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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Thursday, 24th August, 2023)

The Tiles

The Tiles
The tiles from the Little Arcade from a different angle.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX500)
Views: 1,559

Comment by: Fred Mason on 24th August 2023 at 07:17

Interesting pic, Dennis.
I remember the atmosphere when walking through the Little Arcade in the 50's..you cannot put a price on it.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 24th August 2023 at 08:09

Awww thanks, Dennis! I just couldn't see them when I went to look recently, ..."ah must a' bin' skennin'", as we say here in Wigan! I have read many times the poem which has the line: "The old tiled walls held a million tales of the goings-on in the Old Arcade", but I don't think any of us had imagined they were still there after all these years. Thankyou for just another glimpse before they go.

Comment by: Veronica on 24th August 2023 at 08:13

I wonder if those tiles will remain..I watched the demolition of the ‘glass house’ albeit on ytube. Even the beautiful clock went down with it.. it just left me speechless…again it seems demolition just for the sake of it. What a waste!
A very ‘telling photo’ Dennis… will they …won’t they …?

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 24th August 2023 at 08:28

Another good 'un Dennis. A much clearer picture of the said tiles. Given that they seem to be on the rear of the shops on Makinson Arcade and that's a structural wall, they may get a reprieve. Having said that, as Veronica pointed out, if the ornate clock copped it, the tiles have no chance.

Comment by: Dave on 24th August 2023 at 09:36

It's as if I'm watching not only the town but the entire country being dismantled before my eyes .
You would think some foreign power as taken over the land. . I'm waiting to wake up and sigh , ' What a horrible insane dream that was ' , but ......

Comment by: PeterP on 24th August 2023 at 10:33

Is the little arcade what I know has the Royal arcade?

Comment by: Tommy T on 24th August 2023 at 10:37

I've studied this PIC for 5 minutes and for the life of me can't see any "tiles".
I can see plenty of " slates" covering the roof I can "bricks" which is called a "wall", hence the term Brick Wall.
Interesting photo, Dennis, keep snapping!

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 24th August 2023 at 11:28

Peter P, no it isn't. The Royal Arcade is still there, as is The Makinson Arcade. The Old Arcade, or "Little Arcade", was demolished in 1971, It was very near to The Makinson Arcade, and ran parallel with it down to Woodcock Street. It's correct title was The Market Arcade but you never heard anyone call it that. TOMMY T.....the darker coloured bricks on the top half of the wall are actually bricks, as in house bricks, but what appear to be WHITE bricks, on the bottom half of the wall, are actually white shiny tiles. They are rectangular, rather than square, which makes them look like bricks, but they were definitely tiles. I remember them vividly.

Comment by: Veronica on 24th August 2023 at 11:32

The Royal Arcade is as lovely as ever with nice little shops and cafes.. and a small newsagents. It’s near B&Ms.
Going off the subject of the photo I was pleasantly surprised by going in ‘Debenhams’ . It’s now a Charity selling brand new items and there was some really good merchandise. Very cheap because the money goes to the Veterans and the Homeless. I saw some really beautiful curtains but wasn’t sure of my size windows so I had to leave them, they were ex Marks. Instead I bought a bath towel and hand towel for a fiver. Excellent quality.. and all for a very good cause.
I think the name of the Charity is Hope for the Future it’s in league with Wigan Council. It’s worth going there as new things are going in all the time.

Comment by: Sir Bob on 24th August 2023 at 11:45

The underground toilets had the same sort of tiles/tile bricks, same colour, and removing them might compromise the structural security of the Makinson Arcade wall, so if they were removed, the wall might need to be reinforced, and bearing in mind that those tile bricks are not porous, so they will not have crumbled away, I would imagine that they are in pristine condition, the same way that they were when the Market Arcade (little arcade) was demolished in 1971, so why would the builders remove and replace them ?

And just think,,,, in 30yrs time anyone who is still around then from now, will be able to see those tile bricks again, when they demolish whatever monstrosity they replace Marketgate / The Wigan Centre Arcade (original name from 1970s) with.

Comment by: Veronica on 24th August 2023 at 11:52

The Charity is called Rebuild With Hope. I suppose many of you will know that.

Comment by: Meg on 24th August 2023 at 11:57

Another great photo Dennis. I don't get out very much these days but I travel round with you through your photos. Many many thanks.
Peter P. The Royal Arcade is between B&M and Mesnes Street, the Old Arcade was off the Market Place

Comment by: Wigan Mick on 24th August 2023 at 12:51

So old Wigan had three arcades, Royal, Makinsons, and the Little Arcade also know as the Old Arcade, I must have walked up all these arcades many times but for the life of me I cant remember any white tiles.

Comment by: Arthur on 24th August 2023 at 12:54

Plenty slates.

Comment by: Pru on 24th August 2023 at 13:36

I remember those tiles, always gleaming. That's when cleaners cleaned properly.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 24th August 2023 at 14:09

Mick, the white tiles were all the way along the old arcade on the right as you walked from the Market Place entrance to Woodcock Street, but they were hidden behind the stalls that were along there....Margaret Razaq's stockings stall, Ali Khan's clothes stall and the big toy stall which housed the "Dolls' Hospital" at one time.....they only became visible after Syd Smith's bookstall, which was the last stall on the right because part of his stall didn't go right up to the ceiling. When you look at photos of Syd's stall, they DO look like pale-coloured bricks but I assure you they were white tiles. We had a new bathroom a few years ago and the tiles are large white rectangular ones, and when it was finished I remember thinking it looked like The Old Arcade! However, I loved that place so much that I am happy to be reminded of it via my bathroom tiles!
A man called Keith Roberts, (no relation), even wrote a poem about it. I won't add the whole poem unless anyone asks but a snippet of it goes:
"A pint of stout or a present for Mum,
Handsome bachelor, little old maid;
The white-tiled walls held a million tales
Of the goings-on in The Old Arcade.

Now it's gone. They pulled it down.
Only yesterday. Pounded, scattered.
All those stories. All that chat
Of losses lost and profits made.
They've taken the bricks and the wooden stalls
But do you remember?
Do you remember The Old Arcade? The Old Arcade.
It was only yesterday".

Comment by: Cyril on 24th August 2023 at 15:43

Good photo Dennis, was you upstairs on a bus or did you borrow a pair of tall stilts. They've yellowed over the years and want a good scrub with Pepsodent, that'll make them white again.

Comment by: burtspieeater on 24th August 2023 at 15:49

Where the white tiles mainly visible from the lower end of Smiths Newsagents to the exit at Woodcock Street?

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 24th August 2023 at 18:01

It took me ages to get on them stilts Cyril, not to mention the trouble I had getting them home on the bus after taking the picture!

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 24th August 2023 at 18:01

You are absolutely right, burtspieeater.....they were all the way along the arcade, as can be seen on the photo, but were mainly visible from Syd Smith's stall through to the Woodcock Street entrance/exit, the rest being hidden behind stalls. Cyril....all together now...."You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush those tiles with Pepsodent!".

Comment by: Veronica on 24th August 2023 at 22:04

I agree with Sir Bob if the structural wall is staying then the tiles will be left alone. Too much time and effort to remove them really. But who knows? It seems anything goes when newish buildings are wrecked.

Comment by: Edna on 24th August 2023 at 22:17

I agree with Dave, when he says he feels like the whole country is being demolished. So do I it's everywhere, as far as Middlesbrough were a friend lives.Dennis, were you down Market St. On Tues? I passed a man taking photos of the demolition, with a camera.Then he put it in a brown shoulder bag.. Veronica, I also bought a bath towel from Hope.It had the M&S label on for £3. Unbelievable. By the way, we didn't meet last Tues.I will email you over the weekend.xx

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 24th August 2023 at 23:37

That wouldn’t be me Edna, I don’t have a brown shoulder bag. I carry my little Sony camera in my pocket.

Comment by: PeterP on 25th August 2023 at 07:32

I now remember the arcade which had the legs of man pub also a large newsagents and a set of public weighing scales. I was only 17 when they demolished it in 1971. Its a bit like the galleries was split into areas with names but most people never knew them

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 25th August 2023 at 10:09

I was only 19 myself, PeterP, when it was demolished, but I perhaps remember it more clearly with being a girl....as a small child I went down the arcade very often with my Mam, whereas a young boy would have been out playing and only gone to Wigan to shop under protest! As I grew up, I had more of an interest in shopping and going round Wigan with my friends in my teens on a Saturday afternoon than lads would have had, and we would have cut through the Arcade to get to the market. But I have always liked old buildings better than modern ones and still love places that have a bit of character. I'm glad you remember it now; it deserves to be remembered.

Comment by: britboy on 25th August 2023 at 13:43

The “little arcade” was a fascinating adventure for a little boy in the 1950’s, probably went down there with my mam every Saturday,
The old man at the end alway looked a little frightening puffing on his cigar, selling his newspapers and magazines.
I hadn’t realised that the white tiles went all the way down the arcade, all these years and still learning something about old Wigan, better times.
I never could figure out what the legs of man was all about, the place looked dark and daunting, it was only in later years I got to know it was a pub!
Such innocent times lol.

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