Tour 2

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Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy



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This page last updated Monday, 11 January 2021
Take my 2nd tour round the town centre

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Welcome to Tour Two of mywarrington town centre.

Click here for Tour 1

This is the second of two walking tours of the town centre. I suggest you allow two to three hours for this second tour, or slightly longer if you wish to look round the Museum. And even if it isn't physically possible for you to take the tour, you can still follow it onscreen and discover some of the rich heritage of this historic industrial market town. Incidentally, Warrington Borough Council published a "Warrington Town Trail" fold-out map and guided tour, which you could pick up at the Tourist Information centre at Warrington Market. It features a lion hunt - don't worry, you won't be going on safari!  There was also a walk on the Howley district of the town, and one on Latchford. Not sure if you can get copies of them now.

If you take my  tour, or just read through it as a virtual tour, let me know what you think of it.

Acknowledgments. I am grateful to the following for permission to use extracts from their works in these two tours:

H. Wells, Warrington: Local History Publishing, Railway Junction, 187 Orford Lane, Warrington WA2 7BA - (Walking Into Warrington's Past: Church Street, 1996; Walking Into Warrington's Past: Parish Church, 1997; Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge Street, 1998; Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000).

See photographs of the old town centre on Mr wells' website Some of his books are still available to buy.

Material from A History of Warrington by Alan Crosby (2002) reproduced by kind permission of the publisher, Phillimore & Co. Ltd, Shopwyke Manor Barn, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 2BG,

Material from Warrington at Work by Janice Hayes & Alan Crosby (2003) reproduced by kind permission of the publisher, Breedon Books Publishing Ltd, 3 The Parker Centre, Mansfield Road, Derby, DE21 4SZ,

Information on Anna Laetitia (Aikin) Barbauld reproduced by kind permission of Encyclopaedia Britannica (UK) Ltd (2004 DVD Edition) 2nd Floor, Unity Wharf, Mill Street, London SE1 2BH

Information on Warrington Borough Transport 1902-2002: 100 Years of Serving the Community by Ron Phillips (2002) reproduced with consent from N. Featham, WBT Managing Director at the time, on behalf of Mr Phillips

Not forgetting, of course, my dad.

There are footnotes at the bottom of this page indicating where to find more details about the extracts.
Click the numbered links within the text to be taken to the footnotes.
Clicking the relevant footnote will bring you back to the appropriate section.

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Tour 2

Tour 2 will takes us from Market Gate (the 'Skittles') down Bridge Street to Bridge Foot, then into Barbauld Street, Rylands Street, Cairo Street, St Austins Lane, taking in the Cultural Quarter of the library, museum and Queens Gardens, and onto the Town Hall and Bank Park. We then head back to town centre via Sankey Street and Cairo Street, finishing off in Golden Square.

We begin Tour 2 where we left off in Tour 1 - at Market Gate, the circular area with the Ten Guardians, or 'Skittles', as they are known locally.(1) Market Gate is the centre of Warrington. There are various plaques on the buildings around this circular area describing more of its history. It is described in the Legh Manuscript of 1465 as the place where the town's four streets meet (Horsemarket Street, Buttermarket Street, Bridge Street and Sankey Street). The streets were very narrow in those olden days, and only widened at the beginning of the 20th century, when the now-familiar circus was added - first as a traffic roundabout in 1938 (removed in 1966), and now pedestrianised with the 'Skittles' at the centre.

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Market Gate

We now walk south onto Bridge Street, which leads down to the River Mersey. Bridge Street was originally known as Newgate Street until it was renamed in 1580. Back in the 13th century it was very narrow and lined with wooden houses. Coats of arms of important Warrington families are shown high up on the streetlights.

Most of the buildings on Bridge Street date from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.(2)

The HSBC bank (once the Midland) replaced the earlier building in 1914. Previous occupants include a watch and clockmaker, George Blackhurst.(3) Hancock and Wood is a long established family business of over 90 years. The building dates to 1857.

On the right (west side) of the street, Starbucks coffee house used to be a Stead and Simpson shoe shop. The buildings date to 1905, whilst the front of the Peacocks store further down the street has been incorporated into the new block on the corner. The original building dated to 1903.

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Bridge Street
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Coat of Arms

The now-pedestrianised street features the River of Life, a design with a fountain at the centre near McDonald's. Stephen Broadbent designed the fountain. A plaque near Market gate describes the scene.

Notice the designs in the floor. There are twelve plaques, which feature symbols of the months of the year, along with fruit and leaves of various trees and images of Warrington industry.

It was erected as a memorial to Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry, who were killed in the second IRA bombing of the town in 1993.

The first bombing was on the gas works on Winwick Road, north of the town centre, which created a huge fireball, but no casualties. Thankfully the gas canisters were empty at the time, but I could feel the heat through my closed window over a mile away. The second bomb went off on 20 March 1993 (the day before Mothering Sunday) on Bridge Street outside McDonald's restaurant.

The Duchess of Kent opened the memorial on 14 November 1996 as a symbol of continuing life. There is a plaque featuring the two boys on the former Boots building.(4)

It was reported in the media on 18 May 2011 that callous thieves had ripped the plaque (above, right) from the  Reflex 80s nightclub building on Bridge Street to sell it for scrap. The plaque was last seen in place on 23 April 2011 and soon after a town centre warden noticed it had gone missing he reported the incident to the authorities. The Sun newspaper covered the story on 18 May and in a kind gesture the following day announced they would replace the plaque for the people of Warrington, especially in memory of Johnathan and Tim and the 54 injured. Tim's father, Colin Parry, said: "It beggars belief people can be so heartless. It's one of those crimes that is so off the scale it is disgusting". The replacement plaque commissioned by The Sun was presented to Colin Parry on Father's Day, 17 June 2012, and is displayed at the Peace Centre and the original has been found and is back in its rightful place on Bridge Street. Two men were charged with the theft of the original. The two men apologised to all concerned at a meeting in the Town Hall on 10 July 2012 and accepted restorative justice as an alternative sentence. This a scheme where criminals face the victim face to face and are punished in a different way. One of the men agreed to community service and the other offered to raise funds for the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation For Peace. Failure to undertake these would result in further police action.

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River of Life
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Jonathan & Tim

As you stand at the River of Life fountain, notice the two narrow passageways on each side of Bridge Street - the one between the former Nobel's Amusements and Cash Generator is known as Patten Lane and led to the Eagle and Child, a coaching inn. It also led to the family home of the Patten family before they moved to what is now our Town Hall.(5) We will pass the Town Hall later in the tour. A plaque was installed on Patten Lane in 2011 illustrating the history, but put up in the wrong place in my opinion. I don't know why it was fixed to the green utility box and not the wall itself. I suppose there is a reason.

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Patten Lane in 2011

Directly opposite is Dolman's Lane which now leads to the market. There is a plaque halfway down the lane describing the history of the area. If you haven't visited Warrington's market, take this opportunity to visit the 250 stalls in their modern setting. You can also find the Tourist Information Centre within the market. The town has had a market for more than 750 years, and was voted the best indoor market in the UK in 2009 (See the Warrington Market page for more).

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Dolman's Lane in 2005

Next along is the former Boots the Chemist store. This building is known as the Howard Buildings. John Howard (1726-1790) was born in London, the son of a wealthy upholsterer.

He was imprisoned in France and later exchanged for a French officer held by the British. He quickly travelled to the Commissioners of Sick and Wounded Seamen in London to seek help on behalf of his fellow captives.

One of his concerns was for those prisoners who were held because they could not pay the jailer's fee (an amount paid to the owner or keeper of the prison for upkeep).

He visited hundreds of prisons in the country during his lifetime and published his work on prison reform while lodging at a house on this site in Bridge Street.

His book was printed by Eyre's Press whose location we passed in Tour 1.

A plaque is dedicated to him on the building. Read more of his profile in Warrington People. Notice the designs in the stonework above. Boots moved into the extended Golden Square on 20 June 2007. The front of the building is now Grade II listed and will form part of the new market, a centrepiece of the Bridge Street Quarter regeneration project. Construction is due to begin in 2015 and should be completed in 2018. The market traders will continue to serve the town in a temporary building on the site of the soon-to-be demolished Time Square before the permanent market is completed.

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Howard Building

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Howard memorial plaque

Opposite the old Boots store are the premises once occupied by JJB Sports and Nobles Amusements, but is currently empty in 2011.

In the 1900s this magnificent building was occupied by W Hodgkinson Ltd, Warrington's premier department store.

They were described as "General Drapers, High Class Costumiers, Silk Mercers, Linen Drapers and House Furnishers". Hodgkinson's remained on this spot until the firm closed down in 1962.(6)

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Old Hodgkinson's

As we approach the corner of Rylands Street a brand new building featuring Poundworld greets us.

The building in the image (right below) is what it replaced. Argos was here before Brighthouse, who are now on Sankey Street. Argos moved to Cockhedge Shopping Park.

Readers may remember that when Argos first arrived in the 1970s, the modern computer revolution did not exist, so information for stock was stored on cards and messages were put in little capsules and sent around the store through long tubes by compressed air, just like your money when you paid in at the Co-op and waited for your change.

Ah, those were the days!

The Royal Court Hotel occupied this spot until it closed in 1969.(7)

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Rylands Street corner
2003 (above) and 2005

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On the opposite corner the black and white building was occupied by the Co-operative Bank, who have since relocated to Golden Square.

This has previously been Barclays Bank and Martin's Bank.

In the 18th century the site was occupied by cabinetmakers, S.E. and R. Johnson.(8)

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Old Martin's Bank

Opposite Rylands Street is the narrow entrance to Halls Yard at the side of Scotts clothing shop. H Wells' book, 'Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge Street', says it might be the location of Nathaniel Greening's first wire factory in Warrington at the end of the 18th century.(9) The firm later moved to Bewsey Road. Continue your walk along Bridge Street. Keep looking at the coats of arms - the ones in this area are at eye level and have descriptions on them. Our next building is Reflex/Babylon public house. It has also been known as Flares, but to many people it will always be remembered as Ye Olde Lion or The Lion Hotel. It is one of Warrington's oldest inns, dating back to 1690. The inn was a very popular stopping place for stagecoaches. Coaches from Liverpool and London changed horses here, with over 50 a day passing through. Notice the passage way called Hart's Place just before the pub. This once led to a courtyard with dwellings.(10)

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Halls Yard

The two shops immediately next to the former Red Lion pub stand on the site of The Ship inn, which was moved into the yard behind in 1860 (the now-closed entry still stands to the south of the second shop). The yard became known as Ship Yard.(11)

Until the 1980s, buildings occupied the spot where Academy Way meets Bridge Street. They were removed to make way for the inner ring road. One of them was the tutor's house from the new Academy of 1762, where Joseph Priestley lived during his time in the town.(12) Priestley Street is on the west side of the town.

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Ye Olde Lion

Across the road is The Feathers public house, which has served as a hotel in the past. The building before it dates to 1913. We now approach Friars Gate by The Reef pub. On the corner there used to be this metal sculpture (photo, right), which was described in the Warrington Heritage Guide and Town Trail as the 'pendulum outlines' and are a tribute to John Harrison whose marine chronometers allowed longitude to be measured.

John Harrison was born in Yorkshire and moved to Barrow upon Humber in Lincolnshire and resided in Bridge Street for a time. In 1714 the British government offered a prize of £20,000 to the first person who could solve the problem of longitude for ships at sea, as latitude itself was not enough to help guide ships. A clock memorial stood on what was the eastern side of Warrington Friary by the gatehouse, hence Friar's Gate.

However, there is no evidence of a connection between this John Harrison and the town of Warrington. Warrington museum tells us that in the 19th century when local antiquaries were compiling lists of famous Warringtonians and Johnís name was somehow included for the first time. We do know that there was a Warrington clock-making family led by an Edward Harrison working in Warrington as early as 1769 making the two Harrisons roughly contemporary with each other. Our best guess is that some of our 19th century sources confused the two men

I don't know what happened to the memorial after it was removed. At least it wasn't melted down for scrap towards the war effort...

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'pendulum outlines'

Continuing along Bridge Street, the first set of buildings past Friar's Gate are known as the Priory Buildings, housing the DV8 (formerly Panama Jacks) pub and the hi-fi shop next to it. The name fits the title of a Prior, the superior ranking next to the abbot of a monastery. The last Prior of Warrington is reputed to have been a priest called Sir John Carlisle.(13)

The Priory Buildings were erected in 1889. We will cover more on the Friary later...

The next block along was erected a year earlier in 1888.

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Priory Buildings

This final section of Bridge Street contains no less than 7 drinking establishments. The most recent being Panama Jacks already mentioned, which replaced Isis hair and beauty salon in 2005. The first pub opposite is 53o North.

Next door, the former McCauley's pub (which opened in 1994) was renamed Eivissa in April 2011. It was renamed again in February 2013 and is now called Cromwell's. The pub was once known as the Higher Seven Stars and built in 1870. It was later known as 7th Avenue.(14)

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Eivissa (McCauley's)

Bridges pub further down Bridge Street was previously The Last Orders pub, but was once called The Royal Oak.

The Royal Oak name dates back to 1662. It is suggested the pub received its name after the time when the future King Charles II hid in an oak tree at Boscobel when running away after the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, the last battle of the English Civil War.

The modern building dates from just before the First World War when the whole block was rebuilt.(15) In the 1920s it was the scene of a very unusual site - a troop of marching elephants from the circus, as seen in the book 'Warrington As It Was'.

On the opposite side are the Darli Bar (previously Hartley's) and Funky Box (formerly The Big Bar). The latter used to be a showroom for the Co-op.

The buildings date from 1885 and 1890 respectively.

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The Last Orders Inn

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The Big Bar

We now approach one of Warrington's most significant locations - The Academy building.

Warrington Academy was founded in 1757 by Reverend John Seddon, minister of Cairo Street Chapel, and very quickly became known as 'the Athens of the North'.

Famous teachers include renowned mathematician of his day, John Holt, literary scholar Dr John Aitkin, classicist and theologian, the Reverend Gilbert Wakefield, and Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen here.

The Academy itself was moved into a new building at Academy Place (now Academy Street), and closed in 1786 after 30 years of activity.(16)

In the 1980s the whole building at Bridge Foot was supported on a rolling frame and moved a few feet north to make way for a new road layout at Bridge Foot. The building was, sadly, demolished soon after because it was found to be structurally unsafe.

The replacement building has been the home of the Warrington Guardian newspaper since 1987, and features a statue of Oliver Cromwell. I remember a TV documentary where Warrington's Alan Beswick humorously pointed out that his statue had been moved to this spot and he is STILL pointing to a grid!

A plaque on the building tells the story of the Academy. A second plaque is dedicated to Arthur Bennett, Mayor of the town from 1925-27. The inscription reads: "A poet who had dreams and to his dreams gave life. Arthur Bennett 1862-1931. Honorary Freeman and Alderman of the County Borough of Warrington. Mayor 1925-27. A founder and president of the Warrington Society, the members of which erected this tablet in recognition of his services to the town he loved. 1932".

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Warrington Academy

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The final building is the pub on the corner of Bridge Street and Mersey Street, Tiger Too (opposite side to the Guardian office). The row of buildings attached to it on Bridge Street date from the 18th and 19th century and were originally houses.

Historians of the town will know the pub building as The Packet House inn. In the heyday of the Mersey at Warrington when it was used for river traffic, the pub, it is suggested, served as the ticket office for passenger boats to Liverpool.(17)

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Tiger Too

You are now standing at Bridge Foot.

One reader asks if anybody remembers Marsh's college at Bridge Foot? Take care as you cross the road here as our next stop is the War Memorial, via Warrington Bridge. Look at each end of the bridge as there is information about its history.

The War Memorial has been surrounded by the traffic island since 1986. The only way to get to it is via the right side of the bridge and the pedestrian crossings.

In November 2005, a letter to the Warrington Guardian suggested it be moved to Queen's Gardens to avoid the noisy traffic. A great idea! It was erected in 1925. You can view the war memorial to the far left end of the bridge as you cross.

You will notice at the end of the bridge there is Marshall Gardens, a quiet spot to rest. The gardens were opened in 1958 and are named after the Mayor and former Labour politician, Alderman Edward Marshall, who opened the Wilderspool Bridge. A plaque on the bridge records the event. Marshall lived to see his hundredth birthday.

Wilderspool Bridge replaced a level crossing over the Warrington and Stockport Railway, but even in the old days it was heavily congested. Can you imagine a level crossing there nowadays?

The Norton Arms pub used to stand at a point roughly where the foot of the bridge runs close to Knutsford Road. A weekly cattle market used to take place in the yard. There was also one at The Lion in Bridge Street we passed earlier.

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Bridge Foot
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War memorial
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Marshall Gardens

As you walk back across Warrington Bridge, turn left to view one of the capstones from the parapet of the Victorian Bridge of 1837, which the 1915 bridge replaced.

Incidentally, you can view the other remaining capstone in the driveway of Paddington House Hotel, Manchester Road, which used to be the home of Alderman Arthur Bennett.

Now walk to the right of the capstone and along the footpath to our next item.

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Victoria Bridge

You will now see Warrington's smallest listed monument. Did you spot it? No? Did you walk past the red phone box? Yes? Then you missed it - because this is it!

It is a rare K4 combined telephone, post box and stamp dispenser.(18)

Made of cast iron, only 50 were originally produced by the Post Office Engineering Department between 1930 and 1935. However, they were not a success.

The stamps got wet in the rain, they were noisy and, in many cases, too big to install in some areas.

They were given the nickname "Vermillion Giant" because of their colour and size. It used the successful design of the K2 kiosk by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and measures 9ft 3in high by 3ft 4 in x 4ft 4 in.

Ours was Grade II listed on 6 August 1986, the year it was moved from its original location on Mersey Street when the current Bridge Foot roundabout scheme was completed with the addition of the new bridge.

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Bridge Foot...

It is believed there are only 5 remaining in the country.

I tracked one down to The Cholmondeley Arms pub on Church Street, Frodsham, by the railway station.

There is also one at the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings near Bromsgrove, West Midlands. The other two are in Bewdley (Worcestershire) and Roos (East Yorkshire).

See the K6 version at Market Gate later in the tour.

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...and Frodsham

Ahead of you is the former Halo nightclub. This used to be the ABC cinema, or the Ritz. Famous visitors include world-famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy in 1952. They did not perform at the venue, but visited to promote shows in Southport and Liverpool. The club was previously known as Synergy, and before that Mr Smiths. Pete Waterman and Michaela Strachen presented the Granada TV music and dance show, The Hitman and Her, from here in the 1980s. In the time between Mr Smiths and the opening as Synergy in March 2008, it was opened for one night a week, usually for school discos. It became Halo in November 2009, but closed in 2010. It reopened once more as Mr Smiths on 1 October 2011 after it was bought at auction in London earlier in 2011.

A group called Theatre 4 Warrington had been campaigning for it to be converted into a theatre. There have also been discussions in Warrington Borough Council to create a riverside leisure area alongside the Mersey close to the building. At the moment, there is no direct connection between the two schemes.

Information to be updated due to the fire and subsequent demolition on 14 April 2015...

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The former ABC/Ritz
cinema. Later it
became Mr Smiths,
then Synergy
and then Halo.
In 2011 it is Mr
Smiths once again.

Go back to the traffic lights by the bridge and cross the road, turn left, and walk past Cromwell's statue in front of the Warrington Guardian office. I will save the story of the statue until later in the tour. Follow the road round to the right onto Barbauld Street.

As you pass, look across to the large white building. This is the BT telephone exchange on Stanley Street. Construction started in 1953 and it was completed in 1955, the year the first cordless switchboard was opened at Thanet in Kent.

The Warrington building was extended to a height of six storeys in 1977 and has since been upgraded to cope with the new digital age of cable TV and broadband.

BT itself is the oldest telecommunications company in the world and was part of the General Post Office (GPO) from 1912 until privatisation in 1984 (read more here). Now turn right onto Barbauld Street.

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BT Exchange in
May 1988. Photo
© Albert Hickson

Our next stop is Stanley Street, which these days has been built over by the BT exchange. Stanley Street was built by Hamlet Winstanley, born 1698, who was the second son of William Winstanley, a tradesman in Warrington. Hamlet Winstanley was a painter and engraver who executed a portrait of John Blackburne of Orford Hall, among others. Winstanley named Stanley Street after his patrons at Knowsley (See Warrington People for his profile). He died in Warrington on 18 May 1756. Take a walk along Stanley Street to view Stanley House, which is a Grade II listed building. I imagine the whole street was nice to look at before the concrete monstrosity of the BT exchange was opened in 1955.

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Stanley Street

From 1260 until 1539, the area in which you are now standing contained the grounds of Warrington Friary, where brothers preached and cared for the sick (friar means brother).

If you placed it on a modern map, the whole site, including the grounds, would stretch from the site of the former Mr Smiths nightclub in the south to Egypt Street and Cairo Street Chapel in the north, and from Bold Street in the west to Bridge Street/Friars Gate in the east. An orchard would be at the site of the former Mr Smiths nightclub with a meadow just to the north.

The main building is where JD Wetherspoon's pub, The Friar Penketh, stands today. The pub was built in 2000 and opened on 2 May, 2001.

The Friary featured a church, cemetery and a gatehouse where Friar's Gate meets Bridge Street. Immediately west of the main building was an outer courtyard (where this section of Barbauld Street stands). In the most northern section there was a cemetery and the friary gardens. Check the inscription on the wall outside the pub (photo, above right). Nearby is St Austins Lane. St Augustine friars were called Austin friars.(19)

The site was last excavated by Lancaster University prior to The Friar Penketh pub being built. So why was the pub so-named? Friar Penketh was one of the most famous members of the friary and is mentioned in William Shakespeare's play Richard III.

If you go into the pub you can still see a selection of the friary remains through a glass floor.

The museum and library stood on the site of the Postern Gate pub before it moved to its current home on Museum Street/Bold Street corner.(20)

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Warrington Friary

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The Friar Penketh

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Postern Gate

We continue our walk further along Barbauld Street, passing Showbar nightclub, which was previously Brannigans nightclub. In 1907 this building started life as the Hippodrome Theatre.(21) It has also been The Palace cinema and the Apollo Bingo and Social Club.

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Friars Court on the west side of Barbauld Street was built in 1870. It features a pub of the same name.

At the next corner we join Rylands Street. In the distance we see the town clock (more on this later). Turn left onto Rylands Street. The building opposite is the council's former 'Poll Tax House', named after the local government tax of the 1980s. I wonder why they haven't change the name yet? Anyway, the site has seen many changes.

In 1862 the Public Hall was here. This was a magnificent building which was the main venue for entertainment, with an appearance by Charles Dickens in 1872, for instance. It was later renamed The Royal Court Theatre, and demolished in 1960.(22)  It's a shame I don't have copyright clearance for the photo of the Public Hall, because, as I'm sure you'll imagine, it is much more attractive than the concrete monstrosity that is Poll Tax House. I think our garden shed has more class than Poll Tax House!

Poll Tax House was Lennon's supermarket until the council took it over as their housing office, which has since relocated to Horsemarket Street as Contact Warrington. The council still use it as offices.

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Friar's Court

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Royal Court
Theatre location

One reader recalls their gran and granddad taking them to the Royal Court Theatre as an 8-year-old in the 1950s, and remembers being on stage more than once when there were magicians or comics performing. Ah the good old days, the reader adds.

Walk along and turn left into the southern end of Cairo Street. Our next building is Friars Green Church at the bottom of the street on the right. The first chapel was built in 1802. It is one of the earliest Independent Methodist chapels.

In the early years, the publicans' agents would interrupt services by handing out free buckets of beer to the congregation in a bid to stop them opposing public houses. Have you noticed there is nearly always a pub next to a church...

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Friars Green Church

Now turn right onto St Austins Lane.

On the telephone exchange side of the road is the former pub, The Agency, which originally opened in early 2007 and is now closed. In my opinion The Agency was built in the wrong place, even though we have Chicago Rock, The Friar Penketh, The Postern Gate, Showbar and Friar's Court just a short distance away.

Clearly, most revellers don't want to walk down a side street and be away from the 'action' around Barbauld Street, Friar's Gate, Bridge Street and Bridge Foot. The former Agency has reopened in 2013 as Chillies Indian restaurant.

Opposite Chillies is a brand new residential block called Bovey Court. This stands on the site of the former British Legion, which had been empty for some years. The pub featured a bowling green at the western end of the site nearest to the camera. I went to school with the son of a previous occupant of the British Legion.

A reader contacted me in July 2013 and asked if the building was originally a house. Well, yes it was. In 1864 it was owned by Benjamin Pierpoint, JP, MP who bequeathed it to the British Legion. It was known as The Stone House. A planning document at the Warrington Borough Council website gives some details of its history. Search for planning application reference 2003/00422 or link to the PDF document directly here.

According to D. Forrest's book A Warrington Chronology, the building was opened as the "Comrades of the Great War" Club on 7 September 1918. The British Legion closed in 1988 and was demolished on 6/7 April 2004.

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The Former British
Legion on
30 May 2003 (above)
and the site in
May 2004 after
demolition (below),
showing the back
of the church and
the telephone

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Bovey Court

On the opposite side on the corner is St Austin's Chambers, built in 1864, at one time a rest home for soldiers, and now used as offices.

Just down Bold Street to the left is Emmanuel Reformed Church of England church, which dates back to 1882.

The next landmark is one of the most important - the museum and library on the corner of Bold Street/Museum Street. It was founded in 1848 when Warrington's first Town Clerk, John Fitchett Marsh, took advantage of the new 1845 Museums Act to make it the first library in the country to be funded from the rates.

The foundation stone for the current building was laid on 22 September 1855.(23)

Inside the museum you can see rare rocks, fossil footprints, an Egyptian mummy, a Roman actor's mask (the only one of its kind in Britain), botany and fish galleries, glassware and pieces of artwork and paintings. Temporary exhibitions and workshops for schools also feature throughout the year.

The museum and library are well worth a visit, not only to view the artefacts on display, but also to take advantage of the facilities for your own research.

Check out the museum website.

The library received a makeover in 2009.

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St Austin's Chambers
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Emmanuel Church
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Museum and Library

Turn right out of St Austins Lane if you didn't visit the museum (or left out of the museum if that is where you are), and walk straight towards the traffic lights.

As you approach the traffic lights look out for the remains of the boot scraper (painted blue) in the lower part of the building on the corner.

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Cross the road at the traffic lights and walk straight on until you arrive at the entrance to Queen's Gardens. Enter via the Bold Street (east) entrance (see picture, right).

As you enter the gardens, look to the right at the rather plain-looking building. The right-hand section is Bold Street Methodist Church (photo right), opened on 17 May 1975. It replaced the previous building which was demolished in the summer of 1973. The first Bold St Methodist Chapel opened on the site on 12 April 1850. Before that a Wesleyan chapel was established on Bank Street in 1778 and proved to be too small for the growing congregation. The first organ was installed in 1857. See a photo of the previous building in Memory Lane (Walking Through Time Part 2). The left-hand side of the building are offices of Warrington Borough Council (including Trading Standards and Transport).

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In Queens Gardens, the military statue of Lt. Colonel McCarthy O'Leary (right) is dedicated to the memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment), who served in the Boer War in South Africa between 1899 and 1902. The memorial was unveiled in 1907 and features the names of the fallen.

The Peninsula Barracks of the South Lancashire Regiment are on O'Leary Street, Orford, and are now used by the Territorial Army. The South Lancashire Regiment formed in 1881 and the museum to the regiment is in Preston (Click here).

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Lt. Colonel McCarthy
O'Leary statue

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The fountain at the east end of the gardens dates back to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee year of 1897. It is a Grade II* listed monument and only the canopy remains - the fountain has long since been removed, probably on health and safety grounds. It was presented to the town by local businessman, Robert Garnett, and it is made of cast iron.

The top section features a profile of Queen Victoria on one side and a stork on each of the other three. Notice the inscription, "KEEP THE PAVEMENT DRY". It was manufactured at Walter McFarlane & Co.'s Saracen Factory in Glasgow. We will see something else manufactured by them when we get round to the Town Hall Gates.

If you travel to Hoylake on the Wirral you can view a similar fountain outside the lifeboat station. The Hoylake version was refurbished in May 2008 and is seen here in my combination photo (bottom right).

The differences are that ours does not have the water feature in the middle and Queen Victoria is shown on just one side, whereas Hoylake's version has her on all four sides.

For another version, link to this website, this time near Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, where you can also see somebody else's photo of our Warrington one.

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The fountain
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Take a quick detour through the exit to the left onto Palmyra Square South and have a look at the plaque on the wall of number 9, commemorating the early home of the first Viscount Leverhulme, William Hesketh Lever. Read his profile in Warrington People.

Bold Street and Palmyra Square now feature the financial sector of the town with solicitors' offices, but the buildings were private dwellings in the 19th century and the gardens belonged to the residents.

Queens Gardens opened as a public park on 17 October 1898.

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Viscount Leverhulme plaque

Outside the gardens on the opposite side is the former Holy Trinity vicarage, which has stood vacant since 2006 when the vicar retired. The Georgian building dates back to 1926. In 2009 planning permission was granted to demolish it and replace it with a five-storey restaurant and office complex. Although it is in a conservation area, it is not a listed building.

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An information board in the centre of the gardens, right, describes the history of area. It says, for instance, that Springfield House stood here in the past, which is how Springfield Street got its name.

For even more information, visit the museum and library to do your own research.

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The two images below (left and centre) show how the gardens looked from the south east corner (left) and the north west (centre) on 13 February 2003, before they received a makeover in 2004 (plaque).

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There are other plaques and memorials in the gardens, including one celebrating a million trees planted in Warrington as part of the Mersey Forest on 29 November 2004, and the Arpley Cannons which stood outside the former Arpley railway station. The cannons were melted down in 1940 for the war effort and the station building was demolished in 1968. See the Digital Archive at Warrington Museum website for a photo of the cannons.

A plaque also recognises the work of Warrington Rotary Club, which celebrated 100 years of operation in the town in 2005.

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Springfield Street entrance

The large open area is for outdoor entertainment performances. When you are ready, head to the Springfield Street (west) entrance (opposite end from where we came in). Outside the entrance to the right is a plaque explaining the reason for the name of the gardens (photo right).

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You will notice on the north side (Palmyra Square North) a large apartment block. This is called Knightsbridge Court and was built in 2003 on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office, which moved to Milner Street. At the Springfield Street end is a restaurant called the Grill on the Square (previously Le Frog Bistro). This building was the old post office. If you wish, walk over to it to spot the date engraved in the stonework. If you'd rather not, I can tell you it was built in 1906, but the stonework for the numerals is interesting, so now you must walk across and see it! Now head back to opposite side of the gardens to view our next landmarks.

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Knightsbridge Court

Warrington's town centre venues for the performing arts are on Palmyra Square South. This area of town is now known as the Cultural Quarter.

The first venue is the Parr Hall, designed by William Owen. Look for the large plaque giving details.

The Parr Hall opened in 1895 and the funds to build it were donated to the town by local banker J Charlton Parr. If you went on Tour 1 you will remember Parr's Bank is the NatWest building on Winwick Street.

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Parr Hall and plaque

To the right of the Parr Hall is what started out as Warrington Technical College in 1902. Look up to spot all the famous names engraved into the brickwork - Socrates, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Galileo, Bacon, Newton, Priestley, Dalton, Joules and Darwin. 

The school was designed by William and Segar Owen. It is constructed in red brick with terracotta dressings, and has a large stone central portion containing the entrance. The entrance is approached by steps, is flanked by pairs of columns, and above it is a large curved pediment and an iron balcony. 

The building was, until recently, the council's Borough Treasurer's building, but is now part of the Cultural Quarter and the current occupants are The Institution and Las Ramblas Wine & Tapas in 2021.

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Old Technical College

Keep walking west past the old Borough Treasurer's to see our second entertainment venue - the Pyramid Arts Centre. The old and the new come together here as the section past the glass frontage used to be the old County Court. Pyramid opened in 2002 and I had the pleasure of performing in the very first production, 'The North Face of Longshaw Street' - my one and only stage performance...

The two entertainment venues are promoted as Pyramid & Parr Hall by the council.

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Pyramid Arts Centre

Continuing our walk past Pyramid, we now venture onto Winmarleigh Street.

The street is named after Colonel John Wilson Patten, who became Lord Winmarleigh.

The small building opposite Pyramid is called Patten Hall, which used to be another court building. It was built in 1912 and has now been put to a different use.

There is also Wilson Patten Street at the bottom end of Winmarleigh Street (to your left). So now you know the reason for two of the town's street names. Close to Cockhedge Mill in the old days there was Gandy Street - it wasn't named after me personally, but could have been named after a member of my extended family. More on the Patten family later.

Turn right onto Winmarleigh Street itself and walk towards the large gates in the distance.

On the way there have a look at Winmarleigh House diagonally opposite Pyramid. It is also called Masonic Hall - check out the two sets of dates on the two foundation stones.

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Patten Hall
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Winmarleigh House

Further down Winmarleigh Street is the YMCA building on the left. The Winmarleigh Street building was opened in 1931. It was previously housed in a building on west Bridge Street near Friars Gate. (see the Community page for old photos of the building and a bit more on its history).

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On the opposite side is the former Warrington Guardian newspaper printing house (white building, right). Read more on the newspaper shortly.

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We now walk on to view the Golden Gates and the Town Hall. Take care when crossing the road. The gates were made by Messrs Kershaw and Crook at the Coalbrookdale Company at Ironbridge, Shropshire, for the International Exhibition in London in 1862. They were destined for Queen Victoria's Sandringham home in Norfolk. Unfortunately Her Majesty's attention was diverted away from the gates due to the presence of a statue of Oliver Cromwell behind them. As one of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant, Cromwell was understandably not popular with the royals. So the gates were sent back to the Coalbrookdale Company and lay there between 1863 and 1893 because they found it difficult to find an alternative market for them. Then came along Frederick W. Monks, Warrington councillor and director of Monks Hall Foundry, who saw them and donated them to the council. The gates are made of cast iron and are 7.62 metres high by 16.459 metres wide. They were officially opened on Walking Day (an annual religious walk of witness in the town) on 28 June 1895. See Memory Lane page for more on Walking Day. Oh, and we also have the statue of Cromwell too - it is the one at Bridge Foot mentioned earlier in the tour.

In 1978 the council decided to beautify the cast iron gates by having them painted with real gold leaf, costing £33,000. They are now known as The Golden Gates, and were valued at £500,000.(24) In 2018 they went on a journey to London for repairs and a makeover and were returned in time for Walking Day 2019. The Golden Gates name was used for various council departments during the 1980s and 1990s - Golden Gates Housing (the former housing section and now a social landlord called Golden Gates Housing Trust) and Golden Gates Leisure to look after the swimming pools and fitness centres across the town. The council's leisure services are now provided by Leisure Warrington.

John Bell designed both the statue of Oliver Cromwell and the four figures on top of the Golden Gates, which are said to represent Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. You might not know, but the two wings in the council's logo represent the wings of Nike. What you might not want to know is that it took two years and £30,000 to design the logo. The lamp posts (right) were manufactured by Walter McFarlane in Glasgow, as was the fountain in Queens Gardens we saw earlier.

At one time there was a magnificent ornamental fountain immediately behind the gates, donated by the family of Sir Peter Walker (of Walker's Brewery) in 1899. The fountain was made by Walter McFarlane & Co. of Glasgow, but along with the railings around Bank Park, the fountain was melted down and donated to the war effort in 1942. There are two other surviving fountains made to the same design, one in Pretoria, South Africa and one in Glasgow. There is a model of the fountain in a glass case inside the Town Hall.

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The Golden Gates
in 2005

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Nike, the goddess
of victory
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Town Hall Lamp posts
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We now bring back the Patten family.

Earlier in the tour we passed by Patten Lane off Bridge Street. From here the Patten family moved to their new home  - Bank Hall. This was built in 1750 during the reign of King George II. It was designed by James Gibbs, who also built St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in London's Trafalgar Square, and is said to be one of the last buildings erected to his designs and completed in his lifetime.

Bank Hall was set in open fields which went right down to the River Mersey. The first owner was Thomas Patten, a local businessman who owned a copper works at Bank Quay. As the population in the town began to grow, a perimeter wall was built around the grounds to provide some privacy for the family. 

The house stayed in the family until Thomas Patten's great-grandson, Colonel John Wilson Patten, later Lord Winmarleigh, put it up for sale. The town council bought it from them in 1872 for £9,000 and paid £13,000 for the 13-acre grounds surrounding it. Other local people made financial contributions to the cost, including George Crosfield and Colonel John Wilson Patten, who donated £12,500. The building has been the Town Hall ever since, and the grounds are known as Bank Park, which were opened as the town's first public park in 1873.

A booklet, Warrington Town Hall, is available from the library.

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Town Hall 2003
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Date of building

At the back of the Town Hall you will find a fountain dedicated to the Reverend Phillip Pearsall Carpenter (1819-77), minister of Cairo Street Chapel, who campaigned for public health reform in the 1850s. Read his profile in Warrington People to discover his connection with Warrington museum. Notice also the stone memorial to Warrington's industrial past. 

Other features of Bank Park no longer in existence were the Walker Fountain (which stood behind the town hall gates - see the Digital Archive at Warrington Museum website for a photo), and a zoo (which was relocated to Walton Gardens and still gives adults and children enormous pleasure), plus a bandstand.

At one time the whole estate was surrounded by railings, but these were sacrificed for the war effort. I recently found out that most of the metal collected across the country was simply dumped in the North Sea by the government. What a waste. And they have the cheek to tell us about recycling!

In March 2014 the council began to redevelop Bank Park to make it the jewel in the crown of the town centre open spaces. The work included new footpaths, pavilion, all-weather bowling greens with security fencing and an open air concert area.

If today is a nice day you might wish to relax in the grounds of the park. There are swings and slides for the children at the rear. When you are ready, make your way back to the Golden Gates...

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Carpenter fountain

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Memorial to our
industrial past

Our journey now take us back towards the town centre. Stay on the Town Hall side of the road and look across from the Golden Gates. The building on the left corner of Winmarleigh Street and Sankey Street began life as Warrington's first purpose-built post office in 1875.(25) The post office had previously been on King Street near Market Gate (King Street no longer exists).(26) The building has since served as the labour exchange (job centre), tax office, passport office and now as an information point for people over 50.

To the left of it, The Gateway building was once home to the Warrington Guardian newspaper; offices at the front, printing presses on Winmarleigh Street we saw earlier. The newspaper was started by Scotsman Alexander Mackie, with the first issue published on 9 April 1853. The paper is now printed in Glasgow. The Gateway is a base for various community groups, including the Citizens Advice Bureau and Warrington Housing Association. It was officially opened by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on 27 February 2006.

On the opposite corner is Hilden House, once the site of the Park cinema. Next to it is the former Priestley House, now revamped into Bank Quay House.

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Town Hall
in the snow, 2009
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The old Post Office

With the Golden Gates behind you, walk to your left past The Gateway. The next building along before the pedestrian crossing is Bank House. Bank House was originally two houses built in the Georgian period - the first was shown on a map of 1770, whilst the second was built later. It was once the home to William Allcard, railway engineer on the Grand Junction Railway, which came through Bank Quay a quarter of a mile to the west. Allcard became the town's second mayor.(27) There is a plaque dedicated to his memory on the building, which was used as the offices for Golden Gates Housing Trust. The organisation took over ownership of Warrington Borough Council housing stock in November 2010 and moved into a new purpose-built office suite in Bank Park in March 2014.

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Bank House

Look across the road at the white single-storey building. It was formerly one of Warrington's many town centre cinemas - The Cameo. It was previously known as the Picture Drome (Picturedrome) and in 1913 had an ornate appearance. However in 1951, this facade was removed to give it the look of today.(28) The cinema closed in 1956 and the building has served as various estate agents since then, with Tellyhire (Visionhire) occupying it for a while. In 2008 it was converted into JoJo's restaurant, which became Sinatra's on 23 May 2009, closing in March 2010 and opening as Eden Cafe Bar in September 2010. In September 2011 it has been split into two, with Paul Kemp hairdressers taking up residence on Sankey Street. The Eden restaurant on Springfield Street received the "best in the town" award from online website Trip Advisor for the past ten weeks, as reported in the Warrington Guardian on 5 July 2012.

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Former Cameo cinema
seen in September 2011

Cross at the pedestrian crossing and walk along until you reach the two-storey building set back from the road at an angle.

No 73 is called Holly House and was built in 1790.

It once featured a garden, which stretched to the corner of Springfield Street.(29)

The building is now used as offices.

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Holly House

Now look at the two large buildings across the road, 84 and 86 Sankey Street. Number 86, on the left, is called Garven House.

The Garven family sold it to the Corporation, who made it their Health Office.(30)

Number 84 used to be the Holy Trinity Vicarage (which was later moved to Palmyra Square North). The Corporation purchased it for its education offices.

The first chairman of the Education Committee was Frederick Monks, who donated the Golden Gates to the town.

In 2006 the building became known as Mayfield House. Garven Place is the access road between them. The building at the back is a dentist and clinic, which is set for a revamp by the council.

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Garven House
& old vicarage
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Sankey Street

The row of buildings containing Agave Rumbar Latin American bar and restaurant (Marshall's restaurant until mid-2013 and Jeniric's until early 2011) were built in the early 20th century and designed by local architects Wright, Garnett and Wright. They also designed the buildings around Market Gate.

Thomas Birtles had his photography shop here, as did Hewitt's furniture and antiques store and WH Smith.(31)

Above Hewitt's was the Central cinema where admission for children was 2d or two clean jam jars. And you thought recycling was a new idea!

Legh Street itself is named after the Legh family from Lyme in Cheshire, prominent landowners in Warrington in the 1400s.

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Legh Street Corner.
Jeniric's changed to
Marshall's and is
now Agave Rumbar.

The photos below show Legh Street on 12 August 2003 and on 14 August 2008

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Walking along the street past Legh Street and Dawsons we eventually come to number 51, old Horobin's newsagents.

The shop closed in 2004 and was later found to be structurally unsafe. It has since been rebuilt and is now Johnsonís hair salon.

The picture, right, top, shows the rebuilt shop between the estate agents and Help The Aged charity shop.

The delightful photo, right, below, was sent to me my Sarah B and shows the shop exactly as it was during its lifetime.

I remember from my days working at Lowes across the road in 1979-80 how there were piles of old newspapers stacked inside the shop, with the floor being olde-worlde, i.e. nothing flash, almost how my work colleague described Lowes itself.

Many thanks to Sarah for the photo of Horobin's.

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Old Horobin's
as it is now...
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...and as it was
in 1999.
Photo © Sarah B

Across the road is The White Hart pub. It, along with most of that block, was built out of brick and Portland stone in 1929, apart from the one occupied by Home estate agents, which was added later to blend in with the rest of the row.(32

It features a sculpture of a hart (a male deer). Lowes (Warrington) Ltd was two shops away from the pub.

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The White Hart
in 2003.

The photo (right) is Sankey Street in August 1995. In 1979 I started my first job at Lowes bookshop and stationers (the green Cornerstone estate agent in this photo). Between Lowes and The White Hart was Gladys Berg fashion shop. The Warrington Guardian office moved into the former Gladys Berg shop from its base on the corner of Sankey St/Springfield Street in the early 1990s before it moved to its permanent home at The Academy at Bridge Foot.

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We now approach Bold Street. Just before the junction there used to be a jewellers, Eustance's. It featured, for many years, a large 3-sided clock on the front of the shop. The clock is no longer on display. When Eustanceís moved, the clock was offered to any business willing to display it. Nobody offered and nobody seems to know where it went after that. The shop is now a pawnbroker.

H Wells, in his book 'Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street', shows that the white building in my photo, right, below, was once the home of Thomas Percival, the first enrolled scholar of Warrington Academy. His front door was where the entrance to Jobsearch is now.(33)

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Percival's House

In July 2010 I was contacted by Ian, who informs me that his wife's great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Hayes, lived here at 47 Sankey Street with his wife and family from 1855 to 1861. During this time he operated a saddlery business from this address, but it is believed he relocated to Salford around 1861-1862 due to bankruptcy.

If you have any further information about this Hayes family or their saddlery business in Warrington, please get in touch with me here and I will pass it on to Ian.

You will also notice Waterfield's bakery on the extreme left of the photo. On this spot stood the Woolpack Hotel, which was rebuilt in 1871.(34) It looked much nicer than this 1970s replacement - buildings with character changed to square blocks of concrete, but that was the 1970s for you. This is the point where the western boundary to the ancient town of Warrington ended. The area we have just walked was fields as far as Whitecross (half a mile away).(35)

Next we come to Hilden Square, alongside the White Hart pub. Until 2008 this was the last surviving section of Golborne Street. It was renamed Hilden Square to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the town's twinning with Hilden in Germany. Town twinning, also known as 'sister cities', is a concept whereby towns and cities in geographically and politically distinct areas are paired, with the goal of fostering human contact and cultural links between their inhabitants. The town now has two other twin towns: Nachod in the Czech Republic and Warrington, Pennsylvania, US. The village of Lymm is twinned with Meung Sur Loire in France.

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Continue walking down Sankey Street. Golden Square shopping centre is on the left. The large department store opposite Marks & Spencer was T.J. Hughes (TJ's) and before that the Co-op. TJ Hughes closed down in 2011 due to economic climate. The building was erected in 1908.(36)

Occupying the building today is the 99p Store, competing with the pound shop a few yards away, as we will see shortly.

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Turn right into Cairo Street and look for Cairo Street Chapel on the left. The chapel has stood here since 1745. However, this is not the original building, the first was built c.1703.(37)

It was formerly called Sankey Street Chapel (until 1846) and is also known as the Unitarian Chapel. Phillip P Carpenter, whose fountain we saw at the Town Hall, officiated at the chapel between 1846 and 1861.(38)

It features a Garden of Remembrance. Buried in the grounds are my namesake, Mr and Mrs William and Margaret Gandy, who died 20 March 1758 (aged 77) and 6 August 1764 (aged 82) respectively. I have not yet researched my family history so I don't know if they are related. Thanks to the church for permission to photograph the gardens.

The observant ones among you might have noticed three streets in this area with Egyptian names: Cairo Street, Egypt Street and Suez Street. These were named in the 1840s to remember the South Lancashire Regiment's campaigns against Napoleon in Egypt.(39)

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Cairo Street Chapel
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Garden of Remembrance

Head back to Sankey Street.

The Barclays Bank building on the corner stands on the site of a 17th century smithy.

The bank started out as the Union Bank, later becoming Barclays.

The local Observer newspaper office stood on Cairo St corner in 1891 with its printing house alongside.(40)

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Barclays Bank

Next to it, the NatWest building started out as the District Bank in 1857 when The Manchester and Liverpool District Bank built the premises, having moved from Friar's Gate.(41)

However, the bank started out on 25 July 1831 as an office of Manchester & Liverpool District Bank Co, celebrating their 175th Anniversary in 2006.

See the Events page for more on that anniversary.

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NatWest Bank

Next building along is Woolworth's. This was originally the showroom for Garnett's furniture store. Garnett's was founded in 1824. The building dates from 1864, seen on a stone high up on the building. Behind the store on Barbauld St you can see the workshops of Garnett's(42) (you can get to it via an entry after Gregg's bakery further along the street).

Woolworth's began when American Frank Winfield Woolworth set up his first store in 1878, selling items for five or ten cents each. The first British store opened in Liverpool in 1909, with the Warrington branch opening in 1912.

In the 1970s and 1980s the company was famous for taking up the whole of the TV advertising slot for its Christmas promotions. When I was a youngster the Woolworth's store traded on two floors, but it was later reduced to just the ground floor.

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Woolworths in 2003 
(above) and in 2009 on
the final day of trading

In late 2008 the Woolworth's company went into administration. No buyer could be found and so in January 2009 the company was wound up and the Warrington store itself closed for good on 6 January 2009. Speaking to some of the staff, they tell me that on the third floor there are still refrigerators in place from the days when meat was sold there

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The Woolworth's name is to be kept alive though as an internet company.

A new store, Asco, opened on the site in 2009, but that has now closed down, too.

The store re-opened as Poundland on 16 September 2010.

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Asco 3 Dec 2009

Our last building on Sankey Street is Holy Trinity Church. It was founded by Peter Legh of Lyme [Legh St] on 20 September 1709. A 'Chapel of Ease' was erected on the site to take the pressure off the Parish Church of St Elphin and to make it more convenient for people who were settling in the town centre at that time.

It was known as Trinity Chapel but by the 1750s it was too small. The current building was started in 1758 and it is said James Gibbs, who styled the Town Hall, was the architect, and it was finished in 1760.

The stone wall outside used to be adorned with iron railings, but like the Town Hall railings, they were sacrificed for the war effort.(43) A ramp has since been added for access. at one time there was also a drinking fountain outside, but modern health regulations now prohibit this. It stood from 1860 to the 1930s.(44) Visitors can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in the church on most days. A plaque outside shows a scene of Warrington in 1762. The clock above is the town clock, serviced by the Council. The church and the town jointly own the tower, whilst the bell dates from 1855.(45 Link to the church website here. Also in the photo of the church, above right, are three examples of the K6 telephone box. They were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V in 1935. There were over 60,000 installed across the country between 1936 and 1968 and over 10,000 are still in use.

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Holy Trinity church
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Stained glass window.
Photo © Albert
Hickson 1998

A final word on Sankey Street itself. It was known in the Middle Ages as Sonkygate Street, and takes its name from the settlements of Great and Little Sankey to the west of town.(46) In 1390 the street was named "Sonky" Street in local deeds. It is said that Sankey Street came into existence because the common people were allowed to cross the owner's land at this location.

This eastern section has always been narrow, so narrow in fact that two buses could not pass each other. In 1965, the bus company decided to purchase some Leyland 'Titan PD/2/40 Special' narrow-width buses to cope with the situation.(47) Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Why didn't they just re-route the buses... Well, later on they did and the street was made one-way. It is now pedestrianised.

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Leyland Titan
PD/2/40 Special

We are now back at our starting point of Tour 2, but there are still some things to show you. At the green 'skittles', make you way into Golden Square shopping centre by Perfect Home to the left. The area was known as Golden Square back in 1855, and probably before that.

Through the walkway you will be greeted by an open area with the Old Fish Market iron structure in the centre - the outer shell is all that remains, and with good reason. It was decided to keep this area for events and activities. In past summer holidays it has been turned into a seaside scene - Warrington By The Sea.

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Golden Square entrance
at Market Gate

This is where the old Warrington Market stood. The market was split into 3 sections - meat market, fish market and general market. All of it was moved into a new building on Bank Street in 1975.

In front of you is Ask restaurant, opened in June 2009. The building is a replica of the old Town Hall, which stood on this spot.

On your right you can see the granite sculpture that is the Mad Hatter's Tea Party from Daresbury-born Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, officially opened by Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana on their visit to the town in 1984. The £25,000 eight-tonne sculpture was designed by Edwin Russell who was picked from 200 hopeful artists.

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Golden Square
Old Fish Market
& Mad Hatter's
Tea Party

In the far left corner there is a plaque on the wall of Rhode Island coffee shop dedicated to William Beamont, the first Mayor of Warrington, who practised as a solicitor on this spot for 50 years. As mayor, he founded its municipal library, one of the first rate-aided libraries in the UK, in 1848. He also lived at Orford Hall, which was demolished in 1935. The grounds are now Orford Park.

Read more about William Beamont in Warrington People.

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To the right is the wonderful black and white Tudor building that is the Barley Mow pub. A 'mow' is a heap or pile of hay, corn or barley, etc. The pub has stood on the same spot since 1561. The passageway at the side used to lead to the old general market.  Inside the Barley Mow you can view a Jacobean chimney piece with fine carved panelling. In 1964 the premises were leased to Walker Cain Ltd, joining the estate of Tetley Walker Ltd in 1987, then Allied Domecq Inns in 1998 and finally becoming Bass Leisure Retail in 1999. It is one of the oldest buildings in the town centre and a fitting place to bring my two tours to an end. Why not treat yourself to a refreshing drink there, or in one of the many coffee shops in the square, and reflect on the journey you have just completed? barley_mow_050304.JPG (83425 bytes)
The Barley Mow

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The names of all the fallen in the Two World Wars at the Bridge Foot Memorial

This brings the second tour to an end.

For photos of what some of this looked like in the 1990s, click here for Nineteen Nineties

Footnotes: Clicking these links will take you back to the text
  1. Warrington Town Trail leaflet
  2. Warrington Town Trail leaflet
  3. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 26
  4. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 20
  5. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 37
  6. Janice Hayes & Alan Crosby, Warrington at Work, 2003, p 172
  7. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 41
  8. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 43
  9. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, pp 17-18
  10. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 17
  11. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 15
  12. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 14
  13. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 46
  14. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 10
  15. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, pp 11-12
  16. Alan Crosby, A History of Warrington, 2002, pp 58-59
  17. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 7
  18. Warrington Town Trail leaflet
  19. Alan Crosby, A History of Warrington, 2002, p 23, based on drawing
  20. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 44
  21. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bridge St, 1998, p 44
  22. Alan Crosby, A History of Warrington, 2002, p 137, photo caption
  23. Alan Crosby, A History of Warrington, 2002, p 136
  24. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 39
  25. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 18
  26. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 29
  27. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 25
  28. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 26
  29. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, pp 26, 50
  30. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 25
  31. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, pp 24-25
  32. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 24
  33. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, pp 19-22
  34. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 18
  35. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 22
  36. Alan Crosby, A History of Warrington, 2002, p 160, photo caption
  37. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 11
  38. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 12
  39. Warrington Town Trail leaflet
  40. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 11
  41. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 10-11
  42. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 10
  43. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 2
  44. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, pp 3, 5
  45. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 2
  46. H Wells, Walking Into Warrington's Past: Sankey Street, 2000, p 1
  47. Ron Phillips, Warrington Borough Transport 1902-2002: 100 Years of Service to the Community, 2002, p 23

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