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Grade U

Victoria Buildings

36 - 44 King Street, Wigan, Wigan

Listed Date: 00/00/0000
Part of Group:
At Risk: No


Structural History

Planning permission provided by Wigan Corporation on 17 May 1876.

Architect:                           Mr George Heaton (1831-1899) born Pemberton to Samuel and Jane Heaton

Proprietor                          Mr James Whitfield, Ironmonger who owned Clarington Brook Forge and iron foundry, later becoming Bulldog Tools.


Bricklayer                           Mr John Johnson

Plasterer                            Mr Mooreby

Built as commercial property, basement and three floors above. Original building had two shops either side of a central entrance. Giving access to restaurant in the basement and smaller offices above the four shops fronting King street. Initially made up of HH Timberlake’s at 28 and Smith’s pianos and organs at 30.

15 Sept 1877      The Wigan Observer and District Advertiser announced the opening of Victoria Buildings, King street


Social History

1876 (May)        Plans were deposited for approval to Wigan Local Board of Health for  commercial building by James Whitfield. These were passed after minor adjustments and building was completed in 1877 at which time Mr Whitfield  transferred his ironmongers business to Victoria Buildings as noted in Wigan Observer and District Advertiser (WODA)  12 Oct 1877.

Nov 1878            Newspaper article in Wigan Observer and District Advertiser stated The Victoria restaurant – today will be opened for the first time in Wigan a public restaurant. In the basement of the premises lately erected by Mr Whitfield, in King Street the Victoria Buildings.

Registered as Wigan restaurant company under Companies Act 1862 & 1867. Advert in WODA 1 Nov 1878 offering shares at 10s per share. Trustees of the company named as Mr James Whitfield and Mr Frederick Edward Johnson (Accountant) based at number 1 Victoria Building.

June 1878           Wigan School Board held its first monthly meeting in the Board, presided by Mr France, present included Messrs JM McClure, W Berry, J Hill and Mr. Rowbottom.

Many other professions came and went in the building including professional surveyors, architects, civil engineers, accountants, Insurance companies, stock and sharebrokers, shop owners selling glass, earthenware and china.

1880      Horder’s restaurant with private dining room for ladies (WODA July 1880).

Victoria restaurant – under new management to be known as The Wigan Restaurant company Ltd. Manageress Mrs A Ireland.

1881      census recorded number 17 with residents Mr and Mrs Jules Chambers and their two children.

Also staff of The Wigan Restaurant – Annie Ireland, Elizabeth Lupton – domestic servant, Hannah Nolan staff, Marian Hein – kitchen maid and Annabella Scholar.

Victoria restaurant changed to the Garrick Restaurant.

1887      advert for London Oyster rooms in Victoria building, later to become the Silver Grid Oyster bar.

1891      Census one residential area recorded and restaurant staff.

1891      H.H Timberlakes had a shop at 28 King Street

30 King street – Smith’s shop selling Pianos and organs (WODA 17 Feb 1893)

34 King street  - Bankruptcy boot co, selling boots and shoes.

1893      The Silver Grid went into receivership, several reports of violent episodes between the proprietor and her husband.

1895      Opening of Lancashire and Cheshire Telephone Exchange Company Limited

Wigan Union and clerk to the Board of Guardian based in Vic blds.

1899      Planning permission requested by Mr Hall, landlord of the premises applied to change the name from Victoria restaurant to Garrick and also internal alterations making the entry from College street.

1899      Wigan Mission of Apostolic church was listed in Kelly’s Directory as being at Victoria buildings. Although registration as a place of public worship and for solemnization of marriages was considered in 1903, this was probably never effected. A baptismal register was kept but does not survive.

1900      AB Blakey had electrical and mechanical engineers and a showroom in Vic building (WODA Feb 1900).

1901      Census recorded caretaker of offices with his wife and a general assistant.

19 & 20 had Mr William H Wetton age 38 a telephone operator from Liverpool and his wife and children in residence.

1904      An application was made to the Chancery Court in Liverpool for an injunction to restrain Amos Jacques, John W Melling and Wm S Melling (trustees of the Free Methodist Church schools from proceeding with their building to darken or injure the plaintiff’s buildings, these being ancient lights.

1906      W Grime and sons of The Arcade had a Wigan Conservatoire of music at 18 Vic building

1909      New direct method school of languages advertised in WODA April based in Vic building.

1910      advert for “a smart youth wanted for office – apply by letter to National Telephone Co. Ltd.” WODA April 1910

1910 newspaper article and advert regarding Smiths Bicycles, WODA 16 April 1910.

Worthington sales rooms

35 King street – George Wilcock pawnbrokers and auctioneer

34 King street – Hiltons boot shop.

1912      coroner based at 11 Vic building.

1916      new gas showroom opens at 34 King street

1918      local food office

1925      F Russell – confectioner and fruitier at 38a

1945      women rescued from a gown shop in Victoria Building during a fire which caused considerable damage to gowns and other clothing.

1954      Area children’s officer advertised at 7/10 Vic bldg.

Mid 19602 BT offices on 3rd and 4th floor.

1976      mast erected on roof – planning permission requested by 3 Vic bld

Jan Thomas 2021


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