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 Warrington - A Town of Many Industries


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This page last updated Sunday, 20 July 2014
Where in Warrington is the only pub with a pavement all the way round it? Click this text for the answer

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Click here for the answer to my home page city conundrum

This page will feature my journeys around the town with images and stories about what I see. Why not visit the local library to do your own research on the town's history. They have an excellent archive.

Featured on this page
Australian Dust Storm Dr Who Mohicans Spud Fun
Artwork on Dial Street  Family Coats of Arms Original Wire   The Stadium Quarter
Back in Time Fiddler's Ferry Proms in the Park Stockton Heath
Bewsey Canal Garnett's Water Tower Queens Gardens Accident  Stockton Heath Primary School 
The Big Pink Eye Goodbye Fordton Leisure Reader Photos Sunset Over Dallam
Boteler Grammar School Goodbye TJ Hughes Revelation Shirt Factory Tatanka
Brickfield Park Grand Central River of Life Plaque Thelwall 
Buckley St Methodist Chapel Grappenhall R.N.L.I. Sailing By Thorn Marine
Cheshire Year of Gardens 2008 Latchford Locks Roberts Shoes Warrington Bridges
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Latchford Railway Bridge Rylands Wire-less! Warrington Collegiate
Coal Hole Latchford Village  Sankey Crossroads Warrington Skyline
Cross Country Companion M6 Motorway at Thelwall Sankey Station Warrington Transport Club
Dallam Youth Art Mississippi Showboat Snowtime Way To Life

Wild Weather

Winwick Street The Wire Works  

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Give yourself a gold star if you can work out whereabouts in Warrington the photo above was taken.
The answer can be found by clicking here.

BACK IN TIME

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Here is a little gem from Warrington's past. Whilst preparing the land for a new development on the east side of Winwick Street on 27 July 2007, the demolition crew have uncovered this old-style painted advertisement for 'Central Variety Stores' on the side of what is now the Star Kebab House next door to Mike and Martha's chippy.

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Did you work for the 'Complete House Furnishers' or know any more about the company? I would love to hear any memories. Use the Feedback link to tell me more. The image left is the same area on 9 May 2003 when the Seddon Atkinson premises were still in use, with the advert hidden. 

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While we're on Winwick Street, here's another gem from the past - an old ice-cream tricycle belonging to Greenwoods of Cheshire/The Appliance Centre next to Central Station. The tricycle isn't for sale, but it would have made a great marketing tool for the mywarrington website - I would have painted it up and ridden around the town giving out my little business cards to promote the website. The building itself dates back to 1889.

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Any offers to sell me one like it? I would love to hear from you - if the price is right! My thanks to the store owners for permission to feature it on the website. There are two more featured on the Memory Lane page.

 

WARRINGTON BRIDGES - 100 YEARS AND COUNTING

2013 marked 100 years of two of Warrington's bridges - the opening of one and the start of construction for the other.

warrington_centenary_bridges_2013.jpg (115095 bytes) The first section of Warrington Bridge at Bridge Foot (far left) was opened on 7 July 1913 by King George V and completed in 1915. It is the sixth bridge to cross the Mersey at this point. Further down the river at Bank Quay is the Transporter Bridge which was started in 1913, but due to the First World War was not opened until 1916. The owners were Joseph Crosfield and Sons Ltd and although it was originally designed for road vehicles, trains were carried over it from the 1940s. It is one of only eight in Europe and there are two others in the United Kingdom. Read more in On The Waterfront 1.
thelwall_viaduct_060304_1.jpg (40282 bytes) It is also over 50 years since Thelwall Viaduct was built. The viaduct, which carries the M6 motorway over the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal, was officially opened on 29 July 1963 by the Right Honourable Ernest Marples MP, Minister of Transport.

Also on the waterfront theme...

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Coastal Deniz, built 1991, seen on the Manchester Ship Canal 31 Oct 2013 MSC Buffalo, a floating crane

The story behind these photographs is on the Manchester Ship Canal section of On The Waterfront 2.

 

GOODBYE FORDTON LEISURE CENTRE

fordton_leisure_centre_sandy_lane_orford_111227_1.jpg (121680 bytes) Fordton Leisure Centre was located on the corner of Sandy lane and Chiltern Road in Orford on the border of Longford, and was one of the leisure centres operated by Warrington Borough Council. The first phase of the centre was officially opened in February 1983. It stood on the site of Longford Primary School, for which they added the swimming pool and eventually turned it into a leisure centre. Its name comes from OrFORD and WarringTON, to make FORDTON. In early 2012 it was announced that the site would be sold off and all the facilities at Fordton would move into Orford Jubilee Park when that opened in May 2012. fordton_leisure_djkenny_120621_5.JPG (105009 bytes)

Fordton Leisure Centre

The old school hall

Demolition on the Fordton site started in June 2012 to make way for a supermarket, pub and cafe. The photographs here were taken on between 27 December 2011 and 23 June 2012.
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External views of Fordton Leisure Centre in operational days. I never actually ventured inside the building in those
times. One user told me the pool was lovely to swim and teach in and she and her colleagues were quite fond of
the place. During 2012 the council began to promote the new facilities at Orford Jubilee Park (fourth photo).
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Inside Fordton Leisure Centre during operational days in eight photos supplied by Samantha Bell.
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Facilities available during opening hours. Demolition begins - local contractors perform the task.
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Photographs (above and below) showing the building inside and out on 21 June 2012.
Thanks to Excavation and Contracting (UK) Ltd for assistance
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The next set of photos were taken on Saturday, 23 June 2012. I didn't expect any demolition to be taking place, but we can see the old infants school building now the main swimming pool has been demolished.
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The scene from Winwick Road towards the former infants school building  The last bit of the pool 
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The north end of the pool  - there was a gas and an electric substation behind it - switched off - but they
still had to take their time  pulling the framework down. I would have thought that if the mains were switched
off and disconnected it wouldn't have mattered. But that's why I'm a web editor and they are the engineers!
A guy cut the beam with a welding kit before the crane finished the job.
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The depth of the pool The scene looking north... ...and to the south RIP Fordton
The final scene: the buildings have now been demolished and the site has been cleared in preparation for the next development.
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The view from
Sandy Lane West
Winwick Road view
(from south west)
Winwick Road view
(from north west)
Cotswold Road view
towards Winwick Road
My thanks to DJKenny for the use of some of his photos. See his website www.djkennylive.me.uk and listen to his Radio Warrington shows on a Tuesday 8-10 p.m. and Saturday 8-10 p.m. My thanks also to Samantha Bell for the use of her photos.

Whilst photographing the Bridgewater Canal on 27 January 2007 for On the Waterfront, I paused outside Thorn Marine at London Bridge in Stockton Heath.
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Thorn Marine supplies essential materials to the canal boat community and the local community of Stockton Heath. On 29 August 2003 they received notice from the owners of the Bridgewater Canal, Peel Holdings (Manchester Ship Canal Company), that they intended to apply to Warrington Borough Council for planning permission to build 5 houses on the site of Thorn Marine.

The occupiers of Thorn Marine, Mr and Mrs Hamilton, are campaigning against the planning application and received TV and press coverage in 2003.

thorn_marine_070127_3.jpg (16556 bytes) Whilst chatting to Mrs Hamilton, she showed me photographs of paintings of Thorn Marine from the days before photography. It is believed the building was erected sometime during the period of the Bridgewater Canal construction (around 1770). She also told me some more about the history of the area, and of the Marine itself. thorn_marine_070127_5.jpg (111694 bytes)
The two images here are re-created as paintings from my photographs taken on 27 January 2007. The land to the left of the image, right, has already been redeveloped into housing.

The objections to the planning application include the following points concerning its history:

The date of construction is very difficult to ascertain exactly, it is on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1870,1898 and 1910, and is also show as a building on the Tithe Map of 1847 and in the associated Apportionment. The Bridgewater Canal (adjacent) was built in 1768-1771 depending upon where you read about the construction.  The building we believe was built around this period, the Tithe Apportionment states that the area was a Meadow, Stable and Stack yard, belonging to the ‘The Bridgewater Trustees of the late Duke of’ and for use by ‘Themselves’. The area on the opposite side of the canal was formally part of Stockton Quay(s). The wharf which overhung the canal and the sizable warehouse were an important location for the transhipment of goods to and from the canal; the warehouse and wharf were listed buildings (ref LD5R14129758). The London Bridge pub was also part of Stockton Quay and served as a passenger transfer location for the Duke of Bridgewater packet boats. They would use the Packet Steps, which can still be seen today [left], leading down to the canal to board the Duchess Countess to Manchester and Runcorn; the now A49 was then (and still is today) a major route from London.

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Behind the Pub was a smithy and wheelwrights, which served the road and canal. There is also mention of horse changes being made at Stockton Quay. Both Thorn Marine and the adjacent property (currently Jeffrey’s tyres old site), appear to have been used as stables for this purpose. It is mentioned in the Tithe document as a stable, and it is later in life to be called ‘Bridge Stables’, and also has been used as a ‘Bank Riders’ Cottage. It would therefore make sense that the building is part of the ‘Stockton Quay’ area, and was as vital as the wharf or the steps outside the London Bridge pub. Evidence of horses can also be seen in the construction of the canal bank outside Thorn Marine - there is a series of steps set in to the bank to enable horses to be helped out of the canal when they fell in.

That's the history side of things, What about the modern day? Well, there's the employment of the people working there to consider when deciding whether or not to keep the Marine. Between 10 and 100 boats call there daily, most of which need services like the post office, banks, grocers, doctors, etc. Thorn Marine is able to direct them to those services in the village. Thorn Marine supply many unique items not available anywhere else in the town, including repair facilities for boats. The water point they provide is the only one in the area. The nearest alternative is 2½ hours away if travelling towards Manchester and 8 hours away if going in the opposite direction towards Preston Brook and Anderton. They are the only pump-out station in the local area. They have an Elsan disposal point (for those not familiar with this term, an Elsan is a type of transportable chemical toilet). The nearest ones are Manchester and Anderton (7 and 8 hours away respectively).

Another important community facilities is the Wizard canal boat. The Wizard is a charitable boat run by St James Church, Westbrook, originally set-up 15 years ago to take out disabled parties onto the Bridgewater Canal. It takes out about 2,000 people from all over Warrington every year, including the infirm to physically and mentally handicapped. The wizard has a special ramp in the front to allow wheelchair access; as most passengers are in wheelchairs it can only run from somewhere with a good level surface to load the passengers. There is nowhere else in the local area. 

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The enjoyment on the faces of the thousands of disabled people using the Wizard can not be explained in words. It would be a shame if they should loose this facility for the sake of 5 houses.

Government policy on the transport use of inland waterways is set out in the Transport White Paper and is developed in the Governments policy document Waterways for Tomorrow (June 2000). Local authorities should work with all those concerned in the inland waterways industry - British Waterways (BW) and other navigation authorities, private operators and the voluntary sector concerned with restoring currently disused waterways - to develop the potential of inland waterways.

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Tourism is crucial to the area. Thorn Marine is an important information access point for many canal visitors. Without the Marine, this vital facility would be lost. There are currently about 1,000 boats licensed for the Bridgwater Canal and countless numbers of boat visitors from other areas. Security and the general upkeep of the area are monitored by Thorn Marine.

So, as you can see, the area is steeped in history and provides a valuable service to the community.

Far too many historic buildings end up being destroyed. I believe, as do the Hamiltons, that Thorn Marine is worth saving. After all, how much of the town's history is maintained for the community? Visit their website www.thornmarine.co.uk, and you can visit Thorn Marine at 164a London Road, Stockton Heath, Warrington WA4 6LE (located right by London Bridge). Their website has additional information such as contact addresses and media organisations.

I am an interested, independent observer of the Thorn Marine campaign and am not connected to the family or the business in any way.

STOLEN RIVER OF LIFE PLAQUE REPLACE BY THE SUN NEWSPAPER.

river_of_life_plaque_2005.JPG (109292 bytes) Sometime after 23 April 2012, a town centre warden noticed the River of Life memorial plaque (left) had been removed from the wall of the Reflex 80s nightclub building on Bridge Street. He reported it to the authorities and on 18 May 2012 The Sun newspaper covered the story, along with the rest of the media. The bronze wall plaque was put in place to pay tribute to Tim Parry, age 12, and Johnathan Ball, age 3, as a lasting tribute to the atrocity of the IRA bombing of the town in 1993. On 19 May 2012, in a kind gesture to the town, The Sun announced it would pay to have the plaque replaced. On Father's Day, 17 June 2012, The Sun kept its word by presenting the replacement to Colin Parry, father of Tim. The original, which has been recovered, and part of police evidence during the trial of two men arrested for its theft, is now back on display in the town centre. The replacement, with a blue background, has been put on display at the Peace Centre in Old Hall. The two men arrested for the crime accepted restorative justice as an alternative punishment. You can read more about the River of Life in Tour 2.

 

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GARNETT'S WATER TOWER SAVED

Warrington Borough Council has turned down a planning application by PTS Properties to demolish the Garnett's Cabinet Works water tower on Cairo Street as part of the redevelopment of the site. The landmark tower is part of the Bridge Street Conservation Area but the building has not been used for many years. The showroom for Garnett's was the former Woolworths shop on Sankey Street. Posted 16.5.2011

In the Warrington Guardian on 9 May 2013 it was announced that the site of the building could be replaced with a 5-storey office block, with the tower being dismantled and rebuilt 3.5 metres away from its current location. I for one would be happy for that outcome - it must not be lost.

STOCKTON HEATH            

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Stockton Heath no longer looks like a village, mainly because the main A49 road goes right through the centre. The view is a typical daytime scene.

The village police station is situated on Grappenhall Road.

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Modern road signs are in various reflective colours to aid the driver. In the good old days we didn't have that kind of luxury. But, like the example to be found in Stockton Heath, left, the signs had a bit of character to them.

Here is a relic from our engineering past. It is part of an 1850s billet cutter from the old forge, on which The Forge Shopping Centre now stands. The forge was used to make spades for use in the First World War trenches. It disappeared in early July 2006, and at first residents thought it had been destroyed. Thankfully it has been found and will be relocated back in the village.

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These two views show Victoria Square. It is the junction of routes to Grappenhall, Northwich, Runcorn and Warrington. It hasn't always looked like this. In the early days of the trams (1905-31), it was the terminus of the Warrington (Bridge Street) to Stockton Heath route. After the tram era, the Square featured a large traffic roundabout, but nowadays the junction is controlled by traffic lights.

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Two of the public houses in the centre of the village.
Left, we have the Mulberry Tree, which was rebuilt in 1907.
The Red Lion, right, features a bowling green to the rear.

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All photos taken 22 Feb 2003

 

 

STOCKTON HEATH PRIMARY SCHOOL

After 97 years on the site of Egerton Street, Stockton Heath Primary School could finally say goodbye as a legal battle to save it is dropped. It would have cost £30,000 to fight the closure in the High Court, but solicitors say it would only have a 50/50 chance of succeeding. The council has decided to pull the building down in favour of a £multi-million state-of-the-art building on the same spot. Residents and campaigners have not given up the fight, however, and the battle goes on to save the Edwardian building. 1 May 2007

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The foundation stone indicates the opening date of 2 May 1910 for Stockton Heath Council School when administration was under the education section of Runcorn Rural District. I don't know what happened to the foundation stone after demolition - hopefully it is safe.

The main entrance
on Egerton Street.

 West Avenue view.

 Demolition work
along West Avenue.

The foundation stone

 

ROBERTS SHOES - still going strong after 150 years!

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R. Roberts and Son established their shoe shop in Bridge Street in 1858, shown here. Members of the same family have served the community ever since and are agents for the world famous Clarks brand, where they still offer the service of measuring not only your shoe size, but the width fitting too. I wonder how many of you remember the Big Sister TV advertising campaign where the oldest child of the family informs us that when she grows up her mother says she is going to be a proper little madam? On Thursday, 24 May 2007, Roberts moved into the newly refurbished Golden Square shopping centre. mywarrington wishes the family and colleagues continuing success and thanks them for helping out with this feature. Here's to the next 150 years!

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THE WIRE WORKS    5 July 2007

Good news for The Winwick Partnership:
Winwick Street redevelopment , The Wire Works, was APPROVED by the Secretary of State

Bad news for Time Square, Big Apple (Warrington) Ltd:
The Secretary of State REFUSED planning permission on the grounds that
"the site is not an identified regeneration area, is presently developed, and mostly in active use..."

Warrington Borough Council had approved BOTH schemes before the inquiry began

However, the Wire Works plan was eventually shelved, but read on to see how it would have looked. Further down the page is a new plan for the site, part of the £190m "Stadium Quarter" regeneration project announced by Warrington Borough Council in March 2013.

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The planning application was submitted by Modus Iliad in 2005 to redevelop vacant land on Winwick Street just north of Central Station. The development would be a mix of residential apartments, retail facilities, gym, beauty spa, restaurants and bars with a cinema, hotel and art gallery anchored to the project to create a mix of uses for town centre living. 1200 parking spaces will be available. At a meeting of Warrington Borough Council on Friday 24 February 2006, planning permission was granted, subject to final approval by the Secretary of State. In April 2006 the Secretary of State decided that there should be a public inquiry into the project. That inquiry began on 27 February 2007. After planning permission has been approved, it was hoped that work could begin in late 2007, but the scheme was later shelved. Dallam Centre would have been the first priority as it was being moved to Orford Lane, with the bill being met by the developers. The Dallam Centre itself was closed at the end of 2012 and demolished when the services it offered were moved to other parts of the town.

The Wireworks site,
 photographed 4 Feb 2005.

The first 4 images below are artist impressions showing how the development might look. They are used with permission from Modus Iliad.

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This view of the urban village
looks north towards Tanners
Lane and the Halliwell Jones
stadium.

Large open spaces are
complimented by attractive
landscaped areas to create
a vibrant city atmosphere.

The development features
a cinema which will encourage
a family experience in bright
comfortable surroundings.

The 21-storey skyscraper is
shaped like an aeroplane wing
in recognition of Burtonwood
Air Base and the role it played
during World War Two.

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A view of the proposed site
taken in May 2003 from
Central Station. The
conservation area of Winwick
Street will welcome visitors
into the town.

The Three Pigeons (left) and the Kings Head public houses are
Grade II* listed buildings. The buildings to the left of the
Kings Head will be demolished and new development will
bring new life to the area.

The area in this view from
the steps of Central Station
was taken in February 2007.
It will be transformed into
the skyscraper scene above.

I am grateful for the help and assistance from Modus Iliad and express my appreciation for permission to reproduce their artist's impressions and descriptions, which have been incorporated into my own text.

Details of the Time Square development can be seen on the Warrington Market page.

 

THE STADIUM QUARTER

The Stadium Quarter is a new plan to bring life to land between Central Station and the Halliwell Jones Stadium. The £190m plan to be built by Liverpool-based group Iliad was announced by Warrington Borough Council in March 2013 and is due for completion in 2024. As well as businesses, leisure use and housing, the scheme includes an ambitious plan for a university on the land. Work on the first stage is due to begin in January 2014 and the whole project is set to create 1,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs by the end of the project. The masterplan is currently a draft and will be finalised following more consultation.

For More information, see the Warrington Borough Council website and the Warrington Guardian news story. Web pages were live at the time of publication.

bridge_street_quarter_regeneration_2013_2.jpg (48332 bytes) It is one of many planned Town Centre regeneration projects.

Another is the Bridge Street Quarter, which will redevelop the market and Time Square area and includes a town centre cinema. Work is due to start in 2013. The images here are on display in Bridge Street.

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Read more in the Warrington Means Business document here.

 

GOODBYE TJ's

TJ Hughes, the Liverpool-based discount department store, closed its Warrington branch for good on Friday 26 August 2011. Thomas J. Hughes started the company on London Road, Liverpool in 1912. Originally, he leased space from a former Owen Owen store. TJ Hughes was owned by Endless, one of three owners over its 99- year history. The other two were JJB Sports and PPM Capital. At its peak it had 57 stores throughout the UK. The Warrington store on Sankey Street operated in the former Co-operative (later Gatehouse Co-op) building, which has stood since 1908. tjhughes_110821_1_djkenny.JPG (91939 bytes)

Despite years of growth and healthy profit margins, it is understood to have requested a cash injection to see it through the autumn of 2011, but this money was not available. The company entered administration on 30 June 2011. Only six stores were retained under new ownership. These are at Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Widnes and Eastbourne.

TJ's was one of my favourite stores and I'm sorry to see it go. There are THREE massive buildings standing empty in Warrington town centre - TJ's, Howard Buildings (former Boots) on Bridge Street and Hodgkinson's emporium (former amusement arcade), also on Bridge Street.

The photographs here are provided by www.djkennylive.me.uk and were taken during the final week of trading, with the views inside the store taken on Saturday 27 August 2011, the day after close of business.

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It was announced on 12 November 2012 that Primark will be coming to Warrington in 2013, taking a unit in Golden Square shopping centre. In a survey local people put Primark at the top of their list as the store they wished to have in the town. The store will occupy the former Littlewoods and the existing New Look units, which will combine to make way for the Primark store. New Look itself has moved into a new unit within Golden Square next to by H&M. In my opinion, it would have been good for Primark to have moved into the former Boots the Chemist building on Bridge Street to help bring life back to that area, but it looks like that option was not available. Maybe the planned Bridge Street Quarter project was already on the cards and we just weren't told. This all raises another question though: is there enough money in people's pockets to make these projects pay? After all, Golden Square shopping centre has had empty units ever since the extension opened in 2007. It has never been full, and many retailers have gone into administration - HMV and Jessops to name just two. Maybe the downturn in the economy will completely change around in the near future and we will all have extra money to spend...
I read on 27 March 2013 that BBC Dragon's Den star Peter Jones has rescued Jessops and plans to open 30 high street stores again in a move that will create 300 jobs. Read more at The Guardian website.
 

 

CHESHIRE YEAR OF GARDENS 2008

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Walton Hall Gardens was designated a Cheshire Garden of Distinction in the Cheshire Year of Gardens 2008. During 2008, Cheshire launched a very special programme of events to share with people of all ages the joys of our Gardens of Distinction. Explore not only the gardens, but garden-related activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. See www.yearofgardens08.com for more. Read a history of Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington Green and The Cycle Museum in Events.

 

COAL HOLE                    

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Now for something completely different. To save you wandering around looking down and bumping into people, I'll tell you it was taken in Bold Street, near the old Eustance's building. Looking along this stretch of street you can see where the old "coal holes" were. They have lost their covers except this one.

I'll quote from the book Street Furniture. A 12 inch (305 mm) diameter coal plate by Hayward Brothers of Borough, South London, one of several large-scale suppliers in the nineteenth century.

There were a couple of other interesting "lids" in the street but they have disappeared over the years.

Photo and text © P Spilsbury

Do you have any interesting photos of the town's past and a story to go with it? If so, email them to me I'll put them on this page. And even if you don't have a photo, and the object still exists, let me know and I can go and visit the area to do a photo. I will credit your work on the website.

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SPUD FUN

Just thought I would share this photo with you. We had put the potatoes in water while we went out to town and when we came back the dirt from the potatoes had risen to the surface in the exact same shape as the original potatoes. There must be a scientific explanation for this type of thing  - I wonder if anybody can tell why this phenomenon happens? Feed back your suggestions. (1.8.2007)

 

DR WHO'S TARDIS AND A DALEK VISIT TOWN

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The town centre had a visit from Dr Who's TARDIS and a Dalek on Monday 23 July 2007. Dr Who is BBC Television's long running science fiction show which began in the 1960s and was revived this century under popular demand. The show centres around a time travelling doctor - TARDIS is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space - and the adventure began on 23 November 1962 when William Hartnell travelled 100,000 miles back into earth's history to help cavemen discover fire. Since then he has battled against the Cybermen and the Daleks. My thanks to DJKenny (www.djkennylive.me.uk) for his two photos here of the TARDIS (left) and one of the Daleks. For the official BBC Doctor Who website, click here.

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SNOWTIME

The forecasters got it right - just!
Warrington once again is hit by snow on Thursday 8 February 2007 - but it didn't last long

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Dallam School playing field

Town Hall and Golden Gates

Town Hall with flowers in snow

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Queens Gardens

Thorn Marine, Stockton Heath

Queens Gardens

 

WILD WEATHER    Thursday 18 January 2007

Violent winds and heavy rain played their part in creating absolute chaos in Warrington on this day.

Trees blowing down, rivers and canals swollen and the closing of Thelwall Viaduct caused total gridlock in just about every part of the town centre and outskirts. Two large trees blown over in the Winwick area totally blocked the main A49 causing tailbacks for miles. NOBODY could go about their business - buses stuck in jams, delivery vehicles held up and shoppers going nowhere. Tesco closed its store on Winwick Road due to part of the roof coming off and businesses were sending staff home early to collect their children from schools damaged by the 80 miles per hour winds. I was literally inches away from a hospital visit when the branches of a tree were snapped off and blew down in front of me. Thankfully I survived without a scratch. 

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The tree branches that
just missed me as
I left home this afternoon.
Hawleys Lane bridge
is flooded again.
Sankey Canal at Dallam/Callands.
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The Sankey Canal breaches
its bank to flood a normally
dry area, which was the
original route of the canal.
The Dallam section of the
Sankey Canal runs into the
brook at Bewsey. The tree in
the centre normally stand
on the bank.
The brook at Bewsey
(officially known as 
the River Atherton)
reaches the bridge.
The level of the brook
is normally about
three feet lower. 

The Sankey Canal, England's first in the Industrial Revolution, was swollen to around three times its normal level, as did the brook at Bewsey. Hawleys Lane was completely flooded under the railway bridge (as is the norm for this bridge) but at least I could do my Good Samaritan bit by wading into 2 feet of icy cold water to help an unfortunate driver to push his car out of the middle of it. One side of the bridge had a Road Closed sign by it, but not on the other side where he came from, so he couldn't judge the depth as he drove through the murky water. This is a black spot for flooding. And to think the whole road had some attention only last year. But the problem is not the road itself, it's the drains. They are in a shockingly poor state. As a pedestrian I walk under the bridge often and the muck on the drainage grills is appalling. Come on, lets have a proper survey done on it.

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The strength of the wind
is indicated by the swaying
telephone wire.
The sky looks menacing in 
this view over Dallam Park.
A tree is blown over on
Folly Lane, blocking the
road for most of the morning.
This was what remained.
Advertising hoardings
were blown over
on Winwick Street.
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Traffic came to a standstill.
This is Froghall Lane.
This is Folly Lane near
Matalan on Winwick Road.
Near the Lord Rodney
on Winwick Street police
assist on traffic duties.
Buses are diverted
down Crosfields Street
and onto Froghall Lane.

In town centre, Legh Street was closed as cladding was blown off the shopping centre and buses were diverted via Winwick Street, Froghall Lane and Crosfield Street. I used Shanks's pony today! At Bridge Foot the river was swollen. The K4 telephone box (featured elsewhere on mywarrington website) had its door blown off its hinges, and a tree was blown over on the riverbank walkway. It was a very frustrating day for anybody driving. Every main road was blocked and emergency vehicles found it very difficult to get through, despite everybody trying their hardest to make a pathway for them. Police were on duty to help drivers to continue their journeys. Trains were cancelled (no doubt making the hotel happy for the gentleman I gave directions to). Businesses were hit too - the shopping centre and market were empty. It was like a ghost town. The scenes were repeated across the region and indeed the whole country. 

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Sankey Street was closed
due to problems on
Legh Street and road
works on Bold Street.
The K4 telephone box
at Bridge Foot looks
in a sorry state
with no door on.
A tree is blown over at Bridge
Foot along the riverside walk.

Speaking to a bus driver the following day he said it took him 5 HOURS to complete just one run on his bus which normally takes about one hour. A passenger told me he boarded his bus at 4.30pm and he got home at 8.20pm. The journey usually takes 6 minutes! 

Was it all down to global warming? Possibly, and if that's true, predictions say it will get even worse in the future. And it may be too late to stop it. But hang on a minute - there may be a way to stop it. We could ground all the aeroplanes and space rockets, switch off all computers, X-BOX 360s, PlayStations, Nintendo's, televisions, DVD players, videos, camcorders, iPods, synthesisers, radios, mobile phones, landline phones, digital cameras, electronic toys, home cinema systems, satellites, sat nav systems, fridges, cookers, microwaves, dish washers, washing machines, kettles, toasters, deep fat fryers, coffee makers, food mixers, food processors, sandwich makers, grills, irons, central heating systems, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, curling tongues, shavers, sewing machines, power tools, car truck and train engines, power stations, gas rigs, oil plants, light bulbs, CAT scanners and life support machines ... and go back to living in caves! Who will be first to do it? Any offers? I didn't think so. And even then we might be too late. One final thing: if those CFCs in my old fridge were damaging the ozone layer, what were they doing to my trifle?

wild_weather_070118_21.JPG (118478 bytes) And two days later this is the brook at Bewsey back to its normal level wild_weather_070118_22.JPG (83892 bytes)

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And here is Hawleys Lane bridge flooded yet again a year later! This time on 19 January 2008. Can we blame this on global warming? Don't think so. The drains STILL haven't been cleared out on Hawleys Lane. The Sankey Canal's up again, too. Since this photo was first posted, the Council and United Utilities have come up with ideas to solve the problem by working on the water treatment works a mile away in Bewsey. And have they solved the problem yet? Well, it hasn't flooded since. There again, it hasn't rained as heavy since either. Draw your own conclusions!

One thing I did mention on my Radio Warrington show in 2012 was the flooding problem in Dallam and other areas and I said then that clearly the main problem is that nobody has identified what was causing some of the flooding. I suggested they look under the road and in the drains to see if anything was blocking the passage of water. And in the Warrington Guardian on 1 November 2012 it is reported that plant roots stuck in the drains were the reason. Well done everybody - it's only taken six years to work it out... Now let's have it fixed.

 

AUSTRALIAN DUST STORM 2009

And on the subject of wild weather, take a look at these amazing photos sent in by Lynn in Sydney, Australia on 23 September 2009.

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Lynn says: When we went to bed last night it was raining, thundering and lightning. When we woke at 5 this morning there was a howling wind and the sky was bright red. Turns out it was a dust storm. I don't remember seeing one in Sydney before. Apparently, wild winds swept millions of tonnes of red dust from the continent's drought-ravaged outback and dump it on east coast. Visibility was cut to less than 100 metres. Officials say it was the worst dust storm since the 1940s, with particle pollution up to 10 times worse than the previous record. Photos copyright © Lynn, Sydney, Australia 2009.

 

CLICK ON EMAIL OR FEMAIL TO CONTACT ME

 

M6 MOTORWAY AND THELWALL VIADUCT

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These two photographs of the M6 motorway were taken by P. Kindon a couple of days after it was opened (the first section to open was the Preston by-pass on 5 December 1958).

On the left we have Thelwall Viaduct which was widened in recent years to cope with the traffic demands of today. The view, right, shows how it was when things were a little quieter.

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© P. Kindon

© P. Kindon

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The first section of the M6 was opened on 5 December 1958 by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and was known then as the Preston By-pass, the first motorway in the country. Construction of the 27-mile section between Preston and Warrington began in September 1959. It was of sufficient width to accommodate dual three-lane carriageways and a central reservation but, in order to reduce the cost of the structure, hard shoulders were not provided. The total length is now 230 miles (370km).

My view of the viaduct
on 4 March 2006 when
it snowed in the town.

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Thelwall Viaduct is 4,414 feet long and rises to a height of 93 feet above the Manchester Ship Canal. The viaduct, carrying the M6 motorway over the Ship Canal, River Mersey and  Bridgewater Canal, was opened in July 1963. Traffic over the viaduct amounted to 140,000 vehicles per day in recent years.

To cope with this, a major project to add a second viaduct was started in January 1993. Construction technology had improved greatly since the original viaduct was built and the new section featured a continuously welded plate girder deck, the longest of its kind in the world with a length of 4,500 feet.

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Looking south from the
banks of the Ship Canal,
with the new section on
the left (4 March 2006).

This long-range view is
from Knutsford Road
swing bridge with
Latchford Locks in
the foreground
(10 March 2006).

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April 1995 saw the first lane of traffic opened on the new section, and by December 1996 the work was complete with both carriageways now carrying four lanes of traffic and a hard shoulder in each direction.

However, in 2002 faults were identified on the viaduct's supporting bearings. One of the main span roller bearings was found to be split in half, resulting in a three-year repair plan, which ended in the summer of 2005.

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On the south side of
the Manchester Ship
Canal opposite the penny
ferry (4 March 2006).

Are we there yet? If you
want Warrington,
then it's the next turning
off at Junction 21
(4 March 2006).

 

REVELATION SHIRT WORKS

In early 2007, work started on the demolition of an historic building in Bewsey Street, close to the town centre. Originally the building was Wycliffe School, which opened in 1868. The pupils moved to Bewsey School in 1932 and in its later years it was the base for the Revelation Shirt factory. This photo was taken on 1 February 2007. You can see a photo of the factory in its previous working state on The Bewsian page.

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Wycliffe Court, an apartment block development, now stands on the site (on the left of the photo here - taken 21 Apr 2009). Notice it matches the existing buildings on the corner of Bewsey Street and Froghall Lane. This is because the whole street is part of a conservation area and therefore new buildings must fit in with the criteria. Froghall Lane, by the way, gets its name because there was once a hall in the area called, wait for it, FROG HALL.

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CHESHIRE LINES - GRAND CENTRAL

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Work started on developing the vacant Cheshire Lines warehouse behind Central Station into luxury apartments in 2006.

The development is known as Grand Central. As well as redeveloping the old warehouse itself, new apartments were constructed around it.

The Cheshire Lines Committee ran trains from the 1870s. The goods depot had stood vacant since 1983 when services were transferred to Dallam Lane Channel Tunnel depot, close to the site of the old Dallam shed engine repair facilities.

The Channel Tunnel depot was taken over by Asda supermarket in 2013 as a regional distribution centre.

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The Cheshire Lines
warehouse as it looked
on 9 May 2003.

Railway lines ran into
it in previous days.

The warehouse has been
converted into luxury
apartments, with new
buildings alongside.
This view is from
15 June 2006.

 

FAMILY COATS OF ARMS

Take a walk down Bridge Street and you will find coats of arms of various families who were prominent in Warrington's early history. They are located on the lamp posts and the captions are shown here.

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Boteler
Lords of the Manor of Warrington from the late 12th century to 1585. The Botelers developed Warrington as a market town, helped finance early Warrington bridges, the Friary in Bridge Street and the Parish Church and established Warrington Grammar School.

Stanley
Builders of Warrington’s first substantial stone bridge (1495-1813), and the leaders of Royalist faction in Warrington early in the 17th century Civil War. The Earls of Derby played an important part in the town’s history.

Ireland
Lords of the Manor of Warrington from 1597-1628. The Irelands had purchased the Botelers former estate of Bewsey Old Hall where Thomas Ireland was knighted by King James I in 1617.

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Booth
Lords of the Manor of Warrington from 1628-1764. Based at nearby Dunham Massey Hall, George Booth was created Earl of Warrington in 1690.

Blackburne
Lords of the Manor of Warrington from 1764-1861, and based at Orford Hall. In 1851, John Ireland Blackburne sold the rights of the manor to the new Warrington Corporation.

Patten
Builders of Bank Hall, later Warrington’s Town Hall, the Pattens were a wealthy merchant family who encouraged Warrington’s industrial growth by making the River Mersey navigable to Bank Quay.

 

DALLAM YOUTH ART

These images depict various artworks designed by the young people of Dallam at the turn of the Millennium.

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At the Millennium the young people painted their visions of the world as they saw it. Included here is Princess Diana's death in 1997, Rastafarian singer Bob Marley and a wish for peace in the world. Industry and transport feature in this collage. Sadly, the section on the far right (Dallam Youth) was lost when the backs of the shops were flattened to make parking spaces. Dallam Forge Company was formed in the 1860s. It later joined with the Warrington Wire Iron Company and a Wigan colliery company to become Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Company. The Bewsey Circular bus was still running in my young days of the 1970s and 1980s. Service 5a ran down Bewsey Road and terminated at the junction of Norreys Avenue, Lilford Avenue and Molyneux Avenue. I believe they should bring it back (with an extension to Dallam to help solve the problems for buses travelling between Bewsey Bridge on Lovely Lane and the roundabout at Sankey Green beyond the hospital, perhaps as a 16B service with regard to getting people home from town at teatime). The canals, and later the railways, formed a large part of Warrington's history, especially past the Dallam estate. The West Coast Main Line runs to the east, whilst the first industrial canal in the country, the Sankey (St Helens) Canal, flows on the west side. The Sankey Canal celebrates 250 years in 2007, having opened in 1757. SCARS (The Sankey Canal Restoration Society), a registered charity (No 702571) founded in 1985,
is committed to restoring the canal. www.scars.org.uk

 

LATCHFORD RAILWAY BRIDGE

latchford_railway_bridge__060310.JPG (57517 bytes) These are landmark views of Latchford. The bridge carried the Warrington and Stockport Railway, formerly the Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway (created by an Act of Parliament on 3 July 1851). Trains haven't run over it since 1985 and it was suggested in late 2006 to divert the Trans Pennine Trail over it, which currently runs via Latchford Locks in the background. Estimates indicate that it would cost as much to demolish it as it would to repair it. It would be a great viewpoint on the whole town. In the very same week where letters to the Warrington Guardian talk about the council wasting money, re-opening it for the community would be a fitting tribute to the heritage of our town. However, I don't see it happening. See Making Tracks for a history of the railway line. latchford_railway_bridge__040211.JPG (51351 bytes)
Latchford Locks
in the background.
The view from
Latchford Locks.

 

LATCHFORD VILLAGE

The name Latchford means "a ford over the Laecc or stream". The stream in this case was the River Mersey, which was crossed at this point by the ford before the first wooden bridge was built. Its location is just to the east of Black Bear Bridge as you approach the village from town centre. Nowadays, the Mersey flows in a different direction, having been diverted the 'hell hole' close by. See Warrington Green (Victoria Park section) for more.

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Two views of Latchford Bridge shopping centre. The image, left, was taken on 27 August 2003, whilst the second view, right, was taken on 10 March 2006 after the site was completely redeveloped.

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These views were taken on 15 August 2003. On the left we look on from the eastern end of the village, which shows the original shopping centre on the left. The second view, right, is from the opposite end of Knutsford Road.

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Two of the churches in Latchford. On the left is Christ Church, Latchford, on Wash Lane. It was consecrated on 16 July 1861 and is owned by the Church of England. On the right we see Latchford Methodist Church on Knutsford Road, which opened on 11 October 1894. Methodism in Warrington started in 1749, and the town has had many visitations from its founder, John Wesley (born on 17 June 1703 and died 2 March 1791). His first visit to Warrington was on 14 April 1755 and his last was 7 May 1790. He had been ordained in the Church of England before setting up the Methodist movement.

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Christ Church, Latchford. Latchford Methodist Church.
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The Cantilever Bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal. The main view, left, is from Latchford swing bridge and looks west towards Northwich Road swing bridge. Puzzling really to call it Northwich Road swing bridge when it is on London Road. Have a look at this Flickr photo.

On the right is a drivers eye view. Below left is the view from the top of the bridge looking west. In the distance is Fiddlers Ferry Power Station where electricity is generated for the national grid. 

Below right is Warrington Town Football Club. It was formed in 1949 by Jimmy Drinkwater and was originally known as Stockton Heath Albion. The club has been at the Latchford site since 1965.

They played for the F.A. Vase at Wembley in 1987 against St Helens Town, but lost the game 3-2. They reached the F.A. Cup First Round Proper during the 1994-95 season for the first time in their history. They currently play in the Unibond League.

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Cantilever from
Latchford swing bridge.
Cantilever bridge.
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The view west
from the bridge.
Warrington Town
Football Club.
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New World gas cooker company, left, started out as Richmond's in 1890 in Academy Street, Warrington. It moved to its current Latchford site it 1906 and at the time employed around 500 people. The works were situated right alongside Latchford Locks. The site is now a housing estate. Latchford swing bridge, right, is one of three such bridges in the town (Northwich Road near Stockton Heath and Chester Road being the other two), built to cross the Manchester Ship Canal, which opened in 1894.

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New World gas cooker plant. Latchford swing bridge.
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The image, left, is the historic Boteler Grammar School on School Brow near Sainsbury's. Or, at least it was there until the council knocked the building down to make way for a housing development! I always believed it to be a listed building, but in 2009 I was informed it wasn't listed, although local campaigners tried to get it listed. It was considered to be 'too altered' and of not sufficient quality. Thanks Matthew for your update. It was established on the death of Sir Thomas Boteler in 1526. The original building was rebuilt in 1863. It ended its days as a council storage depot. The Sir Thomas Boteler Grammar School is nowadays located in Latchford, right, where it has stood since 1940.

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The old school. The current school.
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The Railway pub in Latchford stands at the junction of two roads - Grammar School Road and Knutsford Road. It has been vacant for some years and it was suggested in April 2009 that it could be converted into an office development, retail unit or a restaurant and takeaway. The school is to the right of this image, whilst the houses on the left form part of Osborne Terrace, built in Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee year of 1887.

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The Trans Pennine Trail is a public right of way stretching from the Humber on the east coast of the country to Liverpool and Southport on the west coast. An 8-mile section passes through Warrington, including Latchford. I will be walking the full length of the Warrington section at a later date. Meanwhile, see Making Tracks for a description of part of the route by Bert Harris. The Cantilever Chippy, right, is tucked away under the old railway bridge on Wash Lane.

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Three views of the old railway bridges in the village: left to right - Knutsford Road, Wash Lane and Grammar School Road on 15 August 2003.

 

LATCHFORD LOCKS          

The Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894 to compete with the railways and
Liverpool’s vast dock empire along the River Mersey for trade coming in from the 
Americas and beyond. Latchford locks are situated about halfway along the route.

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The locks viewed
from Latchford.
The Warrington and Stockport
Railway was diverted via a high
level bridge to cross the canal.
View from Grappenhall side.
Pedestrians can cross the
locks via a marked out route.
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These views are from near the Thelwall Ferry crossing point of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Looking west towards
Latchford Locks.
Tying up your ship. Looking east towards
Thelwall Viaduct.
All photos taken 9 June 2006

 

RNLI SAILING BY LATCHFORD LOCKS

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This is the relief Trent class 14 lifeboat "Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma" passing through Latchford Locks on its way to Anglesey on Saturday 14 October 2006. It had been based in Salford Quays since Monday 9 October as part of the Manchester Lifeboat Week. Members of the public were invited on board to talk to lifeboat volunteers and to find out more about the work of the RNLI (Royal National lifeboat institution). Photos © Peter Spilsbury 2006. rnli2_psilsbury.jpg (65753 bytes)

The special relationship between the city and the RNLI began in 1891 when the world's first charity street collection took place in Manchester on behalf of the RNLI. The collection raised £5,500 – an amazing amount for the time – and the money supported the widows and children of the lost crewmen for many years. The event helped to lay the foundations of what became central to the RNLI's method of funding its lifeboat service. Money collected during the 2006 Manchester Lifeboat Week went towards the RNLI’s Train One Save Many appeal, which aims to raise £10M to fund vital crew training.

A Brief History of the R.N.L.I.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity based in the United Kingdom and Ireland dedicated to saving lives at sea around the coasts of the nation. It is largely a volunteer organisation, founded on 4 March 1824 by Sir William Hillary, as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, adopting the present name in 1854. The organisation is funded entirely by membership fees, voluntary donations and legacies from members of the public. Its headquarters are based in Poole, Dorset, along with its new training college, which was opened by the Queen in 2004.

The Founder, Sir William Hillary

Sir William Hillary came to live on the Isle of Man in 1808. He soon became aware of the treacherous nature of the Irish Sea, with many ships being wrecked around the Manx coast. He drew up plans for a national lifeboat service manned by trained crews. Initially he received little response from the Admiralty but on appealing to the more philanthropic members of London society, the organisation was formed. The first of the new lifeboats to be built was stationed at Douglas on the Isle of Man in recognition of the work of Sir William.  

At the age of 60, Sir William took part in the 1830 rescue of the packet St George, which had foundered on Conister Rock at the entrance to Douglas harbour. He commanded the lifeboat, was washed overboard with others of the lifeboat crew, yet finally everyone aboard the St George was rescued with no loss of life.

It was this incident which prompted Sir William to set up a scheme to build The Tower of Refuge on Conister Rock - a project completed in 1832 which stands to this day at the entrance to Douglas harbour.  

The RNLI in action

Since the RNLI was founded, its lifeboats have saved over 137,000 lives.

The RNLI operates 5 classes of inshore lifeboats, both inflatable boats and RIBs, of 20-40 knots (37-74 km/h), and 6 classes of all-weather motor life boats with maximum speeds of 16-25 knots (30-46 km/h). It maintains an active fleet of 332 lifeboats based at 233 lifeboat stations. It also has an active fleet of 4 hovercraft introduced in 2002 allowing rescue in mud flats and river estuaries inaccessible to conventional boats. The crews of the lifeboats are almost entirely volunteers, the 4,600 sea-going crew members, including over 300 women are alerted by pagers backed up by maroons and attend the lifeboat station when alerted.  

The Humber lifeboat station at Spurn Point, East Yorkshire is one of only two full time lifeboat stations in the UK (the other being Waterloo Pier, on the River Thames in London). The crew live in a few houses on Spurn Point which in bad weather can be cut off from the mainland. The other occupants of Spurn Point are Associated British Ports, who man their vessel Traffic Service control tower 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, along with the lifeboat crew.  

The RNLI also operates 59 Beach Lifeguard Units in the South West of England employing over 300 lifeguards.

In the United Kingdom, ships in distress, or the public reporting an accident, must call HM Coastguard on Medium frequency (or MF) radio, VHF radio or dialling 112 or 999 on a telephone. In the Republic of Ireland they must call the Irish Coast Guard, or dial 112 or 999. The Coastguard co-ordinates rescue at sea and may call on the RNLI (or other lifeboats), or their own land-based rescue personnel, or rescue helicopters to take part. Air-Sea rescue helicopters are provided by the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the Marine & Coastguard Agency (HM Coastguard), the United States Air Force and the Irish Air Corps.

The RNLI in Warrington

Warrington has its own fundraising branch of the RNLI, which meets every two months, usually at The Railway Club, Winwick Street, Warrington. If you wish to learn more about the work of this worthy organisation, or to become a volunteer, then go along. For national news and events, visit the RNLI website at www.rnli.org.uk

information on the Brief History, Founder and In Action sections are taken from Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. Subject to disclaimers. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

 

MISSISSIPPI SHOWBOAT

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Mississippi Showboat was a famous night club on Howley Lane. On the night of Tuesday 2 March 2004, arsonists burn it to the ground. It was believed to have started in a garage and two guard dogs were killed in the incident. Fire crews from all over Warrington fought the blaze, with assistance from other Cheshire brigades. Together with Secrets, it had been a top town centre venue during the 1980s and 1990s. I visited the venue on only one occasion at the turn of the century. mississippi_showboat_030813_2.JPG (68086 bytes)

 

MOHICANS PLAY THE SKITTLES

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The Mohicans Indian folk duo perform at Market Gate 'Skittles' on 21 December 2006.

 

TATANKA

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Monday 30 July 2007, and Buttermarket Street saw the appearance of Tatanka, performing tradition pan pipe music from Ecuador. On their 3rd CD, on sale at the time, they state the following: Music is God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to Earth, and the only art of Earth we take to Heaven. Prayer, dancing and songs to the beat of the drum bring people of all races together in unity...May the Great Spirit continue to bless you all.  Contact them

 

SUNSET OVER DALLAM

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The first three sun sets over Dallam were taken on Sunday 24 September 2006 at 7.15pm,
The first one appeared in the Warrington Guardian on 9 November 2006.
The 4th was taken 12 March 2007. 

 

OUR CROSS COUNTRY COMPANION

dog.jpg (58998 bytes) If you've read my Sankey Valley page, you will know I mentioned a dog on our cross-country run who knew Bewsey Woods like the back of his paw. Well, here he is. I never did know his name but he kept us students company on our runs - well, as far as the woods anyway...

 

ARTWORK ON DIAL STREET

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I photographed these artworks in 2003. They were painted on the wall of the Cyber Cafe at 18 Dial Street,
which no longer occupies the building. I don't know anything about the artist. They were about 5 feet by 5 feet but are no
longer on display, which is a shame. If you are the artist, or know who it was, let me know to receive a credit.

 

WAY TO LIFE

way_to_life_1980.jpg (64940 bytes) Way to Life was an evangelical mission which took place on Warrington Bank Park in the summer of 1980. Sussex-based preacher, Dick Saunders, travelled around the world with his crown-shaped tent teaching and preaching the gospel. A choir made up of local volunteers from the various churches around the town led the singing of traditional hymns and choruses. He also has radio spots on Transworld Radio. My images show the tent and, in Peter Spilsbury's photo, right, the directions to the venue from Legh Street car park.

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© Peter Spilsbury

 

WARRINGTON TRANSPORT SOCIAL CLUB

warrington_transport_club_040227_1.JPG (55757 bytes) I'm sure lots of bus drivers have memories of this building. It was Warrington Transport Social Club (often called the Tranny) on Longshaw Street in Dallam. I didn't go in there much, but my mum worked there for 26 years until her retirement. The main room was quite cosy with a small stage at one end (on the right as we look) with the bar at the other. Shortly before the end of its life it was gutted by fire (right image). It was demolished on 13 May 2005 and Bramhall Construction were based on the site until May 2009. warrington_transport_club_040227_2.JPG (92161 bytes)

 

RYLANDS WIRE-LESS!

carrington_wire_051020_1.JPG (40714 bytes) After more than 200 years, 2005 saw the wire-weaving industry in Warrington come to an end, when Carrington Wire on Battersby Lane finally closed its doors. Carrington Wire took over the Rylands factory on Battersby Lane at the end of the 20th century. John Rylands began his wire-making business at the beginning of the 19th century in Bridge Street. He joined with Nathaniel Greening and they moved to Church Street (Sainsbury's supermarket occupies the spot now). Rylands and Greening eventually went their separate ways, with Greening setting up in Bewsey Road and Rylands continued to expand with two more sites at Battersby Lane and Whitecross.

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From Midland Way,
Photo 12 Aug 2003.

Rylands was among the famous wire-making names of Lockers, Rylands, Monks of Whitecross, Longford Wire, Firth Wire Company, W. D. Houghton and British Wedge Wire Co Ltd, who between them provided work for thousands of Warrington residents. The name Rylands lives on in Carrington Wire who have set up a division called Rylands Wire Products. Carrington Wire is Europe's largest independent wire manufacturer, supplying its products to over 50 countries around the world. The industry also gave the original nickname for Warrington Super League rugby team (The Wire). Both my mum and dad worked at Greenings. The Battersby Lane site is now a housing development called Sixpenny Fields. Take a trip down memory lane with my images of the Battersby Lane site (some of which were contributed by DJKenny, a local photographer and friend of mine). The demolition was done in stages.
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The old offices past the bridge on Battersby Lane. To the right of the offices were a row of terraced houses, with Hopwood Street after that. The roundabout replaces all of that now. Opposite the office block in 1905 was an area called Clares Buildings. In my young days they had been pulled down and this used to be my playground when I was a kid. We called it the bonk (which has a totally different meaning in the 21st century!) 22 Mar 2003. Delivery bay on Battersby Lane. As a kid I watched trucks loading and unloading when I walked past down the Sixpenny on my way to St Elphin's Park. While we have space here I'll tell you what else used to be where the roundabout is: The Glassmakers Arms (roughly where the lawn in front of Staples is now). 22 Mar 2003.
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Factory entrance, Battersby Lane. Do you remember some of the other streets close by? Gandy Street (not named after me!), Tilley Street, Crossley/Back Crossley Street, Grey Street, Derby Street. I remember Lythgoes Lane railway bridge being much wider then as well (see the Walking Day picture on the Memory Lane page). No roundabout at the junction in those days, either. Lythgoes Lane went straight onto Brick St/Battersby Lane. 22 Mar 2003. This is the old Sixpenny Walk which runs from Battersby Lane to Dalton Bank. Everybody just called it the Sixpenny, but it is named on three of my maps as Sixpenny Walk, so that's the reason for both descriptions here. The first image is viewed from Battersby Lane, and the last one looks back from Dalton Bank. It's funny how your mind plays tricks on you - when I walked down the Sixpenny as a kid I could have sworn there were two bends in the pathway. But as an adult on a recent walk there was only one. Which is right? Well, on the whole, it looks like just one bend. The middle photo here was taken from the halfway point after I had walked down from the first photo and looks towards Dalton Bank, but the 1905 Old Ordnance Survey map indicates there could have been a slight bend at Battersby Lane end towards the concrete slabs in the image on the far left showing the factory entrance. Can you remember how it was in your younger days? Was the factory gate there then? 22 Feb 2003.
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Dalton Bank entrance. In its day Rylands was one of the biggest manufacturers of wire in the whole of the UK, but like many of our industries, it often comes from abroad these days. 22 Mar 2003. Dalton Bank. Clocking
off time? 22 Mar 2003.
Fairfield Street area
(off Manchester Road).
22 Mar 2003.
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Fairfield Street area. The junior school building is still there opposite, but
The school is now on the opposite side of Manchester Road in a brand
new building. The old building is being kept for community use. 22 Mar 2003
Inside the factory.
22 Mar 2003.
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A last look inside the factory. I hope it brings back
some good memories for its workers. 22 Mar 2003.
This office filing system
has seen better days.
22 Mar 2003.
Dalton Bank and the
Sixpenny Walk.
20 Feb 2004.
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Demolition from two angles: back of Hume 
Street and Battersby Lane. 5 Jan 2004.
This is a single hole
wire drawing machine
on Battersby Lane,
presented by Rylands
Whitecross Ltd
in August 1989.
5 Oct 2004.
Hume Street, off Marsh
House Lane. No doubt
many workers lived in
terraced streets like
this one. You probably
still do. 5 Oct 2004.
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 The Sixpenny Walk from Battersby Lane,
and the beginnings of the new housing estate
23 Feb 2005.
Back to Battersby Lane. My memory of this area
as a child was viewing the latest toy motorcars
in the newsagent's shop window opposite. I lived on St Peter's Place just up the road until my house was pulled down to make way for one of those new-fangled estates with inside toilets and no tin bath, or coal in the bunker! 29 Jun 2005, DJKenny.
The classic shot from the corner of Battersby Lane and Marsh House Lane. Demolition is going on behind the scenes. 20 Oct 2005.
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Through a gap in the old gate - demolition is well under way. 20 Oct 2005 This view is from the
east looking towards
Marsh House Lane.
20 Oct 2005.
From Battersby Lane
and Sharp Street.
9 Nov 2005, DJKenny.
I never did worked out
why they left the single
wall up along Marsh
House Lane. 9 Nov 2005, DJKenny.
Demolition is
virtually complete.
11 Nov 2005, DJKenny.

 

TOWNS END CHAPEL 

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Do you know where Towns End was in the Warrington of the 19th and 20th centuries? In 1859 the Warrington Guardian announced the opening of Towns End Chapel. Towns End is in fact the area of town outside the Lord Rodney pub at the junction of Winwick Road and Pinners Brow. In the middle ages, of course, it literally would have been the town's end. After that, fields as far as the eye could see. And Towns End Chapel is St Anne's Church, but it is no longer used as a church.

You may know it now as the North West Face climbing centre, which opened in 1996. It is located between Tesco and the Warrington Wolves ground on Winwick Road and is a grade II* listed building. 

Check out their website www.northwestface.com. St Anne's church is now housed in a new building on Central Avenue, Orford. It opened in 2000. Photo 23 Sep 2006
 

 

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG

chitty_bang_041122.JPG (110030 bytes) This replica of the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car from the classic 1960 film visited Golden Square shopping centre on 22 November 2004. 

 

BRICKFIELD PARK

Brickfield Park is located between Winwick Road and Orford Lane. It has been a park for a few years now, but last year it received lottery funding for a complete makeover. It is now much nicer to walk through with tarmac paths, a new enclosed ball area, a fenced children's play area and a grassed area for sports.

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 If you visit, pay particular attention to the entrance gates as they depict some of the industry which made Warrington famous, including a barrel representing Tetley Walker's Brewery, now the location of Warrington Wolves and Tesco Extra. The image, left, shows the entrance - or is that the exit - to/from Winwick Road, but have you noticed anything unusual about the picture? When you think you've solved it, click here to see if you were right.

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And I can only assume that the workers knocking down the building next to the park in the photo, left, are Manchester United supporters! This area now has new flats - although they were abandoned half-finished in June 2009. Something to do with that credit crunch thing... Photos 23 Sep 2006

BUCKLEY STREET FREE METHODIST CHURCH

Buckley Street runs alongside the Warrington Wolves Halliwell Jones rugby stadium.

The church was opened in 1879. It is described at http://www.freewebs.com/limc/ as an Independent Methodist church.

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WINWICK STREET and TANNERS LANE CORNER

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< The top image shows two views of the Rylands/Seddon Atkinson factory on the corner of Winwick Street and John Street. The top section was taken on 9 May 2003, with the lower section 17 December 2005.

The site has now been cleared for future development (taken 3 Jan 2006). It was used as a temporary car park for Golden Square visitors.
Originally, John Street Tannery occupied the site.

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The Wire Works is the name of the proposed development which will transform this derelict piece of land in the north of Warrington town centre.

Meanwhile, T P TEXTILES used to trade on the site, but relocated to Latchford in 2008. Can you remember what else was in this area? Read on.

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On the corner of Winwick Street and Tanners Lane there used to be a petrol station which eventually changed over to a car centre. The image on the right shows the complete row of businesses which stood here for many years. Rex Jones Cycles at one end, the Rainbow Cafe in the middle to the right of the Modus sign. But do you know what stood on this site a hundred years ago? It was Tanners Lane Tannery, which covered the whole site of the current temporary car park and backed onto the coal yard of the Warrington & Newton Railway off Back Dallam Lane. Foundry Street is to the left of Rex Jones' shop.

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WARRINGTON COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE

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Warrington Collegiate Institute on Winwick Road is seen here before its £27million redevelopment. Part of the land is now occupied by a hotel and a public house. I attended my first computer course at the collegiate back in 1998 where I learned my internet skills, without which you wouldn't be reading this today.

The image, left, top, is the classic view of the old building which dates, I believe, from 1974, and has since been demolished. It was known as Warrington Technical College in those days. The original workshops and laboratories opened on 3 September 1956, 50 years before the new development (left) was due for completion.
Photos taken 25 Aug 2006

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QUEENS GARDENS ACCIDENT

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During the second week of August 2006, an urn artwork in Queens Gardens was accidentally damaged by a council truck during routine maintenance.

It is currently in storage and it is hoped it can be repaired and set back in place. The image, left, shows the damage, and right how it normally looks.

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SANKEY - THE CROSSROADS OF LIFE!

You might have played a certain trivia game and had this question posed to you: Where in the UK is the only junction featuring a pub, a parish church, a post office and a police station at its crossroads? The answer would be the junction of Liverpool Road, Station Road and St Mary's Road in Sankey, Warrington. However, it is no longer true. The post office closed in 2005, and is now a general store. In 2011 there was also talk of moving the police station to a new location. This happened on 17 December 2012 when the station was moved to Meeting Lane, Penketh. It stood in Sankey for 104 years. I believe the crossroads was also mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records and is known as the 'four P's on each corner'. The tradition is that you could cash your wages at the post office, go into the pub and get drunk, come out and get arrested by the police and then go into the church to ask for forgiveness!

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The old post office.

The Chapel House pub.

The police station.

St Mary's church.

First three photos taken 6 June 2006, fourth one taken 27 October 2010.

 

SANKEY RAILWAY STATION

Sankey railway station is also known as Sankey for Penketh. The main station building is the
original (dating from 1874), and of a standard style used by the Cheshire Lines Committee.
It is used as a booking office and waiting room, though part of the building is a
house and another part disused. Passengers have little shelter available when the main building
is closed and seats are only available on the Manchester-bound platform. Photos taken 6 Jun 2006

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The station viewed
from Station Road bridge.

The main station building from
the Manchester-bound platform.

Sorry, this clock isn't
even right once a day!

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The drinking fountain
has seen better days too!

This legal notice still stands
on Station Road bridge.
The wording is printed below.

Opposite view from
Station Road bridge
towards Warrington.

Notice
Pursuant to the provisions of the Act of Parliament 24 and 25 Vic Cap 70 to the Cheshire Lines Committee
being liable for the repair of this bridge hereby give notice that the same is insufficient to carry weights
beyond the ordinary traffic of the district and particularly that it is insufficient for the carriage of traction
or other locomotive engines drawing propelling or carrying an excessive weight within the meaning
of the Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act 1878 as amended by the Locomotives Act 1898.
By Order

 

BEWSEY

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In the southeast of England during the summer of 2006 there was a bit of a panic about a water shortage. No such problem here in Bewsey, Warrington! This is what happens when it floods on the River Atherton (known locally as the Stinking Brook, for obvious reasons, although, to be fair, it has been cleaned up recently). In London, however, their best idea to get water is to tow an iceberg from the Arctic! Have they not realised that it's a bit warmer in this part of the world and their massive chunk of ice might end as a cupful by the time it reaches the Thames! Time to think again, London. Why don't you develop underground storage areas to catch the water when it does rain? And why did it take you so long to finish that football stadium? The name Bewsey means "beautiful site".

Photo taken 10 Aug 2004

 

THE BIG PINK EYE

This is the control centre for Crown Cars. It used to be part of Fairclough's Flour Mill at Bank Quay off Liverpool Road. I call it the Big Pink Eye and the story is that the artist, Anthony Turk, wanted to paint something else on the building but wasn't allowed. So because he was upset he painted the eye instead. On 21 February 2009, he revealed in Warrington-Worldwide online newspaper a mural of marine life at Sankey Leisure swimming pool. He hopes to replace the Big Pink Eye with a different image in the future. See the online edition of Warrington Worldwide magazine (issue 113 March 2009 for the story on page 16). Or go to www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk to read the story.

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Photo taken
22 Apr 2003

 

FIDDLER’S FERRY

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Fiddler's Ferry pencil
drawing by David Potts.

Fiddler's Ferry is in west Warrington. To find out why it is called Fiddler's Ferry, see On The Waterfront (River Mersey). My thanks go to David Potts at Groundwork Mersey Valley and Warrington Borough Council Ranger Service for permission to use their artwork and extracts from their text.

The copyright owner of the original painting used for David's drawing is not known. If you are the owner, or know who is, contact me for a full credit.

 

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GRAPPENHALL

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The image on the left is one of my favourites - one of those 'there at the right time shots'
Can you see a face in the tree in the image on the right?

 

mywarrington.jpg (63457 bytes) The answer to my little poser at the top of this page: Grappenhall Village (Church Lane to be precise, viewed from outside the Parish Church of St Wilfrid). In a letter to the Warrington Guardian in early 2006, a disgruntled reader suggested they should be covered over with tarmac because it is too bumpy for him to ride his bike! The week after, a reply was printed telling him to get off and walk! In April 2013 Warrington Borough Council, in conjunction with Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council, announced plans to repair and replace the cobbles, starting in summer 2013. All photos taken 18 May 2004.

The earliest human settlement in the area was in the middle Bronze Age, approximately 1000 B.C.
It was known as Gropenhale in the time of William the Conqueror.

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Bridgewater Canal Stanney Lunt Bridge
over the canal
Church Lane The classic village
image of Church Lane
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St Wilfrid's
Parish Church
Punishing the past:
the village stocks
The village memorial
to Queen Victoria
It looks just as
good in 2006!

Link to the Church Website here                                   All photos taken 18 May 2004

 

 

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ORIGINAL WIRE 

The Original Wire pub, once known as The Wheatsheaf, at the junction of Orford Lane and Winwick Road, is the only pub in Warrington with a pavement all the way round it. Actually, if you go round the back there is a slight gap in the footpath where the gate opens...

Photo taken 20 Feb 2004

 

THELWALL

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Yes! The answer to my home page conundrum about the city nearest to Warrington is Thelwall. "In the year 923 King Edward the Elder founded a cyty here and called it Thelwall". So says the caption on the side of the Pickering Arms. However, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it is recorded that the burh (a fort, mistranslated as cyty) at Thel Wael was to be repaired and manned as a defence against the Danes. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, the name Thelwall means 'a pool by the plank bridge'. The first census of 1881 shows a population of 309 residents. The Pickering Arms itself dates from the 1700s.

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The Thelwall Ferry is an ancient crossing to take people from the village side to Thelwall Eyes, which was once rich farmland. Nowadays, the area is a wildlife reserve for many migrating birds. An Act of Parliament insists that the ferry be operated by the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Originally the area covered by the canal was filled with pathways and roads. It was not possible to replace them all when the canal was constructed so the ferry was brought in instead.

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The view on the left is of Thelwall New Road, with Ferry Lane linking off to the left. On the right of the image is the Pickering Arms pub, shown above.

The image on the right is of Thelwall Post Office, on Bell Lane

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This is All Saints Church, part of the Diocese of Chester. It dates from before 1663 as records show that it was repaired in that year. See the church website for more.

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Before the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, Thelwall had its own railway station on the Warrington to Stockport line, which is marked on the 1910 version of the Ordnance Survey map, now reprinted. The journey time in 1929 from Warrington Bank Quay to Thelwall was 13 minutes, passing through Latchford, as shown in the LMS (London Midland Scottish) timetable. The crowning of the Thelwall Rose Queen is held in June each year.

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The Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894, and passes through Thelwall. Close by is the River Mersey, and south of the village is the Bridgewater Canal. These waterways were vital to the life of the village before the onset of the railways, and later the motor car.

In September 1959, work started on the construction of Thelwall Viaduct to carry the new M6 motorway over the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal. The motorway opened in July 1963. However, towards the end of the 20th century, congestion was at a peak, and the government decided to add a second viaduct to the east of the existing carriageway. After many years of construction and further problems, users are now grateful for this second section. But the townsfolk are none too pleased when accidents block the motorway, as traffic is then diverted through the town, causing unparalleled chaos! Ah, the lazy old days of canal travel...

You might wish to check out the website of Thelwall Morris Men.

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from Latchford

The 'Cheshire Villages Handbook' published by  the Cheshire Federation of Women's Institutes in 1990 is a good place to see a brief history of this and many other Warrington villages. See a copy in Warrington Library.

 

Proms in the Park 2014

The event was part of Warrington Music Festival. The arena was supplied by A & J Big Top Hire.
Friday - hard rock and metal night featuring headline act Blast Tyrant.
Saturday - The Band of the Corps and Drums of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment,
Warrington Pipe Band and mezzo soprano Danielle Louise Thomas (arranged by the 75 Engineer
Regiment and Warrington Borough Council to commemorate the centenary of the First World War).
Sunday - youth carnival as part of the Plugged In music development project.

Also

Scouting For Girls

20 Jul 2014, 7:00pm

Old Market Place

See www.pyramidparrhall.com

 

Warrington Skyline

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River Mersey
at Howley
Sunrise
Dallam
Sunscape River
Mersey Howley
Sunset
Latchford
River Mersey
at Howley

Sunrise - Sunscape - Sunset

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Sunset
Latchford Locks
Sunscape
Crosfields
Thelwall Viaduct Sunscape 
Kingsway Bridge
Sunset
Dallam
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Sunset
Latchford
Sunscape
Dallam
Sunset
Culcheth
Sunset River
Mersey Howley
Sunscape
Howley
Brickfield Park Puzzle: the picture is in reverse! But how can it be if the you can read 'Brickfield Park' the right way round? It's a little something I do when I wish to display the wording of a see-through sign that is obscured by a tree or something when taken from the normal way round. So I simply take it from the other side and flip the picture in the photo editor. If you look carefully, you can see The North West Face climbing centre in the background the other way round! Compare it to the picture above it. Did you spot it? Back to Brickfield Park

 

READER PHOTOS

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My thanks to Dorothy who has sent in this wonderful photo of a sunset over Orford back in October 2004. It was taken from her parent's bedroom window and looks towards Fitzherbert Street, close to Orford Park. Dorothy now lives away from Warrington and found the website while searching for information about the town. If you would like one of your own photos of the town featured on the site, attach it to the email address at the top or bottom of the page with a few words about it, giving a brief description of when and where it was taken, and indicate if you want your name adding to your work.

 Warrington - A Town of Many Industries


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