Wigan Infirmary, architecture

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This is the original entrance to Wigan Infirmary. Opened in 1873 it’s built in the neo-Gothic style which was the height of fashion during the Victorian age. It was designed by Thomas Worthington, an architect who was born in Crescent Parade, Salford, on 11 April 1826. Worthington was raised as a Unitarian, and as a result of his upbringing was committed to social reform. Probably due to this, he was often commissioned to design public buildings. There are many examples of his work in the Manchester area and other parts of Northern England.

Like many buildings in the North of England, the Infirmary became blackened with soot and other pollution emitted from factories, mines and iron foundries that dominated the landscape in Wigan during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. But it was cleaned up a few years ago during the major re-development of the hospital, revealing the brighter colours of its brick and stonework.

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Image published in The Building News, March 4th 1870. via http://archiseek.com

There are two wings on each side of the three main bays and a central tower and front porch. It’s constructed from red brick (as were many neo-gothic buildings from this period) with bands of blue bricks providing contract. A cream coloured sandstone used for decorative elements on the windows.

The porch has a crenelated balcony The front entrance has a pointed gothic arch supported by two short columns with floral capitals.  An engraving on the arch tells us that the hospital was opened on June 4th 1873 by the then Prince and Princess of Wales.

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The main first floor windows have pointed arches constructed of red brick with some blue coloured bricks and sandstone used to create a decorative effect.

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A coupe of old photographs taken by Francis Frith, who’s recently featured in a series on BBC2, can be viewed on the web here and here.

I think that the building is a good solid example of Victorian Municipal neo-Gothic architecture. Well proportioned, with some attractive features.

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