Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It stands on the River Douglas, south-west of Bolton, north of Warrington and west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre. The town of Wigan had a total population of 97,000 in 2011, whilst the wider borough has a population of 318,100.
Historically in Lancashire, Wigan during classical antiquity was in the territory of the Brigantes, an ancient Celtic tribe that ruled much of what is now northern England. The Brigantes were subjugated in the Roman conquest of Britain during the 1st century, and it is asserted that the Roman settlement of Coccium was established where Wigan lies. Wigan is believed to have been incorporated as a borough in 1246 following the issue of a charter by King Henry III of England. At the end of the Middle Ages it was one of four boroughs in Lancashire established by Royal charters; the others were Lancaster, Liverpool, and Preston.
During the Industrial Revolution Wigan experienced dramatic economic expansion and a rapid rise in the population. Although porcelain manufacture and clock making had been major industries in the town, Wigan subsequently became known as a major mill town and coal mining district. The first coal mine was established at Wigan in 1450 and at its peak there were 1,000 pit shafts within of the town centre. Mining was so extensive that one town councillor remarked that "a coal mine in the backyard was not uncommon in Wigan". Coal mining ceased during the latter part of the 20th century.
Wigan Pier, a wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, was made famous by the writer George Orwell. In his book, The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell highlighted the poor working and living conditions of the local inhabitants during the 1930s. Following the decline of industrial activities in the region, Wigan Piers collection of warehouses and wharfs became a local heritage centre and cultural quarter. The DW Stadium is home to both Wigan Athletic Football Club and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club, both teams being highly successful in their sports with the former being the 2013 FA Cup winners and the latter being the most successful Rugby League side of all time. On 24th November 2016, on his 80th birthday, a bronze statue of Dave Whelan was unveiled outside the stadium, holding the FA Cup. Wigan had a population of 99,391 in 2011 but its Urban Subdivision had a population of 103,608.
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