Concept and aims
The Wigan Mural project, funded by Avanti West Coast and led by South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership (SELCRP), aimed to transform a large area of Wigan North Western Station via a piece of community art that would represent a sense of pride in the local area.
The aim of the scheme was to improve the appearance and environment of the station, by engaging with local stakeholders, communities, and individuals to directly influence the mural design. The partnership also wanted to showcase the work of local artists and celebrate the heritage and history of Wigan.
SELCRP chose local professional lettering artist Jess Riley to lead on the project. The partnership was excited by her unique and innovative design concept of an A to Z of ‘Wiganese’, a series of words and phrases commonly used by people of Wigan past and present.
Jess and SELCRP engaged thousands of people in the development of the project, running a social media campaign, holding community workshops with groups ranging from Wigan Youth Zone to a local pensioner’s club, and installing post boxes in independent businesses asking people to fill in a postcard with ideas. They actively tried to involve local people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, asking them to nominate their favourite Wigan words and phrases, as well as local landmarks and things they loved about Wigan. Using the results, Jess created a design to portray the true sense of the area and ‘bring a smile to people’s faces.’
The finished mural was unveiled by the Mayor of Wigan in November 2021. The feedback on the project has been overwhelmingly positive, with station users fascinated by the transformation of the previously blank underpass. Hundreds of local people have voiced their approval on social media, and the partnership has a created a page on its website dedicated to the artwork and the meanings of the ‘Wiganese’ terms.
Dr Steph Dermott, project manager for SELCRP, said: “SELCRP are immensely proud of this project, and the joy it continues to bring to local people. People passing through the station are now greeted by some of their favourite ‘Wiganese’ words and phrases that aim to embody a sense of both local pride and shared humour, providing a welcoming atmosphere to bring a smile to the faces of visitors and Wiganers alike!”