Wigan and Leigh Archives Online

William Wickham Collection

This collection was chosen as a winner of 'A history of Lancashire in 70 Objects'. A project run by Lancashire Life to find 70 objects or collections to show the history of life across Lancashire.

William Wickham (1849-1929) was the Vicar at St. Andrew’s Parish in Wigan from 1878. William was an amateur photographer whose extensive photography of 'ordinary folk' gives us a visual insight into typical life in Lancashire and beyond at the end of the 1800s. By the end of the 19th century, the industrial north was at the peak of Victorian prosperity and was famous in particular for its coal mining. Wickham’s photographs record the daily lives of ordinary people with images of coal miners, mill girls, pit brow lassies to fish hawkers and some more unusual jobs like the hot potato boy. The lives of local people are brought to life in his photographs. The archives hold the original lantern slides and negative plates for this amazing historical collection.