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Photos of Wigan

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

Photo-a-Day  (Tuesday, 16th January, 2024)

Grimes Arcade

Grimes Arcade
View looking towards King Street
I thought there was funding in place for refurbishment and renovation and for the rest of King Street for that matter but no sign of anything happening!

Photo: Colin Traynor  (iPhone)
Views: 3,306

Comment by: PeterP on 16th January 2024 at 06:37

An arcade which is looking very grim indeed.Yet another part of Wigan that is an eyesore

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 16th January 2024 at 06:42

Sorry that my picture is not uplifting like Thomas’s picture yesterday but these pictures have to be taken when the opportunity arises for the sake of posterity.

Comment by: Johnny on 16th January 2024 at 08:45

Some poor. homeless person would love to be able to squat down in there on a morning like today's.

Comment by: Garry on 16th January 2024 at 08:47

This is exactly made for Photo-a-day, Colin. This is our history.
This Arcade can be brought back to life and was ideal for a short cut from King Street to Library

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 16th January 2024 at 08:48

What a sad sight. Didn't there used to be a music shop at the King Street end of the arcade?
Just a quick note for the attention of Pat McC it....Pat, you said you and your husband might be visiting Wigan soon after a number of years.....if so, please let us know what you think of what has been done to the town centre.

Comment by: Arthur on 16th January 2024 at 08:56

Brilliant photo Colin, just look at the architectural structure of those arches absolutely fantastic. This little arcade should be renovated for all the see.

Comment by: Veronica on 16th January 2024 at 08:57

King St itself is grim…but what a disgusting mess this once beautiful arcade is now. It’s very sad to see it like this.

Comment by: Sandra on 16th January 2024 at 09:03

I remember walking through there on Saturday mornings, the place stunk of pee from clubbers heading home after nights out.

Comment by: Wiganer on 16th January 2024 at 09:11

Every Monday morning people walking through this arcade were greeted by horrible smells of urine and vomiting all over the place, very unsightly.

Comment by: Maureen on 16th January 2024 at 09:20

Ye Gods,what a terrible shame that this arcade has finished up like this, I have so many memories from there,from listening to the latest top ten hits to gazing at a beautiful piano in the window ..with my Mam (bless her) saying " let me buy that for you " but my house just wasn't big enough..the little ladies name has been posted on here before,she was always very lady like...it's just so sad to see it like this and Colin there's no need at all to apologise for this photo..of course we have to see exactly what is happening in our beloved little town,life isn't always a bouquet of roses is it.

Comment by: Aspuller on 16th January 2024 at 09:31

Your right Colin not the best photo but still important. This Arcade was a toilet from many Saturday night drunks. The smell was horrible during the Summer months. If the place gets renovated it needs gates to both entrances.

Comment by: PeterP on 16th January 2024 at 10:07

Colin you keep taking pictures of the beauty and decay of our town. In time people will refer to these pictures has part of our history

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 16th January 2024 at 10:26

Good picture Colin, I hope it pricks a few people's conscience. You don't half get some thought provoking perspectives.

Comment by: Elizabeth on 16th January 2024 at 10:33

Yes,there was a lovely music shop here,my Mum bought my daughter a piano from there in about 1989.She and many others would not believe what a state this is in now,it would be great to have it renovated to its former glory.x

Comment by: Pw on 16th January 2024 at 10:57

Walked through here many many times and now realise I never really looked at it.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 16th January 2024 at 11:09

Irene / Maureen, the music shop on the left hand side was quite special. Lots of musical instrument's, piano's, guitars and even mouth organs. They also sold records.
At the age of 16 I recall in 1964 going to Butlin's at Filey with my mates (probably the less said about that the better!!!!), it had an Hawaiian Bar decked out in palm trees with a stream flowing through and lake at the front with a volcano behind, every hour it would erupt or a thunderstorm would break with rain cascading down, a bit like Maplins Hi-de-Hi!.
There was a small stage on which a Hawaiian Band played, to me at that age it was magical.
Getting to the point, one of the band members said that they had released a record so getting back home I went into Grimes Arcade to order a copy, the lady was delighted as she said that it was her son in the band. Small world isn't it.
I think that it was after the music shop closed that the arcade started to deteriorate as in the 60's and early 70's there were some nice shops in there.
PS thanks to all for the nice comments, much appreciated.

Comment by: Cyril on 16th January 2024 at 11:14

It wasn't always so, King Street was once an affluent area with high end or classy and exclusive businesses, and Grimes Arcade when built would have been a building of grandeur, and it's a shame for it to have been allowed to deteriorate to that extent.
Here's a link to information on Grimes Arcade by Wigan Buildings and the original plans for the building, which are quite interesting.

Wigan Local History and Heritage Society, Action Zone.
Info about buildings etc., in King Street and others:

Comment by: Roy on 16th January 2024 at 11:17

Irene, originally the shop was owned by the Grimes family who i suppose the arcade was named after. When we were around it was Dawson's they moved to Hallgate around 1980.

Comment by: Maureen on 16th January 2024 at 11:31

Apologies...the little lady that I referred to was the one that served you and always seemed very busy but always with a smile on her face.

Comment by: Antony on 16th January 2024 at 11:35

What a sorry sight it has become.
Like most of Wigan now VERY NEGLECTED

Comment by: Meg on 16th January 2024 at 11:51

I read an interview on the Wigan Today website on the 4th of January with Tony Callaghan, the owner of the Fifteens bar chain. Apparently he is the owner of Grimes Arcade, the Old G.P.O. and several other buildings he has bought to renovate. He said that the redevelopment of Grimes Arcade is unlikely to go ahead any time soon because he will only invest when the currently stalled Royal Court Theatre project gets motoring again. I'm sorry I don't know how to put a link on but the article makes VERY interesting reading

Comment by: Alan on 16th January 2024 at 11:57

WN1 Standisher. These are facts.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 16th January 2024 at 12:09

Dear Aspuller you have a point, but when the Police Station was in King Street, police officers walked into work and out onto there beats up and down King Street day and night, undesirable in Wigan would beware and the streets would be safe and clean.
Then they got Panda Cars, then they moved the Police Station to Harrogate Street and forgot how to walk. Now the Police station is not even in Wigan and rarely do you see a Police Officer on foot.
I have lived in Standish for over 20 years and never seen one yet out of a car! Apart that is from the Kilhey Court Hotel protest when dozens turned up at which time I was surprised to see they do indeed have legs. Apologies, in that I was too awe struck to take a picture of this rare phenomenon!
Perhaps like Train and Bus spotters or Twitchers, we should start a hobby of collecting officers numbers and jotting them down in books, could start a new craze. People would flock from all over the country to spot one of Wigan's Lesser Spotted Bobby's!

Comment by: Maureen on 16th January 2024 at 12:23

About five or so years ago, there was an article in the Wigan Observer that the Beech Hill bobby had retired..we'd never even seen him.LOL.

Comment by: Arthur on 16th January 2024 at 12:51

Colin, the ITV police series Heartbeat dedicated to 1960s should be an example to the modern police of today. We had a police station in every community until we changed to GMP.
We Have gone backwards.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 16th January 2024 at 12:59

Wigan is not alone re lack of the police. Hardly ever see a police car, let alone a policeman or women. Seems they are more interested in traffic violations and we have a Police Station that the public can't enter...crazy.

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 16th January 2024 at 13:04

Alan, ?

Comment by: Garry on 16th January 2024 at 13:04

I think the music shop in the grimes arcade was Dawsons, but not 100%.

Comment by: Cyril on 16th January 2024 at 13:19

If anyone wants to look, here is a direct link to the plans for The Arcade or Grime's as it became to be known:

Colin, regarding your PaD of LW, on the plans you can see The New Post Office that I mentioned, which became the Wigan Observer offices when the new Crown (General) Post office was opened across the way on Wallgate. The Observer office prior to being the post office was a hotel, and that was built on the site of a grand house which history records as having a beautiful ornamental garden, here the Rowbottom's lived hence the name of the square.

Further to your now unseen police comment, the big chief could often be seen strutting around town with his swagger stick, with the constables and snouts saluting if he passed them.

Comment by: Elizabeth on 16th January 2024 at 13:49

You are right Cyril,King Street wasn't always a dump.When I started work in 1968,in King Street,there were several solicitors offices down there,it was quite smart.I think the rot set in early 90's.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 16th January 2024 at 13:57

You only seem to see those "Community Officers" or whatever they call them, walking the streets these days, and I don't think they're even allowed to arrest people. They're about as much use as those two police officers on Last of the Summer Wine, (and at least you get a laugh with those two!).

Comment by: Alan on 16th January 2024 at 13:59

Cyril, Thomas Wall was the Post Master of Wigan, and the founder of the Wigan Observer at Rowbottom Square in 1853.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 16th January 2024 at 14:21

Cyril, thanks for the information on Rowbottom Square, more than interesting, fascinating in fact.
Regarding the Police Chief, not sure he was Sargent or not but he used to stand on the corner of our house on the corner of Harrogate Street in the middle of the night banging his stick. My Dad had had enough of this keeping him awake, went outside and in no uncertain terms told him to clear off.

Comment by: The Observer on 16th January 2024 at 14:29

Heartbeat Bobbies only had one regular criminal and that was Greengrass
We should be thankful for our Police force which is the best in the world.

Comment by: DerekB on 16th January 2024 at 15:17

The Grimes record department in the Arcade was in a basement , where you could ask the assistant to play a record you might be interested in buying ,and listen to in one of the cubicles. I seem to remember that Grimes also sold tvs and radios from this shop, as well as musical instruments.

Comment by: DTease on 16th January 2024 at 15:19

King Street

King Street was once where deals were made
Where Lawyers and Solicitors plied their trade
Banks here flourished and took your money
Some of it good and some of it funny
Cinemas and Pubs were open each day
For those with some time to idle away
Grimes’s Arcade sold LPs and singles
The sound of their music made the tills jingle
At the Town Hall the Council would sit
And the Mayor would rise and speak for a bit
Now it’s all gone, all blown away
All dereliction and rotting decay
The Banks are now Nightclubs and still taking money
But what they produce is no longer funny
The Lawyers and Bankers have now moved on
The Cinemas and Pubs? All of them gone
And the records at Grimes’s no longer play
The turntables silent amongst the decay
No longer the proud Street that we once had
It slowly rots and makes us feel….sad.

Comment by: Another Dave on 16th January 2024 at 15:59

Historical record Colin is essential . Well done , many wouldn’t have bothered .

Comment by: Arthur on 16th January 2024 at 16:09

To the person who uses Observer. I do respect the Police, but where are they on the beat.

Comment by: e on 16th January 2024 at 16:19

(Walls hold memories )

If you ...

take away the ceilings you will always find a soul
If you knock away the walls there’ll be a heart
If you take the bricks away , then the heart and soul will stay ,
And the Wigan folk will haunt you every day ...

Coz we’re ...

made of born and bred
so it’s best to leave instead
And go to yonder very far away
leave our bricks alone
and be offski to your home
Or the Wigan folk will haunt you every day...

So if you...

take away the ceilings
you will always find a soul ,
If you knock away the walls there’ll be a heart ,
If you take the bricks away ,
then the heart and soul will stay ,
And the Wigan folk will haunt you ...every ...day!

Comment by: Pat McC on 16th January 2024 at 16:49

Will do Irene.
Looking forward to browsing through the market, perhaps a coffee at Casinelli's, bacon from Redmans, a slab of crumbly Lancashire cheese from the Cheese Cabin. A walk up Mesnes Street to Smiths and a bit of window shopping at John Dean, the photographic shop and Olivers, and then back up Standishgate for a 'half' in the Commercial!

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 16th January 2024 at 18:04

I'm afraid you'll only be successful at The Cheese Cabin, Pat McC..... the other places are only memories now, but I recommend the "Creamy" Lancashire, even if you only treat yourself to a quarter of a pound....it's lovely!

Comment by: Sir Bob on 16th January 2024 at 18:16

I only recently found out that the Arcade does have a name, and it is not Grimes Arcade, that was just a nickname it picked up from the Grimes Music shop, which used to be in the Arcade, it is actually and officially known as the 'King Street Arcade' as can be seen in this map from the 1800s.


Comment by: Veronica on 16th January 2024 at 18:58

Nightclubs didn’t help to stop the rot.
This was certainly a street of quality at one time.

Comment by: Peter Walsh on 16th January 2024 at 19:15

Good photo Colin, another irreplaceable building neglected. It has a beautiful double frontage on King Street. There is also a little gem behind you over your left shoulder, the Arcade Chambers. We are in Wigan on Monday so I may try and photograph it before we have 'our pint' in the Commercial.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 16th January 2024 at 21:07

I like your verse DTease, paints a vivid picure of a lost town.

Comment by: Cyril on 16th January 2024 at 21:12

Alan, yes Thomas Wall was the Postmaster when the new post office opened in the former hotel in Rowbottom Square. He initially had a printing business and print rooms in Market Place, which he later moved to rooms at the side of The Minorca and then moved again to the Rowbottom Square building when the post office moved to their new premises on Wallgate, though some say that he had permission from the hotel owner to install a printing press into the hotel cellar, and began printing the Wigan Observer in there. You can read all about him, his businesses and his family in this article at Wigan Local History & Heritage Society:

I know that the Grimes family initially began to sell musical instruments and records in the arcade shop, and I was thinking it was Fred Dawes who later had a record shop in there, however according to a search Dawes shop was on Library Street and that it was Dawson's who later had the arcade shop, and also selling records and musical instruments.

Comment by: Alan on 16th January 2024 at 21:53

The Minorca was his book printing and binding room, Cyril.
The Rowbottom Square building was Wigan Observer newspaper printing and publishing offices.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 17th January 2024 at 07:27

Peter, thanks for the information, I have sent a picture of Arcade Chambers to Brian but I suppose he gets so many sent to him not all can be accommodated.
Which Commercial are you referring too? The only one I know of is under the rubble of the Market Gate Centre.

Comment by: Peter Walsh on 17th January 2024 at 11:57

Memories Colin, Pat McC 's comment reminded me. I'm sure we will find another one.

Comment by: Cyril on 17th January 2024 at 13:10

Alan, history doesn't lie in that it was a travellers hotel prior to it being the Post Office and then later the Wigan Observer Building, I'm only quoting what was written at the time, though if you were there personally observing what went on and know better than the history writers, well notify the historians.

Comment by: Jodie B on 17th January 2024 at 13:22

Arthur, WN1 Standisher, and Cyril too, I wouldn't bother casting your pearls of wisdom before swine - they are the same person and just aren't worth it.

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