'Otherness' Plus the Three Cs Minus Orwell: 'The Wigan Pier Experience'

Catterall, Stephen
April 2005
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Apr2005, Vol. 70 Issue 1, p103
Academic Journal
The article focuses on the Wigan Pier which became one of the most popular heritage attractions in Great Britain. The Wigan Pier Experience, opened March 21, 1986 by the Queen, was a venture initiated by the Labour dominated local authority. It takes its name from a coal chute, dubbed a pier, used to load coal barges on the Leeds-Liverpool canal which was dismantled in 1929. However, while this is the modern manifestation of the Pier, it is a notion which is much older and has assumed legendary status. The Pier Experience is a site consisting of several buildings straddling the Leeds-Liverpool canal to the immediate west of Wigan town centre. The buildings in which the exhibits are housed consist of former canalside warehouses and the exhibits are room sets and dioramas each depicting aspects of life in Wigan at the turn of the century. The Trecherfield Mill, opened in 1908, is more brooding red brick and terracotta than dark satanic. It was developed during the last great expansion of cotton mill building which pervaded the misplaced optimism of the Edwardian cotton barons. The Robert Opie Collection is exhibited in the Museum of Memories within rooms inside Trencherfield Mill.


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