Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester with a population of over 81,000 people. Wigan is situated less than 8 miles south-west of Bolton and around 16 miles from Manchester, making it an easy commute into the city. The town of Wigan is historically part of the county of Lancashire.
Wigan experienced a period of major expansion during the Industrial Revolution and became an important mill town. Wigan was also a centre for coal mining, while industries such as the manufacturing of porcelain and clock making also thrived. In the 1830s, Wigan became one of the first towns in Britain to be served by a railway, furthering its economic prosperity.
Wigan provides many job opportunities in the public, administration and health sectors. The town is on the verge of providing many new job opportunities with the creation of the Wigan Life Centre. The council project will create a £200 million leisure and public service complex which will include a new library, new swimming facilities and will give residents access to council, health leisure and housing services. The project will considerably boost employment in Wigan and includes a commitment to employ local people wherever possible.
The Verve were Wigan's most famous musical export since ... George Formby! The band members were all from the Wigan area and met while at Winstanley College, a sixth form centre on the outskirts of town. Other notable Wigan bands include the Railway Children and folk-rockers the Tansads. Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra is known worldwide, while Andy Prior - dubbed the new Sinatra - owes his success to his formative years with WYJO. Nearby Leigh - part of the borough of Wigan - is the birthplace of Georgie Fame.
The former site of Westwood Power station in Wigan has become a business park which provides office space for a wide variety of businesses including Chinamex, a crucial business within China's textile industry. One of the largest food manufacturers in Europe, H. J Heinz, has a site within Wigan, and the town is the site for the largest food processing factory in Europe, providing many jobs within the town. Other famous Wigan food products include Pataks Indian foods, Potters herbal remedies, Uncle Joe's Mint Balls, and De Roma ice cream.
The industries of retail, manufacturing, construction and health and social work are all central to employment within Wigan. Wigan has many other well known firms which include Girobank, the Tote, JJB Sports, US glass fibre manufacturers PPG, and carpet firm Milliken. Wigan is also the home of the North West Tourist Board and the Tidy Britain Group.
Wigan is home to the annual World pie eating championship usually held at Harry's Bar on Wallgate. The competition has been held since 1992, and in 2007 a vegetarian option was added. Wiganers are sometimes referred to as "pie-eaters". The name is said to date from the 1926 general strike, when Wigan miners were starved back to work before their counterparts in surrounding towns and so were forced to metaphorically eat “humble pie”.