Landmark Wigan pub demolished

Fire ravages the Seven Stars pub last year
Fire ravages the Seven Stars pub last year

IT SERVED up ales, camaraderie and good times for more than a century.

But today, as only rubble and shattered timber mark the spot of the Seven Stars Hotel in Wallgate, a Wigan woman with close connections to the place spoke of her dismay at its demise.

Gemma Warrington’s family ran the pub for a decade in the ’80s long before the beer-sales crisis hit the hostelry trade.

The pub closed at least eight years ago despite protests from Camra who raved about its carved wooden interior, Staffordshire tiling and classic acid-etched windows inviting drinkers into the Vault and Newsroom.

But hopes that its classic facade could be saved with the building being transformed into apartments were dashed when a major fire tore through all floors last year, structurally weakening it to the point of collapse. Witnesses saw a group of terrified rough sleepers fleeing the scene moments before fire crews arrived.

Because of its position on the canal bridge, on one of the main entrances into the town, it was one of the borough’s most widely recognised pubs.

Gemma’s grandparents Frank and Joan Derbyshire were licensees of the pub with other family members behind the bar. The Springfield 26-year-old has a treasure trove of schoolgirl memories of playing in the pub and chatting to the regulars.

She said: “The whole family are upset that the pub has ended up being knocked down. My grandparents were in there for more than nine years before retiring and it has so many wonderful memories for them.

“I remember being in there for birthday parties and things at five or six years old and it being a really happy place with a great group of regulars. It was a family business with mum, dad and my auntie working behind the bar and that made it a really special place for all of us.

“When it was built there was a big community around it but all those houses were cleared, although there was still plenty of people from the bus depot or the factories around about who came in for a drink.

“It is sad to see any part of Wigan history go and be knocked down and particular when it is something that has had an influence on your life.”