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Wigan, A Town of Pie Eaters

Updated on March 12, 2012


My fiancée said to me this morning "You can take me shopping today"

"Do I have to" I replied "Where?"

"Wigan" She said.

"0k, no problem" I replied.

Now if she had said Preston, Bolton or Manchester then I would have pulled my face and sulked but I don't mind Wigan. I can honestly say I quite like it. It's easy to get into and even easier to get out of. It has plenty of car parks hidden away, out of sight, yet right in the middle of the town centre.

"Whoever did the town planning did a right good job" as a Wiganer would say.

Up Standishgate, past the Galleries and the first port of call is Debenhams, inside the Grand Arcade. A recently built centre, just bursting with all the famous high street names. Well I thought it was the first port of call, it's not because I heard the familiar call

"Let's just go in here". Very deep sigh from me. I now find myself in 'NEXT ' a clothes shop famous for it's sales , which start at five am on Boxing Day morning.

"Lets see if they have that dress" she said. She was talking about a dress she had been looking for in the Bolton store just two days earlier. Half an hour later, no success.

"Come on" she said and off she marched towards Debenhams. I quickly overtook her and led the way, hoping she wouldn't stop at any other shops. Past the benches filled with men, waiting while their wives were shopping.

At last we were there, sanctuary. I like Debenhams; there is something about it. I like the way everything is laid out. It has a feeling of quality. A proper department store.

"Oh look. Seventy percent off" I smiled. Within five minutes, she had found a dress at a bargain price. Onward to the dressing room, to try it on. Another deep sigh, they were queuing out the door. I got my kindle out.

Twenty minutes later, the dress is in the bag and we are leaving. I noticed a very large man coming my way. On his shirt was the slogan

"I ate all the pies and chips and gravy too "

I laughed. It refers to a song rival fans sing at football matches. Particularly aimed at Wigan Athletic fans.

"Who ate all the pies

who ate all the pies

You fat b*****d

You fat b*****d

You ate all the pies".

That started me thinking. Why are Wigan folk called pie eaters?

Wigan town centre.  A good mix of old & modern
Wigan town centre. A good mix of old & modern | Source

I am still hungry

Is one pie enough?
Is one pie enough? | Source

The Reason

As we were walking back down Standishgate, I took notice of the amount of people eating pies or pasties. There were quite a few, not surprising really as there are a lot more pie shops than any other kind of food outlets. So I have done a bit of research and I have come up with three answers to the question.

One reason given is because the world pie eating championships are held in Wigan every year. This year Neil Collier won it in a world record time of 23.91 seconds. Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up. I don't think this is the real reason. I think the world pie eating championships are held here because they are known as pie eaters.

Another reason that was thrown in the pot is because Wigan was once a huge coal-mining town. When the miners had their lunch, because they was underground and had dirty hands. They would hold the crust and eat the contents, when they had finished they would simply throw the dirty crust away. I don't think this is the real reason either. I know that is why Cornish pasties were invented, because of the tin miners in Cornwall but they are a completely different shape to a pie.

This has to be my favourite reason. Back in May 1926 a general strike was called throughout the whole of Britain. Workers of all key industries came out on strike in support of the miners. Miners of Wigan and the miners of a nearby town called Leigh came out.

The Wigan miners broke the strike and went back to work but the Leigh miners stuck it out, Eventually reaching agreement with the pit owners and receiving better wages and conditions than their Wigan counterparts. Thus the Wiganers have had to eat humble pie ever since.

What do you think?

Which one of these is most likely to be the true reason

See results


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    • pe555 profile image

      Peter Donnelly 7 years ago from UK

      That's right,kathryn. Wigan is becoming posh. No it isn't but it has some good shops.

    • kathryn1000 profile image

      kathryn1000 7 years ago from London

      Fancy,a Debenhams in Wigan.That is good.My neighbour is from there!