'Ron Dawber' Picture
In response to Andrew’s thought provoking article below, I had a look at the WiganWorld website and browsed some of the images of Scholes. I’m originally from Ashton, so my knowledge of Scholes is limited and i struggle to relate to areas of modern Wigan, let alone from 40 years ago.
You’ll see i picked out an image of a bus stopping outside what looks like a pub with a handful of people outside. Again, i don’t really know where this photo is and i certainly don’t know any of the people in it, but the image haunted me. Quite why, I don’t know, but it left me feeling rather sad and mournful. In particular, i looked at the little child hand in hand with a dutiful parent. Clearly it seems, I’m not the only one who feels this as ‘Dorothys’ comments echo the way i feel. “Good Times” she writes. Was this a Wigan in happier times? If so, what’s gone wrong?
Modern Wigan is a busy, bustling place with people hurriedly getting their shopping done to ‘beat the rush’ or ‘nipping out for a quick sandwich’ or ‘grabbing a coffee.’ We have a greater disposable income than ever before, with every mod-con we wish, but we collectively seem more unhappy than ever. We’re dissatisfied with our lives and feel that they lack something. Yet, when you look at the picture of Scholes, you know that that child was probably content with its lot. The clothing of the other people suggests that the weather might not have been the warmest, but the child is in short trousers. And why do we think that the child was content with its lot – well probably because most of us can relate to it : when you were this age, your legs were made of asbestos and immune to the cold – wearing short trousers was fine. What is a task for the parent is a bit of an adventure for the child and if they play their cards right, they might come back with a quarter of acid drops.
What’s all this got to do with SaveWigan? Well, the photos trigger the memories of Dorothy and others, but sadly the photos and memories are all that’s left. When Scholes was bulldozed, there could not have been the foresight that the Internet would come along and people would be able to browse these images. Fortunately, some people had the foresight to ‘preserve’ Wigan with photography, but not everything was so fortunate. I googled “Three Sisters” and looked through 67 pages of results – not one featured an image of a coal tip. Why is an image of a slag heap so important? Well, what i judge as important or just interesting might not be what you feel, but the important thing is that we do what we can to value what we have, whether its bricks and mortar, a way of life; or as Dorothy puts it, “Good Times.”