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Report - - Shanghai palace (the beer engine) Wigan, July 20 | Leisure Sites |

Report - Shanghai palace (the beer engine) Wigan, July 20

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
My first post so please be gentle, I’m hoping that this site hasn’t been reported so I can gain a bit of kudos and start my journey of being welcomed into the inner circle.

Lockdown has had me googling all kinds of weird sheet and it seems that other people enjoy wondering around abandoned buildings, Well I never.

I’ve been exploring since mum allowed me to travel beyond the end of our street as long as I was back before the street lights came on.
The area I grew up in ‘Goose green’ had many abandoned farm houses and factories and this was my playground, that excited feeling in your belly when you wander around a place that others ignore is something that cannot be explained to those who will never understand.

I’ve recently rediscovered this feeling.

This site isnt massive and probably not that impressive to those outside of the borough of Wigan but it played a major part in my ‘growing up’ and if your a wiganer of a certain age you will definitely know of THE BEER ENGINE.

SITE HISTORY, feel free to correct me or add info,,, I’m genuinely interested.

According to my research Wigan had the most labour clubs in the country in the 60/70s and this site is one of the most well known.

Formally known as the long standing ‘pit mon ouse’ of Poolstock labour club and then Famous Wigan beer engine before it became Shanghai palace.

The beer engine was a Wigan legend and people visited from across the town as part of a ‘neet art’ , others came from further a field to make a point of visiting the well known club.

The beer engine won CAMARA awards and annually hosted very popular beer festivals that eventually resulted in it having to sell tickets for entry due to the number of visitors.

When it closed, Wigan suffered a loss.

The beer engine was built in an area that was home to one of the biggest and oldest mining sites In Wigan . Wigan was a major supplier of coal and processed cotton to both Leeds and Liverpool hence the name of the canal that runs through. The ‘engine’ part of the club house name is said to be a nod to the large pumping engine situated near by that was responsible for draining the mines in local area.
When the mines eventually closed the area was flooded and is now the nature reserve known as Scotsman’s flash close to Poolstock and Hawkley hall housing estates.

I have lived on the Hawkley Estate for the past 5 years and a few Interesting remnants of its industrial past can still be seen amongst the brambles. The beer engine club was a huge part of my transition from boy to man, I watched many a band at the beer engine most weekends of my teenage/20 years and it has a long history through out the 60s to the 90s of hosting well known and unknown artists who later became house hold names. Personally I’ve seen many an ‘up and coming’ as well as more than a few ‘going knowhere’ bands at this gaff as well as mates bands trying to break through, it was a proper spit and sawdust venue ‘smoking?’ etc wasn’t a problem as it was a given that the bouncers couldn’t give a monkeys what you did as long as there was no bother and as a result no bother was caused, this gentlemans agreement was acknowledged by both sides and was one of the draws of the place.
Memorable gigs ? to may to mention. The one that sticks out though is watching Pete Doherty (of The libertines fame) going proper rock n roll star and wrecking the stage with the crowd going equally nap.
Earlier to this gig an unknown band from Manchester called Oasis were due to play but I never made it that weekend and to be honest I can’t remember if it even happened.

Details on why the beer engine closed down are hard to find and the building was unoccupied for a few years until it was refurbished and opened in 2006/7 as Shanghai palace restaurant. The location of the building was never going to be kind to a restaurant of this size, a similar restaurant on the opposite side of the road ( the original Poolstock labour club site, and now derelict,,,,,maybe I will do a follow up report) closed a few years before due to lack of business.
Local people use to joke about the opening of the restaurant and cost the new owners spent, a reported £650,000 to refurbish the building. The Chinese themed statues and decoration did look ‘nice’ but that wasn’t enough to draw the custom needed to keep it afloat.

shanghia palace was opened in 2009 but suffered over 20 burglaries in its first 7 years of opening and that coupled with the location and the high prices charged was always a recipe for a failed business.
Not long after the restaurant closed travellers moved onto the site. When the travellers left it was reported that £30,000 worth of decor had disappeared.

Shanghai palace closed its doors for the last time in mid 2016


I have cycled past this venue weekly for a good few years and always wanted to have a peep Inside. From the front it looked air tight and after the history I didn’t think it would ever be accessible. On today’s ride I noticed a gap in the fence,,,,,,,

















Chillin at the structure
Regular User
Very well documented and written.
But man, that place is mingin.
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nothing wrong with this report. Welcome to the world of 28dl posting reports. The place is a bit mingin, those bowls, just no. The piano and kitchen shots are ok. Looks like this place had squatters. Well done on a comprehensive report with some good snaps :thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Think EHO should’ve had a word with these guys way before it shut down!
Welcome to the site


Amateur and proud
28DL Full Member
Good job on your first report, always great to see folk taking the time to do things the right way for this site. Place is grim inside, eh?


28DL Member
28DL Member
Im from Poolstock Lane and often wanted to have a peep in it, after your "lovely" photos of the food i dont think i will venture in lol. Great 1st post though.

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