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Warrington
Town, Borough and Unitary authority
Warrington Town Hall
Warrington Town Hall
Official logo of Warrington
Coat of arms
Warrington shown within Cheshire
Warrington shown within Cheshire
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Constituent country  England
Region North West England
Ceremonial county Template:Country data Cheshire
Historic county Template:Country data Lancashire
Founded 8th century
(exact date unknown)
Town charter 12th century
(exact date unknown)
Unitary authority 1 April 1998
Area
 • Borough 69.7 sq mi (180.6 km2)
 • Urban 17.3 sq mi (44.9 km2)
Area rank 173rd
Population (2005 est.)
 • Rank [[List of English districts by population|]]
 • Urban 165,456 (46th)
 • Urban density 9,550/sq mi (3,686/km2)
 • Ethnicity 92.9% White British
2.5% Asian
Demonym(s) Warringtonian
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode area WA (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13)
Dialling code 01925
ISO 3166 code GB-WRT
GSS code E06000007
NUTS 3 code UKD21
ONS code 00EU
OS grid reference SJ605885
Website www.warrington.gov.uk

Warrington is a town and unitary authority area in Cheshire, England, on the banks of the River Mersey, 20 miles (32 km) east of Liverpool, and 20 miles (32 km) west of Manchester. The population in 2011 was 202,228, more than double that of 1968 when it became a New Town.

Warrington was founded by the Romans at an important crossing place on the River Mersey. A new settlement was established by the Saxons. By the Middle Ages, Warrington had emerged as a market town at the lowest bridging point of the river. A local tradition of textile and tool production dates from this time.

Historically in Lancashire, the expansion and urbanisation of Warrington coincided with the Industrial Revolution, particularly after the Mersey was made navigable in the 18th century. The West Coast Main Line runs north to south through the town, and the Liverpool to Manchester railway (the Cheshire Lines route) west to east. The Manchester Ship Canal cuts through the south of the borough (west to east). The M6, M56 and M62 motorways form a partial box around the town.

The modern Borough of Warrington was formed in 1974 with the amalgamation of the former County Borough of Warrington, part of the Golborne Urban District, the Lymm Urban District, part of the Runcorn Rural District, the Warrington Rural District and part of the Whiston Rural District.

History

Early history

Warrington has been a major crossing point on the River Mersey since ancient times and there was a Roman settlement at Wilderspool. Local archaeological evidence indicates that there were Bronze Age settlements also. In medieval times Warrington's importance was as a market town and bridging point of the River Mersey. The first reference to a bridge at Warrington is found in 1285. The origin of the modern town was located in the area around St Elphin's Church, now included in the Church Street Conservation Area, established whilst the main river crossing was via a ford approximately 1 km upriver of Warrington Bridge.

English Civil War

Warrington was a fulcrum in the English Civil War. The armies of Oliver Cromwell and the Earl of Derby both stayed near the old town centre (the parish church area). Popular legend has it that Cromwell lodged near the building which survives on Church Street as the Cottage Restaurant. The Marquis of Granby public house bears a plaque stating that the Earl of Derby 'had his quarters near this site'. Dents in the walls of the parish church are rumoured to have been caused by the cannons from the time of the civil war. On 13 August 1651 Warrington was the scene of the last Royalist victory of the civil war when Scots troops under Charles II and David Leslie, Lord Newark, fought Parliamentarians under John Lambert at the Battle of Warrington Bridge.

Industrial history

The expansion and urbanisation of Warrington largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution, particularly after the Mersey was made navigable in the 18th century. As Britain became industrialised, Warrington embraced the Industrial Revolution becoming a manufacturing town and a centre of steel (particularly wire), textiles, brewing, tanning and chemical industries. The navigational properties of the River Mersey were improved, canals were built, and the town grew yet more prosperous and popular. When the age of steam came, Warrington naturally welcomed it, both as a means of transport and as a source of power for its mills.

Second World War

Many people, particularly Americans, remember Warrington best as the location of RAF Station Burtonwood Burtonwood RAF base. During World War II, it served as the largest US Army Air Force airfield outside the United States, and was visited by major American celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Bob Hope who entertained the GIs. The RAF station continued in use by the USAAF and subsequently USAF as a staging post for men and material until its closure in 1993.

Post-war expansion

Warrington was designated a new town in 1968 and consequently the town grew in size, with the Birchwood area being developed on the former ROF Risley site. Heavy industry declined in the 1970s and 1980s but the growth of the new town led to a great increase in employment in light industry, distribution and technology.

IRA bombing

On 20 March 1993, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated two bombs in Warrington town centre. The blasts killed two children: three-year-old Jonathan Ball died instantly, and twelve-year-old Tim Parry, from the Great Sankey area died five days later in hospital. Around 56 other people were injured, four seriously. Their deaths provoked widespread condemnation of the organisation responsible. The blast followed a bomb attack a few weeks earlier on a gas-storage plant in Warrington.

Tim Parry's father Colin Parry founded The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace (known as the Peace Centre) as part of a campaign to reconcile communities in conflict. The centre opened on the seventh anniversary of the bombing, 20 March 2000. He and his family still live in the town.

Other history

In 1981, Warrington was the first place to field a candidate for the new Social Democratic Party; former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins stood for Parliament but lost to Labour Party candidate Doug Hoyle by a small number of votes.

There was a RAF training camp at Padgate, a Royal Naval air base at Appleton Thorn (RNAS Stretton) and an army base at the Peninsula Barracks in O'Leary Street, now used by the Army Reserve.

In October 1987, Swedish home products retailer IKEA opened its first British store in the Burtonwood area of the town, bringing more than 200 retail jobs to the area.

The first MMR vaccine to be administered in the UK was given by Dr Benjamin Paterson at Warrington General Hospital in 1971.

Geography

The Borough of Warrington is bordered by Halton, Cheshire West and Chester, and Cheshire East boroughs in the Ceremonial County of Cheshire and by the metropolitan boroughs of Trafford, Salford and Wigan in Greater Manchester and St. Helens in Merseyside.

Subdivisions, suburbs and civil parishes of Warrington

The Borough of Warrington is subdivided into 18 civil parishes and various suburbs of the central town of Warrington, which is an unparished area:

Civil parishes

Appleton, Birchwood, Burtonwood and Westbrook, Croft, Cuerdley, Culcheth and Glazebury, Grappenhall and Thelwall, Great Sankey, Hatton, Lymm, Penketh, Poulton-with-Fearnhead (includes Padgate), Rixton-with-Glazebrook, Stockton Heath, Stretton, Walton, Winwick, Woolston (includes Martinscroft and Paddington)

Other areas

Appleton Thorn, Bewsey, Blackbrook, Bruche, Callands, Chapelford, Cinnamon Brow, Cobbs, Dallam, Fairfield, Gemini, Gorse Covert, Grange, Hermitage Green, Hollins Green, Hood Manor, Howley, Hulme, Kenyon, Latchford, Locking Stumps, Old Hall, Omega, Longford, Orford, Risley, Sankey Bridges, Westbrook, Westy, Whitecross, Wilderspool, Wright's Green

Climate

Warrington has a temperate maritime climate with warm summers and cool winters. Rain is spread across the year, with thunderstorms only usually occurring in the summer months. Summer heat waves are rare but can cause temperatures to exceed 30 °C. Summers are usually snow- and frost-free and rarely experience high winds. Winters are generally mild, with most days above 0 °C and free of lying snow. However, during occasional lengthy cold snaps, night-time temperatures have been known to fall to −12 °C with lying snow lasting for weeks. Ground frost regularly occurs from late October until late March. High winds are common in winter, although rarely above gale force 7.

Climate data for Warrington, United Kingdom (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
(44.4)
7.2
(45)
9.7
(49.5)
12.3
(54.1)
15.9
(60.6)
18.4
(65.1)
20.2
(68.4)
20.1
(68.2)
17.4
(63.3)
13.5
(56.3)
9.6
(49.3)
7.1
(44.8)
13.19
(55.75)
Average low °C (°F) 0.8
(33.4)
1.0
(33.8)
2.4
(36.3)
3.6
(38.5)
6.7
(44.1)
9.0
(48.2)
11.7
(53.1)
11.3
(52.3)
9.2
(48.6)
6.7
(44.1)
3.0
(37.4)
0.6
(33.1)
5.5
(41.9)
Rainfall mm (inches) 81.5
(3.209)
51.5
(2.028)
58.6
(2.307)
61.4
(2.417)
54.8
(2.157)
64.5
(2.539)
67.3
(2.65)
79.4
(3.126)
79.6
(3.134)
98.8
(3.89)
79.9
(3.146)
89.8
(3.535)
867.1
(34.138)
Sunshine hours 43.8 69.8 97.7 137.1 185.9 163.7 171.7 161.6 133.3 89.7 63.7 54.6 1,372.6

Demography

Based on ONS statistics

Population and ethnicity

At the 2011 census, Warrington had a total population of 202,200, of which 49.6% are male and 50.4% are female. The average age of the population is 38.06 years, which is slightly below the regional and national averages.

In addition to English, a further 36 languages were recorded spoken by more than 0.01% of Warrington's population aged 3 and over in the 2011 census. those spoken by more than 0.1% were Polish (0.88%), Slovak (0.21%), Urdu (0.14%), Latvian (0.12%) Non Mandarian or Cantonese Chinese (0.12%) and Tagalog/Filipino (0.11%).

There are around 100 churches or other Christian communities, two mosques, and a Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara which is the only Sikh place of worship in Cheshire.

The most multicultural parts of Warrington are in the town centre, as well as the western and north western suburbs, such as Bewsey and Westbrook. In 2011, the town was 92.9% White British, 2.3% other White, 2.4% Asian and 0.3% Black.

Housing and social situation

At the 2011 census, the borough of Warrington had 85,100 households. From 2001 data (80,593 households), 76% were owner occupied, 17.6% were rented from the council, 4.8% were rented from other sources and 1.6% of houses had residents who lived rent free. Warrington has a population density of 10.7 residents per hectare, and 31.9% of residents describe the borough is a comfortably well off area, 4.3% of households are deemed overcrowded. Of the total population, 5.8% of residents are on some form of benefits.

Employment and education

At 2005, the borough of Warrington had 63.6% employment, with only 2.9% of all economically active people unemployed – although a substantial rise began in 2008 due to the recession. 2.3% of the population are students in full-time higher education. 31.1% of the total population are economically inactive (due to retirement, ill health, or full-time carer status). According to borough statistics, of the population (in the Borough of Warrington in 2005). 26.9% are unqualified (either due to leaving school early or failing the end of school examinations). 46.4% have level 1 or 2 qualifications (level 1 being 1+ GCSE (A*-G) or "O" Level or equivalent, level 2 being 5+ GCSEs (grades A-C), 1+'A' levels/ AS levels (A-E) or equivalent). 19.7% have received level 3+ qualifications (meaning 2+ A-levels (A-E), 4+ AS-levels (A-E) or equivalent minimum).

Transport

Warrington - 1851 - Project Gutenberg eText 13721
Warrington after the coming of the railway, 1851

The town has two main railway stations. Bank Quay is on the main West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Glasgow Central and the Manchester Piccadilly to North Wales via Chester line. Central is on the Liverpool to Manchester line (via Widnes and Warrington) with through services to the North East and to East Anglia. Bank Quay is much altered, but Central (built 1873) is of some architectural merit, featuring polychromatic brickwork. Both have undergone some refurbishment including new entrances. There are also railway stations in the suburbs at Padgate, Sankey, Glazebrook and Birchwood.

The town lies close to the M62, M6 and M56 motorways and midway between Liverpool and Manchester airports. It also has four Primary A roads, A49, A50, A56 and A57. The A580 (East Lancashire Road) forms part of the northern boundary of the borough.

Warrington Borough Transport, trading as Network Warrington, one of the few municipal bus companies to survive in public ownership, runs most bus services within the town. FirstGroup and Arriva North West provide bus links to surrounding towns and cities such as Manchester, the Trafford Centre, Liverpool, St Helens, Runcorn, Widnes and Chester. A real-time passenger information system was installed and has recently been updated. A new bus station known as Warrington Interchange opened in 2006 at the Golden Square Shopping Centre.

The River Mersey runs through the heart of the town dividing it in two. There are only two main thoroughfares crossing the Mersey in Warrington: at Warrington Bridge at Bridge Foot and at the Kingsway Bridge. Before the M6 was built, these routes were very busy with through traffic.

The Manchester Ship Canal runs through the south of the town; three swing bridges and a high-level cantilever bridge provide crossing points. Although shipping movements on the ship canal are far less frequent than in years past, they can cause severe delay to local road traffic. The picturesque Bridgewater Canal runs through the borough from the scenic village of Lymm to Walton Hall and Gardens, a local park/leisure area. The course of the Sankey Canal runs through the west of the town, although most of it is not suitable for navigation.

Warrington Bus Interchange

Warrington Bus Interchange exterior
Warrington Bus Interchange in October 2009

Warrington Bus Interchange (also known as Warrington Interchange) is a bus station in the town of Warrington, Cheshire, England

History

The building opened on 21 August 2006, next to the site of a temporary terminus that had been in use for the past thirteen months. The new interchange was built in conjunction with the extension and upgrade of the adjoining Golden Square shopping centre, and replaced the previous bus station which dated from 1979.

The interchange consists of 19 departure stands, numbered from 1 to 19, all of which employ a drive-in reverse-out layout. Each stand has a computerised information screen which also ties into the real-time information system. All stands are served from the main concourse building, which contains toilets, two coffee shops, and a combined travel and tourist information office. There is access to the shopping centre via escalators and lifts. The exits on the eastern side of the building lead onto Winwick Street, on which can be found a taxi rank and Warrington Central railway station within around 100 metres.

The bus station is the terminus for all local bus services within Warrington. Regional services operate to neighbouring cities Liverpool, Manchester and Chester, as well as to Wigan, Leigh, The Trafford Centre, Altrincham, Northwich, Runcorn, Widnes and St Helens. A small number of National Express long distance coach services operate to destinations including London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Southend-on-Sea and Southport . The majority of bus services are operated by Network Warrington, who have their own information office within the main concourse selling season tickets. Other services are provided by Arriva North West, Halton Transport, and First Greater Manchester

Culture

Front of Museum
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, opened 1858

Warrington has a concert hall (the Parr Hall), an arts centre (the Pyramid), three museums, and various public libraries throughout the borough. Warrington Central Library was the first rate-supported library in the UK. The Victorian swimming baths closed in July 2003. There is a cinema at Westbrook, and another is being constructed as part of a town centre redevelopment. There are several parks (see also Parks in Warrington) and designated nature reserves at Woolston Eyes, Risley Moss, Rixton Claypits and Paddington Meadows.

Museums

Warrington Museum & Art Gallery is situated in Warrington's Cultural Quarter on the first floor of a building it currently shares with Warrington Central Library. The town is also home to the Museum of Policing in Cheshire, located in part of the working police station and the Warrington Museum of Freemasonry.

A heritage centre for the village of Lymm was given planning permission in February 2016.

Events

A number of festivals, carnivals and walking days are held annually in the Warrington area. Warrington Walking Day – originally a Sunday school festival – is held on the closest Friday to the last day of June, and the town centre is closed to traffic as churches walk together through the streets.

Other festivals, besides the many walking days, include:

  • Appleton Thorn Bawming of the Thorn
  • Birchwood Carnival and Safari Day
  • Croft Carnival
  • Culcheth Community Day
  • Glazebury Gala
  • Howley Carnival
  • Lymm May Queen
  • Lymm Dickensian Festival
  • Lymm Rushbearing
  • Penketh Carnival
  • Stockton Heath Arts Festival
  • Thelwall Rose Queen
  • Warrington Music Festival
  • Winwick Carnival
  • Westy Carnival

Music

Regular series of free classical music concerts take place in Holy Trinity Church, organised by the Warrington Arts Council Initiative for the Development Of Music (WACIDOM). This charity is also responsible for the biennial Warrington Competition for Young Musicians, held at Arley Hall. Regular classical recitals also take place at Walton Hall and St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall. Warrington also has many musical groups, including Warrington Male Voice Choir, Gemini Musical Theatre Company (formerly Warrington Light Opera), Warrington Youth Orchestra, North Cheshire Wind Orchestra, Centenary Theatre Company and the award-winning barbershop chorus, the Cheshire Chord Company.

A number of rock and pop musicians are associated with Warrington. Madchester pioneers The Stone Roses are closely associated with the town, particularly the native lead singer Ian Brown. Other artists include Spike Dawbarn from 90's music act band 911, Kerry Katona of Atomic Kitten, Ben Byrne and James Stelfox from Starsailor and Tim Bowness of No-Man. The band Viola Beach (whose single "Swings & Waterslides" posthumously entered the UK Singles Chart at number 11) were formed in Warrington.

The Hit Man and Her TV Show featuring producer Pete Waterman (of Stock Aitken Waterman) and Michaela Strachan debuted and regularly returned to the Mr Smiths nightclub in Warrington.

Heritage

See also: Listed buildings in Warrington (unparished area), Grade I and II* listed buildings in Warrington, and List of Conservation Areas in Warrington

In a 2015 study by the Royal Society of Arts , Warrington scored lowest of all authorities in the UK in terms of heritage assets, and the town was described in the national press as "the least cultural place in Britain".

Landmarks

See also Listed buildings in Warrington
Warrington town hall
The park gates at Warrington Town Hall

Sites of interest in Warrington include:

  • Warrington Town Hall (and its golden gates), formerly Bank Hall (built 1750), the home of the Philips family and their scion the artist Nathaniel George Philips.
  • The Academy, a dissenters' institute where Joseph Priestley once taught. After being moved from their original location, the building housed the offices of the local newspaper the Warrington Guardian until June 2016. A Grade II listed statue of Oliver Cromwell stands in front of the Academy.
  • "Cromwell's Cottage" (17th century), which Oliver Cromwell is said to have visited.
  • The 14th century Parish Church of St Elphin, largely a Victorian rebuild with a 281-foot (86 m) spire, the sixth tallest in the UK.
  • Halliwell Jones Stadium home of Warrington Wolves
  • Parr Hall, home to one of the few remaining Cavaillé-Coll organs.
  • Pyramid Arts Centre on Palmyra Square.
  • Warrington Transporter Bridge, a Grade II* listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
  • The Barley Mow, established in 1561, the oldest pub in Warrington.
  • Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Grade II listed building and one of the oldest municipal museums in the UK.
  • The Cheshire Lines railway warehouse, now redeveloped as apartments.
  • The row of late Victorian terracotta clad shops on Bridge Street.
  • Fiddlers Ferry Power Station
  • The industrial modernist Unilever Soapworks.
  • Holy Trinity Church, 1758, Grade II* listed Georgian church at Market Gate.
  • Old St Ann's Church, 1869, Grade II* church designed by John Douglas, now a rock climbing centre.
  • St Mary's Church, Grade II church designed by E.W. Pugin and Peter Paul Pugin in Buttermarket Street.
  • IKEA store which is located near the Gemini retail park. The first of the IKEA chain to be built in the UK.
  • The former Woolworth's Building in Sankey Street (originally Garnett's furniture showroom and currently Poundland).
  • Musical instrument retailer Dawsons Music has been based on Sankey Street since 1898, where its headquarters remain to this day.
  • St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall, Grade I listed medieval church.
  • St Oswald's Church, Winwick, Grade I listed medieval church.

Twin Towns

Warrington is twinned with Hilden, Germany and Nachod, Czech Republic. The villages of Lymm and Culcheth within the borough are twinned with Meung-sur-Loire, France and Saint-Leu-la-Foret, France respectively.

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