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Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

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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 Friday, 27 March 2020
and updated
Friday, 27 March 2020
Downtown Warrington

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This page features history and information on each of
the districts of the unitary authority area of Warrington.

For the time being, it will tie in with the mywarrington
Radio Show broadcasts with the same information, so it
will be presented with the latest section added to the
top of each page during the week of the broadcast. So
it will be a work in progress over a 12 month period,
with the first 10 shows having already been broadcast.
I will be adding the notes from shows 2-12 shortly.

Featured on this page

Howley

HOWLEY

10 Jan 2020 (1)

Howley is one of the oldest parts of the town and is linked with Fairfield for local authority election purposes. The estimated population in 2017 was 11,049, of which 2,128 (19.7%) were children, 7,514 (67.6%) of working age and older people 65+ at 1,407 (12.7%). The total population of the unitary authority of Warrington is 209,704.

The name comes from two Old English words “holh” and “leah” and means “hollow meadow”. It was in fact the centre of the town in Anglo Saxon times. The main street is Church Street leading to Manchester Road.

The Parish Church of St Elphin (or simply the Parish Church, as it is known locally) was founded in 642 AD and built out of wood alongside the north to south Roman road, which crossed the Mersey at this point. It was later rebuilt and enlarged in the 19th century. The church is dominated by its 281 feet (86 m) high spire.

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The Church of England traces its roots back to the early church, but its specifically Anglican identity and its links to the State date back to the Reformation of the 16th century.  Henry VIII started the process of creating the Church of England after his split with the Pope in the 1530s.

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Henry was anxious to ensure a male heir after his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had borne him only a daughter. He wanted his marriage annulled in order to remarry. In 1534 after several attempts to persuade the Pope to grant an annulment, Henry passed the Act of Succession and then the Act of Supremacy. These recognised that the King was "the only supreme head of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia". Henry adopted the title given to him by the Pope in 1521, that of Defender of the Faith. (Information BBC website.)

Close to the Parish Church was Warrington Castle on Mote Hill.

More information on the castle to follow...

MARKET FAIR

A fair had been held at Howley since medieval times. It included stalls, horse racing and greasy poles, which stayed their course until 1859 when the fair was banned. Warrington Market first received its Royal Charter on 20 September 1255 when King Henry III permitted the 7th Baron of Warrington, Sir William Fitz Almeric le Boteler to hold an annual three-day fair at his manor of Warrington. Every year on the eve, day and morrow of St Thomas the Martyr. The Charter also granted permission for a market on Wednesdays. The town in those days was known as Wherington. Charters were granted by the crown as rewards to barons and landowners for services rendered to the Sovereign. When the original market started in 1255, the total population of Warrington was about 600.

On 5 November 1277, William asked King Edward for permission to hold a Friday market and an 8-day fair on the eve, day and morrow of St Andrew the Apostle (30 November). A third Charter of 1285 gave permission for a weekly market on Wednesdays and to extend the July fair by five days.

On 3 March 1367, an application was made to the Black Prince to hold two fairs every year in the village of Latchford, on the eve and day of St John Before the Latin Gate (possibly on 5 and 6 May). What it shows is that there was never really just one market in the town - we had the horse market, butter market, cattle market, a market on Church Street, etc. Horsemarket Street and Buttermarket Street are named after the markets held on their respective streets.

Read more in the Warrington Market page.

In 1648 Oliver Cromwell stayed at the Spotted Leopard pub, which stood next to the black and white building that is now the Cottage Restaurant on Church Street.  

The Spotted Leopard was more recently called The General Wolfe, but it has now been converted into a private residence (image, right).

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INDUSTRY has played a large part in the district’s history. Leather tanning was first recorded in 1633 and became a major industry in the 19th century, especially around Bishop’s Wharf alongside the River Mersey where Riverside Retail Park stands today. Sailcloth was manufactured in the area. In fact, Warrington cloth was responsible for taking Nelson to Trafalgar and in 1831 it was said that half of the sailcloth in the British navy originated in Warrington. One of the biggest industries of modern times was wire making by the Rylands family who started out in the sailcloth business. By 1840 Rylands was one of the biggest employers in the town. Sadly, the wire industry in the town is no more, and a supermarket stands on the site of the Rylands offices today.
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Some of the old mills and buildings from Howley's industrial past, including Fairclough's on the right.
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Left to right: Howley Wharf, sculptures depicting the industry and the only remaining building of Rylands

Brewing

Two of the oldest pubs on Church Street are the Bulls Head (1600s) and the Marquis of Granby (c1660). The Brickmakers Arms pub was built in 1904 and is on School Brow. For a period of time it was known as the Candy Bar and The Road House, but no longer serves as a pub. The Howley Hotel pub is to be found on the corner of Parr Street and Percival Street. Located at the former Bishop’s Wharf is the Coach House Brewing Company, established in 1991 following the closure of the Greenall Whitley Brewery which had a presence in Warrington from 1762. The town's brewing heritage has been continued by ex-employees committed to the brewing and supply of hand-crafted cask-conditioned fine ales. Coach House beers have enjoyed considerable success at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) and at other beer festivals and competitions throughout the country, which bears testimony to the quality and popularity of their products. Link to their website www.coach-house-brewing.co.uk.

National School

Rector Powys founded the National School on Church Street in 1834 when 532 pupils paid one penny a day to be educated. The school lasted until 1960 and the front of the building has been retained in the new housing development on the site. The workhouse, where the sick and poor were housed, stood next to the Bulls Head pub in the 18th century. The site was eventually occupied by Thomas Locker’s wire factory, which has now been replaced by an apartment block.

Plaque commemorating James Stanley's visit to Warrington during the Civil War

Foundation stone of the Parochial Infants school from 1892

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The Star Kinema picture house used to stand where Apple Court nursing home is today. Read more in At the Flicks page.
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Bulls Head Pub The former
World Nightclub
The Howley Pub
on Parr Street
The Bridewell was the town’s police station on Irlam Street from 1820 until 1901 when it relocated to Arpley Street, where it remains today. A roundabout now stands on the site.

St Mary’s Catholic church on Buttermarket Street was built in the 1870s on the site of a former cotton factory. The architect of St Mary’s was Edward Welby Pugin (1834-75), son of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52) the famous Victorian Gothic reviver, who designed the Houses of Parliament.  On his death in 1875, the work was finished by his brother Cuthbert Welby Pugin (1840–1928) and half-brother Peter Paul Pugin (1851-1904) (“one of their finest works”).  The foundation stone was laid in May 1875; the church opened 30th August 1877.

Howley Suspension Bridge links the district with Victoria Park. The original bridge was to be made out of cast iron to a design by Thomas Telford (who built the Menai Suspension Bridge that connects Anglesey to mainland Wales). Telford's proposed bridge was meant to be 60 feet wide and 150 feet long to help with traffic congestion at Bridge Foot, and would have cost £12,000, but due to lack of funds, only a footbridge was built, costing just £600.

The footbridge was begun in February 1912 by David Rowell & Co., who were prolific builders of many similar steel suspension footbridges, and was officially opened on 2 August 1912.

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It is a grade II listed monument (listed on 4 April 1975). Each end has two tapering square piers of open ironwork, with round arches across the pathway.

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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 Downtown 1 Memory Lane Tour 1 Tour 2 Shop! Nineteen Nineties Legh Street Baths At The Flicks 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