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Wigan Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    Wigan was part of the territory of the ancient Brigantes who ruled most of Northern England in pre-Roman times. Following the Roman conquest of Britain Wigan was part of their Coccium settlement. In 1246, King Henry III made Wigan a Royal borough. During the English Civil War, Wigan supported the Royalist cause. The 7th Earl of Derby, James Stanley, used Wigan as his headquart...Read moreers until the town was captured by parliamentary forces in April 1643. Wigan experienced dramatic economic expansion during the Industrial Revolution and became a centre for textile manufacturing and coal mining. This success was encouraged when Wigan became one of the first towns in Britain to get a railway. Following the decline of the coal and textile industries in the north of England, Wigan gained an unwanted reputation as an impoverished town when George Orwell wrote about the town’s poor living and working conditions in ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’. Although some people have embraced the Orwellian link and the tourist trade that it brings, many still resent the image that the book portrayed. Read less

  • 2. Now

    Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester that is famous for its leading sports teams: rugby league side Wigan Warriors who compete in the Super League and Wigan Athletic who play in the Premier League. Many of the town’s historic mills and buildings have been renovated and transformed and are now homes and offices.

  • 3. Events

    Wigan has been the home of the annual World Pie Eating Championship since 1992. The event usually takes place at Harry’s Bar on Wallgate and sees competitors from around the world take part. In 2006, following pressure from the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian pie option was added to the competition.

  • 4. Attractions

    Wigan is home to 216 listed buildings and 20 of these buildings are Grade II listed. One of these buildings is Haigh Hall which was built in 1827-1840. The manor house is surrounded by 250 acres of country park. One of Wigan’s biggest attraction is the 5.5 metre tall ‘Face of Wigan’ stainless steel statue which is displayed in Wigan town centre. The sculpture was made by...Read more Rick Kirby. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    The Museum of Wigan Life was opened in 1878 and chronicles the history of the town. George Orwell used the museum to research his famous book ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’. The Grand Shopping Centre is a popular shopping destination which was opened in 2007.

  • 6. Business

    The headquarters of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority are located in Wigan as well as the head offices for Totes the bookmakers. H. J. Heinz has a 55 acre food processing facility in Wigan that is the biggest of its kind in Europe.

  • 7. Transport

    Wigan has two railway stations, Wigan North Western and Wigan Wallgate. Wigan North Western provides express trains to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Lancaster, Birmingham and London Euston. Wigan is located at the meeting point of the A49 and A577 which both link to the M6, M61 and M58 motorways so the town has excellent transport links.

  • 8. Entertainment

    Wigan Little Theatre is a small 230 seater theatre that offers a range of shows in an intimate environment. The historic and beautiful building hosts drama, comedy and musical performances. The DW Stadium is the home of both Wigan Athletic football team and the Wigan Warriors Rigby League side. Whether you are a football or rugby fan you are sure to be entertained at a match w...Read moreith these leading teams. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    The Grade II listed Mab’s Cross in Wigan is a medieval stone cross that is estimated to date back to the 13th century. Local legend tells that Sir William Bradshaw made his wife Lady Mabel Bradshaw walk from her home at Haigh Hall to Mab’s Cross barefoot once a week as a penance for committing bigamy.

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    Wigan’s most famous son is ukulele player and singer George Fornby who is still well known today for his songs ‘Leaning on a Lamp Post’ and ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’. There is a statue of Formby in Wigan’s Grand Arcade shopping centre.


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