You know the comedy phrase "what have the Romans ever done for us?" well the same could be said here in Wigan about the Victorians, but we have the answer! They gave us the Makinson Arcade and all its finery.
The arcade is not the oldest one in the town but dating back to around 1898, then you would have to say that it is pretty old really and thankfully, the local authority have offered it great protection as the steel and glass went up all around it.
The arcade is stunning, with an entrance befitting of its grandeur:
The stained glass window goes right back to the construction of the arcade, but the canopy was a more recent and sympathetic addition being installed in 1996, but I feel it adds to the look of the building.
The arcade is built of brick and of course the terracotta that adorns much of the towns older buildings - it was certainly a very popular way to build stunning buildings back then!
It opens up into a narrow passageway that winds its way down towards to the more modern Galleries and Marketgate centres.
I remember this arcade from being a child and I was always impressed with its construction and quirkiness as you walked up or down it. Not much of the original building work has changed, but of course the tenants up and down the arcade have and the units have been modernised.
The best bit about the arcade though now is this:
The red, blue and yellow umbrellas that cover the interior of the roof/ceiling are fantastic - utterly crazy, but fantastic all the same.
Pick a spot half way along and look up or down and you will get a great view of these umbrellas all along the roofline. This is the view looking up the arcade towards Standishgate - I love the rows of windows on the first floor of all the units, and of course the light fittings.
Looking down the arcade and the colours of the umbrellas in the early morning sunshine are quite visually stunning.
When you get to the bottom of the arcade you are met again with another stunning piece of stained glass window work, the leaded glass is just amazing.
The top of the arcade opens up on to the top of Standishgate where it meets up with Market Square and if you stand under the new canopy it gives a great view of the Grand Arcade, the newer and more modern face of shopping in Wigan.
There are some wonderful places in the town, and yes there are some horrors too, but overall its a great place to live and be inspired by.
Want to know a secret?
The best bit of the Makinson Arcade and the bit that everyone looks at the most is here:
It has been here for as long as I can remember, but the ceiling mounted mirror draws everyone's eye to it as they walk along, checking out who is behind them following them.
I was delighted to see that it was still there. Brilliant!