Walk Through Time

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Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy
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What was Atlas standing on when he posed for his picture with the world on his shoulders?

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This page launched Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Take a walk on the calm side

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Walk Through Time is a series of photos from Warrington's past

If you have any of your own photos of Warrington's past that you wish to share, feel free to Email me.

 

Golden Square shopping centre's extension was completed in 2007, giving a new look to the town centre. But how much of the old town centre do you remember? Take a stroll with Peter Spilsbury and Terry Eyres as they show you some of the glory days! The text is based on Peter's and Terry's notes. We'll start with three photos from the fifties and sixties. And don't forget Peter's Gallery for even more photo memories.

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This photo, taken in 1959, overlooks Marshall Gardens at Bridge Foot. In this scene we have Gartlands Garage, and the Wimpy, along with a Lancashire United bus, a Leigh bus and Johnny Lee's pawn shop. You may also notice the Crosville Bus Stand opposite Gartlands. The Academy building on the left was literally moved north a few metres on rollers in the 1980s to make way for a new road scheme alongside. The building was eventually demolished and rebuilt in the style of today. Nowadays the Warrington Guardian newspaper offices are based there. Read more about the Academy in Tour 2. The chimney in the background belongs to Cockhedge Mill, now the site of Cockhedge Shopping Park.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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A view of Warrington Bridge at Bridge Foot in the late 1960s. The suds on the water were often blamed on Crosfields chemical works but are in fact caused by the weir half a mile away. The water flows towards Crosfields further up the river. The bridge was opened in 1915. Behind it is the Ritz (ABC) cinema which nowadays is hanging on in there as Mr Smith's nightclub, but for how much longer? A pressure group is trying to save it. On the left is Gartons works. The joke going round in my schooldays was that GARTONS spelt backwards is SNOTRAG!

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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This photo was taken in the early 1960s. It's the old fire station on Queen Street, now the location of Golden Square shopping centre. The Cheshire Fire Brigade are now based at Winwick Road, with two more stations in Birchwood and Stockton Heath.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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The Parish Church of St Elphin in the early 1970s. This view is seen from Fennel Street before College Close was built. Read more about the church in Tour 1. In the distance is Rylands Wire factory on Church Street, now long gone.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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A view of Bold Street taken on 18 March 1973, looking towards Golborne Street. On the left is the Methodist Church, built in 1850, replacing the previous building on Bank Street which stood until 1848. A new church building now stands on the spot, opened in 1975. In the distance you can see a green hut. In those days you could park in Golborne Street and that was the attendant's hut.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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Market Gate viewed from Buttermarket Street on 4 November 1973. The town clock dominates the sky on top of Holy Trinity Church. Hepworths on the left is no longer here. Their subtitle, just visible, reads "hand cut tailoring". It occupied the spot of the famous Boots Corner. Sankey Street in the centre was made into a one way street, so my bus to Dallam was diverted left at the lights, right into Rylands Street and Palmyra Square South, right again into Winmarleigh Street and then left onto Sankey Street to continue its journey. The traffic lights replaced the original roundabout.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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A close-up view of Sankey Street by Market Gate, also taken on 4 November 1973. Shops featured here include Jonathan Silver's (behind the truck), Percival Pearse Ltd and Coates Army & Navy Stores. I was always amused by that as a youngster - a clothing shop run by a firm called Coates, but of course it was spelt different.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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The Russians are coming! Well, maybe not, but this striking image from 23 April 1978 shows the promotional artistry of Greenall's Vladivar Vodka at Market Gate. And as Peter says, they wouldn't let them decorate Fairclough's Mill (The Big Pink Eye on My Warrington page), but Greenall's managed it here!

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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A fire engine joins the queue of traffic along the narrow street on 4 November 1973. It is difficult to imagine this being a two-way street but that's what drivers had to negotiate in the early days. The bus company even purchased special narrow buses in 1965 to cope with two-way traffic on the road. I like how the Cooperative shop sign is completely visible through the open section of the truck in the distance.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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Two more views from 4 November 1973. Marks & Spencer's store was built with a glass 'false front' with the main building behind. This was done to enable a quick conversion if the street was made wider, which never happened. NatWest and Barclays are still going strong, but Woolworth's is no more. The company went into liquidation in January 2009. A new store, Asco, took the place of Woolworth's later in 2009, but that has now gone, too. Another shop that is still with us: JE White Ltd sports shop, who now trade from the market on Bank Street. Can you recognise yourself in the shots? Maybe the fashions of the day will stop you admitting to it!

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Copyright Peter Spilsbury

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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Here we see the start of the future - or at least the future as it was on 22 January 1978. It shows the shortest street in Warrington at the time - Castle Street. In the foreground Sankey Street is being demolished to make way for the new Golden Square shopping centre.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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Here we see the entrance to the old meat market on 4 November 1973 at the top of Corporation Street. The building dates from 1856 but was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the new shopping centre. Today, the narrow passageway opposite Topshop/Topman is roughly on the site of Corporation Street. The Rover car parked outside the Blackburne Arms Inn was made in 1969. And is that the market cart I see from the Warrington Market page?

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

Following on from this, Anne Myles writes: I wonder if anyone remembers my grandfather's, later my father's, butchers shop in Corporation St [green and white striped canopy in photo above], demolished in the Sankey St widening? The street ran from opposite Holy Trinity Church to the steps of the old meat market. The shop was well known for it's sausages. My father had a large plaster pig, which stood on it's hind legs, holding a tray of sausages. Around the edge of it's hat ran the words "Tunstall's sausages are delicious". My father sold the business in 1962, to move to the new shops on Bruch Heath Gardens. It became Yates Grears, famous for its delicatessen. During the war years, the American Red Cross was across the road, and one day they came into the shop and asked my father for a piece of steak, needed urgently. Against the rationing laws, my father found them a piece. He was not at all pleased when he learned they needed it to put on a visiting American boxer's eye, when he was giving the American troops a boxing exhibition!

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Round the corner we walk onto Market Place, also on 4 November 1973. The post box on the left stands outside the old Town Hall building, which served as the library reading rooms for a period. Next along there is Cut Price Carey's (The Money Saver). Warrington Stationers and Rattigans stationers are two more of the shops in this scene. At the far end beyond Mill Street is the Barley Mow.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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Horsemarket Street, viewed from Market Gate (left) on 23 August 1978 and from Town Hill on 22 October 1978. Like the rest of town centre in those days there was no pedestrianization of the streets, so shoppers had to look out for passing traffic. Not much traffic here though. Mind you, in those days we had half-day closing (23 August was a Wednesday and 22 October was a Sunday when the world shut down for the Sabbath). 

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Copyright Peter Spilsbury

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

Forget your 6 hours opening on a Sunday for shops above a certain size and all day opening for the rest! In the picture, above left, is Williams & Glyn's Bank on the corner of Town Hill which used to be The Griffin Hotel. Familiar names like Burtons and H. Samuel are on the right side. On the opposite side of the street (right image) we see Slater's clothing shop on the corner of Lyme Street, who are closing down to move to St Helens. Johnsons the Cleaners, Greggs bakery, Timpson's shoes shop and another branch of Rattigans stationers reside along the rest of the row, but not for much longer, as this section was to be demolished to make way for Golden Square.

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For those of you following my images of Golden Square redevelopment, you might think I have forgotten to include this image from a year ago. But in fact, this is the building of the ORIGINAL Golden Square shopping centre, taken on 27 July 1979! This is the big pit. Not many know of the huge cavern beneath the Mall and Square. In the background can be seen Jackson the Tailor, Etam fashion store, Woolworth's, NatWest, Barclays and the Co-op on Sankey Street.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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This is Scotland Road photographed on 13 August 1976. On the right of the scene we can see the Tudor bingo club. This used to be the Regent cinema, known locally as the Blood Tub because of the macabre plays that were put on there when it was a theatre. The Theatre Tavern is the pub on the corner (now the Prince of Wales). A crane on the Golden Square building site can be seen on the left.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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This view shows how Golborne Street and Queen Street changed forever during the 1970s. The roads were combined into what was then called the Inner Circulatory Ring Road, renamed as Golborne Street. In the distance you can see Cockhedge Mill, where Cockhedge Shopping Park is nowadays, whilst the building of Golden Square shopping centre develops on the right. This section will include British Home Stores. The photograph was taken on 8 January 1976. See Peter's Gallery for the same view a year later.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

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A familiar scene to cinema goers - The Odeon on Buttermarket Street, taken on 25 September 1994. Next to it is a small branch of Greggs bakery on the corner of Scotland Road, with the monstrosity called New Town House in the distance where the Britannia Hotel once stood. The Odeon was demolished to be replaced by Yates Wine Lodge (now The Looking Glass owned by J D Wetherspoon) and Norton Barrie clothing shop. All the other buildings along the row were left intact; just the businesses changed.

Copyright Peter Spilsbury

Forever Changes

Take a journey back into Warrington's past with these views of town centre supplied by Terry Eyres. I have based my descriptions on Terry's notes. All five photos are Copyright Terry Eyres.
town_centre_teyres_1_1981.jpg (106191 bytes) This first photo goes back to January 1981. A Trans Pennine train on a Sundays-only Hull to Liverpool run can just be seen poking out of Warrington Central. The curving road with the milk float on it is Golborne Street and the footbridge connected to Golden Square Shopping Centre. On the far right are the chimneys and building of Cockhedge Mill, now demolished, and replaced with Cockhedge Shopping Park, which opened in 1984. Parr's Bank (now NatWest) is in front of the mill. The Cheshire Lines railway warehouse is in the centre of the photo, and to its right are the offices of the Rylands Wire factory on Battersby Lane.
town_centre_teyres_2_1991.jpg (130230 bytes) This next shot moves to the left of the previous view and shows diesel locomotive 47 835 crossing over Bewsey Street as it leaves Warrington Central for Liverpool. The street here is Brown Street, and the building on the right was where the Warrington Observer newspaper was based. The photo was taken in 1991.
town_centre_teyres_3_1986.jpg (109944 bytes) This is a view looking west on Boxing Day 1986 showing the remains of the stabling point alongside Warrington Central Station, a sub shed of Liverpool Brunswick shed. There with two concrete stop blocks at the Horsemarket Street end. It was in use until 1966, outliving Brunswick. Crown Street is to the left. I remember an amusement arcade in the white building on the left. It is where I first played the Space Invaders game, but I was never any good at it. I preferred the Breakout brick game.
town_centre_teyres_4_1996.jpg (149953 bytes) This next view shows the construction of Midland Way, which was built over the arches alongside the station building. Terry says he will always remember walking down Winwick Street as a kid looking up at a few 4Fs and Stanier/Fairburn 2.6.4 tanks, a very strange sight from ground level. Midland Way is now the route of the A57 through-road. The area in the foreground is now the location of Warrington Interchange, the bus station. The photo was taken in 1995 or 1996.
town_centre_teyres_5_2008.jpg (185508 bytes) This is the modern view of the area taken in 2008. Midland Way is on the right. The train is unusual. It isn't often you see just one carriage. The surrounding streets and Budget Tyres & Clutches have all been swept away. St Alban's Social Club to the left of the train has now been demolished.
town-centre_teyres_6_870616.jpg (124227 bytes) Here we see 47371, a no heat freight loco working 16.45 Liverpool - Sheffield on Saturday 13 June 1987. It crosses over Allen Street bridge passing the Blue Back pub. The pub was demolished when Midland Way was built in 1996.
town_centre_teyres_7.jpg (106015 bytes) The photo left is a similar view from ground level showing Midland Way in the foreground. At least they saved some of the greenery - probably new bushes as the old ones would have been uprooted when the road was built.
 

Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy
Gordon_Radio_Warrington.jpg (52097 bytes) market_transport_show_120707_093.JPG (139965 bytes)
Local Radio - Local Issues - Local Presenters - Proud to be at the Heart of your Community.
Click the station banner, above, select 'Listen Live' and choose your media player.
Or install the TuneIn app on your smartphone or tablet and search for Radio Warrington
The mywarrington Radio Show every Friday lunchtime between 12 and 3 on Radio Warrington.

Home History Timeline Memory Lane Tour 1 Tour 2 Radio Warrington At The Flicks Mr Smith's Shop! Nineteen Nineties 19 Museum Street Legh Street Baths My Warrington RAF Burtonwood On The Waterfront 1 On The Waterfront 2 Warrington Green 1 Warrington Green 2 Sankey Valley On The Buses Peter's Gallery Walk Through Time Making Tracks 1 Making Tracks 2 Making Tracks 3 Warrington People Entertaining People Sporting People Warrington Wolves Warrington Market Classic Motor Shows Events On Top of the World The Bewsian Hamilton Street Golden Square Community Feedback