March 10th-12th – Remembering The Road To Wigan Pier

A Weekend to Commemorate

the Publication of

George Orwell’s The Road To Wigan Pier

in March 1937, Eighty Years Ago

Day & Time


Event Information

Friday 10th March

7.30 PM

Sunshine House Annex, Wellington St,

Wigan WN1 3SA

A joint event with Wigan Diggers’ Festival, Sunshine House Community Hub and The Orwell Society

  • 7.30 – introductions

  • 7.45 – Professor John Newsinger’ s talk ‘From Wigan Pier to Nineteen Eighty-Four’ plus Q&A

  • 8.45ish – raffle and buffet

  • 9.15ish – “Chonkinfeckle” Wigan duo, ukulele and anecdotes, supported by Louise Fazackerly with a few poems

  • 10.30 til close, a bit of music.

Saturday 11th March

9.30 AM Until Midday followed by light lunch

Sunshine House Annex, Wellington St,

Wigan WN1 3SA

  • 9.30 Barbara Nettleton will give an informal talk about the role and work of Sunshine House for Orwell Society Members, but all are welcome to join this event.

  • 10.00 Formal Opening and Welcome to Wigan by Councillor Ron Conway, Mayor of Wigan.

  • Response on behalf of The Orwell Society by George Orwell’s son and Patron of The Orwell Society, Richard Blair.

Events this morning will be compered by Alan Gregory.

You will see the results of the work done by enthusiastic local people of all ages working with Wigan Poet Louise Fazackerly since Autumn 2016 when they attended workshops with Authors from English PEN.

  • SupercalifragilisticexpialiWriters from St Patrick’s RC Primary School will read poems they have written inspired by The Road to Wigan Pier (RTWP).

  • The Sunshine Writers group, who meet at Sunshine House, will perform dramatic pieces, which they have written interspersed with Memories of their personal experiences, which they recalled while in the Workshop and afterwards working with Louise.

  • A short interval

  • The Future Writers, who are pupils from senior schools in Wigan, will perform a Dystopian drama, which they have written inspired by RTWP. The idea was created by them after working with Louise.

  • Alan Gregory, your compere and his group Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes, will lead us in singing 3 songs, which he has written, which have been created from key passages in RTWP.

  • Stephen Armstrong – Author of Road to Wigan Pier Re-visited

  • Quentin Kopp on behalf of The Orwell Society and Donna Hall, Chief Executive of Wigan Council on behalf of Wigan.

Sandwich lunch at the venue.

Saturday 11th March

1PM to 3PM

Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU

From the web site

The Museum of Wigan Life is housed in Wigan’s first public library and first public building with electric lighting. Alfred Waterhouse designed the building, which opened in 1878 and also designed the Natural History Museum in London and Manchester Town Hall

The event will be held where in 1936 George Orwell researched his book ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ in the Reference Library (now Family History and Local Studies) upstairs. Members of The Orwell Society will give talks on research they have conducted for this weekend.

  • Introduction to the Event by Les Hurst of The Orwell Society. ‘George Orwell’s Long Walk to Wigan Pier’:

A talk on how and why Orwell came to write the book, and how it came to be published and the derivation of the book’s title.

  • “Seeing What Orwell Chose to See in Wigan”. Dr David Craik has conducted research in the same material, which Orwell used when it was located in this room. He will talk and present original photos and material from that time.

  • Tim Foster – photos and presentation of Wigan Now.

  • ‘Poverty of Aspiration? No one aspires to Poverty’: Les Hurst will give a talk on conditions in post 1929 England

Questions are welcome after each speaker’s talk.

6PM to 7PM

The Mill at the Pier, ALRA North’s theatre

Trencherfield Mill Wigan, Greater Manchester

WN3 4B

  • Introduction to the Work of Sunshine House by Barbara Nettleton.

  • Plays have been created by current students supported by Lecturers and former Students of ALRA. The plays have been written by the students and inspired by RTWP

Sunday 12th March

10am – 11am

The Old Courts,

Gerrard Winstanley House, Crawford Street, Wigan, WN1 1NA

  • This morning’s event will include film of Wigan from 1936 and a tour of The Old Courts building

The Orwell Society

The Wigan Diggers’ Festival

The Orwell Society on Facebook

The Orwell Society would like to thank Wigan Borough council and its leaders and staff; the Museum of Wigan Life; Sunshine House and its staff and members; Stephen Armstrong; Louise Fazackerley; ALRA, staff and students, the Wigan Diggers; and everyone else who has helped during the two years we have been planning this 80th anniversary commemoration.

2 thoughts on “March 10th-12th – Remembering The Road To Wigan Pier

    • We should try to record the speakers, at least. I believe Les Hurst will be speaking from notes, rather than reading a lecture. Both David Craik and he will be using a Powerpoint (illustrations) presentation.


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