Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Monday, 19th October, 2020)

All Gone

All Gone
Sadly, nothing of the old Scholes remains in this view.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX200)
Views: 2,106

Comment by: Veronica on 19th October 2020 at 00:13

But not forgotten by those who lived there. A very busy shopping area, more shops then than the middle of Wigan now. It tugs at my heart strings. Another specialist photo of then and now Dennis.. thank you.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 19th October 2020 at 08:30

What an interesting photo! I was hoping you would comment, Veronica, as I know what this must mean to you.

Comment by: walt (nth Yorkshire) on 19th October 2020 at 08:31

Dennis, it never ceases to amaze me how much was crammed into such a small space. When I was a child walking with mi mam up Scholes I was fascinated by the variety of shops, pubs and a cinema along what appeared to be a never ending street. I can still see in my minds eye the butchers shops, meat openly on display outside on tables. Fruit shops likewise, clothes shops. The smell of beer as you passed each pub. Bolton's Chemist, we got a glass of ginger beer there 3d owd money. The old chap in his hand peddled invalid carriage, we often pushed him up that hill. Old men would say " tha can't have a drink in al't'pubs in same day tha'nos, too many on um". Is it any wonder so many Wigganers moan the loss of there youth and its fond memories. Thanks again Dennis, great reminder of yesteryear.

Comment by: Walt ( North Yorkshire) on 19th October 2020 at 09:28

I meant their youth !

Comment by: Veronica on 19th October 2020 at 09:33

If ever I'm on the bus going up Scholes Irene, I see myself doing errands as a child. On Tuesdays I had to collect the ' Family Allowance' of 8 shillings at the Post Office and go to the fish shop. It had to be Hollingsworth's because they were 'akin' to us so my dad said! I can see her now wrapping the fish up in newspaper. I had to go somewhere every day, sometimes it was taking my dad's clogs to Blinkhorn's the clogger, waiting for him to come up through the trap door in the floor like an apparition! Every shop you could think of. Rag shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, cake shops,fish shops,laundries (Chinese) butchers, baby shops ' fruit and veg/ flower shops,newspaper shops and wallpaper shops, and last but not least the pubs! There was more pubs than shops and that's saying something. It's all been said before but looking back I would not have swapped Scholes for anywhere else, I loved going errands!

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 19th October 2020 at 09:36

Walt, I’ve expressed almost the same sentiments on another photo that I have sent to P.A.D!
I remember that glass of ginger beer at Bolton’s very well.

Comment by: Poet on 19th October 2020 at 10:23

One morning came the drums ,
It was progress beating time .
The tune was 'Clear the Slums '
The area is in decline .

By evening the town was wrecked
By vector and cosine ,
By set square and the Architect
In the march of the Philistine .

Comment by: Gary on 19th October 2020 at 15:17

The old photo has a "Wigan" lamp post - totally different from Bolton (art deco, Ian McKellen's dad) and to me, bus journeys as a child in the early 50s, instantly recognizable.
As I lived in Aspull, Scholes was regarded as a place in itself, somewhere one passed through and separate from Wigan.
I used to try to memorize all the street names but today I can only recall two - Vine Street and Longshoot Street.

Comment by: tuddy on 19th October 2020 at 19:42

A few you missed Garry were: Warrington Lane, Wellington Street, Morris Street, Vauxhall Road, Greenough Street, Schofield Lane, Plat Lane, Bolton Street.

Comment by: Edna on 19th October 2020 at 21:33

Veronica, I can remember all that you have commented about.We also had a posh shoe shop.Mc Nulty's. Like the one in Library St. Now.I think it must have been his dad. You know what they say!!! You can take the girl out of Scholes, but you can't take Scholes out of the girl. Remember hot Vimto, when you came out of Scholes pictures, in Boltons chemist? x

Comment by: Gary on 19th October 2020 at 22:09

Tuddy - thanks for that. Greenhough Street, Tetsill's butcher's shop just off the corner.
When someone or something jogs your memory, it's amazing what comes back!

Comment by: tuddy on 19th October 2020 at 23:21

Sam Tetsill, his shop marked the boundary between Scholes and Whelley.

Comment by: Veronica on 19th October 2020 at 23:39

Very true Edna, Scholes is in our DNA! No getting away from it..I forgot about the 2 chemists and the Hardware shops, there was everything you could want or need in the shops! ;o))

Comment by: walt (nth Yorkshire) on 20th October 2020 at 08:26

Another thought ! John Mcurdy's furniture shop (sp) The Police blue Tardis , the TV shop wasn't it Swarbrick and Andrews. Greens wholesale fruit merchant. My uncle lived in the old cottages near the lights at the lower end of Scholes. My grandparents lived in Bolton Street. My dad told me a story of an old chap who would point at a steak on the butchers outside display, walk on by but then his dog would grab the piece of meat, the old chap shared it with his dog. The area had a few characters and no doubt.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh. on 20th October 2020 at 09:01

This is an article I wrote for Past Forward some years ago, I hope viewers don't mind my posting it.


I have very fond memories of Scholes and its people. Born in McCormick Street, named after the second parish priest of St Patricks, this in itself made it part of the history of the the township. I describe the area as a township because that was what it was, a separate community in every sense. People had a feeling of belonging to Scholes first and Wigan second.

The vast majority of men were miners, and many women worked in the cotton factories both in Wigan and further afield traveling to Bolton, Rochdale and other local towns by coach or train, putting hours on to the working day because the pay was slightly better. I remember hearing the knocker up rousing households and not leaving until a response was forthcoming from the inhabitants, the lady who filled that particular role in the streets surrounding my home was Agnes Wynn who charged the princely sum of a shilling a week, which was collected every Friday evening. Agnes, lived in Higham Street and because she had to be up and about her bushiness on the morrow, went to bed very early, children were told not play near her house as she needed her sleep, if she overslept half the parish would miss a days work!

Scholes itself had shops of every sort, so much so that many older people would rarely if ever go to the town centre as almost everything could be sourced locally, from ladies fashions, Vi Almonds, to motor bikes, Millers.There were of course countless public houses and grocers, a Chinese laundry Moy Toys later to become Wong's and a myriad of other businesses. Locals say that if they had put a roof over the street in its heyday, it would have been the first Trafford Centre! Many shops had nicknames, Pie Joe's being one, it's a wonder he didn't go bankrupt, I remember going there for more than one neighbour for a meat pie, they would send a large jug with the instruction to fill it with gravy, free in those days. I think the surplus was for use on the Sunday dinner! Another amusing name was Polly do out, a clogger, it was said she could put a clog iron on a bladder without bursting it! One of the less hygienic shops often had a cat sat on a flitch of bacon. Needless to say most housewives avoided that shop's delights. A temperance bar, though fair to say it wasn't the most frequented of venues. Public houses seemed a more tempting prospect to most. Public Houses too had colloquial names the two most famous the Dust Hole (Rose and Crown) this establishment was reputed to sell the best pint in the district, and was one of the last ale houses, only licensed to sell ale and porter, and the Kill and Cure (the Regent) the latter because it was near to Dr Hoey's surgery .

There were two cinemas,The Labour and The Scholes Picture House ,the latter visited by yours truly every Saturday afternoon , the cost of entrance was 3d front seats (wooden) 4d back stalls with plush red velvet seats, the vast majority of children opted for the cheaper seats ,don't forget the penny saved would have bought an ice lolly from Telford's sweet shop in near by Wellington Street, after the matinee. After the performance if, as Invariably was the case, the the film had been a "Cowboy" , the lads would ride imaginary horses reins In one hand whilst hitting their hip with the other to make the unfortunate animal go faster ,until reaching the aforementioned Telford's when with both hands on the reins quick yank on the bridle to bring your mount to a halt then into the shop to spend the penny saved by enduring wooden seats and a crick in your neck from looking up at the screen ,all the privations of the front stalls seemed worth it to have this extra spending power! On the subject of "Cowboy" films, strange that in a barroom brawls with fists flaying and chairs flying the "goodie" never lost his white stetson ,the "baddie" by the way, always wore a black one, which were the signals of when to cheer or boo, which children did with great gusto . Edna the commandant, (usherette) in charge of the front stalls would reprimand any child who became to exuberant "th owd mon in park can hear thee" (Sir Frances Sharp Powell's statue) Now you knew never to cross Edna ,she was judge and jury and had the power have you evicted without the right of appeal, if you even thought of disobeying her, a fate I never experienced. Although I was on a final warning couple of times. Incidentally,the one with the white hat and neckerchief always won.

Another favourite was the 'follow-up' at the end of the performance, often" Flash Gordon" I don't mind telling you I had many a sleepless night thanks to "The Clay Men " creatures that manifested them selves from the walls , in the earlier hours looking up the bedroom ceiling, with its uneven surface, I convinced myself that the monsters had decided to pay a visit to 48 Mc Cormick Street . I think the only time I be been more frightened was listing to the play" The Monkeys Paw" on the wireless . My Mam realising what effect Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless was having on my mental wellbeing said I should leave the "pictures" before the serial started . Not a chance , leave without my horse ! The "pictures" was also a great source of entertainment for the older generation too, don't forget televisions were as rare as hens teeth, it seemed that more women than men were "picture goers" , as mentioned earlier the majority of men preferred the charms of the many waterholes that adorned Scholes in times of yore.

Whilst times were difficult for many the feeling of community was tangible, even though many struggled and had little they would share what they had. Anyone without family who fell ill would be cared for in the neighbourhood. People could, and did leave the door unlocked, in my Mother's case she would leave the rent on the sideboard and the rent-man would let himself in mark the book and leave, I never heard of a house being burgled or of any dishonesty. When recounting this fact the reply often comes back "there was nothing to steal" on the contrary, every house had a gas meter full of money. After the gasman had emptied the meter and left the rebate there was unusually spare money in the parish, children armed with shillings bombarding local sweetshops.
No deed for ASBOS, a quick "I'll tell your mother", or a more a portent "I'll bring Farther Lappin, the highly respected parish priest of St Patricks, was enough to bring the most unruly youths to book.

The overwhelming majority of houses were very well kept women would mop the step daily, even an oblong area of pavement adjoining the doorway, and woe betide anyone who walked on their labours. Mondays was washing day, few had washing machines, boilers, dolly tubs and rubbing boards was the method employed by most households. It was said that there was a rainbow over Scholes on Mondays! There was great excitement when the first launderette opened, The Bendix, half a crown(twelve and half p.) for a 9lbs wash, the price alas put it out of the reach of many families, as an example that would have bought fish and chips twice over in the early 1950s! Every day a different task, bedrooms Tuesday, baking another day and so forth. Thursday in our house was the day Mother would black lead the Yorkshire range and tackle the brasses, I remember the cleaning agents Zebo and Brasso each with its own distinct smell, as had Mansion polish used liberally on well cared for furniture.

From an early age I was aware that people, not from the area, looked on Scholes with some misgivings to say the least, not aware of the warmth and honesty of its populous, believing the many negative comments made by commentators who had never visited the locality. Some who had choose to concentrate on the less pleasant aspects. George Orwell's book "The Road to Wigan Pier" certainly didn't do any favours for Wigan as a town and Scholes in particular. It was generally agreed in Scholes that Orwell, who calmed to be a socialist was a charlatan who used his so called socialism as a way of easing his conscience. Could someone who attended Eton (Scholarship or not) possibly have the slightest empathy with the beleaguered working class of the 1930's? His deeming comments prove that he didn't. On visiting Wigan, he sort out the poorest of the poor to suit his his own agenda. In the book, he says "If there is one man to whom I feel inferior to its the coal miner" that sentence, ought to have 'stuck in his craw', they trusted him and he betrayed their trust, I suggest purely for profit and self promotion. If there is an afterlife I think he'll feel he owes Wigan an apology.

I am very proud of my background, and wouldn't have wanted to be born and reared anywhere other than my beloved, and much maligned Scholes of yesteryear. Maybe you had to be born within the sound of St Catherine's or St Patricks bells to fully appreciate the wonderful atmosphere and sheer goodness of its people. I am often accused of looking back with rose tinted spectacles. I suppose there element truth in that, but better that, than looking back in anger.

Comment by: Veronica on 20th October 2020 at 10:54

A credit to you Tom, I have read this a few times and still love to linger on the memories.
I suppose a little patch of Ireland fell out the sky one day and nestled in the shadow of St. Pat's church, not too far away!

Comment by: walt (nth Yorkshire) on 20th October 2020 at 12:58

Tom, what a fantastic read, I remember Scholes very well because mi mam was born and raised in Bolton Street 1912. I was born in Aspull but mam took me to visit granddad and grandma every now and then. I can recall being taken to Scholes Cinema to watch 'Winchester 73' staring James Stewart 1950. Another time to see ' Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' Howard Keel starred 1954. Mam told me as a little girl she and her friends could get into the flicks if they handed over a few empty jam jars, that's what she told me !. Though I wasn't born in Scholes I have many lovely memories from my childhood days, time spent there visiting family.

Comment by: Edna on 20th October 2020 at 21:54

Lovely memories Tom.My cousin celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary a couple of yrs ago, and their first home was a flat above Moy Toy's laundry in Scholes. I have also heard my mother speak about Agnes Wynn and her knocking up days.

Comment by: Veronica on 21st October 2020 at 11:14

I remember Agnes Wynn she always had an Alsatian with her on her rounds. She collected the fee on Friday night after everyone had been paid! She always seemed to have a smile on her rosy cheeked face. I knew her grandson who lived at one time in John St. She always wore clogs with irons on them, in fact you heard the clogs before the knocking on the window, it made you jump out of your skin, never mind the bed!!!!
If the family were 'canny' they didn't need to pay the charge because the bang bang could be heard next door!

Comment by: m on 22nd October 2020 at 15:20

I think of all the places,
We used to have before ,
All the shops and people
I went and got to know.
Often I’m reminded
how it was back then,
Places I would visit
today I go again.
In my mind they’re crystal,
as clear as on the day ,
Embedded in my memory
Loved and locked to stay ,
Cherished there forever
and more if there could be ,
The moments in the place I loved
Will always stay with me....

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