Wigan Pier museum remembered in new film 10 years after closing

Wiganers can take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a film being released online 10 years after a popular tourist attraction shut.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 1:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 2:35 pm
The entrance to The Way We Were at Wigan Pier

The documentary about The Way We Were at Wigan Pier has been put on Youtube by Tradition Films a decade after it made a permanent screen reminder of the landmark facility.

The film records the highlights of the exhibitions which brought the borough’s past to life and attracted more than 10 million visitors from when it opened in 1986 to its 2007 demise.

The Liverpool-based heritage film company remembered being brought in to capture the attraction and shared memories of a unique day out.

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Peter Goodwin, director of Tradition Films, said: “It was a ground-breaking museum and drew a lot of people to Wigan.

“It became nationally known for its use of actors and was a really interesting way of using an iconic building.

“Obviously a lot of people will have very fond memories of visiting it and we hope this will remind them of pleasant trips to Wigan.

“Watching the film really brings it back to life for me. It’s such a shame every time you drive past to see the buildings closed up.”

The Way We Were took visitors on an immersive trip back in time to how the borough would have been in the Victorian era around 1900.

Highlights included the terrifying schoolroom with its strict discipline, a walk-through mine, a seaside attraction, recreations of the houses and backyards of the time and even a genuine historic pub interior which was relocated to the museum after being salvaged from the demolition of Hope Street watering hole the Park Hotel.

Actors from the resident Wigan Pier Theatre Company took up with relish the task of playing the parts of people who lived in the community in those distant times.

Tradition Films has also uploaded footage of Opie’s Museum of Memories, which was located in Trencherfield Mill between 1999 and 2005.

Based on a collection of popular culture artefacts collected by folklorist Robert Opie, visitors were taken back through the 20th century with toys, games, sweets, food and other items from each decade.

Visitors to the Pier could enter both museums with one ticket as well as see the Trencherfield Mill steam engine, looking at other industrial machinery and take a canal boat ride.

The various parts of the site have met differing fates since the tourists departed, with the working engine being kept in good order and still cranked into life every other Sunday.

Trencherfield Mill is also home to modern apartments and the likes of the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts North but the Wigan Pier warehouses are still unused despite numerous plans over the years to revitalise the area.

Both films can be viewed by searching for ‘traditionfilms’ at www.youtube.com