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Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy



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If all the nations in the world are in debt where did all the money go?

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This page last updated Wednesday, 9 March 2016
A nation of shopkeepers.

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Shop! looks at some of the town's famous shops and traders, starting off with three
family businesses that closed down in 2014, and one that celebrates its first 100 years.
They appear in the order in which they opened.

Send your memories for inclusion at the foot of the page.

Featured on this page

Edwin Allen Whites Sports Hancock and Wood The Waysiders

Corker's Pharmacy

Leslie's Electrical Reader Memories


edwin_allen_02_140416.JPG (128989 bytes) Edwin Allen of Anderton, near Northwich, founded his wallpaper, paint and glass merchant's shop at 14-16 Buttermarket Street in May 1894 soon after he moved to Warrington.

He was a member of the International Grand Lodge of Druids, having joined the organisation around the turn of the 20th century. For 25 years he was the secretary for the organisation in the Warrington area. 

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He was also a Freemason, for which he held many offices, including Past Provincial Grand Warden of West Lancashire, a Past Provincial Scribe N. and a Past Principal of Gilbert Greenall Chapter. 

He was a Past Master and ex-treasurer of the Gilbert Greenall Lodge (1250) and a director of the Masonic Temple, Winmarleigh Street. Among his other positions he was a borough JP (Justice of the Peace), and a member of Runcorn Rural Council, Runcorn Rural Board of Governors and Grappenhall Parish Council, over which he presided for two years.

Edwin Allen passed away on New Year’s Day, 1955 at the age of 87.
At his funeral the Mayor (Cllr Mrs M. Hardman) said "Mr Allen was a well-known and respected figure in the town".

The business was carried on by two of his three sons and two grandsons. The company became one of the largest suppliers of art and craft materials in the northwest and was always run by different generations of the Allen family. Stockists of Daler-Rowney, Winsor & Newton, Kars, Woodware, Trimcraft, Art Impressions, Pergamano, DO Crafts, and many more, they also offered art and craft workshops, which were extremely popular with the public.

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In 2014 the Allen family decided it was time to close down the business after 120 years of trading from the same Buttermarket Street premises.
edwin_allen_58.JPG (72377 bytes) It was one of many long-standing family businesses in the town centre, alongside Whites Sports shop in Warrington Market, The Waysiders on Horsemarket Street, Hancock & Wood on Bridge Street and Reardon and Sons Fish Stall in the market, who were established in 1855. I will add a feature on them at a later date.

Of the four shops, Hancock & Wood is the only one that will continue trading on the high street, with 2014 being their centenary year. Whites Sports will continue as an online business.

Kathy, the final owner of the Edwin Allen business, said she had seen many changes in Warrington over the years, and not always for the better. She told me she has enjoyed working in the business for the past 30 years and is a great supporter of independent and family enterprise. She is also pleased that an independent retailer will take over the premises in the near future. The shop ceased trading at lunchtime on 17 May 2014.
edwin_allen_59.JPG (53238 bytes) Kathy organised a raffle and in a rather nice touch the winning ticket holder will have the honour of locking the front door for the very last time.

In April 2014, I was invited round the shop to photograph behind the scenes before the doors were locked for the very last time. It was fascinating seeing parts of the old building (which started as two separate buildings, hence the 14-16 Buttermarket Street address), including old fireplaces on the top floor and the old lift access (seen here in the photo, right). 
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In the rest of the story I will look at the Edwin Allen business in pictures. I will start with some of the archived documents from the company’s collection, going back to 1894 and coming up to 2014, the year the business closed down. Along the way I will pick out some of Warrington’s historical events from the years connected to the photographs.  

edwin_allen_03_accounts_1894.jpg (79897 bytes) From this photo we can see the business started trading in May 1894. Normal business practice is to keep financial records for about seven years, depending on what they are. You might need to keep them for longer if, for example, you expect an item purchased to last more than seven years.

But enough of the boring stuff. There is a better reason for keeping these records - the social history aspect of it. They are good for research, especially when tracing other companies from the same period, as we will see shortly. And of course, no computer printouts here - everything had to be entered in a ledger by hand in the 1890s.

The photo, below right, shows an example of wallpaper from 1894. So what else happened in 1894?
The Manchester Ship Canal opened (1 Jan).
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Alexander Mackie, founder of the Warrington Guardian, died (21 May).
The foundation stone for Sacred Heart church at Bank Quay was laid (3 Jun).
Fairfield Church of England School opened on Fairfield Street (16 Jul). The building is still used by the community - the school itself relocated to the opposite side of Manchester Road.
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A page from the accounts ledger for September 1897. It shows company purchases for Beckett and R. A. Naylor (timber merchants who started out on 25 April 1878, according to the National Archive website). Another entry reads Unsworth and the final one says the supplier was Acton.  

The most famous event nationally was the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Sixty years on the throne was something for the nation to celebrate. She had performed the official opening ceremony for the Manchester Ship Canal three years earlier.

In Warrington, the council purchased the private gardens belonging to the residents of Palmyra Square by the Parr Hall and named them Queens Gardens in honour of Victoria’s reign. They were actually opened to the public in 1898. 

It was also 50 years since Warrington received a charter to become a corporate borough after Royal Assent on 3 Apr 1847. 

Also in 1897:
Victoria Park was opened to the public - named, of course, after Queen Victoria.
The Warrington branch of St John Ambulance was founded (1 Jan).
Warrington Spiritualists National Church established on Academy Street (14 Mar).
The photograph, right, shows a letter sent out in 1900 to say Mr Allen had purchased the property on Buttermarket Street. edwin_allen_06_letter_1900.JPG (92501 bytes)
In the news for Warrington in 1900:
Alliance Box works opened on Orford Lane.
Electric street lighting was switched on for first time (21 Dec).

1915 was a time for alterations at Edwin Allen. The image, right, shows an invoice from February for a fire surround.

The receipt, centre, is for the mosaic front step (far right), which was installed in March 1915.

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Also in 1915, building work continued into April with the installation of a lift. The access point is still visible at the rear of the building and we had to follow the modern health and safety regulations when opening the door because it is a sheer drop of two floors to the ground.
edwin_allen_10_invoice_1915_lift.JPG (89302 bytes) And as the late Fred Dibnah once said, “One mistake here and it’s half a day out with the undertaker!” (Yeah, I know, but some of this modern health and safety is useful - although in our day we called it common sense!).

Actually, as you’ll see from the pictures later, Fred would have loved the Edwin Allen building - right up his street! The larger invoice on the right is for electrical and other work completed.

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So what about Warrington in general during 1915?
Well, of course, the town was in the middle of the First World War (the war to end all wars? The powers that be never learned, did they?).
On 5 July the Soldiers Home on Bold Street opened (St Austin’s Chambers today).
Warrington Bridge was completed.
The widening of Bridge Street was also completed (in November).
The official opening of St Benedict’s RC Church on Rhodes Street off Orford Lane took place on 11 July. I suppose in wartime that gave a lot of people a big boost - a lot of people only think of The Almighty in times of need, if at all.
An extract from the local paper of 1921 (below). In those days it must have taken about six weeks to get to and from Australia by ship. 
edwin_allen_18_1921_0731_examiner.JPG (298536 bytes) edwin_allen_17_news_report_1921_0730.jpg (91400 bytes) Now that the First World War was over, 1921 was the time when lots of war memorials were unveiled in the town: Padgate (6 Feb), Stockton Heath (5 March), Workingmen’s Mission, Bank Quay (6 March) and Lymm (17 July).
In other news, the Empire Cinema on Buttermarket Street opened on 10 October -  "Why Girls Leave Home" was the first film.
Lancashire United started a bus service from Longford to Warrington on 13 July. No 79 was the WBT equivalent in later years.
Before we move to the present day, here are some items from the archive regarding Buttermarket Street itself.
1720 The Society of Friends chapel was built.
1817 Wesleyan Sunday School built.
1820 The original Town Hall (or Sessions House) built in Irlam Street, off Buttermarket Street and Dial Street (according to Warrington Ancient and Modern - A History of the Town and Neighbourhood by Austin M Crowe, 1947).
1877 St Mary's Church founded.
1894 Edwin Allen art and craft shop established.
1937 Odeon cinema built.
1976 AUG New Town House opened to staff.
1977 AUG 30 Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, visited St Mary's Church to take part in their centenary celebrations.

And what happened in 1994,
the year of Edwin Allen’s centenary?

10 JUN Croft Wing at Warrington Hospital officially opened by Princess Anne, The Princess Royal.
13 JUN Marks & Spencer opened a new store at Gemini Retail Park in west Warrington.
25 JUL Morrison’s opened a supermarket on the site of the former Greenall’s brewery at Wilderspool.
13 AUG Staples office supplies opened at Cockhedge Shopping Centre (moved to School Brow in November 2004)

So how did Buttermarket
Street get its name?

It is because a butter market
was once held close by.

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The image below is an advert from Barretts Warrington and District Directory from 1959

So let’s skip forward a bit now to the present day and take a look inside the shop.
The artistry comes alive even before you enter the shop.
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 Take a look at the mosaic floor, the doors
themselves and the woodwork
above the door.
Once inside
the shop,
look back to
see the door frames against
the light.
The counter looks really stunning in colour. I also took black and white photos of it too, as can be seen in the example far right. Kathy will be replacing the door handles with new ones and keeping the originals, because as she says, everybody's hand has touched them at some point over the years.

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If you watched the popular ITV series 
Mr Selfridge
you might recognise these windows.

These are exactly the same as the one used in
the office of Mr Selfridge in the show - the only
difference is his are coloured orange and Edwin
Allen’s are blue. And that’s a fact!

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While we are celebrating the history of Edwin Allen, I thought I would have some fun with the Time Machine feature in the photo editor.

I can create effects as they would have been done in times gone by.

The view of the shop counter is presented in the Albumen style.

This was a technique widely used from 1855 to the 1890s, so would have been used at the time the shop started trading.

This inexpensive photographic method produced paper-based photos.

Negatives were captured on glass, and the print was then created on paper that used albumen from egg whites to bind light-sensitive chemicals to the paper.

This next technique is called cyanotype.

Invented in 1841, this simple, inexpensive photographic method became popular from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

The images are created when ultraviolet light converts the light-sensitive chemicals to Prussian blue.

This method was used for creating blueprints, hence the technique used for drawings.

The photo shows the shop from the side of the counter looking towards the rear.

Autochrome was a popular method of producing early colour photographs.

This method (seen in the photo, right) was developed by the Lumiere brothers (Auguste and Louis) in 1904 (10 years after Edwin Allen started up).

It used potato starch granules, dyed red, green and blue, to create images on glass, similar to a slide.

Those three colours are still the basis for all photography - in computers there are 256 shades of each colour, resulting in the approximate 16.8 million possible colours you often hear about.

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A bit of normality now, in the sense that this is a modern-style photo, but taken in black and white, showing the centre aisle of the shop.

It also gives a great view of the wooden floor. The Time Machine feature really does feel at home in the shop - I love this style.

In 1979 I started my first job at Lowes (Warrington) Ltd (bookshop/stationers) on Sankey Street and their shop was Olde Worlde like Edwin Allen. And you know what? It worked!

The first three images below are of the same aisle - the west side of the shop. The first two look towards the rear. In the distance you can see the workroom where the art and craft classes took place, from where the third view is taken. The fourth image shows the display stands at the back of the shop. You will notice the Daler-Rowney trade name in green above the shelves in the second photo - only the best materials used and sold in Edwin Allen! Daler-Rowney started out in 1783 when Richard and Thomas Rowney moved to central London and opened premises selling perfumes and wig powder. As the wearing of wigs soon became unfashionable (an event for which George IV was blamed when he discarded his own wig), the Rowneys re-focused their activities and concentrated upon producing artists' colours. They achieved notable success, supplying famous artists such as Constable and Turner. The Daler connection came in 1945 when Terry Daler set up his sign-writing business, which became The Daler Board Company a year later, and the two companies merged in 1983. Read the full story at  
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I like the shelves and drawers in the fittings behind the counter (below, left).
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I mentioned Fred Dibnah earlier. He would have loved the pattern in the wallpaper on the ceiling, seen here on the right. In fact, he would have loved the style of the whole shop itself and would have felt at home here in 1894 because he always felt he was born into the wrong century. I imagine that he would have been a pioneer of the Victorian age. His enthusiasm for the past was second to none, which made his TV shows really come alive. It was such a shame he died so relatively young - he still had so much to offer.

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We leave the ground floor now to visit the second floor (that’s the third floor if you are an American reader!). The second floor is where the glass was stored and prepared. There are some great views of the street below, as we will see further down the page. I like the wooden staircase.
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A general view of the work area. The fireplace is Kathy’s favourite. There are others on the same floor - one is to the left of the window behind the glass storage panels along the left wall. It will be photographed when the panels are removed. The room was originally split into two when numbers 14 and 16 were separate properties, but as Eric Morecambe once said to Ernie Wise - you can’t see the join!
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Below we see four views of the town centre from the top floor. On Buttermarket Street we can see The Lower Angel pub (below, left). Syd Ellison's cycle shop was next to the pub on the right as we look. In the second photo we see the old Pelican Hotel, which is currently occupied by First Choice holidays and TSB (now that it is separate from Lloyds again). Note the pelican on the top. On the subject of Lloyds Bank, in the 1970s there was a branch next door to Edwin Allen where the British Heart Foundation charity shop is today. In the third photo we see Time Square, which was demolished and the site redeveloped with a new market, restaurants, cafes and a cinema. In the fourth photo we see St Mary’s RC Church, also on Buttermarket Street, but nearer to the original town centre which was based around Church Street (Church Street being named after the Parish Church of St Elphin, the first one being erected in 642 AD).
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Photos of the stained glass windows on the top floor from both sides. How on earth did I get the two looking out to read the right way round when the wording can only be read normally from the outside of the building? With the magic of computers.

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I simply took the views looking out from inside
the building and flipped the images round in
the photo editor. If you look carefully you can
see the Salvation Army charity shop logo in
reverse. The other two were taken from outside.

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The first floor, where picture framing takes place (first five images below).
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edwin_allen_50.JPG (80253 bytes) And here are a couple
of photos of the basement
(or is that the lower
ground floor?)
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The first photo below is a close-up of the decor above the door. How many others noticed this when they walked into the shop? The second photo shows a Warrington Corporation bus outside the shop in the days before pedestrianization was the norm. The last three images show items for sale.
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The first three images below show equipment used in picture framing. The fourth image is a display stand for Hollins Brush Company Ltd of Darwen and the fifth image shows the different colours of card available to buy.
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And finally, as Edwin Allen is an art and craft shop, I thought I would have another play around with the computer software to create some special effects.

The first batch were originally created in the camera with a setting called selective colour, which takes a black and white photo and highlights the chosen colour. In this case a blue chair, a yellow display board and a green paint brush tray. The fourth image is a series of six photos of the DYLON trade name with each of the five colours selected in turn after the original photo was taken.

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For the next three images I started off with the selective colour setting on the camera, then in the photo editor I created a series of effects from them. The first is a circular effect, the second is a mirror image of itself and the third is a page curl with the Edwin Allen logo added to the corner.
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Next follows a series of kaleidoscope effects of the original acrylic paints stand shown on the right of the view.
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edwin_allen_69.JPG (64321 bytes) This is me taking a selfie. edwin_allen_60.JPG (55834 bytes) The Memories Wall
in the workroom.

Customers showed
their appreciation.

My thanks to Kathy and Mike for their hospitality and assistance, and for giving me permission to reproduce some of the company history on the mywarrington website. mywarrington wishes the Allen family well for the future.
The shop closed on Saturday, 17th May 2014. If you have memories of either working or shopping at Edwin Allen, then get in touch and I will be delighted to add your stories to the Memory Lane section of the mywarrington website.

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But the story doesn't end there!

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After Edwin Allen closed, the building was prepared for Corker's Pharmacy to move from Time Square.

During the shopfitting work the original hand-painted sign for Edwin Allen was discovered.
 Kathy Thomas, former owner of Edwin Allen, kindly sent these photos to mywarrington for you all to see.

The original mosaic front step was removed and Kathy now has the
biggest desk-top jigsaw puzzle to work with. Sadly not all the pieces are there.

Corker's is an independent business.
mywarrington offers its support and wishes
Lisa and her colleagues continued success.
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The new Corker's Pharmacy, with mosaic step. 
The new shop opened for business on Thursday, 21 August 2014
Open Monday to Saturday 9-5. Closed Sunday.
14-16 Buttermarket Street. Tel: 01925 632079

Free Collection & Delivery Service.

Corkers Pharmacy is a dispensing chemist that also
sells a range of toiletries and cosmetics as well as
hair care products, walking sticks and baby care products.


Other Products and Services

Emergency Contraceptive Pill
Lipotrim Weight Management Programme
Celebrity Slim Weight Management Programme
Pharmacy & Health Food Products
Pet Medicines
Dieting & Weight Control Products
Vitamins & Herbal Medicines
Pharmacy Medicines
Natural Remedies
Complementary Medicines

1901 - 2014

After 113 years of trading in Warrington town centre, both from Sankey Street and Warrington Market, Whites Sports is blowing the full-time whistle. 

They closed the shop on Warrington Market, but will continue trading online.

Mr J.E. White established the shop at 22 Sankey Street in April 1901, and it was officially opened by Warrington Rugby League Football Club's top try-scorer of the time, Jack Fish.
For the past 113 years, four generations of the White family have owned and run the shop along with sponsoring many local cricket, snooker, darts, football and rugby competitions and community events. Susan White, the owner in 2014, said: "It's now time for me to retire and spend more quality time with my family and friends.
whites_sports_02.JPG (49668 bytes) "I'm looking forward to getting out in my garden this summer and being able to have time off to hopefully watch Warrington Wolves win the Challenge Cup and Grand Final."

She said it hadn't been an easy decision to call it a day, but it has become increasingly difficult to compete with website-based shops and the out-of-town multiples.

<Mr J. E. White in 1900

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"One hundred and thirteen years is quite an achievement to sustain any family business and on behalf of all the White family I’d like to say a huge thank you to all our past and present customers, staff and fellow traders that have been loyal and good friends to Whites Sports Shop over the years."

Adam White, Susan’s youngest son added: "We may be leaving the town centre, but will still be trading and sharing our 113-year heritage online at".

The website will allow customers to continue to purchase their favourite flags, darts, bowls and snooker accessories from Whites Sports.

See a profile of Jack Fish on the Warrington Wolves page.

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A series of business documents from the company archive
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£65 per annum
Original telephone
agreement (1908)
A receipt
from 1945
Certificate of
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Company vehicle
insurance for
1960 Ford Thames
£19 .3. 6d. (1961)
Company vehicle
insurance for
1965 Morris
£27 .13. 9d. (1966)
Letter from
the bank
Document for
the Knutsford
branch (1977)
Here are some more of the company's records. First we see a share certificate surrendered in 1965. The owner lived in Scarborough at the time. The dreaded health and safety pops up again in the second image, in the form of the accident book, although to be fair, the accident book is one none of us mind - we just don't want to see our names in it!. The third photo shows a stock book and the fourth is a certificate in recognition of the shop being smoke-free in the days before it was illegal to smoke inside a public building.
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whites_sports_12_1939.JPG (56171 bytes) Mr J.E. White handed the business on to his eldest son, Norman White in 1940, who then passed it on to his two sons John and Paul White in 1969.
< A young John White with his Grandad Mr J. E. White and Grandma at Grappenhall in 1939

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Over the years the Wire used the Whites Sports shop window to display their silverware to the people of Warrington. This included the Challenge Cup in 1905, 1907, 1950, 1954 and 1974. The cup made its long-awaited return to Whites Sports Shop in 2009, 2010 and 2012. It is seen here on the right on display in 2013 as it toured the town to promote the game.
Sporting achievements and memorabilia in the town from over the years
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A profile on footballer
George Warren from 1920 
Warrington Rugby
League season
ticket 1925-6
Document on
Warrington RLFC
win 1947-8
Victory for Warrington
RLFC in the 1950 Challenge
Cup at Wembley
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Warrington's win against
Halifax in the 1954
Challenge Cup
Programme for
the 1954 Challenge
Cup Final
Warrington's win in
the 1974 Challenge 
Cup against
Featherstone Rovers
An undated document
on J.E. White's 50th
wicket playing for
Warrington Thursday Club

Over the years, Whites Sports sponsored many local sporting events.
Here is a selection of presentations from days gone by.

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Rylands cricket
trophy (1950)
Cricket Knock-out
 Cup (1953)
J.E. White
Sport Cup (1954)
J.E. White
Darts Trophy (1959)
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Cricket Knock-out
 Cup (1964)
J.E. White South
Warrington Cup (1965)
J.E. White Football
Trophy (1966)
Knutsford Sports
Club (1970)
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Warrington Squash
Championship (1977)
Warrington & District
Bowls League (1981)
Cricket Knock-out
 Cup (1964)
J. E. White Darts
Shield (1988)

In 1974 most of Sankey Street was demolished to make way for Golden Square shopping centre.
From then until closure, Whites Sports were trading from their shop in Warrington Market.

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J. E. White's shop
on Sankey Street,
as seen in 1952
Newspaper reports on
the proposed changes
in town centre 
The Sankey Street
shop in 1968
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Demolition of Sankey
Street finally took
place in 1974
The demolished Sankey Street
and site of Golden Square
shopping centre in May 1974
Market Gate in 1976.
Construction of the
shopping centre is
well under way

From the late 1960s to the mid 1980s they also had shops in Stockton Heath, opened by Liverpool and
England 1966 World Cup winner Roger Hunt and rugby league legend Alex Murphy, and in Knutsford.

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Opening of the Stockton Heath shop
in 1974 by rugby legend Alex Murphy
and 1966 World Cup winner Roger Hunt
Stockton Heath shop 1974 Stockton Heath shop 1979
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Stockton Heath shop 1980 Stockton Heath shop 1984
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Stockton Heath shop 1985 Company clothing labels

Since losing John and Paul in 2007 and 2009, Paul's widow Susan
has successfully run the business in Warrington Market.

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Newspaper reports of family members A brick from the Warrington
Wolves Brian Bevan wall

Here are various photos of the shops over time.

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An undated photo
from the archive
A view of the Sankey
Street shop from 1953 
Warrington Market
stall in 1983
Warrington Market
stall in 1984
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The company's longest
serving employee, Marion
Richardson (1953-1985)
Warrington Market
stall in 1990
Warrington Market
stall in 1992
Three fliers from the archive
Susan White was a keen badminton player in the 1960s and after marrying Paul in 1969 became a big Wires fan and took up competitive fencing during the 1970s. She was then an aerobics instructor across the town during the 1980s and in more recent years she has taken up yoga, Pilates and aqua aerobics, and was joined by several Samoan Rugby World Cup players in 2013.
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1. Fishing items

2 Dart points

3 Snooker/pool table iron

4 Football lacing tools

5 Folding ruler

6 Lace-up football

7 Cribbage board and pins

8 Cue tipper

9 Hand measure for gloves

10 Automatic darts counter

11 Dart pointer

12 Boxing bell

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Hat stretcher Advice note spike Cricket bat oil Lubricant for gut
strung rackets
The first photo below records the occasion when Whites Sports received delivery of the one millionth tie despatched by Favourite Ties. They were presented with the commemorative tie and medallion at a special dinner at the Savoy Hotel in London. I once travelled on a bus in London and asked the driver if he stopped at The Savoy. Not on my wages, came the reply! In the second photo is another tie, one sold at 1/9. The third photo features a hat presented to Peter White on his 20th birthday on 6 May 1910 and a Ricola collarless shirt with personalised shop labels sewn in. These labels were in all shirt jackets and knitwear when they were manufactured. The forth is a bowler hat supplied by J. E. White featuring an original label from the Sankey Street shop still inside the crown.
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In 2013 Whites Sports entered the Guinness World Records as the 'World's Oldest Family-Run Sports Shop'.
No matter how good a company is, it cannot survive without publicity. Here we see photos of the company's regular visits to the various fairs around the region. They also took part in many charity events.
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Shop price list 1977 Cheshire Steam Fair (1991) Cheshire Steam Fair (1991) Cheshire Steam Fair (1991)
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Cheshire Game and
Angling Fair (1994)
Cheshire Game and
Angling Fair (1997)
Kingston Rowing Club
promotion (2005)
Re-waxing promotion
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Products on sale in the store Whites Sports products Two charity events with Warrington
fundraiser, the late Wally Barnes
In celebration of their 113 years of trading as a family business in Warrington, of which 40 years have been in Warrington Market, Whites Sports resurrected the 1974 ‘Whites Sports Darts Trophy Challenge’. On 15 March, 2014 between 12.00 noon and 3.00pm Customers young and old, past and present, were invited to come along and try and win a range of sporting prizes and trophies with a chance to play against one of the Warrington Wolves players, or even Wolfie, the club mascot.
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Fourth generation family member Adam White, with help from brother Roger and cousin Nick White, has been busy helping Susan organise the closure of the market shop and also to take the shop online in recent months. They are really keen to capture stories, memories and pictures of Whites Sports over the years. If you would like to share a photo or story about the shop either visit their Facebook page or drop them an email at
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And just before we finish, take a look at these three photos from Warrington's past. The first, left, is Horsemarket Street in 1984 in the days when the road was open to traffic. The second is the Roller Rink on the corner of Museum Street/Winmarleigh Street in the late 1980s. The third photo shows a piece of wood found during the excavations for the Wetherspoons pub on Barbauld Street, the site of the former friary. 
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The Warrington Market shop closed for the last time in May 2014.

The company continues to trade online at

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The outside of the shop in
Warrington Market on 18 March 2014
Closing Down The market building itself was redeveloped after the shop closed
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< Inside the market shop on 7 May 2014.
whites_sports_111.JPG (143064 bytes) My thanks to Susan White for allowing me to reproduce documents from the company archive and family history. Also thanks to Gary at Warrington-Worldwide for permission to use their news report to support some of the photos.

I wish Susan a long and happy retirement and continued success to her family as they take the company online.

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In May 2014 Whites Sports entered the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest sports shop. A presentation was made at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday 30 May 2104, with the Warrington Market shop closing the day after, Saturday 31 May 2014.
If you have memories of either working or shopping at Whites Sports, then get in touch by email
and I will be delighted to add your stories to the Memory Lane section of the mywarrington website.


Hancock & Wood is a fourth-generation family business trading from the same site on Bridge Street, Warrington, since it was founded in 1914. It is a shop many Warringtonians will have visited in their lifetime.

It all started when the well-situated store of Thomas Grime came onto the market when the owner retired. They alerted Frederick Samuel Hancock (a travelling haberdashery salesman who had married their daughter) that the business was up for sale and he jumped at the chance to buy it.

Soon after though, he became a Royal Marine during the First World War. During the war years a partner, David Wood, ran the firm and the company has been known by the name of Hancock & Wood ever since.

Selling dress materials, mantles, jackets, millinery and hosiery, it was housed next door to the shoe shop run by the Roberts family (who have since relocated to Golden Square shopping centre).

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The Hancock & Wood building has been redeveloped over the years, but it was originally constructed in 1857. Before that, the site on Bridge Street was occupied by three small shops, as can be seen on the left. Note the rather grand clock at No. 29!

By 1925 Hancock & Wood was a well-established business. The shop originally occupied the left half of the present building but with the business going from success to success, the store expanded into the whole of the present frontage in 1933.

A series of further expansions took place towards the site of the present market at the rear of the store, particularly after Frederick's son, David Hancock, joined the company in 1947, following service with the Royal Artillery during the Second World War.

David Hancock passed away on the 4th November 2013 aged 90.

Time Square with the rear entrance to Hancock & Wood seen on 16 June 2003. 

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Bridge Street in Warrington has on more than one occasion been said to be one of the finest examples of a Victorian/Edwardian shopping street in Lancashire. Look above street level and some wonderful civic gems are visible.
As a result of one improvement scheme, co-ordinated by Warrington Civic Society, Queen Elizabeth II visited Bridge Street in 1968.
hancock_and_wood_stockton_heath_030227.jpg (98802 bytes) A new roof extension was built in the 1980s which now accommodates their Halo & Blush Hair & Beauty Salon. The Little Shop in Stockton Heath was opened in the early 1960s and proved to be a popular addition to the Hancock & Wood business, especially benefiting from the significant development of the village into the shopping centre of choice for an expanding, discerning and affluent south Warrington population.

The Stockton Heath branch on London Road as it looked on 27 Feb 2003.

The current directors, Michael and Christopher Hancock, now run the company, ably assisted by Susie, Michael’s daughter, who has recently joined the team and is heading up the accessory department along with the new Niche young fashion area.

The company has been developed and expanded over the years to meet the changing demands of their customers and now combines the best traditions of service with modern flair.

The Hancock family is proud that Hancock & Wood continues to offer the traditional values of an independent business, looking after the needs of customers from across north Cheshire and south Lancashire.

The centenary of the store was marked on 5 April 2014 when the public were invited to bring in their own birthday cakes to celebrate the continuing success of this family business.

The store on 9 April 2014, showing their 100 years banner

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My thanks to Christopher Hancock for permission to reproduce their history on mywarrington.
Happy birthday from me - here’s to the next 100 years!

Visit the store and also their website where you can see photos from the family archive.

If you have memories of shopping there, please feel free to email me
and I can add your stories to the Memory Lane section of mywarrington.

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It was a sad day for many people in Warrington when second-generation owner of The Waysiders on Horsemarket Street, Martin Hales, announced his retirement. The business had been part of the Warrington shopping scene for 70 years.

"It was a tough decision and I am sure I will shed a few tears when we close for the last time," said Martin.

"There have been a lot of changes in Warrington and a lot not for the better. People no longer want quality goods as we now live in a throwaway culture - and I am not prepared to go down that route."

Martin joined the family business in his late teens, at a time when he excelled at tennis, turning down the chance of a professional career after competing at Junior Wimbledon.

"But I have many happy memories and wouldn't change anything," he says.


The Waysiders began in 1944 when John Hales came out of the army and set up the business on 30 shillings a week, assisted by his mother, Mrs M. W Hales.
John travelled down to The Potteries to purchase stock, which, in the early days, he displayed on orange boxes. As he sold the stock he went back to The Potteries to buy more and slowly built up the business.

The Waysiders original locations on Market Place in Golden Square. The Co-op bank and travel shop now occupies the site on the corner of Lyme Street shown in the first photo. The second photo shows a close-up of the bottom end of the street in the first photo.

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At the end of World War II in 1945, the town, like the rest of the country, settled down to a new era of peace, but that did not bring an end to all the problems. There were still GIs stationed at Burtonwood and occasionally there were incidents in hostelries in the town centre, resulting in the white-capped Military Police being active to keep the peace.

The company specialised in china and glassware, fancy goods, wall ornaments, figurines etc, all of which found a ready market among the gift buyers both locally (who had been starved of these luxuries during the war years) and the Americans who wanted something to send home to "Maw".

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Views of the Horsemarket Street shop from the 1970s
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By 1956 the business had become so successful that further developments were planned and younger brother, Anthony, entered the scene to take charge of another branch in Market Place specialising in wool, woollies and knitting patterns, etc.

Later on John Hales started to deal with some of the bigger manufacturers like Wedgwood, Doulton, Aynsley, Paragon, quite a lot of which have now ceased trading.

On The Move

waysiders_01.jpg (75160 bytes) In 1969 the original Waysiders took over the premises next door which had been occupied by a chicken barbecue and in July 1970, the wool shop added the Readicut Wool shop, opposite the Barley Mow at the entrance to the Market, to its list of assets.

The growth of the business, together with the cramped conditions in this old part of town, parts of which go back centuries, and the uncertainty of the future in light of the development of Warrington New Town, made Waysiders’ owners uneasy and, being progressive if nothing else, when the Timothy White shop at 34 Horsemarket Street came on the market, they quickly began negotiations.

The result of this forward thinking was the opening on Tuesday 18 May 1971 of the new Waysiders where, under one roof, (or two floors) are combined the gifts, fancy goods and wool trade. At their best The Waysiders employed nearly 20 people over the three shops in Golden Square and when they moved to Horsemarket Street there were about the same number of people working for the company.

The Timothy Whites nameplate, still in situ on the building

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The move to the new premises on Horsemarket Street in 1971 meant that the Waysiders would be able to carry even bigger stocks (and they have always carried a comprehensive range) and so provided an even greater service to the people of Warrington and district.

The wholesale and contract side of the Waysiders was carried out in the new premises in Horsemarket Street. The company used to supply all the schools in Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and on The Wirral with all their home economic equipment, working alongside Harts in the market (who have also gone now, of course), who did the fabric side of the contract, which both companies had for quite some time.

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On the ground floor of the new shop were knitting and rug wools by such well-known makers as Patons and Baldwins, Wendy Wools, Sirdar, Emu, Listers, Penelope, etc, latest knitting patterns, embroidery, tapestries and handicraft materials for lamp-shade making, basketry and marquetry.

The Waysiders were the sole local distributor for many leading manufacturers of wools, pottery and woollens. The wool section closed in 1987.

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There was also a unique selection of fancy goods, giftware, light fittings, shades and table lamps. On the upper floor was a wide choice of dinner, tea and glassware, cutlery, oven-to-table ware and continental cookware. Chinaware on sale included pieces and sets by Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Minton, Denby, Hornsea, Webb Corbett, Hummell Spode, Whitefriars and Ringway.
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The shop in the final month of trading, April 2014

The Final Word

In an interview with Gary Skentlebery at Warrington-Worldwide, Martin expressed his concerns about the modern culture and attitudes to trading in the town.

As well as a change in people’s shopping habits, Martin said that out of town shopping areas like Gemini had impacted heavily on town centre trade.

"If the council looked at cheaper rent and rates there would still be the opportunity for private individuals to give it a go," he added.

Many customers expressed sadness at the closure of the business - one customer originally came in as a baby with her mother and revisited 30 years later with her own family.

So where did the name of The Waysiders come from? Martin tells me his father was looking for a name and his grandfather said, "Well, you’re a bit by the wayside", so The Waysiders became the name. A name that now becomes part of Warrington’s history.

The shop closed on Wednesday, 30 April 2014. The premises on Horsemarket Street are set to become the new home for town centre Italian Restaurant Cafe Caruso, which is relocating from Time Square in the summer of 2014.

See the video interview at Warrington-Worldwide.

waysiders_19.JPG (85141 bytes) A big thank you to Martin Hales
for his assistance and permission
to include the company history
on the mywarrington website.

I wish you a long
and happy retirement.

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If you have memories of either working or shopping at any of the stores, then get in touch by email
and I will be delighted to add your stories to the Memory Lane section of the mywarrington website.

Leslie's Electrical

Older residents of the town might remember buying their electric light bulbs and other electrical items from Leslie's electrical on Bold Street. Recently, Peter Spilsbury told me he was searching for a particular type of bulb he went to Leslie's Electrical in Bold Street. He says the shop was almost bare and he was told that it was closing after 52 years service to the town. It opened in 1964. The photo shows the shop on 30 May 2003, looking towards Golborne Street, which no longer exists due to the extension of Golden Square shopping centre, which opened on 24 May 2007.

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Reader Memories

My father-Joseph Bailey-Woods was the manager of Bradley's Outfitters. We used to watch the Walking day parade from the upstairs windows.

Josie Mills, nee Bailey-Woods

Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy
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Rainbow After the Storm

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Where Mental Health Matters

Rainbow After the Storm is an award-winning mental health
support group and Community Interest Company.


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