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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Thursday, 4th January, 2024)

Abandoned But Not Forgotten

Abandoned But Not Forgotten
At the side of the former Prince’s Cinema which has the Clarence Yard on one side is an alleyway with no apparent name.
This building with its tiled and ornately decorated windows and entrance door surrounds must have an interesting history.

Can anyone help in identifying what it was originally built for, a pub or hotel perhaps or offices. Sad to see it in such a state of neglect.

Photo: Colin Traynor  (iPhone)
Views: 2,017

Comment by: James Hanson on 4th January 2024 at 01:00

It was built in the early 1930's as a picture house.

Comment by: Veronica on 4th January 2024 at 08:39

Very sad to see the condition of it. I have never been down that passageway and at first glance it reminds me of buildings in other countries. It would be made much of and treasured anywhere else. It would be interesting to know the history of it.

Comment by: Princess on 4th January 2024 at 08:54

All gone now the picture houses ,
Gone with the wind or crumbling apart ,
The Princess , The Court , The Ritz ,
We used to go see the war
But now it's like a real life blitz
As hit the town .

And through broken rooves the raindrops fall
On old pianos that play themselves in the dark ,
An aperture in decaying bricks
Admits a ray of light ,
But only the shadows of pigeons are cast
On the wall for the show tonight .


Comment by: Peter Walsh on 4th January 2024 at 09:03

The north side of the alleyway is the Post Office building. Pre 1900 there was a smithy round there.

Comment by: Ex Speed Cop on 4th January 2024 at 09:10

A lot of knee tremblers will have taken place against those walls.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 4th January 2024 at 09:21

James, I think you are getting confused with the Prince’s Cinema itself the side of which is opposite and I think built around 1930.
I have consulted old maps and there were buildings on this spot in 1889. On another map 1908 it shows a newer building integral to the GPO on Wallgate, so perhaps these were offices or even the sorting office prior to the new building on Richmond Street.
Sad to see it in such a state.

Comment by: Olin Traynor on 4th January 2024 at 09:33

PS I overlooked to thank Brian for uploading this on my behalf.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 4th January 2024 at 09:55

Princess, that poem is so sad and so true. The old piano playing by itself in the darkness, and the shadows of pigeons providing "tonight's show", conjured up such an eerie atmosphere. Sadly, my own comment appears to have been missed....I just wondered if that old building had heard the bulldozers not far away tearing down buildings that were only thirty years old?

Comment by: Edna on 4th January 2024 at 10:37

Interesting photo Colin, I never knew about this. What is the other building on the opposite side? I can't get my bearings.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 4th January 2024 at 10:52

A depressing photo. Doesn't give people much hope for the future of the town.
Other places would find the owner& councils can enforce something be done about the state of a building but sadly not Wigan. It seems the attitude is let it become so bad, then say its a hazard & get it demolished.
Anyone seen the aerial photo of the old market hall area on Google news this morning ? Think it was taken by Wigan Post, a newspaper ?

Comment by: Maureen on 4th January 2024 at 11:03

I was brought up just down the road from here and the Prince cinema was my Mam ans Dads favourite.. my Dad would pass me a note and say just nip for our tickets love, I would go to the lady serving the tickets and say “ Two for Mac please “ and be handed the said tickets for the evenings film. .. I must say I don’t recognise this part of the cinema at all. but so nice to see a bit of my past.. so thank you Colin.

Comment by: T on 4th January 2024 at 11:31

One of the most dilapidated parts of the town centre, and one of the few places I wouldn't wander. Always riddled with drugged up undesirables

Comment by: Vernacular on 4th January 2024 at 12:51

Dear Ex Speed Cop, what’s a knee trembler?
Would it be something to do with Gothic Architecture?

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 4th January 2024 at 13:24

Edna, the newish building in the background are the backs of the modern none descript office block on King Street West.
Behind the camera and pretty me taking the picture, the cobbled lane continues up a few more meters before you encounter locked fire doors to what was I think named Bank Chambers, a long dogleg arcade which leads out onto Wallgate just lower down from the GPO (Now also closed!).
The entrance on Wallgate is incorporated into what was a Bank built in 1890 now The Salvation Army shop, is gated off and locked.
In Days gone by Bank Chambers contained offices and staff entrances to Banks etc, one office being Ackerley Heaton & Pigot Solicitors, the sign is still on the wall!
During the day this was also an open thoroughfare to the Princess Cinema, Clarence Yard and King Street West. I recently gained access to this fascinating old arcade and took a few pictures, I will send these to Brian to see if he thinks appropriate to upload.
In the meantime I hope this explanation helps with your bearings and didn't send you dizzy or spinning out of control?

Comment by: Cyril on 4th January 2024 at 14:32

Edna, the building to the left is Westward House on King Street West and behind this building is All Saint's (parish church) gardens.
I'd forgotten about this building Colin, and I too always assumed it to have been part of the sorting office when this was at the rear of the General Post Office, but I've heard say it was once a print workshop. I know it's down Bank Chambers and the other alley being Clarence Yard as you say, but the name of the lane this is on is Bumder Road - honestly.

Comment by: Cyril on 4th January 2024 at 15:44

just found this photo on the Album and some comments say it was The Bee Hive brewery and then the Registry Office and later the postal sorting office. There's a string of lights too on Colin's photo, so maybe that or the building next to it has some time recently been used as a night club - it isn't somewhere I would like to venture at night.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 4th January 2024 at 17:41

Cyril, thanks for that, Bumber Road, I would never have guessed. It’s not on any of my maps, gob smacked. Wonder where that came from?

Comment by: DTease on 4th January 2024 at 18:08

I remember what a knee trembler was…. But I can’t remember what I did with it!!!

Comment by: Peter Walsh on 4th January 2024 at 18:09

Colin, according to the National Street Gazetteer the whole yard, all round the cinema is Clarence Yard. Postcode WN1 1BZ Ref. No.44104735.

Comment by: Arthur on 4th January 2024 at 18:41

Lovely building but rundown.
Shame, hidden in the backstreets of Wigan.

Comment by: James "Confucius" Hanson on 4th January 2024 at 18:56

Colin, yes, confused, but not far off the mark as the history of the new Prince's Cinema does say it was built after the previous King's Electric Theatre (later the New Prince's Cinema) closed after 1933 and the then owners, Falcon Pictures, built the 'new' New Prince's Cinema - on an adjacent site.
Could that building be part of the old King's Electric Theatre building, maybe not fully demolished? or maybe not demolished at all?

I'm entitled to be confused, Colin, being from Lowton, Warrington, Cheshire, under Wigan council in Greater Manchester.

Comment by: Cyril on 4th January 2024 at 21:27

Bumder Road, Colin, see link below to a map and list of streets and roads in Central Ward, click on See Map, then scroll down the streets listings and tick on Bumder Road, then the area where the road is situated on the map should be highlighted along with the name.

link to the cinema site James said about King's Electric Theatre: https://cinematreasures.org/theaters/50478

two photos from early 1900s on the Album of building that was behind Clarence pub on Clarence Yard before Princes cinema was built, and it seems this was the print shop: https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/showalbum.php?opt=5&gallery=CLARENCE+YARD

Comment by: Edna on 4th January 2024 at 22:49

Thank you Colin for reply. I know now where I am. Although the only thing that's sent me spinning out of control tonight, is my Draught Guinness.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 5th January 2024 at 09:58

James, thanks for additional information. I have life long fascination with old Cinema’s and Theatre’s most of my working life in that Industry.
As for Lowton, I had many happy years with the Rank Organisation when they moved into the old Sovereign Toffee Works on Church Lane having relocated from Golborne.
My last few projects before retirement in 2021 were.
Aberdeen Music Hall
Montrose Playhouse
Stockton Globe
Billingham Forum
The Corn Exchange Kings Lynn
And quite a few more!
Cheers, Colin

Comment by: Sir Bob on 7th January 2024 at 17:42

The building is connected to the old General Post Office building at the top of Wallgate, and it used to be the sorting office before the sorting office in Hallgate was built during the 1960s.

Tony Callaghan owns it now, with plans to convert it into other uses, when the economic climate allows.





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