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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Saturday, 1st January, 2022)

Old Post Office

Old Post Office

Photo: Mick Byrne  (Panasonic DMC-TZ100)
Views: 2,275

Comment by: Derek Platt on 1st January 2022 at 01:29

Were you riding past on your bike Mick, cos you almost missed the post office. Just joking Mick good photo.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh on 1st January 2022 at 02:55

I thought this maybe interesting for today.

Old Father Time.
The invisible enemy COVID 19 has stolen much of 2020, it's a year most will be glad to see back of. As we approach the start of a new year I go down Memory Lane - again , as I get older it's a Lane I visit more often , perhaps too often . However I don't think I'm alone, particularly at this time of year in remembering times and people from the past, after all it's those events and people shaped who we are today. Little things will bring memories flooding back, maybe a song or favourite hymn of a loved-one no longer with us. All sorts of seemingly mundane reminiscences stir the emotions ,an example in my case, I never eat a mince pie without thinking of my Auntie Annie ; whist most people associate this confectionery with Christmas my Auntie always made batches for all her extended family for New Years Eve ; with these sentiments in mind I thought it might be amusing to take a lighthearted look back at ' Hogmanays ' of 1950s .  
There were no night clubs , in those far off days  . The first one in Wigan opened I the early 1960s, incidentally  Mat Monroe was the artist on the opening night ;  you can win many a shilling on this name this club,  everybody seems to have forgotten its existence , it was  'The Golden Clog' , situated  in King Street West, formally Miss Gee's School of Dancing . It had numerous name later,   Puffers and Pemps among others  and was run by Barbara Calderbank who ran a tight ship , she would sit in her car outside the premises vetting would be ' clubbers ' if she didn't like the look of you , you didn't get in  - no ifs or buts. Sorry for that little digression , when I start to write of the past my pen seems to have a life of its own !
In the mid  1950s New Years Eve would be spent in the ' local ' or the umpteen social clubs ,political and non political that adorned Wigan , there were 7 in the Scholes area alone , it seems like another age . The clubs would have artists backed by an organist and drummer, pubs would often have a 'Singing Room'  complete with piano and pianist, the latter would have an incredible knack of making even the most tone deaf participants seem like Mario Lanza ; they were known as ' Mugs Concerts ' I can't  for the life of me think why !  
For the the people of a more sober outlook they were catered for by the now increasingly  available friend in the corner , the television,  and a show from Scotland with names like Kenneth Mc Kellar  and Andy Stewart not to mention the irrepressible Jimmy Shand and his orchestra , they would be the order of the night  ; for those not fortunate to own a T.V. , the wireless would broadcast a 'New Years Eve ' special programme
Back to the folk who like  a tipple to welcome The New Year , pubs and clubs closed long before midnight in the those days so people would wend their way home or to a neighbours house to a party and enjoy the potato pie that had been left cooking in the oven whist the cook was in the 'boozer ' singing ' I Belong to Glasgow  ' in a  Scottish brogue at the same time propping up the piano -  I think it's impossible to sing that song  without adopting a Scottish twang - try it !
To the ritual of letting ' The New Year In ' would start about 10 minutes to midnight, first requirement ' a tall dark stranger ' in the absence of the aforementioned anybody willing to go out in the cold would  suffice. The chosen one would be given a piece of coal a slice of bread , he , and it was usually an 'he' in those days , would  leave the house by the back door walk to a point where other first footers assembled ,usually the corner of the street , however each area would have its own assembly point , New Springs for example it was the bridge on Wigan Road ; each waiting for the church bells and the factory whistles to signal the start of another year; after shaking hands with the other 'chosen ones', no air kissing or even hugs in those more restrained days . Back then to the house a few minutes ago you left by the back door, after the bells and whistles , you enter by the front door , bread in one hand coal in the other , these to symbolise the house would have warmth and food in the year ahead .
On  entering the house the assembled company  would sing the obligatory ' Auld Lang Syne' .   A  glass of something alcoholic , preferably scotch whisky , this not always available because of the cost in those austere times ,  so it was more often be a glass of sherry that would  be given to the
' first footer ' .  Then to  'The Hot Pot ' the cook, now sobered up, dishing out the fare with gusto, side dishes with red cabbage , beetroot and picked onions, on the table along with plates , with instructions from the hostess to " help yourselves " referring to the accompaniments   not the Hot Pot itself ,  that was her domain, and woe betide anybody who went anywhere near the ladle .
After the meal people would start to drift from the celebration , most would have to work the following day , New Years Day didn't become a bank holiday in England until 1971 , it had been in Scotland for a century  .  Before the guests left,  someone , usually an uncle, slightly tipsy would attempt to singing ' Bless  this House ' out of tune and getting the words mixed up ; but  like  my Mam  always said  " it's the thought that counts ! "

Comment by: Linma on 1st January 2022 at 06:51

So many happy memories.

And a Happy New Year to each and every one of you.

Comment by: Syd Smith on 1st January 2022 at 08:49

It will be raining in through those two windows that have been left open.

Comment by: brryan francis traynor on 1st January 2022 at 08:57

I remember the Golden Clog it became the Las Vegas.On New Years Eve after the pubs shut people would gather in the market square waiting for the parish church clock to strike midnight.

Comment by: Carolaen on 1st January 2022 at 09:21

Tom. A happy and good New Year to you and all on WW. Many thanks for the memories of a more innocent and communal time. In tge 1950s as the youngest in the family I would always go out with my Granddad (the oldest) to see the New Year in. Along with the bread and coal we would also.bring in a penny to represent good fortune. I dont know about hotpot. Everyone we knew had potato pie - with red cabbage etc.

Incidentally you refer to the White Heather Club Hogmanay show which was almost compulsory viewing . Little did I know then that my future wife was one of the young girl singers in the junior choir who appeared every week on that show. If you have access to You Tube there are old episodes which are great to watch.

You also mention New Years Day not being a Bank Holiday in England until 1971. In Scotland it was but they did not get Xmas Day. My wife can well remember her father working it as a normal work day.

Comment by: Maureen on 1st January 2022 at 09:22

Tom..I really enjoyed reading that..and I'd like to wish you and everyone on P.A.D...A Happy New Year.xx

Comment by: Veronica on 1st January 2022 at 10:47

Thanks for the memories as Bob Hope used to sing Tom. I had forgotten about the factory whistles. Have a good New Year every one.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 1st January 2022 at 12:50

Tom, I was brought up to celebrate New Year the Scottish way , Kenneth McKeller, bagpipes, kilts, coal, listening to church bells.... & Jimmy Shand & his Band ! Today's New
Year celebrations are pathectic & probably recorded for tv in July.....
Happy New Year everyone !

Comment by: britboy on 1st January 2022 at 13:54

Helen of Troy…exactly as I was brought up, happy memories.
My father used to come to my house on New Years Eve kilt and all, as soon as he saw the log fire blazing he would put his back to the fire, lift his kilt and collect the warm, always put a smile on his face lol.

Comment by: Veronica on 1st January 2022 at 14:20

The Scots put us to shame with how they celebrate New Year. I was in Scotland a good number of years ago and I have never seen anything like it! Bagpipes and kilts and whisky galore! It was wonderful ...

Comment by: Pat McC on 1st January 2022 at 15:44

Ackerley Heaton & Pigot was where I got my first job when I came to live in Wigan in 1969 - it was a beautiful building. It's such a shame to see it in this state.
A very happy New Year to everyone!

Comment by: helen of troy on 1st January 2022 at 15:51

Oh britboy, those were the days ! My Grandpa playing a Scottish reel on his fiddle, us dancing in the hallway & my Granny in her pinny watching from the kitchen door.

Comment by: Derek Platt on 1st January 2022 at 17:04

Thanks Tom for the trip down memory lane. We had mince pies at christmas and Hot Pot at new years eve. no matter where me and my syblings where mum always made Hotpot and If I remember correctly it was obligatory get home for the hot meal with a piece of pastry crust from the top. I can taste it now. Happy new year to everyone connecting on PAD.

Comment by: e on 1st January 2022 at 18:06

A mulled wine in the writing , a truth a fire holds ,
embedded in each our memories ,
a world we each took hold .
Time has moved us further ,
But his cinnamon beds us in ,
as snowflakes blow our window .
His writing rest therein ..

Comment by: Pw on 1st January 2022 at 19:58

It was prata pie when I was young,made with a crust in a big brown pot,never liked it.Everyone would come back from the pub,I think most were drunk but everyone seemed to have a good time.

Comment by: TerryW on 2nd January 2022 at 14:53

Nice building.

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