dawsons1I think this is what I will have to call a post pie audit. As I am currently writing up my forthcoming book at a rate of knots, I am challenging my own rationale in some senses and forcing out some repeat visits.

Dawsons of Tyldesley is one such case in question. The pie I had there in June 2012 lived long in the memory: very much like a Galloways meat and potato pie but better. Yes I said BETTER. How can this even be possible?

I want to check whether my initial review was a one off or whether we have a genuine contender on our hands here. There is also one more, much more unsavoury reason I need to check why Dawsons are still operating (you’ll have to Google it I’m afraid) Let’s assume it’s been sold on, under new management, continuing to trade and if not well there’s another equally amazing pie purveyor just a hundred yards down the road (Whittakers) so I’ll go there instead, everyone’s a winner.

Regardless of this after carefully navigating Tyldesley’s one way system I am delighted to see that Dawson’s is open for business. And my story is that I can see that the hot plates are stacked with small pies but no big round ones. 

DawsonsmeatThis is confirmed as two lads in Hi Viz walk in just before me and ask 

“Have you got any of those peppery pies in here?”

“No love sold out”

And with that they walk straight back out again.


I can’t leave empty handed so I plump for a meat pie whch must surely be of similar stock? And it is! It’s amazingly peppery and full of hot meaty juices so abundant they spurt out when I put the pie to my mouth and go dribbling all the way down the sleeve of my jumper.

I greedily devour it so quickly that I almost forget to take a photo: an epic social media fail as the kids would say!

However, it comes in a wrapper which has two other outlets advertised on it. One of them goes  by the quite frankly appalling name of Bar Be Chick and is just up the road in Atherton and another one in Hindley, which has pissed me off, as it’s practically in Wigan and here I am driving out through the full expanse of the Wigan Metropolitan Borough whose motto is “Our highway planners are shit”

It’s 1 o’clock now so it’s a race against time.

Fortunately, Atherton and Tyldesley are neighbouring twin towns acting as a buffer between Leigh and Manchester and neither of them want anything to do with Wigan in spite of the unfortunate geographical boundaries so I’ll be there in a jiffy.

Dawsons3After traversing the full length of Market Street Atherton I find I’m a Bar-Be-Chick in my Barbie World, life is plastic and fantastic….erm yes and discover they again have meat pies, they have pasties but again they have no peppery meat and potato. Not surprising given how sought after they are but i still have one last throw of the dice – their third shop is in Hindley. However, it’s going to be quarter to two before I even get there which means even less chance that a peppery meat and potato pie will be on the shelves with my name on it and I’m stuck behind the slowest car in the world. BABE ON BOARD the sticker on the back says. I think the baby is doing the driving.

Only pasties left. Bah!

I go back a month later and manage to procure one of each again. The meat pie delivers the goods again with juices burning through the paper pie wrapper and starting to attack the palm of my hand. 

Your best bet to avoid spillage is to lob it straight in your mouth quickly to generate a total taste explosion. Otherwise you may end up burning your hands. It’s an occupational hazard for pie eaters I’m afraid. Dentists deal with bad breath, Firemen suffer smoke inhalation and pie eaters burn their hands by tilting a pie too quickly.

This pie is a true champion and easily on a par with the many Yorkshire hot pork growlers served straight out of the oven I have sampled over the past two years albeit with beef in rather than pork.

The meat and potato was perhaps not as fantastically peppery as I recall but the spice was definitely there lurking in the filling like an angry shark circling in potatoey waters. The pastry was sublime however: it was just a perfectly formed pie and I savoured every mouthful.

So the Dawsons experience lived up to it’s initial inspection and everything about the place is symbolic of many of the bakeries and pie makers that had sadly fallen away in Wigan and indeed across the country over the years and one can only hope that their pies and unique recipes live for many years to come.

Dawsons = a pie shop with fire in it’s belly (and yours)

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