Museum of Wigan Life

Museum of Wigan Life
baby changing facilities icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

Following a £1.9 million Heritage Lottery Fund refurbishment, the award-winning Museum of Wigan Life (formerly The History Shop) opened to the public, offering a fantastic opportunity for learning and discovery.

The Museum of Wigan Life is housed in Wigan’s first public library and first public building with electric lighting. Alfred Waterhouse designed the building, which opened in 1878. He also designed the Natural History Museum in London and Manchester Town Hall. In 1936 George Orwell researched his book 'The Road to Wigan Pier' in the Reference Library (now Family History and Local Studies) upstairs.

Discover the people and places of Wigan borough, past and present at the Museum of Wigan Life. Lively displays on everything from sport to world war and from music to festivals in Wigan, Leigh and across the borough.

Do you know the tale of Mab’s Cross?
Who is our most famous ukulele player?
And why is Wigan so famous for pies?

You’ll find all the answers and more in our main gallery. Our special exhibitions explore aspects of local history from rugby league to the mysterious sport of clog fighting.

The museum especially welcomes families. Trails for children age 7-11 are available on reception, and the special exhibition has children’s activities. We host a varied and exciting programme of events for adults and families. Please visit our website to find out what is in store! www.wlct.org/wigan/museums-archives

The Museum of Wigan Life Shop offers a huge range of products from miners lamps to the popular ‘I Love Wigan Pie’ range – now featuring handcrafted mugs and teaspoon rests. Try our specialist maps for the family historian or chose a bag of Uncle Joe's Mint Balls to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archive

Opening hours

Monday 9:00 - 2:00
Tuesday 9:00 - 2:00
Wednesday 9:00 - 2:00
Thursday 12.00 - 17.00
Friday 12.00 - 17.00
Saturday 9:00 - 2:00
Sunday Closed

Closed: Sundays
Bank Holidays

Admission charges

Free

Getting there

The museum is at the end of Library Street, five minutes walk from Wigan town centre and 10 minutes walk from Wigan Wallgate and Wigan Northern Western train stations and Wigan bus station. There is very limited parking outside the museum but there is a multi-storey at the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

Collection details

Archaeology, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Industry, Music, Natural Sciences, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

125 Years of Rugby League in Leigh and Wigan

  • 6 August 2020 1-2pm

Calling all Rugby League fans!
In this special anniversary year, join us for an audience with sports journalist and Leigh Centurions chairman Mike Latham as he looks back on the highs and lows of what many people in the Borough regard as the Greatest Game of all. Whatever side you favour, this talk has specific reference to both Leigh Centurions and Wigan Warriors.
Not to be missed!
Come along and enjoy this popular illustrated talk on a well-loved sport!
Booking Essential
Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

Wigan Pier – The Way we were and what we became!

  • 3 September 2020 1-2pm

Wigan Pier: The way we were… and what we became!
This illustrated presentation by Jim Holian will explore how the Wigan Pier canal basin developed and why. It will examine years of decline in the 1970s before exploring how the site went on to become a world famous and well-loved tourist and heritage attraction in the 1980s.
The talk will also include Wigan’s three C’s - coal, cotton and canals, as well as a look at the social conditions of this nineteenth century industrial town.


Booking Essential
Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

Theo Major Walking on Fire’

  • 1 October 2020 1-2pm

Theo was an extraordinary man and an extraordinary artist. He was born in Wigan in 1908 and he spent his early life in the town before moving to Appley Bridge in 1950 where he lived and painted until his death in 1999. He based his own life and art on that of William Blake and Van Gogh, though his work is uniquely his own. He painted because he loved people and loved life. L.S. Lowry believed Theo to be a better painter than himself and Theo agreed. Unlike Lowry, Theo refused to commit himself to a London-based gallery, determined to remain true to his northern roots and so he never attained the fame that he so richly deserved.
Share with us this opportunity to be part of the rediscovery of the artist Theodore (‘Theo’) Major - perhaps Britain’s last great forgotten painter.
Michael is the author of L.S. Lowry, A Visionary Artist and is writing a 2-volume study of Theo Major due to be published later this year.

Booking Essential
Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee Booking essential

Skeleton School

  • 31 October 2020 1-2pm

From booby-trapped coffins and body-snatchers, to post-mortem photography and funeral souvenirs, the Victorian obsession with death was all-encompassing; spawning an era of now forgotten death-etiquette, creepy funerary practices, traditions and superstitions designed to keep the departed firmly within their realm. But the battle to appease the dead often caused war among the living. Join us on Halloween and explore the fascinating world of the Victorian dead brought back to life - the superstitions that buried them - and the anatomists who brought them back up. With reference to the Edinburgh Seven and the Surgeon's Hall Riot of 1870.
Come along to this popular illustrated talk by Charlie Guy MA

Booking Essential
Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 per person tea/coffee included

Coalopolis,Wigan’s Mining Heritage

  • 5 November 2020 1-2pm

Coalopolis,Wigan’s Mining Heritage talk by Alan Davies

Since the earliest days of coal mining in Britain, Wigan has been the pre-eminent town associated with the industry. The Romans based in the town centre accessed coal possibly locally and specifically at Arley. The world-famous Cannel mines at Haigh had been worked since the 14th century. Their equally famous drainage tunnel dated back to the 17th century. Artisans carving Haigh Cannel coal drew nationwide attention from the 17th century onwards.
The foremost mining engineers, geologists and mineral surveyors along with legal professions associated with the industry and coal owners when private could be found in King Street.
The first purely coal mining college in Britain was set up in Library Street in the 1850’s, to be staffed by the most eminent mining minds in Britain. It was during this period the term Coalopolis came into use.
Mining ended in the borough in the 1990’s but it’s legacy will always remain, along with the memory of the hundreds of men women and children who died working coal. A statue group recalling this (scheduled late March 2020) will be a permanent feature of the town centre.
Booking Essential
Places are limited so please book by phoning 01942 828128 or emailing wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+

Admission

£3.00 including tea/coffee

Getting there

The museum is at the end of Library Street, five minutes walk from Wigan town centre and 10 minutes walk from Wigan Wallgate and Wigan Northern Western train stations and Wigan bus station. There is very limited parking outside the museum but there is a multi-storey at the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

Museum of Wigan Life
Library Street
Wigan
Greater Manchester
WN1 1NU
England

Website

E-mail

wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk

Telephone

01942 828128

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
advertisement