The figures form part of a Heritage Interpretation Scheme which aims to introduce and celebrate the rich industrial past of the eight acre site.
The life sized figures are set alongside large colourful panels. Each installation introduces a chapter from the heritage of Wigan Pier and the wider area.
The hope of the organisers – Wigan Council, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust and British Waterways – is that the figures generate local pride and become mini-attractions in their own right. “Over half million people use the towpath through Wigan Pier each year.
“These figures will I am sure, be of fascination and interest to all who pass. Who knows, they could be Wigan’s Gormleys!” suggested Keith Bergman, tourism development manager of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.
Sadly two more figures showing a boat builder and a pit brow lass were stolen recently but heritage lottery chiefs have agreed to fund their replacement.
The Leeds & Liverpool canal at Wigan Pier is currently undergoing a transformation with the refurbishment of Wigan Dry Dock and the installation of a new sculpture and interpretation trail.
One of the new sculptures depicting a local mill worker.
With the opening of the connection between the canal and the Albert Dock, Wigan Pier is now almost by the sea!
Various walking trails have been developed along the canal in Wigan linking many of the borough’s visitor attractions including the Douglas Valley, Robin Park and the JJB Stadium, plus Wigan Flashes and Pennington Country Park in Leigh; Astley Green Colliery, Arley Hall and Haigh Hall Country Park and the Bickershaw development site, along with Wigan Pier and Trencherfield Mill.
Visit Waterscape (external link)for information on great days out in the area.
Despite the recent trends within the property market, the Trencherfield Mill residential development has remained as popular as ever, with 80 per cent of properties now sold.
Contemporary loft living comes to Wigan.
The last available apartments are within the Mill development, where more than half have already been purchased.
Developers Stewart Milne are also in the process of contracting a number of leading companies for the commercial elements of the project.
These currently include a large hotel group to occupy the front of the development, a national brand of sandwich bar and a widely popular pizza outlet.
A whole new community is coming into being.
The council has made some important improvements to the surroundings in the Pier Quarter. A long stretch of Pottery Road pavement was replaced with York stone flags during a very wet summer.
The Changeline bridge is being structurally reinforced and its superstructure has been given a new coat of paint.
The five pieces of heritage engineering machinery standing outside Trencherfield Mill were also fully cleaned down and repainted by a specialist contractor.
The overall intention is to ensure that the redevelopment of Trencherfield Mill, one of the most iconic buildings in Wigan, is reinforced and the atmosphere in the conservation area is preserved.
The £5 million Wigan Pier Quarter regeneration project is jointly funded by Wigan Council, the North West Development Agency, the Heritage Lottery and the European Regional Development Fund.
Regeneration activity in Wigan’s famous pier quarter has not come to an end, despite the recession. In amongst the bad news, there is still plenty to report about the progress being made bringing the conservation area back to life.