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Make It, Spin It, Can It
Friday 22nd February, 2013

Make It, Spin It, Can It
Workers in front of the furnace at Wigan Rolling Mills (iron and steel) in the late nineteenth century.

A NEW exciting exhibition will set out to prove Wigan “meanz” business!

“Make it, Spin it, Can it” at the Museum of Wigan Life celebrates the Borough’s past and present achievements as a powerhouse of industrial creativity, innovation and productivity focusing on some of Wigan’s biggest names including Heinz, Santus, Poole’s and Bulldog Tools.

Many products are on display as part of the exhibition including furniture, shoes, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, pewter and a self-heating can of Heinz soup from the Second World War.

Joan Livesey, Exhibition and Display Officer for WLCT, said “The exhibition showcases the best of industry in the Borough. Many companies with a proud history, such as Bulldog Tools, Poole’s Pies and Waterfields still provide top class products. Local workers should feel very proud of what they have achieved, and we want visitors to the exhibition to share that sense of pride.”

From medieval times to the present day the scope of activity is breathtaking and it’s all thanks to Henry III and the availability of coal. He granted Wigan a charter in 1246 giving the corporation the right to trade and charge fees for markets and fairs.

“It literally was a licence to print money.” adds Joan “The availability of natural resources, such as coal, iron ore, chemicals and water fuelled rapid industrial growth.”

Early industries included clock making, pewter and bell founding. In fact, Wigan’s pewter industry rivalled the output of London in the late seventeenth century. Heavy engineering and iron working based on the transport, coal and textile industries replaced these earlier industries.

The Borough also produced innovators. For example did you know that the man who invented the motor used in the Bullet Train came from Atherton?

A highlight of the exhibition is historical film footage of the borough’s industry in action which is complemented by images from Wigan Archive Service Collections.

‘Make it, Spin it, Can it’ runs from the 18 February to the 28 September 2013 at the Museum of Wigan Life on Library Street.

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