Mesnes Park

Mesnes Park, located in the heart of Wigan, is a Victorian-era public park offering a delightful space for local residents and visitors.

The park was established in 1878 and offers around 30 acres of lush green spaces, meticulously maintained gardens and flower beds, and a variety of recreational facilities.

The history of Mesnes Park is characterised by its role in the social and cultural development of Wigan. It was created in response to the need for public spaces during the rapid industrialisation of the town.

Over the years, the park has undergone numerous transformations and restorations, preserving its heritage and ensuring its continued significance in the local community.

Among its various attractions, the park features a cafe, several playgrounds, and monuments that pay homage to its past. It boasts seven listed features and buildings.

Video tour of Mesnes Park

Attractions And Features

Mesnes Park boasts a range of attractions and features, including the Boar War Memorial, Powell Monument, Pagett Memorial Garden, Coalbrookdale Fountain, and Pulham Rock Feature.

Boar War Memorial

One of the standout features of Mesnes Park is the Boer War Memorial, a tribute to the soldiers from Wigan who lost their lives in the Boer War (1899-1902). It is a replacement for a monument first erected in 1903.

The original memorial was designed by Sir William Goscombe John, a Welsh sculptor renowned for his public statues and war memorials. However, it suffered from pollution and vandalism and was removed in 1968.

The replacement memorial that stands today was erected in 2013 by the Friends of Wigan’s Boer War Memorial. Grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others funded it. It is at the top of the Dalton Steps, next to the Pavilion building. 

Powell Monument

The Powell Monument occupies a prominent position along the main drive. It was designed by Ernest Gillick (1874 – 1951) and commemorates Sir Francis Sharp Powell (1827 – 1911), who served as MP for Wigan during the Victorian era. 

The life-sized bronze statue stands on a granite plinth and raised platform, with corner posts that once held chains. It was unveiled in 1910. It is one of a handful of statues in the UK erected for a living person. Powell himself attended the ceremony.

Since the end of the Second World War, residents of the town have visited the park to rub the lucky foot of the statue. This tradition has resulted in the toe of the statue developing a gleaming sheen, distinct from the rest of the monument. 

Statue of Sir Francis Sharp Powell (conservative politician) at Mesnes Park in Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Statue of Sir Francis Sharp Powell

Pagett Memorial Garden

This formal garden was established in 1949 as a tribute to Francis James Pagett (1882 – 1949). Previously the site of tennis courts, this area was transformed into a serene sanctuary to commemorate Pagett’s service to the city of Wigan, including his term as Mayor in 1921 and his long-standing role as the Chairman of the Markets and Parks Committee.

The Pagett Memorial Garden is renowned for its stunning flower displays and meticulous landscaping. These elements blend harmoniously to create a calming environment for visitors. It is a fitting tribute to Pagett’s legacy of community service, particularly his efforts to raise substantial funds for the local hospital and various charities,

Coalbrookdale Fountain

One of the park’s key attractions is the Coalbrookdale Fountain. The original fountain was designed and manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Company, based in Ironbridge, Shropshire, and was completed in 1878, forming part of the park’s initial layout.

Coalbrookdale Fountain at Mesnes Park in Wigan.
Coalbrookdale Fountain

Unfortunately, the passage of time was not kind to the Coalbrookdale Fountain. It fell into disrepair and was removed in the 1920s. Regrettably, none of the original fountain components survived through the years.

A meticulously crafted replica was commissioned and installed in the park in 2013. The recreation was painstakingly undertaken by a local foundry, adhering to the fountain’s original plans. The foundry used traditional cast iron techniques to fabricate patterns and cast each component, resulting in a faithful reproduction of the original fountain. Today, the reborn Coalbrookdale Fountain is a testament to Wigan’s rich heritage, embodying the harmony of past craftsmanship with present-day preservation efforts.

Lake And Pulham Rock Feature

Another notable attraction is the Lake and Pulham Rock Feature.

This picturesque area offers visitors a serene setting to relax and unwind and is an essential habitat for various forms of lake wildlife. The lake attracts multiple species of waterfowl, including tufted ducks, mallards, and common moorhens.

The Pulham Rock Feature, situated at the lake’s northern end, boasts an interesting history and a unique design. It was built by renowned landscape designers James Pulham & Son of Hertfordshire.

The Pulham family was known for their work on many of England’s larger country estates and their specialisation in creating naturalistic landscapes. Often, these landscapes showcased rockwork formations made from artificially placed natural stone or a material called ‘Pulhamite.’ However, the feature in Mesnes Park stands out as it is created almost entirely from natural rock, with only small areas of ‘Pulhamite’ used.

Unfortunately, the waterfall had stopped functioning by the start of the First World War, and the rockwork became overgrown.

Thankfully, recent restoration efforts have brought the Pulham Rock Feature and waterfall back to their former glory, allowing visitors to appreciate this historic landmark’s craftsmanship and natural beauty.

Pulham Rock Feature, Mesnes Park Wigan.
Pulham Rock Feature

Pavilion and Cafe

The Pavilion is the park’s central feature and is a Grade II listed building. It was completed in 1880 and is constructed to an octagonal plan in cast iron, clad on the outside with brick and terracotta tiling. Internally, it has two floors. The Pavilion’s crowning glory is its large lantern, meticulously crafted by Walter MacFarlane and Co of the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow.

It received a much-needed refurbishment in 2010 and now houses Frederick’s at the Pavilion, a cafe and ice cream parlour. This family-owned business offers visitors a delightful array of fresh meals and their signature ice cream. In the summer, patrons are rewarded with an excellent view of the park from its outdoor seating area.

This historical structure also presents a unique backdrop for various functions, adding a touch of nostalgic charm to any event.

Dalton Steps, Boer War Memorial and Pavilion at Mesnes Park in Wigan.
Dalton Steps, Boer War Memorial and Pavilion

Playgrounds

The park is an excellent destination for families with young children, with play areas on its western side. There’s a toddlers’ play area plus a playground for older children.

Toddlers' play area at Mesnes Park in Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Toddlers’ play area
Playground at Mesnes Park in Wigan.
Playground

Bandstand

Constructed in 1891 by George Smith & Co of Glasgow, the bandstand has been a popular outdoor music venue for over a century.

The ten-sided design, cast-iron columns with intricate detailing, and a metal-clad wooden roof showcase the remarkable craftsmanship of the era. Despite losing some original elements, the bandstand has retained its historical essence through careful restoration.

Today, it stands not only as a beacon of Wigan’s past but also as a vibrant venue for community events. Its distinctive architecture provides a picturesque setting that continually brings the community together in celebration of music and shared experiences.

Outdoor gym and bandstand, Mesnes Park, Wigan.
Outdoor gym and bandstand

Main Gates And Entrance Lodge

The Main Gates and Entrance Lodge are located at the main entrance. The cast iron gates were erected in 1878 and are adorned with the Wigan town shield.

The Entrance Lodge, also built in 1878, was designed by WH Fletcher of London and inspired by the rustic chalets of Switzerland. It was extended in 1928 with the addition of a two-storey wing.

History

The park’s origins date back to the latter half of the 20th century, with various renovations and restorations taking place over the years, leading to its current state as a beautifully restored, multi-faceted recreational space.

Mesnes Park owes its existence to Nathaniel Eckersley. Eckersley was a mill owner, a banker, a High Sheriff of Lancashire, and a Conservative MP. Among his notable contributions, it is the creation of the park that has left an enduring legacy. Eckersley funded the purchase of the land, providing the industrial town of Wigan with a much-needed oasis of greenery and tranquillity.

In 1877, a public park design contest was staged, and the winner was John McClean from Castle Donington. He was subsequently awarded the contract to oversee the project execution.

The park officially opened in 1878. The iconic Pavilion was completed in 1880 and became the park’s centrepiece. A decade later, in 1890, the majestic bandstand was erected.

In the early 20th century, the park continued to evolve. 1903 saw the unveiling of the Boer War statue, funded through public subscription, and the statue of Sir Francis Sharpe Powell was added in 1910. However, by 1921, the Coalbrookdale Fountain had fallen into disrepair and was sadly removed.

The latter part of the 20th century saw renewed interest in the park’s preservation. In 1998, the “Friends of Mesnes Park” was formed, marking a resurgence of community dedication towards maintaining and enhancing the park’s charm and heritage.

Bolstered by this local passion, the park received a significant £6.5m Renovation Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2005, paving the way for a comprehensive refurbishment of this precious space to its Victorian glory.

The grand reopening occurred in September 2013. The event showcased the park’s rebirth, revealing restored lodges, shelters, the café, and the reinstatement of the Coalbrookdale Fountain and the Pulham Rock Feature. Later in the same year, a new Boer War Memorial was proudly unveiled.

Economic And Social Impact On The Local Community

Mesnes Park has significantly influenced Wigan’s economic and social development. The park is an important asset that attracts visitors from surrounding areas, benefiting the local economy.

In addition to promoting physical activity and healthy living, Mesnes Park contributes to a sense of community pride in Wigan by offering free public events such as live music concerts and theatre performances.

Opening Times And Entry

Mesnes Park is a municipal park. It is open to the public every day from dawn until dusk.

There is no entry fee. 

Location, Getting There, and Parking

The park is situated immediately north-west of Wigan town centre. There are a few entrances to the park, but the main entrance can be found at the intersection of Bridgeman Terrace and Mesnes Park Terrace.

Although there is no designated car park, pay and display parking is available on Mesnes Park Terrace, with free parking on Sundays. Parking spaces may fill up quickly during peak times, such as weekends and public holidays.

Cars parked on Mesnes Park Terrace in Wigan.
Parking – Mesnes Park Terrace

The park is easily accessible from Wigan Bus Station, Wigan North Western Train Station, and Wigan Wallgate Train Station

Shelter and old man walking in Mesnes Park, Wigan.
Shelter

Comparison To Other Parks In Wigan

Mesnes Park in Wigan is one of several parks in Wigan and the surrounding areas. Others include Haigh Woodland Park, Fairy Glen, Worthington Lakes, Borsdane Wood and Orrell Water Park.

  • Haigh Woodland Park – This sprawling park offers woodland and miles of nature trails for visitors to explore. In addition to its natural beauty, Haigh Woodland Park also boasts excellent facilities such as golf courses, an adventure playground, a high ropes course, and places to eat and drink. The playground is best in the Wigan area.
  • Fairy Glen – Situated above the rural village of Appley Bridge, Fairy Glen offers stunning waterfalls and picturesque scenery. Parking is limited.
  • Worthington Lakes – This country park near Standish boasts three reservoirs.
  • Borsdane Wood – This serene and beautiful woodland is rich in biodiversity. It offers no playground or other facilities.
  • Orrell Water Park – Nature reserve and fishery in Orrell, Wigan.

Nearby Attractions

Tourist attractions and things to do near Mesnes Park include:

  • AMF Bowling Wigan (0.6 miles) - Ten pin bowling centre in Wigan.
  • Wigan Pier (0.7 miles) - Area made famous by George Orwell. Currently being redeveloped as the Wigan Pier Quarter.

Nearby Shopping

Places to shop near Mesnes Park include:

Nearby Restaurants

Restaurants and places to eat and drink near Mesnes Park include:

Nearby Hotels

Hotels near Mesnes Park include:

  • Mercure Wigan Oak Hotel (0.4 miles)

Nearby Transport Links

Transport links near Mesnes Park include:

Nearby Train Stations

Train stations near Mesnes Park include:

Map

Map showing location of Mesnes Park.

Map showing location of Mesnes Park

Details

Mesnes Park

Address and postcode
Mesnes Park Terrace
Wigan
Greater Manchester
United Kingdom
WN1 1TU