Wigan

  • Wigan 1
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 2
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 3
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 4
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 5
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 6
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 7
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 8
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 9
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 10
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 11
    © Sebastian Wells
  • Wigan 12
    © Sebastian Wells

When George Orwell went to the industrial north of England in 1936 to build up a picture of the living and working conditions of the miners, he spent several weeks delving deep into the everyday life of the working class and trying with great empathy to understand why there, of all places, very few people supported socialist ideals, even though these were intended to help the workers in particular. During his research, he broke down many prejudices, but recognised all the more the brutality of the class differences. He compiled all his experiences into his well-known social reportage "The Road to Wigan Pier" (1937), which is named after the now demolished pier in a small town to the west of Manchester. It is still on the curriculum in Wigan's schools.
 
Eight decades after the publication of the book, the only reminders of the former industrial world of the 1930s left in Wigan are a few ruins: Most of the coal fields have become idyllic quarry ponds or well-maintained golf courses, and where the workers' slums once stood, typical English brick homes shape the urban landscape. To this day, the residents of Wigan are still primarily working class English people. Within the metropolitan area of "Greater Manchester", the town stood out with by far the most "Leave" votes in the Brexit referendum, with almost 64% of people voting to leave the EU. What remains of the worker mind-set? Aren't Orwell's findings about class differences and socialism alarmingly topical? A visit to the area.


Sebastian Wells © Uli Kaufmann The Artist

Sebastian Wells, born in Königs Wusterhausen in 1996, lives and works as a freelance photographer in Berlin and has been studying Photography at the Ostkreuz School since 2015.

www.sebastianwells.de

@wells_sebastian