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Bust of Thomas Taylor, JP

circa 1870

Thomas Taylor was a local mill owner who bought the land and built Wigan’s free public Library, which now houses the Museum of Wigan Life.

The library was built in 1878 and was the first building in Wigan with electric lighting. It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse who is also famous for designing Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London.

When the library opened women could only use the building with their husband or fathers’ permission. George Orwell researched Road to Wigan Pier in the reference library upstairs in 1936.