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.
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.
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.
| 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
Henry VIII started
the process of creating the Church of England after his split with
the Pope in the 1530s.
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.
information on the castle to follow...
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
more in the Warrington Market page.
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
Spotted Leopard was more recently called The General Wolfe, but it has
now been converted into a private residence (image, right).
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
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.
of the old mills and buildings from Howley's industrial past, including
to right: Howley Wharf, sculptures depicting the industry and the only
remaining building of Rylands
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.
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.
commemorating James Stanley's visit to Warrington during the Civil War
stone of the Parochial Infants school from 1892
|The Star Kinema picture house used to stand where Apple Court nursing home is today. Read
more in At the Flicks page.
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
cost £12,000, but due to lack of funds, only a footbridge was built,
costing just £600.
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.
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.