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The Red Bricks

They catch your eye, almost every single time you visit the town, you will notice the red bricks and terracotta tiles on the buildings.


Wigan has a varied and quite dysfunctional approach to its town centre architecture - there seems to be no pattern to it - new builds next to mock Tudor fronts, old stone facades next to traditional brick.


It seems you can pretty much build anything.


But it's those red bricks that draw the eye, the craftsmanship and artistry are something else, and there are loads of examples all over town.


This little tour will give you an insight.


The Old Courts

What a triumph of construction - a simply magnificent building on Crawford Street, next to King Street West and the churchyard. Complete with towers and even a turret it is stunning and even better in the sunshine.

The Old Courts, Crawford Street, Wigan in the sunshine

We move next from one saved building that is looking better by the day, to one that is simply crumbling away. Not as grand as the Old Courts, but still full of character and design.


Upper Dicconson Street

The premises have been empty now for decades - at one time they were a specialist clothing outlet, and even a furniture and antique store but now they are just a boarded-up mess.

the red bricks of Upper Dicconson Street in Wigan

Opposite Wigan North Western station is a fantastic pub, refurbished and a real landmark in the town.


The Swan and Railway

Just look at those bay windows!

Don't forget the stained glass windows, ornate doorways, and the triple chimney pot, just incredible levels of detail. A good pint too.

the Swan and Railway pub on Wallgate in Wigan

Once you have finished your pint and returned your glass to the bar (is it just me that does that?) then you can walk up Wallgate and take a look at what is around you.


Wallgate

At the junction with Library Street we have a more modern twist to the red bricks and this time it looks superb next to a slightly older version of modernity.


You can also start to see the wonders of Library Street as well, but I love this building due to its rounded end. Superb.

the red bricks of the buildings on Wallgate, Wigan

so now we can walk around the corner ...


Library Street

There are some buildings at the top of Library Street that make you just think, "wow, just how have they built those?"


Used by various businesses as offices these days, the skills and time it must have taken to build these structures are mind-blowing.

the ornate buildings of Library Street in Wigan

The jewel in the crown of all of Wigan's red-bricked buildings lies further down Library Street and it truly is magnificent.


The Town Hall

Well actually it's the Town Hall and the Council offices that lie across Hewlett Street, but as they are so close together then we can put them together as one massive success.

the entrance to the town hall in wigan

The entrance has everything, the only thing letting it down is the really poor sign over the door, surely we can do better than that - the sign, I suspect hides the original purpose of the building - the technical and mining college.


The Council Offices

This building also houses the library, the entrance to which is on the other side of the block in the much more modern Life Centre.


This building is the king of all the buildings in Wigan. It is just incredible.

the council offices and tower in Wigan

as the council offices go back up Hewlett Street (to the right on the image above) they then quite perfectly blend into some new construction, which has been hidden behind and above the original red bricks and walls.


That goes on to form the ultra-modern glass-fronted Life Centre a little further up Millgate towards the town centre.

the council offices as seen from Millgate in Wigan

Staying on Library Street and turning your back on all the town hall splendour you will see various buildings and entrances to businesses.


However, look up ... more superb work and different to all the rest yet again.

the red bricks and bay windows on Library Street in Wigan

Our final trip is down King Street on a journey of hope.


We have already seen buildings that have been saved and lovingly refurbished, and right now that very thing is happening here.


The Royal Court Theatre

Another building that was left to rack and ruin and allowed to rot away, before being rescued and re-purposed.


The refurbishment is part way through, but already it looks clean and free from trees and shrubs growing out of its roof.

the front of the royal court theatre in wigan

The red bricks of the buildings in Wigan are part of the town's history and heritage and should be preserved for years to come.


It is just a shame that none of the new stuff that is being built seems to have any of this skill or character - steel frames and glass windows are taking over the world, and whilst there is a time and place for them, it would be nice to invest in something amazing every now and then.

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