Wigan Pier - facts and fictions

Wigan Pier - The facts and fictions of an enduring Music-Hall joke tells the story of the most famous pier in the world. It links the story of the Wigan coalfield's many piers – or tipplers as they are known locally – with the mythical Wigan Pier of music hall fame. The name of the originator of the idea of a pier so far from the sea, which captured the imagination of music-hall goers, is lost in time, but its promotion and popularisation were very definitely down to George Formby – father of the George Formby of ukelele fame – who built part of his stage act around it. Others followed with stories, postcards and songs, and of course George Orwell linked the idea to images of deprivation and squallor in his book The Road to Wigan Pier – giving the town an image which it spent decades trying to dispel. The book will present a picture of the town in the closing years of the 19th century – when the pier joke first attracted popularity – looking at the Wigan coalfield, and the coal tippler on the Leeds to Liverpool Canal which has become known as Wigan Pier. It also looks at the popularity of the idea which persists today – with cafés and bars worldwide adopting the name.


The book, which is profusely illustrated in colour throughout with a mixture of historic images and modern photography, was published in October 2016 by Lightmoor Press, price £9.99.


The Victorian Photographs of Dr. Thomas Keith and John Forbes White is now available from John Hannavy Publishing price £20.00 + P&P. 

To order a copy, use the Contacts page.


Published by PiXZ/Halsgrove in May 2017 is the third volume of John's Britain's Industrial Heritage series – Industries Which Made Britain Triumph. Click on the book cover, below to log on to Amazon.co.uk where you can see all of John Hannavy's currently available books. 

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All images and text © John Hannavy