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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Wednesday, 9th November, 2011)

Face of Wigan

Face of Wigan
A closer look of the sculpture at the Wiend.

Photo: Janice Freeman  (Canon DIGITAL IXUS 95 IS)
Views: 4,366

Comment by: alan on 9th November 2011 at 00:02

I had a rash like that once.

Comment by: Babsie on 9th November 2011 at 00:03

Great picture Janice, really like the close up pic of it.. :)

Comment by: Roy H on 9th November 2011 at 08:48

An old shot of a subject that frightens the kids.

Comment by: irene roberts on 9th November 2011 at 09:14

Helen of Troy was The Face that sunk a thousand ships This is The Face that sunk a thousand shops. What on earth has this monstrosity got to do with Wigan? There is a photo on The Album, as of last week, of Millgate when the old Wigan Baths was still standing, and the place had character; it now has about as much character as a bin-bag.And just look at its eyes.....they are sightless like those of the Council who spent money on it when people are waiting for beds at Wigan Infirmary. Talk about The Lunatics have taken over The Asylum!

Comment by: Alan H on 9th November 2011 at 10:15

Irene, Helen of Troy's face launched a thousand ships, as a former H.A.G.S. girl you should have known that.

Comment by: irene roberts on 9th November 2011 at 10:29

I am well aware of that, Alan, but "launched" wouldn't have got across the point I was trying to make. As a former H.A.G.S. girl, I also know I shouldn't have started a sentence with "and", but if you follow the grammatical rules too precisely, you sometimes lose the "oomph" from what you are trying to get across. Thankyou, though, for your comment. Do I know you from school? I just can't place "Alan H".

Comment by: flaggy delf on 9th November 2011 at 10:54

It's my face that sunk a thousand ships Irene. Poor lass is obviously badly affected by by this abomination on the face of Wigan

Comment by: Janice on 9th November 2011 at 12:00

I do not live in Wigan and this is the first time that I had seen this sculpture. I have to agree that it is not in any way pleasing. I acutally read the artist's spiel on what they were trying to portray - unfortunately they failed miserably.
Still had to photograph it though for posterity (and practice for my photography).

Comment by: Linda on 9th November 2011 at 15:43

I don't know about frightening children roy H it gives me the shivers.

Comment by: Bill Eatock on 9th November 2011 at 19:24

I actually like the sculpture from the point of view that it reflects on life in the UK today. Very Orwellian. (Big Brother!)

Comment by: david on 9th November 2011 at 20:01

Good detail - Irene, I was taught that a sentence shouldn't begin with and or but ,although it's quite common these days, even in the 'quality' newspapers.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 9th November 2011 at 20:14

Debit where debit's due - Wigan Council has no responsibility for the Hospitals within its boundaries. Money spent on art projects such as this usually come from earmarked funds - you don't get the money if you don't apply for it for a specific project. I would criticise the Council for not having consulted more widely before commissioning some of the public art works which have been erected around the town in the last decade, but not for the principle of trying to stimulate peoples' imaginations through this kind of art. We need more of it.

Comment by: Cyril on 9th November 2011 at 20:52

It doesn't stimulate my imagination, nor do I think it stimulates any of the majority of folk's imagination, the best place for this and the other piles of junk around the town that some misguided misfits of people call art is the scrap yard, unfortunately the dumbarsed so called custodians of this town wouldn't get back the exorbitant prices they paid out for all of this junk. What we need is essential council services that are being lost like OAP care, libraries etc, piles of exorbitantly priced useless junk, no!

Comment by: irene roberts on 9th November 2011 at 21:48

Rev Long, I appreciate that the council is sometimes TOLD where to spend its money.... so much on care-in-the-community, so much on children's projects, so much on art, but THIS kind of art? NO, We DON'T need more of it. It's absolute rubbish. Why couldn't we have a miner or a pit-brow lass? Because people are being brainwashed into being ashamed of their heritage, that's why. The local newspapers would have us believe that there have been "consultations" with the public about these so-called "assets" to our town,and that the locals approve of them wholeheartedly; I would like to see a list of those names....I think they would have mysteriously "gone missing". Apart from an odd exeption, few self-respecting Wiganers would condone this eyesore.

Comment by: irene roberts on 9th November 2011 at 21:58

Well said, Cyril. We are losing our libraries, hospital beds, daycare etc. etc. because there is "no money", yet they can spend on rubbish like this. As my Dad would have rightly said, "It's feyer than t'gas-bill!". The town-centre flower-displays at least give some pleasure to the eye. I imagine the council is trying to show other towns that we no longer have a "mill-girl and pitman" image by showing this "modern art", and I bet those other towns are laughing their socks off at us. And I don't blame them.

Comment by: Jean F (Wales) on 9th November 2011 at 22:11

What an eyesore and complete waste of money...Who on earth drums up these ideas of "Art!
Like your comment Alan.

Comment by: tricia on 9th November 2011 at 22:14

I must agree with Irene. Its hideous.That will encourage visitors to the town.. I don't think! What a thing to open up on photo-a -day this morning ! Gives me the creeps.The money could have been much better spent elsewhere. Still where there is no sense etc....

Comment by: tricia on 9th November 2011 at 23:26

Sorry, though, Janice, should have said it was a good photo.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 9th November 2011 at 23:53

We had a pit-brew lass, and other similar sculptures round the Wigan Pier area... they had their heads screwed off by the art critics.
Please read what I've written above a bit more closely.

Comment by: Neil Cain on 10th November 2011 at 08:43

Reverend Long is right in saying the Council should give folk more of a say in what goes up but the majority on here are obviously against it and I think that would be the result of a wider poll. No Reverend we do not need more of this.Man created Man in his own image. Pity God wasn't given the job. Let us have money spent on putting up the names of the dead on the Moss Pits memorial. Men whose toil and sacrifice is worthy of a permanent and visual piece.

Comment by: Neil Cain on 10th November 2011 at 09:10

Thanks Janice for posting something that lets us vent our spleen. It is a very imaginitive photograph, which is perhaps being lost in the tirade.

Comment by: Janice on 10th November 2011 at 12:17

Pleased to see that this has provoked so much - valid - comment. It is hideous but made for a good photograph. At least it is not on show in the main town centre. Wigan is a great town with a wonderful history and super park land in Hasigh Hall. The council had a massive choice and chance to reflect this history in the choice of scu;ptures around the town but have obviously gone for the 'lets appear smart choice - if we pick something weired and ugly, it will show we appreciate and understand modern art' Give me old fashioned understood art which reflects our history. Surely that it not too much too ask for. Anyway, at least I think I achieved my aim and got a decent photo for my portfolio!

Comment by: irene roberts on 10th November 2011 at 13:05

Well said, Neil. And apologies, Janice; my comments had nothing to do with the quality of the photo, just the subject.

Comment by: Alan H on 10th November 2011 at 14:39

Irene, you are much younger than me, although I am a fellow Incer I was at H.A.G.S. from 1947 to 1952. I enjoyed your articles in Past Forward. Keep it up.

Comment by: Ste Wigan on 10th November 2011 at 18:09

I think it looks great!!!!

Comment by: Janice on 10th November 2011 at 18:13

No apologies needed Irene. I have enjoyed all this 'banter'

Comment by: Steve S on 10th November 2011 at 18:24

I have to say that everyone is entitled to a personal opinion and I am suprised at the negativity toward this piece of art.
I spent the first 21 years of my life in Wigan and visit my family four or so times a year. I always make sure I get time to wander around town to see how things are moving on and this sculpture makes me smile every time. Its a bold, striking and forward looking piece. Its position is perfect so as not to be obtrusive and I am glad that it is not another representation of the grime of the past. Mining was a big part of the Wigan Story but it is awash with reminders and its not the entire story.
I am wholly behind the restoration and upkeep of Wigans grand buildings and heritage and also believe that contemporary additions to the town will become the heritage of the future.

Amazing picture, would love a print for my lounge in Brighton.

Comment by: fred bould on 10th November 2011 at 20:16

good photo,ugly subject. now that subject of moss pit has been raised i would like to see the name of my great grandfather and his son in marble. i still owe rev long photos taken by great uncle matt walters. HAGS student, 36 - 42

Comment by: irene roberts on 10th November 2011 at 21:01

Thankyou, Alan, for your compliment on the Past Forward articles; I haven't sent anything in for a long time, and feel it isn't the same since Alastair Gillies left as editor.
Steve S, as you say, we are all entitled to an opinion, and I find it heartwarming that you are totally behind the upkeep and restoration of Wigan's grand old buildings. Stand outside the door of The Life Centre and look across at the red-brick building opposite and you see the most beautiful ornamental brickwork woven into its walls; stand outside THAT building and look across at The Life Centre and you see a box. Will it become The Heritage of the Future, or will it just last as long as the Wigan Pool which was demolished to make way for it? Time will tell, but you have put forward, fairly, an argument for both sides, and perhaps Janice will let you have a copy of The Head for your lounge in Brighton!

Comment by: irene roberts on 10th November 2011 at 21:02

Agreed, Fred. I would like to see that happen too.

Comment by: Emma I. on 10th November 2011 at 21:26


"Funding for the project totalling almost £80,000 was provided by Modus Properties, developers of Wigan’s Grand Arcade shopping centre, as part of an agreement with Wigan Council to provide a major piece of public art in the town centre."

Comment by: Steve S on 10th November 2011 at 21:47

Thanks Irene for your comments. Agreed the old Wigan Tech is stunning in all its terracotta glory and your right only time will tell about the Life Centre! Hope Janice lets me have a copy too! Lol.

Comment by: Derek Platt on 11th November 2011 at 02:19

I agree with a lot of the negative comments, however it is a great shot. Also Fred Bould did you work at Walmsleys in the drawing office many moons ago

Comment by: irene roberts on 11th November 2011 at 10:09

A major piece of public art? Modus Properties obviously have more money than sense, and Wigan Council must have been wearing dark glasses on the day they were shown the proposed plan.

Comment by: Duncan on 11th November 2011 at 10:31

Glad to know I'm not the only person who thinks this sculpture? thing is ugly and unnecessary.

Comment by: janice on 11th November 2011 at 10:33

Hi folks, if anyone would like a copy of this photo, drop me an email at janice.chick1@btinternet.com Would be happy to email it to you.

Comment by: flaggy delf on 11th November 2011 at 12:02

Judging by the majority of comments most people would be happy for Steve S to take the sculpture to Brighton not just a copy of the photo

Comment by: tricia on 11th November 2011 at 21:29

My thoughts exactly flaggy.. maybe it could be arranged!!

Comment by: Rev David Long on 12th November 2011 at 09:16

As three folk here have mentioned the Moss Pits Disaster Memorial, I will now knuckle down to the task. I've put a pic of it in the Album, with my email address. Anyone interested in assisting, please get in touch.

Comment by: David on 12th November 2011 at 10:58

Try reading 'What Good are the Arts?' by John Carey.

Comment by: Graham Williams on 15th November 2011 at 09:39

There's nowt wrong with it. A nice, modern piece of art. No worse than any other 'folly' that's been erected recently. (Angel of the north, etc) Well made too and a credit to its creators.

Comment by: josie on 15th November 2011 at 21:59

iv'e never seen anything as fow as that ugly rusty metal frightning face the gardens around are pretty and i was just flabbergasted when i first saw it we laghed our heads off(heads ha ha)but also felt angry that someone has actually sat thinking of this so called art ,my 7 year old grandaughter could have done better who sees art in this?????? its hiddiouse and im'e verry surprised its not been robbed for weighing in for scrap hope somebody does pinch it ha ha.

Comment by: david on 18th November 2011 at 13:09

In his book I mentioned above, Prof. Carey suggests that anyone who condemns an installation as not being a work of art should be asked 'How can you possibly tell? What are your criteria? Where do you derive your convictions from?' Well?

Comment by: irene roberts on 18th November 2011 at 21:50

You derive you convictions both from your own point of view, and that of the majority, (see above for the majority's view). Each individual has a right to their opinion, but when vast amounts of money are being spent, the townspeople should have a say. We are losing our libraries and people are on long waiting lists for hospital treatment. If propositions for this hideous, useless sculpture had held sway in the hearts of Wiganers, then fair enough, but, thankfully, common sense still prevails in Wigan, and , had we been consulted, the money would have been put to a different use, or at least to something pleasing to the eye. Prof. Carey can probably afford to buy the books he would like to read and has no need to go on a long, long waiting list should he need hospital treatment, and so can afford to air such views; unfortunately, most of us can't. The thing is an offence to the eye and a complete and utter waste of money.

Comment by: tricia on 19th November 2011 at 14:47

Hello Irene
You tell them !! lol
We are Wigan folk and we know what we like and this is not it!!!!!
Like Josie said its feayh (extrememly ugly!!!!)
Irene can you remember which lady wanted a vinegar bottle??? Off topic I know !

Comment by: fred bould on 19th November 2011 at 19:52

Derek Platt. I was in the Railcar Drawing Office at Walker Bros 1942 to 1946. Then in the Motor DO in 1949. The GM was a Mr Sheldon so perhaps then it was Walmsleys. Did you work there?

Comment by: Neil Cain on 23rd November 2011 at 11:20

If the only positive for something is that 'it's no worse than something else' it doesn't say much for it.

Comment by: Sammy on 8th March 2012 at 19:20

Yam lot are lucky in Wigan. Av you bin to Telford and seen "real rubbish" bagged up as art? They paid thousands to ave it in the middle of roundabouts, at least you can tell wot yours is.

Comment by: alan on 5th January 2017 at 17:22

Just like to ask about something not connected to the actual "face" but is the "rev david long" the mr long who taught at Highfield sec mod in the 60s/70s? It' been bugging me for quite a long time.

Comment by: Laura on 30th October 2019 at 21:45

So pleased Artists will always remain a steadfast provocative tool for more thought and discussion about a tiny proud northern town that is now bereft ot its soul heart and iconic legends Where is Billy Boston? Wish we were in Brighton Ste

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