Wigan (// WIG-ən) is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, on the River Douglas, 10 miles (16 km) south-west of Bolton, 12 miles (19 km) north of Warrington and 16 miles (25.7 km) northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and its administrative centre. The town has a population of 103,608, and the wider borough of 318,100. Before major local authority boundary changes in the early 1970s, Wigan was in the county of Lancashire.
Wigan Pier, a former wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
|Population||103,608 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||176 miles (283 km) SE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||WN1-WN3, WN5, WN6|
Wigan was in the territory of the Brigantes, an ancient Celtic tribe that ruled much of what is now northern England. The Brigantes were subjugated in the Roman conquest of Britain and the Roman settlement of Coccium established where Wigan lies.
Wigan was incorporated as a borough in 1246, following the issue of a charter by King Henry III of England. At the end of the Middle Ages, it was one of four boroughs in Lancashire established by Royal charter.
The Industrial Revolution saw a dramatic economic expansion and rapid rise in population. Wigan became a major mill town and coal mining district; at its peak, there were 1,000 pit shafts within 5 miles (8 km) of the town centre. Coal mining ceased in the later 20th century.
Wigan Pier, a wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, was made famous by the writer George Orwell. In his book The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell highlighted the poor working and living conditions of inhabitants in the 1930s. Following the decline of heavy industry, Wigan Pier's warehouses and wharves became a local heritage centre and cultural quarter. The DW Stadium is home to Wigan Athletic Football Club and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club.