Warrington Market, situated
on Bank Street, at the heart of Time Square shopping centre (9 May 2005).
Keep up with events at the Market on Facebook.
The original vision for
the current market
Market traders prepare to move as part of £52
million Bridge Street regeneration scheme
WORK will start on the £52 million regeneration
of Warrington town centre's Bridge Street quarter early in 2015. The
involve moving the town's current town centre
market into a temporary home on the site of the current Time
Square and the council believes the plans will
lead to a bustling vibrant market place at the heart of the new
When open in 2018 the new
market hall will incorporate the magnificent Grade 2 listed former Boots
on Bridge Street as one of its entrances. Read more at Warrington-Worldwide.
How the Howard Buildings on Bridge Street will be
into Warrington Market (left) and the scene from Bank Street.
Birdseye view of the project. Bridge
Street/skittles/Buttermarket Street coloured brown.
2005 saw the 750th Anniversary of a
Royal Charter presented
to the 7th Baron of
Warrington, Sir William Fitz
Almeric le Boteler,
by King Henry III permitting him
to hold an annual fair at his manor of
John Leland, an antiquarian and traveller who toured England
in the mid-1530s,
stated that "Warrington...has a better market than Manchester..."
In 2009 it was voted the Best
Indoor Market in the UK
at the National Conference of Market Operators.
On Friday 9 September, 2005, I had the
privilege of going on a guided tour of Warrington Market to celebrate the 750th
Anniversary. It was part of the Heritage
Open Days, which take place every year to give people a chance to see around
buildings and properties which don't normally open to the public. The idea for
Heritage Open Days began
in 1994. The tour of Warrington Market was conducted by Mark Olly, presenter of the Lost
Treasures series on ITV. He was assisted by Steve Pickering, Market Manager.
Here are the stories I picked up on the day,
along with additional information from me, with my thanks to Mark and Steve for allowing me to use extracts from their commentary.
When the original market
started in 1255, the total population of Warrington was about 600.
The total number of people working at the market today is about 600! The earliest date
for holding a fair in Warrington is 20 October, 1255, when the 7th
Baron of Warrington, Sir William Fitz Almeric le Boteler, was granted
a Royal Charter by King Henry III to hold a three-day fair 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.
viewed from Academy Way.
On 5 November, 1277, William asks
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 gives
permission for a weekly market on Wednesdays and to extend the July fair by five
On 3 March, 1367, an
application was made to the Black Prince to hold two fairs in 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
The Dolman's Lane
entrance by the River of
Life fountain. (You won't
find Dolman's Lane
on any modern map!)
A survey of 31 May, 1592,
in Queen Elizabeth I's reign, reveals they had one weekly market and two yearly
fairs which couldn’t begin until the market bell was rung.
early markets and fairs were held on the streets of the town and traders would
sell their goods from a horse and cart or a table erected on the day. In 1852,
Warrington Corporation purchased the medieval market charters from John Henry
Ireland Blackburne, Lord of the Manor. The Corporation then built an indoor
market around the market square where Golden Square shopping centre stands
today. There were three main sections: the Meat Market, the Fish Market and the
General Market. The Meat Market was built in 1856 and housed in a brick and
stone building off Cheapside and Market Place. The iron-framed Fish Market was
added in 1873 and the General Market was built on land behind the Barley Mow
public house. To get from the Fish Market to the General Market shoppers walked
through a small tunnel at the side of the entrance to the pub. The tunnel is
still there to this day, but now it leads to the Golden Square management
Market Walk - 25 Apr 05.
Street - 25 Apr 2005.
courtyard - 25 Apr 2005.
My breath was still in short
pants when this was laid!
In the late 1960s new strict
regulations on health and hygiene were introduced nationwide, and it was felt
that, as it could not meet the new standards, Warrington Market would need to be
rebuilt. There was no space to build a new market building in the same area
without disrupting existing businesses, so it was decided to completely rebuild
the market on spare land in Bank Street, which previously housed a car park.
This decision angered many stallholders as it took them further away from the
town centre shopping area. I imagine they feel it worse today because at least
in those days buses still travelled along Horsemarket Street and Buttermarket
Street - now it is all pedestrianised.
They did, however, retain something
from the 1850s market - the outside framework of the Fish Market was preserved
and refurbished to form a central open area in the new Golden Square shopping
centre, work on which began in 1973. The Old Fish Market, as it is now known, has hosted many
entertainment activities from TV and radio personalities, as well as open air
concerts and charity events.
Market in 2015
|In the north-east corner of the
current market is Reardon's fish stall, which has operated since the 1850s, with
succeeding generations of the same family progressing through the ages.
John Cross and
Sons is one of the original stallholders from the 1850s indoor market. There are 11 butchers' stalls in the market.
Information Centre opened in 1991 at Poll Tax House on Rylands Street and was fairly successful,
but since moving to the market, the number of people using it has gone up 300%.
This shows that the community centre is now based around the market, more so
than in other buildings in the town. This would mirror the original market of
750 years ago when everybody turned out for the market just like other towns
nowadays, where they only hold a market on so many days of the week, such as
Northwich which holds a market on only three days of the week.
is interviewed on
Wire FM by Pete Pinnington.
publicised now is Fairtrade, and Warrington Market’s own Fairtrade
stall, Fair 4 All, has recently doubled in size and celebrated its 3rd
birthday in 2005.
about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair
terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring
companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market
price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which
traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables
them to improve their position and have more control over their lives." From
Fairtrade Foundation website.
If you are interested in supporting this kind of venture, call at the
stall in the market, or log on to the Fairtrade
Foundation website. See also the Make Poverty
History website. Warrington Borough Council's website has a Fairtrade
Directory which can be downloaded in PDF format. Click here.
In 2005 the council gave
the market a facelift by adding a new roof section around the entrance.
facelift of 2005.
to the market from Academy Way and the car park.
It has its own car park on Academy Way,
connected by a pedestrian
with full disabled access and Shopmobility
In the 1850s indoor
market there were lots of specialist fruit and veg stalls, but now there is only
one – Rigby’s. Steve says that the owner is a very organised
businessman and suggests it would be very difficult to start up a fruit and veg
business from scratch these days, as you have to compete with the big
One thing the
public might not be aware of is that there are two floors below the stall area
for storage and deliveries, which are almost as big in size as the retail area.
The delivery area is on Academy Street and the public entrance is on Bank
Street. The market is built on a hillside. As it was National Heritage Weekend across the country, we were lucky enough to
go down to these other areas that the public don’t normally see. What
surprised me when we were down there was how neat and tidy it is. Everybody
keeps it that way, and as the market itself does not employ the stallholders,
nobody can make them clean up, so it is a credit to all who keep it that way.
Still in use in the market is
the wooden hand cart shown above, which dates to about the First World War. Notice it still has County Borough of
Warrington painted on the side. The cart is used to collect the delivery boxes
which are later taken away for recycling.
service bays for the properties on Bridge Street, such as the former Boots
store, are located in
the market delivery area. You never see a delivery truck for Boots on Bridge
Street itself. But there are not too many places down there for the traders to
park their vehicles – it is usually a case of drive in, unload, go up in the
lift with the goods to the middle floor storage area, come back down again and
drive away. The middle floor is also used by the fire brigade for fire practice.
They fill it with smoke to simulate a real fire. Mark describes the middle floor
as Warrington’s equivalent of Area 51 where they keep the aliens hidden under
the desert! You could easily get lost in here and Steve joked he once found one
of the traders who had been wandering round for years! Two-thirds of the £1.5million cost
of building the market went into these two non-public areas. A bit like a maze
of storage areas which branch off in all directions. It was fascinating being
One of the longest-established
stallholders is Mr Latif’s clothing stall. He began in 1953 in the old market.
In the south-west corner of the market are two more: Warrington Foam Supplies and
Whites sports shop. The observant ones among you will remember that Whites used
to be on Sankey Street, opposite Woolworth’s, close to the old market, and
moved into the new market in the 1970s. The business started in 1901.
Now, what happened to the old
market clock? Mr Butterworth, owner of one of the longest-established bedding
and towel stalls, knows. In the 1970s, when the old market was being demolished,
the demolition team brought in one of the old demolition balls on a crane. Mr
Butterworth and his friend were rescuing pennies from below the floor boards
which had been knocked down there over the years. Whilst they were doing this,
they noticed the iron ball heading towards the clock and they stopped them from
smashing it up. They paid the bulldozer man a fiver to go for an early lunch
break so they could have a discussion with the town clerk about what to do with
the clock. They managed to negotiate a figure of £40 to buy the clock, and were
given two days to dismantle and remove it.
25 April 2005
The clock subsequently vanished and
the story went around that it was on a farm in Cheshire. It is actually in
Stretton, having been restored to former glory, or at least, two of the four
sides were. The clock was originally made by J B Joyce & Co, the oldest firm
of clockmakers in the world, of Whitchurch.
Although the current market is modern and
warmer, you will hear many of the older residents of the town, and indeed market
stallholders, say that the market has lost its old charm. It just isn't
the same anymore, you will hear people say. But that could be said for all sorts
of things in the modern world.
There are some videos and DVDs of
Warrington's past available from the Tourist Information Centre, which feature
some of the stallholders sharing their memories of the old days. They make a
wonderful souvenir of your visit to this charming industrial market town.
To mark the 750th anniversary, the market published a booklet showing some of the old market scenes. It
features contributions from famous people who have worked at the market,
including TV presenter Chris Evans.
The market has over 250 stalls and
shops and is open Mon - Sat, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
|In 2011, Warrington Borough Council announced
plans to redevelop Time Square. The plan includes a new indoor market,
shops, restaurants, a gym, cinema, food store, cultural centre, hotel and
council offices. Work started soon after.|
||If this is the first time you have heard of Mark
Olly, now is the time to catch up on Warrington's authority on the Celtic
history of the town. His excellent books, Celtic Warrington &
Other Mysteries (Books 1, 2 and 3), are available in all good bookshops, published by Churnet
Valley Books, with books four of five now in preparation. They are used as the
basis for his ITV1 television series Lost Treasures, which has seen two
series broadcast so far.
On 22 and 23 July, 2005, the town
celebrated its 750th Anniversary with a medieval event featuring displays, music,
demonstrations and public participation. Hundreds of people witnessed the
occasion as various re-enactment groups performed or demonstrated life from the
Middle Ages. mywarrington
covered the event and now presents a selection of images recalling the occasion.
Art and craft demonstrations were provided across the town
centre. Roy and Margaret Figgis set up their Candles for All Ages company in
2004, having begun the partnership nine years earlier. Roy tells me he began
researching the skills to assist his daughter in her history studies. Visitors
at the event could buy various shaped candles or if they felt brave enough, make
their own (as many did). Roy and Margaret's customers include museums, castles,
the National Trust and schools. They travel to re-enactment fares all across the
country and are based in Cambridgeshire.
Find out more at www.candles-for-all-ages.com
and Margaret outside Warrington Market, left, with a workshop in
|Throughout the 2-day event, various
other skills were shown. These included medieval cooking and a forge where a metal
worker showed how coins, spoons and other items were made. If you felt sick the
doctor could heal you with the methods of the day. She tells me that modern
medicine owes a lot to those medieval physicians because, although our
technology might be more advanced, our pills include many of the same
ingredients they used hundreds of years ago. The barber surgeon not only cut
your hair, he could also cut you leg off if you got a disease in it. If you felt
skilful with the pen you could try out the art of calligraphy or even some
painting. The event was hands-on for anybody who wished to have a go.
of the various skills being demonstrated around the town centre.
Comedy entertainment was provided by
a puppet theatre telling
the story of Robin Hood.
You could also see the ratcatcher who performed a magic
show at Cockhedge Shopping Park.
entertained with the puppet show...
make sure the ratcatcher doesn't get you...
he might throw you in the stocks!
Re-enactment group, Knights in Battle Medieval Society (www.knightsinbattle.com)
acted out plays and encouraged the audience to take part in their
Medieval music was provided by Tony
Westran of Fine Tuning.
They provide various services, including making and
and unusual musical instruments and accessories, hands-on
lectures and special interest CDs and tapes.
Click here for
more on Tony. See also www.chimera-costumes.co.uk.
demonstrates a small selection of Fine Tuning's instruments.
Also entertaining the crowds with
medieval music were Daughters of Elvin.
Their performance included a dancing
Historian and TV presenter Mark Olly was on hand to talk
about the Celtic period.
For more information about the performers and demonstrators,
click their links below.
mywarrington is not
responsible for external websites.
The market hosted a Medieval Market on
Saturday 8 September 2012.
The first people I spoke to on the day
were Russ and Liz Scott from Traders
Invaders and Raiders,
a Viking re-enactment group. They brought two replica
Viking boats and these attracted great interest
from young and old
alike. The jacket that Russ is wearing was created by him, based on his own
|A selection of items on display from
Russ and Liz.
|A closer look inside the boats and a
couple of barrels. The three young ladies modelling the helmets and fighting
gear came down from Preston especially to visit the show. They are also involved
in teaching and re-enactments.
Nice to have met you on the day.
The four photos above feature representations from Regia Anglorum
(www.regia.org). For more than 25 years the
group has been re-creating history for audiences around the world. They have
skilled, properly equipped and highly motivated men and women of all ages who
bring the dull and dead past back to brilliant life. Amongst their possessions
are 7 full-scale ship replicas. The fourth photo shows the efforts of the
children getting involved at creating a tapestry.
Connected to the group is Linda Raee,
who in regular life is a part-time jazz singer, granny and housewife. In her
other persona she is Linden Sonjieswiffe, a Viking woman from a thousand years
ago. She has spent 15 years studying and researching the age of the Vikings and
is enthusiastic about her passion of entertaining and informing people about the
Viking period. She says "We believe that people remember things that are
fun to learn". It was really interesting listening to her talking about her
Through The Ages are an art and crafts group who run craft workshops based
on historical crafts. Their work includes Medieval and Viking:
braiding and cording; Medieval: an introduction to felting, felt
beads and felt picture making; World War Two: make do and mend
crafts. They run two-hour workshops for as few as four people. See their
Seen here (right) is Steve Lewis from www.radiowarrington.co.uk
interviewing group members about their work.
A regular visitor to the Warrington
Market medieval events is Mark Olly.
Mark has presented TV shows about the
Celtic period and archaeology,
including Granada's Lost Treasures. He
helped to organise some of the day's events.
|Mark's displays always attract lots of
interest. We can see some of the
weapons used in the period. The metal spike ball on a stick is quite a lethal
weapon, and quite heavy. One bash from that and you wouldn't see daylight for
some days, if indeed you survived it at all!
|Visitors were encouraged to handle the
artifacts for themselves. Children were dressed in chain mail, helmets and
breastplates. The 'gentleman' in the fourth image has taken part in many TV
shows as part of the stunt teams, including the 1980s ITV series Merlin. He was
a big softie with the children though, and showed them how to handle a sword and
to hold the shields. Great fun.
Fancy firing an arrow from a crossbow
at a knight? For a small fee you could do just that. There
was quite some power
in the bows, and all under strict supervision. Find out about the group at www.goinmedieval.co.uk.
The event is complete when market
traders actually make some money to keep their businesses going. One stall
completely sold out of their goods by 2pm.
The best part of the day for me?
Seeing children getting
involved with practical activities and learning about
ON EMAIL OR FEMAIL TO CONTACT ME
VISITED WARRINGTON MARKET
MONDAY 3RD - SATURDAY 8TH APRIL 2006
Family Entertainment Competitions and Giveaways
from the 2005 event
Keep up with events at the Market on Facebook.
Time Square was completed in 1986.
Around that time, Golden Square shopping centre redevelopment was being
discussed. In the late 1990s, there was also a rival bid to redevelop Time
Square and the market area. The Time Square development would involve
demolishing the existing shops and remodelling the market. This would allow a
further 17,500 square metres of shopping space. The developers, Time Square
Retails Investments, had also agreed to fund a series of transport measures,
including part-funding of a new bus station and to improve the environmental
area of Palmyra Square.
Square 25 Apr 2005.
|There was bitter rivalry towards the
end of the 20th century between the two schemes. One of the comments I heard
from a supporter of Time Square was that if the bus station was moved towards
Scotland Road it would be too far from the market and people wouldn't visit. I
personally find that a little extreme and in my experience, the opposite is
true. I have been asked on many occasions by visitors to the town for
directions to the market. And the same out of town. People will always want to
visit a market because of the special qualities unique to that setting - a
retail chain store just cannot give the same experience. I am proud to shop in
my local market and look forward to many more years of service.
|The Golden Square extension is now
completed, a planning application for vacant land off Winwick Street near
Central Station has just been granted, whilst a new plan to redevelop Time
Square was postponed again in 2006. The developers, Big Apple Warrington,
revised their plan which had been rejected to allow further discussion on the
affordability of housing. The town still has to tempt people away from The
Trafford Centre and even Meadowhall at Sheffield. FREE car parking facilities
would be a good start (one Warrington resident told me he shops in Widnes for
that very reason). Also, allowing adverts for Trafford Centre on the back of
Warrington's buses didn't exactly help either! The details of the redevelopment
are show below.
TIME SQUARE (2007) -
information (for reference) -
a decision which disappointed the Time Square retailers, the government
refused to grant planning permission for the scheme.
Reasons given were that it was not in a regeneration area and that it
was currently in use.
£75million New Time Square was to be a mixed use development including
a 10 screen multiplex cinema, family restaurants, retail units and
residential apartments. It would have included underground car parking
and a new bridge link to the existing multi-storey car park on Academy
Way. The new site would complement the existing area and encourage shoppers to stay on in the evening. Central to the development
was a landscaped public square where people could meet and watch a big
screen or enjoy the experience of alfresco dining at one of the many
restaurants. It was designed to complement the Market Hall and the
adjoining retailers, and the developers believe it was important for the
future of Warrington's south-east quarter, and as a new town centre
venue New Time Square would be an asset to the whole of Warrington and
partnership behind the scheme was made up of The Big Apple Warrington,
Amstone, Dalgleish Retail Property Insight, Lowry Homes, Signet Planning
and Leach Rhodes Walker Architects.
own photograph of how the existing Time Square looks, taken in June 2003
from the position of the proposed link bridge to the existing
multi-storey car park on Academy Way.
impression of the development featuring multiplex cinema, restaurants, retail units
and residential apartments, designed to complement the
map with the development highlighted and a plan of the site. Restaurants
are shown in light blue, retail units in dark blue and the cinema is
shown in yellow in the bottom right corner. The residential apartments
would have been contained in an 11-storey block above the units with underground
parking for 419 cars.
have photographed the New Time Square model from four different angles.
In the first view, Academy Way is
at the bottom of the photo and Warrington Market is shown on the bottom
left with the pyramid roof sections.
I am grateful for the help and
assistance from Big Apple Warrington and express my appreciation for permission
reproduce their artist's impressions and descriptions, which have been
incorporated into my own text.
Tempo pub 25 Apr 2005.
It was known as Tamarind
Table in June 2009.
See more on
of the market at the Warrington Borough Council website.
Keep up with
Warrington Market on Facebook,
where you can see a video of the 2013 plans for a new market.
The clock featured in the image at the top
of this page is on a wall
half-way down Bank Street. It doesn't work, but at
least it is right twice a day!
It used to be on a pawnbroker's shop in Mersey Street. See www.hwells.co.uk
(Warrington in Camera section) for a photo of it.