Made famous by its reference in George Orwell’s book, Wigan Pier is a wharf on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
The area was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s and 1990s as a tourism and leisure destination. However, most of the attractions here have now closed.
The Way We Were was a museum about Victorian life in Wigan. It shut in 2007 due to low visitor numbers. The Wigan Pier nightclub was one of the premier venues in the UK for bouncy house music. It closed in 2011 and the building was demolished in 2015. The Orwell pub is no longer in business.
The Trencherfield Mill is a cotton mill built in 1907. It has now been converted into apartments but its ground floor still houses one of the world’s largest working steam engines. The Trencherfield Mill Engine is open to the public but has limited opening hours. At the time of writing (May 2015) it is open on Sundays from 11 to 11.45 am and 1 to 1.45 pm.
At the start of 2015 plans were announced to regenerate the area as the Wigan Pier Quarter. A 10-year redevelopment plan was agreed between Wigan Council, the Canal & River Trust, and developers H2O Urban.
Plans for the Wigan Pier Quarter include a performance venue, homes, shops, a community garden on the site of the nightclub, improvements to the canal and towpaths, new moorings, and a car park. Work is expected to commence in 2016.
Despite the closures and redevelopment work, Wigan Pier is still an interesting area to visit. Most areas are accessible to the general public.
Wigan Pier is located at the southern end of Wigan town centre, just a short walk from both Wigan Wallgate Train Station and Wigan North Western Train Station.
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