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Wigan Pier Quarter’s Historic Sculptures
Monday 24th November, 2008

Wigan Pier Quarter’s Historic Sculptures
Pictures of the sculptures

A pit brow lass, bargee, mill worker and a boat builder will soon be greeting visitors to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath that cuts through the Wigan Pier Quarter.

Life sized sculptures are set to be installed at the 8 ½ acre site to mark the area’s rich industrial past.

Each sculpture will be accompanied with an interpretation panel introducing the character and explaining just what was involved in their job.

The hope of organisers is that the sculptures will provide a means to celebrate Wigan’s past and become mini-attractions in their own right.

Keith Bergman, Tourism Development Manager for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust said: “More than half a million local people and visitors use the towpath through Wigan Pier each year.

“The sculptures will, I am sure, be of fascination and interest to all who pass them and be something to generate local pride in the past.”

The sculpture of the pit brow lass will be situated adjacent to the Wigan Pier Tippler. She tells of the hard work of the ‘Lasses’ and of the scandal that they caused in Victorian society by wearing trousers.

The Wigan Pier Heritage Interpretation Scheme has been developed and managed by a partnership of Wigan Council, British Waterways, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust and the Wigan Pier Quarter Consultation Group.

The scheme forms part of a wider programme of investment in the Wigan Pier Quarter.

To date £385,000 has been spent on replacing the pavement on Pottery Road and repainting Pottery Road Bridge. Machinery exhibits at Trencherfield Mill have also been repainted and the historic dry dock on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal has been fully refurbished.

The funding has come from the Heritage Lottery, The Regeneration Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The sculptures, each made of heavy duty – durable plastic and coated to resemble brass - will be installed at Changeline Bridge (Pottery Road), behind Trencherfield Mill and next to ‘Bottom Lock’ at the dry dock.

Simon Kensdale, Wigan Council Regeneration Office said: “These installations, alongside other developments within the Wigan Pier Quarter, such as the Trencherfield Engine House, the new Wigan Pier Arts and Heritage Learning Centre, the public realm improvements and the proposed new hotel, restaurant and pub, will ensure that Wigan Pier and its heritage remains an attraction to borough residents and tourists.”

Keith Bergman added: “I can see boaters, walkers and cyclist all stopping to have their photos taken next to the sculptures.”

“They might turn out to be Wigan’s Gormleys!”

The individual characters and themes of the interpretation panels were developed out of a series of consultations and workshops involving local residents, Drumcroon Arts Centre and pupils from Hawkley Hall High School.

The scheme will be on-site and launched in February 2009.

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