More picture perfect memories from 'our Frank'

A former photographer has released two new books chronicling events from Wigan days gone by.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 1:59 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 3:05 pm
Frank Orrell with his books

Former Observer lensman Frank Orrell has published two volumes focusing on the borough’s amateur sport and famous leisure events over the space of five decades.

Having published seven previous books packed with pictures of historical news events from the borough, the veteran photographer’s latest tomes are filled with images from carnivals, sports days, fun runs and Wigan’s bustling music scene.

Frank said: “I go through all the archives. I had kept a few pictures and old negatives, and scanned them in at home.

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“Some big stars came to Wigan, like Marc Bolan at The Ritz. There was also the Bickershaw Festival. It was three days of mud and rain!”

The Bickershaw Festival took place in May 1972, when the suburb welcomed more than 40,000 music fans to the farmland-come-marshland. Headline acts included The Kinks, and reportedly counted a young Elvis Costello among its attendees.

There are also hundreds of snaps of the town’s amateur athletes in action, from rugby and football to more fringe sports such as hockey.

He also conducted research at the Museum of Wigan Life, painstakingly trawling through reams of archive photos.

Frank began working on his series of pictorial books in 2010.

The Shevington native said: “I’d been retired for about a year. My wife Louise said ‘why not put some of your pictures in a book.’

“I thought I’d do that, and just got carried away. It’s been a labour of love really, there’s no profit in it.”

With the photos spanning almost half a century, the books are also a chance for Wiganers to recognise themselves or a loved one from days gone by.

“People always say to me ‘You took a picture of my grandad’, or their uncle,” Frank said.

The books are priced at £20 each and are available at: Rydings Newsagents, Wigan Market Hall; Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street; Pemberton

Flowers, Ormskirk Road, Pemberton; Shevington Library; Shevington physio and foot


They can also be purchased through the Facebook page Frank Orrell Photography.