SD5705 : Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Wigan Pier

taken 6 years ago, near to Wigan, Great Britain

Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Wigan Pier
Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Wigan Pier
The disused warehouse on the left is the nineteenth century warehouse which, for a time, housed the "Way We Were" museum as part of the "Wigan Pier Experience" attraction (which closed in 2007). Ahead is the tower of the Grade II listed Trencherfield Mill.
Wigan Pier
Wigan Pier was made famous by a joke and a book. George Formby Senior (father of the more famous ukulele-playing George Junior) included jokes about Wigan Pier in his Victorian Music Hall act whilst writer George Orwell used the pier as a symbol of the region’s industrial decline when he wrote the book “the Road to Wigan Pier” in 1936.

Despite the humorous connotations of the name which conjures up an image of a seaside pleasure pier, whilst Wigan is in fact an inland and traditionally industrial town, the pier was not simply an invention of fiction. The original "pier" was a coal loading staithe, probably a wooden jetty, where wagons from a nearby colliery were unloaded into waiting barges on the canal. Wigan pier was a “Tippler”. Coal laden trucks, or tubs, from nearby collieries would travel down tracks to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. They would hit the jetty and tipple (topple over), unloading the coal into the waiting barges. There were many of these tipplers along the canal. The pier here was connected to Winstanley Colliery and became known as the Wigan Tippler or Wigan Pier.

George Orwell looked for the pier but was unable to find it (LinkExternal link George Orwell, BBC Overseas Service broadcast, 2 December 1943); in his book, he wrote “..and even the spot where it used to stand is no longer certain” (The Road to Wigan Pier, Ch 4). Orwell couldn’t find the original pier because it had been demolished in 1929, with the iron from the tippler mechanism being sold as scrap for £34. A replica was built in 1986 by students of Wigan and Leigh College.

Today, the name “Wigan Pier” refers to the area around the canal around the original pier. In the 1980s, the canal warehouses were restored and put into use as a museum, exhibition hall and pub. The nearby Trencherfield Mill was incorporated into the "Wigan Pier Experience", with a waterbus linking it to the main site. The area is set to undergo a further transformation with the development of a cultural "Wigan Pier Quarter" which will include a performance centre and retail outlets.
Leeds and Liverpool Canal :: SD8842
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in Northern England at 127 miles long. The first of the trans-Pennine canals it took 46 years to build at a cost of five times the original budget, mainly because of the length and complexity of the route. It passes through 91 locks with a summit level of 487 feet at Foulridge near Nelson and Colne. It was originally conceived in the 18th century to carry woollen goods from Leeds and Bradford and limestone from Skipton but in its 19th century heyday it carried stone, coal and many other goods. The impact of the railways was not as great as with other canals and commercial traffic continued along the main canal until 1964. Regular work stopped in 1972 when the movement of coal to Wigan Power Station ceased. In the latter part of the 20th century the leisure potential of the canal was developed and it is now a popular destination for cruising, fishing, walking and cycling. See LinkExternal link for detailed information.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for Large scale mapping
Change to interactive Map >
Grid Square
SD5705, 257 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Monday, 6 May, 2013   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 8 May, 2013
Geographical Context
Canal (from Tags)
Leeds and Liverpool 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 575 052 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:32.5084N 2:38.5226W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 574 052
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
Clickable map

Image classification(about): Geograph
This page has been viewed about 184 times.
View this location: KML (Google Earth) · Google MapsExternal link · Bing MapsExternal link · OS Map Checksheet · Geograph Map · geotagged! More Links for this image
W Go E
You are not logged in login | register