There had to be something here about the pier. Most English seaside resorts have a pier - a long ironwork path standing from the shore out into the sea. Wigan is neither at the seaside, nor a resort, and the pier doesn't stand over anything.
It is actually the wharf of an old canal basin, which is all now restored and the wharehouses turned into museums. The focus of the exhibitions is industrial working life of the Victorian age, and is interesting and interactive.
We (and our children) joined in the Victorian classroom, complete with slates to write on and hard wooden benches.
The Trencherfield Mill Steam Engine is the largest working engine in the world, and has just been restored.
The immense 100 year old 2,500 horse-power engine kept the cotton factories running, but now is run only for show, the cotton long since gone.
If you've heard of Wigan, you've almost certainly heard of Wigan Pier. Simple as that. There's a museum, you can go to an old fashioned school.
And there's a picture of my great grandfather there, or there was last time I went there!