinema and is now the Walkers Bingo Hall.
The County Playhouse became a cinema and is now a Cafe Bar.
The Princes cinema is now closed down.
The Ritz was a theatre which became a cinema and still is but in Units.