Item #: 33119
1853 1st top image.
Illustration from the London Illustrated News, showing the damage caused during the miner’s strike of 1853. When it was learned that a meeting of the mine owners was taking place inside the Royal Hotel, previously the Eagle and Child Hotel, the miners gathered and rioted. You can just make out the old sign, behind which was the Wigan Theatre from 1803.
1900 circa, 2nd middle image.
The emblem “The Royal Hotel” clearly shown at the top of the building and although you can’t make out the writing at the very bottom of the shop window at the corner, it says, “We will have rain”, a prompt no doubt to buy a brolly.
1930 circa, 3rd bottom image.
The hotel now transformed into the well known store of “Woolworths”, later to become W. H. Smith.
I assume since Wigan Theatre was there in 1803 that these changing images probably cover the last 200 years.
Keith, fantastic piece of Wigan history, being a young boy in the late 40s early 50s I just remember Woolies along Station Road where we queued for the Saturday morning Minors at the Ritz.
Thank you wigginlad, I also share your fond memories. I need to correct one item. The Wigan Theatre, situated behind the Eagle and Child originated earlier. A playbill dated Tuesday August the 2nd, 1785, read, "a new Theatre had opened at the rear of the old “Eagle and Child Hotel “in Standishgate", which later changed its name to the “Royal Hotel“. Playbills of performances in 1824 and 1825 show this. The building eventually became officially known as “The Wigan Theatre“ but the "Eagle and Child" name remained in use. As late as 1836 the building was still being referred to as the “Eagle and Child “in the local press.
I notice the 1785 playbill says the "old" Eagle and Child, it makes one wonder just when the Eagle and Child may date from.
It looks like the old theatre behind the hotel in the first picture was built not far from where the Ritz was built later. I didn't realise there was three separate buildings I always thought Woolworths was built into the Royal Hotel, I must go around with my eyes shut! Interesting photos Keith. I have a booklet with the riots of the first hotel and drawings. It's fascinating to see that there was no opening for Millgate I wonder when that came about.
Thank you Keith for these photos, and the history you mention.Like I said once on here, we always get a good history lesson. The bottom photo reminds me of meeting friends Sat afternoon's,when one would say " see you at Woolies".
Really interesting to see these images Keith. I remember Woolies & the Ritz around the corner, used to go there with my sister. I wonder if there are any pics of inside the Ritz , it was very a glamourous place for me as a girl of about 10yrs old.
Helen have a look at WW. Places.I am sure I have seen inside the Ritz on this site.
The photos are rather small and it's not easy to see everything but there is an opening for Millgate and people are walking up and down it. Millgate is also on maps of that era.The two houses or shops were obviously removed later to make Station Road.The first illustration is also from a different angle to the other two photos.
Just a little extra info. In the first illustration of 1853, the shop on the corner of Millgate (but listed as Standishgate in the 1851 Census), is "Mort, Family Chemist". In the Census this is Alfred M Mort aged 33 (in 1853) and listed as Druggist and Seedsman. He is living there with his older sister who is an invalid and they have two servants. Alfred and his sister were born in Leigh.
Thanks Keith you can just see the narrow openingto Millgate, it looks like some building had to be demolished to make the road wider.