Scotland national rugby league team
The Scotland national rugby league team represent Scotland in international rugby league football tournaments. Following the break-up of the Great Britain team in 2008, Scottish players play for Scotland, apart from occasional Southern Hemisphere tours, for which the Great Britain team is expected to be revived; the team is nicknamed the Bravehearts. Though its foundations may date back to as early as 1904, the team formally began in 1995, making them the newest international rugby league team in Great Britain. In their first match they played Ireland. Since Ireland has become the team's main rival, the two teams having played each other many times in their short histories. In 2000 they qualified for their first World Cup, but failed to make an impact, losing all three of their group matches. In 2008 they beat. Scotland play in a dark blue strip, similar to the nation's football and rugby union teams, with blue shirt and socks. A blue and white shield with a thistle, the Scottish emblem, is the team's badge.
The shirt has been changed, although in the early days of the team, white was used on the shirts. The team is ranked seventh in the RLIF World Rankings, having jumped from fourth after going winless in the 2017 World Cup. Englishman Steve McCormack is the team's coach, having coached since 2004, with Danny Brough captaining the side, it could be argued that the foundations for the Scottish team began in 1904. On 5 April 1904 England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan, it was a 12-a-side game. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team two of them were Scotsmen coming from Northern Union clubs, including captain George Frater. After 80 minutes the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9–3; the team carried on for another two years, playing England in 1905, losing 26–11, in 1906, drawing 3–3. The team was revived, most notably in the early 1930s, in 1949. Both Scotland and Ireland had been developing rugby league in their respective nations for several years.
This was true at student level, with a Scotland student team having played since 1987 and having competed in the 1992 Students World Cup. But it was decided that the time was right for an open-age national team to attempt to be entered into an Emerging Nations Tournament that would coincide with the 1995 World Cup, that the Rugby League International Federation had announced. Both Scotland Rugby League and Rugby League Ireland arranged a match on 13 August 1995 at the Royal Dublin Showground in Dublin, Ireland; however the Rugby Football League provided no financial support to either team. Luckily the Scotland team managed to get sponsored, the money was used for the ferry crossing, but each individual player had to pay for basic accommodation; the Scotland squad was made up of players who had played in the student squads, but a few professionals were included. Just before the start of the match, after the Scottish team had spent a night at a youth hostel, the Irish Rugby Football Union prevented the teams from getting changed at the arranged Blackrook College.
A new location was found but it was half a mile away from the ground, so the players had to walk that distance in their playing kit. The match was looking like it would be scoreless at half-time until just before the break, centre Lee Child scored to put Ireland ahead. After the break Scotland hit back, Sean Cusack scoring Scotland's first try. Gavin Manclark scored to propel Scotland into the lead; this did not last long though. Ireland scored again, with Seamus McCallion going over. Four minutes in the 69th minute, Scotland scored two tries with Manclark and Shelford sealing the eight points. However, this was not enough as Ketteridge had only kicked three conversions compared to Ireland's Ian Devery who had kicked five; the match finished with Ireland winning 26 -- 22. After this international Scotland were allowed to take place in the Emerging Nations Tournament, to be held in England. On 16 October 1995 at Featherstone they faced Russia, playing international rugby league since 1991, in their opening game in Group A. Coached by former Great Britain and England player, George Fairbairn, who put together a team of former Scotland students, rugby union players, a few league professionals including Alan Tait, who played for Leeds, who would captain the side.
The whole of the Scotland team had hired kilts to be worn pre-match. The game started off well for Scotland, and minutes Tait doubled the Bravehearts lead. But the Russia Bears dragged themselves back into the match, stand-off Victor Netchaev scoring first, in the 30th minute Alexander Otradnov scored. Scotland were ahead though at half-time by four points because Russia had failed to convert their tries. In the second half it was all Scotland with only Andrey Scheglov's drop goal adding to the Bears points. On the other hand, former Great Britain international Hugh Waddell, Ali Blee and Tait again all scored to seal a Scottish victory. Scotland's second match was against the United States in Northampton, traditionally a rugby union city; the Tomahawks were made up of AMNRL players but Scotland took a while to get going. In the twelfth minute winger Rory Lewis unexpected put America ahead, which caused The Bravehearts to start playing well for the remainder of the first half, Scotland going into
Wales national rugby league team
The Wales national rugby league team represents Wales in international rugby league football matches. The team is ranked ninth in the RLIF World Rankings; the team was run under the auspices of the Rugby Football League, but an independent body, Wales Rugby League, now runs the team from Cardiff. Three Welsh players have been entered into the Rugby League Hall Of Fame; as with other Welsh national sporting teams, Wales strip has been red. However, in the World Cup campaign in 2000 they wore a shirt featuring the Welsh flag, adding a touch of green and white; the team is known as "The Dragons" and so the teams logo on the shirt is a red dragon. The team date back to 1907, making them the third oldest national side after England and New Zealand, it was a touring New Zealand side that Wales first played against in 1908, winning 9–8 at Aberdare. Since Wales have played England, since 1935 France, as well as welcomed the touring Australia and New Zealand teams, although they toured themselves, not playing a match in the Southern Hemisphere until 1975.
For 26 years Wales competed against their two biggest rivals and France, in the European Nations Cup, winning the trophy four times. Wales has competed in the World Cup on five occasions, the first time being in 1975. In 1995 and 2000 they had their most successful tournaments to date, making the Semi-Finals on both occasions before being beaten by England and Australia respectively. Wales failed to qualify for the 2008 World Cup, being the second highest ranked side not to do so, having lost to Scotland on points difference over two matches, they qualified for the 2013 World Cup but failed to win a game, including losing 32–16 to low ranked Italy in their opening game at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In recent seasons, Wales has taken massive strides under former player Iestyn Harris who had coached Wales to back to back European Cup successes, which culminated in a Four Nations appearance in 2011. In 2014 former England and France coach John Kear became the new head coach after Iestyn Harris left the post to concentrate on his new job as head coach at Salford Red Devils.
On 5 April 1904, England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team, as it was a 12-a-side game, ten of them were Welshmen coming from Northern English clubs. At the turn of the century many Welshmen made the switch from rugby union, wanting to be paid for playing, although the numbers switching were increasing, the Northern Union did not think that a Welsh side would be strong enough for England. After 80 minutes however, the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9–3; this team carried on for another two years, playing England annually in 1905 and 1906, losing 26–11 and drawing 3–3 respectively. From 1905 to 1910 Rugby League as a sport enjoyed growth, not just in Wales and England, but on the east coast of Australia and in northern New Zealand; when Albert Henry Baskerville's NZ All Golds with their guest Australian star Dally Messenger arrived in Britain for the inaugural tour by a southern hemisphere side, the first full international was against Wales on New Year's Day 1908.
The Welsh rugby league team were contesting their first national fixture, managed to beat the touring Kiwis 9–8 in Aberdare in front of 20,000 spectators. This was the first international match played under new "Northern Union" rules, which would be changed again, but these rules were a small departure from traditional rugby union rules, used in previous international matches; the New Zealand team, or the "All Golds" as they were being called by the New Zealand newspapers, had never played rugby by these rules before but did have a week of preparation and training sessions leading up to the match. With this Welsh victory and large crowd, Wales played their second fixture in Tonypandy, managed to win that match too recording a 35–18 win against what would soon become their main rival, the England Lions. At the end of 1908 Wales played their third and final fixture of the decade, playing England again, but this time in Broughton, Lancashire; this time they lost 31–7. However, in 1909 another victory was to occur for Welsh Rugby League, with a Welsh League XIII made up of players still playing in Wales beating a touring Australian side 14–13 in Merthyr.
In the years before the outbreak of the war, Wales played England. The two national teams played each other every year, including 1914. Due to Rugby League only extensively being played in the two countries in the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, touring Australia and New Zealand teams were the only chances to play someone different. Although the two matches against the English played in Wales were played in Ebbw Vale in Monmouthshire, the Welsh travelled around England for away matches, playing in Coventry, Plymouth and St. Helens. Collectively those seven matches in Wales and England produced six defeats for the Welsh team, although there were signs of improvement, in the last match in St Helens the Dragons narrowly lost by just four points, the match ending 16–12. On the 7 October 1911 Wales played Australia for the first time; the match, held at Ebbw Vale again, drew 7,000 people to watch Wales go down 20–28. The match was significant though because throughout the next few decades Australia would play the Dragons in Wales whenever they toured Great Britain.
During and after the First World War many sports suffered, rugby league in Wales was no exception, the team didn't play a match again until 1921. After a seven-year hiatus Wales once again played England and continued to
Knowsley Road in Eccleston, St Helens, was the home ground of St. Helens from 1890 until its closure in 2010. St Helens Town FC played their home fixtures at Knowsley Road from 2002 until 2010. For a period, the venue hosted Liverpool F. C. Reserves; the stadium was demolished during spring 2011 and a new construction known as Cunningham Grange, named after club legend Keiron Cunningham, was built on the site. Knowsley Road consisted of four stands of open terracing and one seated stand called the Family Stand; the Family Stand was the only section of the stadium which had a seated area, although there were still areas for standing supporters. The players entered the field from a gateway under the stand and the dugout was in the Family Stand; the Family Stand contained an area for the media such as local radio stations. It was built after the Second World War, funded by local businesses; the actual design of the stand means. When the Main Stand was built, it provided a new changing room facility and gymnasium for the players, replacing the smaller, outdated ones at the old Pavilion End of the ground, next to the scoreboard.
Players would come out of the new tunnel before kick off to a centralised view of the stadium, facing the Popular Stand. When the Main Stand was constructed, it created an overhang at the top of the stand; this was because the old Eccleston railway ran below the site of the new stand, linking the Triplex factory to the town centre. The railway has long gone now, was replaced by the club's car park; the Popular Stand was an all standing section of the ground and was the most popular stand for home supporters. The stand was built in the 1960s at a cost of over £30,000, it spread across the full length of the pitch. It held the Scaff -- the gantry; when St. Helens were on television, the Popular Stand were heard singing and chanting due to the small distance between the cameras and the supporters; the Dunriding Lane End was the only stand without a roof. It contained nine corporate boxes, as well as the official store. Prior to being moved to the Family Stand, the changing rooms were at the Dunriding Lane End and players would enter from a tunnel.
The Dunriding Lane End of the ground was known as the Boys' Pen – a spot where die-hard fans congregated during the post-war years. During the 1970s, 1980s, the club became aware of the need for corporate facilities in line with other clubs and the decision was made to build a bar and executive boxes for the fans, to give them a new and luxurious match day experience; the Eddington End was a typical Kop. It was the second biggest stand overall at the ground, the tallest, with the best views of the pitch. In the 1960s, a roof was placed on the Eddington End of the ground; the Eddington End is an away end, where most away fans congregated on match days. It became a haunt for local derby chanting with fans of arch rivals Wigan. St. Helens moved to Knowsley Road in 1890; the stadium pre-dated the birth of the Northern Rugby Football Union by five years. Having been formed in 1873, St. Helens were a rugby union club; the stadium changed in appearance little in its 120 years. Lord Derby open the new pavilion on 26 December 1920 at a match against Wigan.
A ground record of 35,695 fans turned up to watch Saints play Wigan on Boxing Day 1949. In January 1950, the training pitch was laid down. In February 1951, the newly completed Eccleston Kop covered enclosure was opened and was named after Supporters' Club Secretary George Eddington. In August 1958, the club's new grandstand was opened by Sir Harry Pilkington; the structure cost £32,000 and could seat 2,400. In September 1961, new metal goal posts replaced the wooden originals after storm damage; the new popular side enclosure was erected in 1962. The old wooden structure that it replaced was given to Liverpool City for their ground at Knotty Ash. Saints' new floodlighting system opened by Sir Harry Pilkington on 27 January 1965; the bar and restaurant complex was opened at Dunriding Lane End of the Knowsley Road stadium in 1973. Players' dug outs were moved from the Main Stand to the Popular Side in 1983. In September 1989, work started on nine executive boxes and an electronic scoreboard at the Dunriding Lane End.
In 2006, Knowsley Road was renovated slightly. On the club's new sponsorship deal with Earth Money, the stadium got new signs, new dug outs were installed, as were the toilet facilities, long complained about by supporters. In 2006, Knowsley Road was approved as an international Test venue after safety and capacity improvements, it subsequently hosted an international test fixture in 2006 between Great Britain and New Zealand, which Great Britain won. In June 2007, club chairman Eamonn McManus announced plans for a new 18,000 capacity stadium, with a Tesco store and plaza with 2,000 car parking spaces for the 2011 Super League Season; these plans were approved by local councillors in May 2008. Plans were put on hold and building work did not start on time. Knowsley Road was closed at the end of the 2010 Super League Season and St Helens played their home games at Widnes' Stobart Stadium for the 2011 Super League Season; the last first team match at Knowsley Road was the St. Helens vs Huddersfield game, a play-off semi-final on 24 September 2010.
St. Helens won 42–22, the final try on the ground being scored by retiring club captain Keiron Cunningham. List of rugby league test matches played at Knowsley Road. Other than St Helens club games, Knowsley Road saw St Helens, a combined St Helens – St Helens Recs XIII, the county team La
Bradford is a city in West Yorkshire, England, in the foothills of the Pennines, 8.6 miles west of Leeds, 16 miles north-west of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, received its charter as a city in 1897. Following local government reform in 1974, city status was bestowed upon the City of Bradford metropolitan borough. Bradford forms part of the West Yorkshire Urban Area, which in 2001 had a population of 1.5 million and is the fourth largest in the United Kingdom, with Bradford itself having a population of 529,870. Part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Bradford rose to prominence in the 19th century as an international centre of textile manufacture wool, it was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, amongst the earliest industrialised settlements becoming the "wool capital of the world". The area's access to a supply of coal, iron ore and soft water facilitated the growth of Bradford's manufacturing base, which, as textile manufacture grew, led to an explosion in population and was a stimulus to civic investment.
The textile sector in Bradford fell into decline from the mid-20th century. Bradford has since emerged as a tourist destination, becoming the first UNESCO City of Film with attractions such as the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford City Park, the Alhambra theatre and Cartwright Hall. Bradford has faced similar challenges to the rest of post-industrial Northern England, including deindustrialisation, social unrest and economic deprivation; the name Bradford is derived from the Old English brad and ford the broad ford which referred to a crossing of the Bradford Beck at Church Bank below the site of Bradford Cathedral, around which a settlement grew in Saxon times. It was recorded as "Bradeford" in 1086. After an uprising in 1070, during William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North, the manor of Bradford was laid waste and is described as such in the Domesday Book of 1086, it became part of the Honour of Pontefract given to Ilbert de Lacy for service to the Conqueror, in whose family the manor remained until 1311.
There is evidence of a castle in the time of the Lacys. The manor passed to the Earl of Lincoln, John of Gaunt, The Crown and private ownership in 1620. By the middle ages Bradford, had become a small town centred on Kirkgate and Ivegate. In 1316 there is mention of a fulling mill, a soke mill where all the manor corn was milled and a market. During the Wars of the Roses the inhabitants sided with House of Lancaster. Edward IV granted the right to hold two annual fairs and from this time the town began to prosper. In the reign of Henry VIII Bradford exceeded Leeds as a manufacturing centre. Bradford grew over the next two-hundred years as the woollen trade gained in prominence. During the Civil War the town was garrisoned for the Parliamentarians and in 1642 was unsuccessfully attacked by Royalist forces from Leeds. Sir Thomas Fairfax took the command of the garrison and marched to meet the Duke of Newcastle but was defeated; the Parliamentarians retreated to Bradford and the Royalists set up headquarters at Bolling Hall from where the town was besieged leading to its surrender.
The Civil War caused a decline in industry but after the accession of William III and Mary II in 1689 prosperity began to return. The launch of manufacturing in the early 18th century marked the start of the town's development while new canal and turnpike road links encouraged trade. In 1801, Bradford was a rural market town of 6,393 people, where wool spinning and cloth weaving was carried out in local cottages and farms. Bradford was thus not much bigger than nearby Keighley and was smaller than Halifax and Huddersfield; this small town acted as a hub for three nearby townships – Manningham and Great and Little Horton, which were separated from the town by countryside. Blast furnaces were established in about 1788 by Hird, Dawson Hardy at Low Moor and iron was worked by the Bowling Iron Company until about 1900. Yorkshire iron was used for shackles and piston rods for locomotives, colliery cages and other mining appliances where toughness was required; the Low Moor Company made pig iron and the company employed 1,500 men in 1929.
When the municipal borough of Bradford was created in 1847 there were 46 coal mines within its boundaries. Coal output continued to expand, reaching a peak in 1868 when Bradford contributed a quarter of all the coal and iron produced in Yorkshire. In 1825 the wool-combers union called a strike that lasted five-months but workers were forced to return to work through hardship leading to the introduction of machine-combing; this Industrial Revolution led to rapid growth, with wool imported in vast quantities for the manufacture of worsted cloth in which Bradford specialised, the town soon became known as the wool capital of the world. A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Bradford Moor Barracks in 1844. Bradford had ample supplies of locally mined coal to provide the power. Local sandstone was an excellent resource for building the mills, with a population of 182,000 by 1850, the town grew as workers were attracted by jobs in the textile mills. A desperate shortage of water in Bradford Dale was a serious limitation on industrial expansion and improvement in urban sanitary conditions.
In 1854 Bradford Corporation bought the Bradford Water Company and embarked on a huge engineering programme to bring supplies of soft water from Airedale and Nidderdale. By 1882 water supply had radically improved. Meanwhile, urban expansion took place along the routes out of the city towards th
Other Nationalities rugby league team
The Other Nationalities rugby league team played international, county, rugby league football teams in Europe from 1904 to 1975. The team, created in 1904 to play England in the first rugby league international match, was at first made up of Welsh and Scottish players. However, as rugby league in England grew, more players from other countries were brought over to England to play in the domestic competitions, Other Nationalities were represented by players from Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa; the Other Nationalities team wore green shirts. Two Scottish players featured in the first Rugby League test match, played in 1907 between a Northern Union representative XIII and a team of Other Nationalities, George Frater captaining the victorious Other Nationalities. England were the most regular opponents for the Other Nationalities team, having played them 15 times, but in the 1950s, on entry to the European Nations Cup, they played Wales and France. In 1964 Other Nationalities played their only match in the Southern Hemisphere in a one-off match vs Sydney Colts at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The match was played as a curtain-raiser to the Australia vs France 3rd Test and was arranged in order to boost the attendance due to France's poor form on tour. The team was made up of foreign players from the NSWRL competition that year plus two Frenchmen that missed selection in France's 3rd Test team. In 1965, Other Nationalities played New Zealand in a Kiwi tour match at Crystal Palace, London. In 1974 and 1975 the team competed in the County Championship, facing Lancashire and Cumbria, twice each over both years. Since 1975 the team became redundant, with Wales and Ireland now having their own separate national teams and European-based New Zealanders now able to play for their country too. However, due to the success of the Australia's All Stars match between the Indigenous All Stars and the NRL All Stars, new England head coach Steve McNamara proposed a plan to revive the concept, under the name Exiles, in 2011 in a hope of providing England with a more challenging opposition in preparation of playing and staying competitive against nations like Australia and New Zealand after the 2010 thrashing of France 60–6 followed by England's poor results in the 2010 Four Nations Tournament.
† 5 April 1904 match, against England, was a 12-a-side game. †† Although from South Africa, David "Dave" Barends represented Great Britain. Exiles rugby league team British Empire XIII Rugby League XIII Rest of the world RL1895 - The First International France defeated in ‘Battle of the Boulevard’
Central Park (Wigan)
Central Park was a rugby league stadium in Wigan, the home of Wigan RLFC before the club moved to the JJB Stadium in 1999. Its final capacity was 18,000; the site is now a Tesco supermarket car park. On 6 September 1902, Wigan played at Central Park for the first time in the opening match of the newly formed First Division. An estimated crowd of 9,000 spectators saw Wigan beat Batley 14–8; the first rugby league international was played between England and Other Nationalities at Central Park on 5 April 1904, Other Nationalities won 9-3 in the experimental Loose forward-less 12-a-side game, with Wigan players David "Dai" Harris, Eli Davies in the Other Nationalities team. The visit of St. Helens on 27 March 1959 produced Central Park's record attendance of 47,747, set a record for a rugby league regular season league game in Britain. Wigan won the game 19–14, holding off a Saints' comeback after having led 14–0. Floodlights were installed on 120 ft high pylons in summer 1967 so that the club could play in the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy.
On 7 October 1987, Central Park was the first English venue used for the World Club Challenge between the English champions and the Winfield Cup premiers from Australia. The 1987 World Club Challenge between Wigan and Manly-Warringah saw the home side run out 8-2 winners in a try-less game in front of 36,895, though many who were there believe the attendance was closer to 50,000 on the night, far exceeding the 36,000 capacity of the ground at the time; the game was marred by several all-in brawls, while Manly captain Paul Vautin was pushed over the fence and into the crowd by a group of Wigan players who had tackled him into touch, the incident sparking another all-in. Manly fullback Dale Shearer and second-rower Ron Gibbs were the main villains of the parochial Wigan crowd. Gibbs became the first player to be sent off in a WCC after hitting Wigan centre Joe Lydon with an elbow to the head after Lydon attempted a field goal, while in the game Shearer appeared to step on the head of Lydon while getting up from a tackle.
Despite the ugly on-field play, the success of the match and its high attendance saw the World Club Challenge made into an annual event between the English and Australian champions starting in 1989. A week after the 1992 Rugby League World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium which saw Australia defeat Great Britain 10-6, Central Park hosted the 1992 World Club Challenge between Wigan and the Brisbane Broncos. With twelve players who played in the WCF playing the challenge, the Broncos became the first Australian side to win the challenge in England with a 22-8 victory in front of 17,764 fans. Wigan would get their revenge just two years when they defeated the Broncos 20-14 in the 1994 World Club Challenge played in front of a WCC record attendance of 54,220 at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane. Showing the loyalty of the clubs fans, several thousand travelled to Brisbane to support the team, the win seeing Wigan become the first English team to win the Challenge on Australian soil. In January 1997 the club's shareholders approved a deal in which the stadium would be sold to Wigan Athletic's owner Dave Whelan and be redeveloped to provide a new home for both the football and rugby teams.
Two months however, the Warriors' chairman Jack Robinson accepted a rival bid from Tesco, pointing out that the supermarket's offer was three times bigger than Whelan's. The final game at Central Park was on Sunday 5 September 1999. Wigan beat St Helens by 28 points to 20, 96 years and 364 days after the first game against Batley was played; the Central Park site became a car park for a Tesco supermarket. List of rugby league test matches played at Central Park. Other than Wigan club games and test matches, Central Park was a regular host to various international touring teams from 1907–1994. Central Park hosted 5 World Club Challenge games between 1987–1997. English rugby league stadia by capacity Wigan Warriors Official Central Park History Page @ Cherry & White.co.uk Wigan-Warriors
Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester, England, on the River Douglas, 10 miles south-west of Bolton, 12 miles north of Warrington and 17 miles west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre; the town has a population of 103,608, whilst the wider borough has a population of 318,100. In Lancashire, Wigan during classical antiquity was in the territory of the Brigantes, an ancient Celtic tribe that ruled much of what is now northern England; the Brigantes were subjugated in the Roman conquest of Britain during the 1st century, it is asserted that the Roman settlement of Coccium was established where Wigan lies. Wigan is believed to have been incorporated as a borough in 1246 following the issue of a charter by King Henry III of England. At the end of the Middle Ages, it was one of four boroughs in Lancashire established by Royal charter. During the Industrial Revolution Wigan experienced dramatic economic expansion and a rapid rise in population.
Although porcelain manufacture and clock making had been major industries, Wigan became known as a major mill town and coal mining district. A coal mine was recorded in 1450 and at its peak, there were 1,000 pit shafts within 5 miles of the town centre. Mining was so extensive that a town councillor remarked that "a coal mine in the backyard was not uncommon in Wigan". Coal mining ceased during the latter part of the 20th century. Wigan Pier, a wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, was made famous by the writer George Orwell. In his book, The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell highlighted the poor working and living conditions of the inhabitants during the 1930s. Following the decline of heavy industry in the region, Wigan Pier's warehouses and wharves became a local heritage centre and cultural quarter; the DW Stadium is home to Wigan Athletic Football Club and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club. The name Wigan has been dated to at least the 7th century and originally meant a "village" or "settlement".
It has been suggested that the name is Celtic, named after a person called Wigan, a name corresponding to Gaulish Vicanus, Old Welsh Uuicant or Old Breton Uuicon. This may have been linked with Tre to give an original name of Trewigan. Derivation from Brittonic *wig,'dwelling', plus the nominal suffix -an has been suggested; the name of the town has been recorded variously as Wigan in 1199, Wygayn in 1240, Wygan in numerous historical documents. There is little evidence of prehistoric activity in the area pre-Iron Age; the first people believed to have settled in the Wigan area were the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe who controlled most of northern Britain. In the 1st century, the area was conquered by the Romans; the late 2nd-century Antonine Itinerary mentions a Roman settlement called Coccium 17 miles from the Roman fort at Manchester and 20 miles from the fort at Ribchester. Although the distances are out, it has been assumed that Coccium is Roman Wigan. Possible derivations of Coccium include from the Latin coccum, meaning "scarlet in colour, scarlet cloth", or from cocus, meaning "cook".
Over the years chance finds provided clear indications that a Roman settlement existed at Wigan, although its size and status remained unknown. In 2005 investigations ahead of the Grand Arcade development, in 2008 at the Joint Service Centre development, have proven that Wigan was a significant Roman site in the late first and second centuries AD; the excavated remains of ditches at Ship Yard off Millgate were consistent with use by the Roman military and formed part of the defences for a fort or a temporary camp. More remains were excavated to the south, in the area of McEwen's Yard, where foundations of a large and important building were discovered, together with many other Roman features; the building is 36 by 18 metres in size with a tiled roof. It contained around ten rooms including three with hypocausts, it had a colonnaded portico on the northern side, which formed the main entrance. The structure's ground-plan and the presence of the hypocausts show. A timber building excavated at the Joint Service Centre has been interpreted as a barrack block.
This suggests a Roman fort occupied the crest of the hill, taking advantage of the strategic position overlooking the River Douglas. The evidence gained from these excavations shows that Wigan was an important Roman settlement, was certainly the place referred to as Coccium in the Antonine Itinerary. In the Anglo-Saxon period, the area was under the control of the Northumbrians and the Mercians. In the early 10th century there was an influx of Scandinavians expelled from Ireland; this can be seen in place names such as Scholes—now a part of Wigan—which derives from the Scandinavian skali meaning "hut". Further evidence comes from some street names in Wigan. Although Wigan is not mentioned in the Domesday Book because it was included in the Neweton barony, it is thought that the mention of a church in the manor of Neweton is Wigan Parish Church; the rectors of the parish church were lords of the manor of Wigan, a sub-manor of Neweton, until the 19th century. Wigan was incorporated as a borough in 1246 following the issue of a charter by King Henry III to John Maunsell, the local church rector and lord of th