Wigan will host a week of celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of the publication of the Road to Wigan Pier.

George Orwell’s landmark journalistic masterpiece on the plight of the working class in 1930s England was first published on March 8th 1937.

To mark the anniversary the Orwell Society in collaboration with Wigan Council and organisations throughout the town are hosting a number of events.

Members of the Orwell Society from as far away as the US will be travelling to Wigan, including the son of George Orwell, Richard Blair.

He will hear Wigan school children read their own poems inspired by his father’s work.

The anniversary also serves to highlight the regeneration of Wigan Pier itself with developers and investors visiting the town on the day of the anniversary to see the unique opportunity the historic Wigan Pier Quarter presents.

Below is an outline of the events taking place:


Friday 10th March – Political talk and social evening. Time: 7.30pm. Professor John Newsinger gives a talk ‘From Wigan Pier to Nineteen Eighty-Four’ in a joint event with Wigan Diggers, Sunshine House Community Hub and The Orwell Society. Venue: Sunshine House, Wellington Street, Wigan
Saturday 11th March – Community celebration event. Time: 9.30am – 12pm. Attended by George Orwell’s son and patron of The Orwell Society, Richard Blair the event will see primary school pupils reading poems inspired by the Road to Wigan Pier, secondary school pupils performing a drama inspired by the work and community group Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes, will lead singing created from key passages in the Road to Wigan Pier. Venue: Sunshine House, Wellington Street, Wigan, WN1 3SA.
Saturday 11th March – Historic talks on Orwell and the Road to Wigan Pier. Time: 1pm to 3pm. Experts and academics will deliver fascinating talks on the background to a Road to Wigan Pier and conditions in England at the time. This will take place in the very building where Orwell researched the Road to Wigan Pier. Venue: Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan.
Saturday 11th March – Plays inspired by the Road to Wigan Pier. Time: 6pm to 7pm. Plays written by drama students at ALRA North drama school and inspired by the Road to Wigan Pier will be performed. Venue: The Mill at the Pier, ALRA North’s theatre, Trencherfield Mill Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Sunday 12th March – 10am – 11am – films of Wigan in the 1930s at Wigan’s cultural hub Films from Wigan from 1936 will be shown and there will be a tour of the historic Old Courts building which is now a thriving cultural hub for Wigan. Venue: The Old Courts, Gerrard Winstanley House, Crawford Street, Wigan.


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