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Wigan Pier

The most important, world-shifting thing I've learned from reading Alice in Sunderland so far is this: there is no Wigan Pier.

It was all a joke, one which grew so far out of hand as to spawn a novel, a night club, a city quarter, a worldwide reputation. But it does not exist.

pittenweem - did you know this?

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
chickenfeet2003
Feb. 8th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
I know it doesn't exist. I've been there! But surely Colin knew that?
owlfish
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
Apparently he didn't. Wigan Pier is something he'd really not thought about before.
maxineofarc
Feb. 8th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Bill Bryson addressed this in "Notes From A Small Island," and I can't put my hand on it right now, but I think he actually notes that it in fact does, and he'd been there.
chickenfeet2003
Feb. 8th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
The night club etc is on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and there's a sort of wharf but to call it a pier is hyperbolic.
owlfish
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
There is something called Wigan Pier, but it is not what you would normally call a pier. I would call it a quay myself. Nothing sticks out into the water. It's a loading zone with warehouses at the side of a canal.
hobbitblue
Feb. 8th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
depends what you mean by "pier", there's a bit on the side of the canal, if you were expecting a long sticking out into the sea thing, the fact that Wigan is inland rather gives the game away.

I grew up in Wigan Its much nicer since I left, I think that's coincidence though.. And the one way system still sucks.
owlfish
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
I expect a pier to stick out. The sea need not be involved. It's a quay!

I'd never been to Wigan before today. It was en route back from Preston so we stopped by. It was photogenic, with still water and setting sun, but not what I would call a pier.

I don't know if it was the one way system or our GPS unit which caused us so much doubling back and forth. Despite your dislike of it, I suspect it was actually the unit.

The whole Wigan Pier quarter looks in the midst of a major set of conversions to flats, although there were no useful shops in sight for the people who might someday live there.
fjm
Feb. 8th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Yes it does, but it was built as a museum after the book.
owlfish
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
But it isn't a "pier" in the sense that it doesn't stick out, which was my previous conception of piers. It's flat against the side of the canal; I'd call it a quay.

(We stopped by there today on the way back from Preston to check since it was en route!)
vschanoes
Feb. 9th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
Well, you will not learn anything accurate about Alice or Lewis Carroll, as almost everything he writes about them is unadulterated bollocks. I mean--it's a beautiful book, and I treasure it, but the man knows fuck-all about Alice.
owlfish
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
I'll keep that in mind! But having stopped by Wigan Pier today, his throwaway line about it was apt.
ms_cataclysm
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
There is a "real" Wigan Pier. As the other local poster says, it is a canal boat loading point , rather than a Brighton style walkway and amusement arcade. However, it is still a pier and dates back to the century before George Orwell's book -see Wigan's website for further details.

The area was later developed as part of a museum which was closed last year.

owlfish
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
Is it a pier or is it a quay? A pier doesn't need to be touristic, but in my previous experience of piers, they stick out over water. A quay runs along the side of a wharf, exactly as does Wigan Pier.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )