The road to Wigan Pier, 75 years on | Books | The Observer
Seventy-five years ago this weekend, Old Etonian Eric Blair – “a tall feller with a pair of flannel bags, a fawn jacket and a mac”, as one northerner described him – was pacing along the Leeds and Liverpool canal searching for Wigan Pier.
“Terribly cold,” he recorded in his diary. “Frightful landscape of slagheaps and belching chimneys. A few rats running through the snow, very tame, presumably weak with hunger.” The mill girls, scurrying to work in their clogs down the cobbled streets, sounded to him “like an army hurrying into battle”.