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Warrington is a large town, borough and unitary authority area of Cheshiremarker, Englandmarker. It stands on the banks of the River Merseymarker, which is tidal to the west of the weir at Howley. The population of the borough of Warrington, including its 18 civil parishes, is around 194,000. Its population has more than doubled since its designation as a New Town in 1968.

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

The expansion and urbanisation of Warrington largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution, particularly after the Mersey was made navigable in the 18th century. The West Coast Mainlinemarker runs north to south through the town, and the Liverpoolmarker to Manchestermarker 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.

People born (or living) in Warrington are known as Warringtonians. The modern Borough of Warrington was formed in 1974 with the amalgamation of the former County Borough of Warringtonmarker, part of the Golborne Urban Districtmarker, the Lymm Urban Districtmarker, part of the Runcorn Rural Districtmarker, the Warrington Rural Districtmarker and part of the Whiston Rural Districtmarker.


Warrington has been a major crossing point on the River Merseymarker since ancient times and there was a Roman settlement at Wilderspool. In medieval times Warrington's importance was as a bridging point of the River Mersey, and it 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 churchmarker 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.

Industrial history

Warrington was a centre of steel (particularly wire), textiles, brewing, tanning and chemical industries.

Heavy industry declined in the 1970s and 1980s but the growth of the new town around Warrington led to a great increase in employment in light industry, distribution and technology. Travel-to-work patterns are unusual, with many residents working outside the borough and many employees living elsewhere.

IRA bombing

On 20 March 1993, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated two bombsmarker in Warrington town centre. The blasts killed two children: three year old Jonathan Ball died instantly, and twelve year old Tim Parry died five days later in hospital. Around 56 other people were injured - 4 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 Peace Centre (formerly the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Peace Centre) as part of a campaign to reconcile communities in conflict. The centre opened on the seventh anniversary of the bombing in 2000. He and his family still live in the town. The centre is open every Tuesday night as an activity centre where many people can group and socialise.

Jonathan's father Wilf Ball was also involved in the campaigns that Mr Parry was involved in, but he died in 2004.

Other history

Warrington is notable in political history for being the first place to field a candidate for the then newly-formed Social Democratic Party; former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins stood for Parliament in 1981 but lost to Labour Party candidate Doug Hoyle by a small number of votes.

However, many people, particularly Americans, will remember Warrington best as the location of Burtonwood RAF basemarker, one of (if not the) largest Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in England and the largest US Air Force base outside the United States. During World War II, Burtonwood was visited by major celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Bob Hope who entertained the G.I.. The base was closed in 1993.

There was a further RAF training camp at Padgatemarker, a Royal Naval air base at Appleton Thornmarker (RNAS Strettonmarker) and an army base at the Peninsula Barracks in O'Leary Street, now used by the Territorial Army.


Historically part of Lancashire, Warrington was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1847 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. Warrington acquired county borough status upon reaching a population of 50,000 in 1900 and until 1974 was known as the County Borough of Warringtonmarker. As part of proposed local government reforms of England, in 1969 the Redcliffe-Maud Report suggested merging Warrington with either Merseyside or Greater Manchestermarker metropolitan counties. Lobbying by the borough council averted this. But, since these County boundary changes were to make Warrington non-contiguous with Lancashire, under the local government reforms of 1974, Warrington, incorporating Lymmmarker Urban District and part of Runcorn Rural Districtmarker from Cheshire, and part of Warrington Rural Districtmarker, was made a borough within Cheshire County Council.

On April 1, 1998 Warrington became an independent unitary authority, though it is still served by Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, and forms part of Cheshire for ceremonial purposes, such as the Lord Lieutenancy. The current borders of Warrington Borough cover the former County Borough of Warrington, Lymm Urban District, Warrington Rural Districtmarker and part of Golbornemarker Urban District, part of Runcorn Rural Districtmarker and part of Whiston Rural Districtmarker.

Warrington has applied unsuccessfully for city status, the most recent attempt being after the opening of the Peace Centre as a "City for Peace".

The political makeup of the borough council is as follows:

Current councillor party composition:
Party Councillors
Liberal Democrat 28
Labour 22
Conservative 7

By consequence, there is no overall control (NOC) in Warrington.

At Westminstermarker, Warrington is represented by two Labour Party MPs. Helen Jones represents Warrington Northmarker, and Helen Southworth represents Warrington Southmarker.


The Borough of Warrington is bordered by Haltonmarker, Cheshire West and Chestermarker, and Cheshire East boroughs in the Ceremonial County of Cheshiremarker and by the metropolitan boroughs of Traffordmarker, the City of Salfordmarker, Wiganmarker and St. Helensmarker.

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

Appletonmarker, Birchwoodmarker, Burtonwood and Westbrookmarker, Croftmarker, Cuerdleymarker, Culcheth and Glazeburymarker, Grappenhall and Thelwallmarker, Great Sankeymarker, Hattonmarker, Lymmmarker, Penkethmarker,Poulton-with-Fearnheadmarker, Rixton-with-Glazebrookmarker, Stockton Heathmarker, Strettonmarker,Waltonmarker, Winwickmarker, Woolstonmarker

Other areas

Appleton Thornmarker, Bewseymarker, Blackbrook, Bruchemarker, Callands, Cinnamon Brow, Cobbs, Dallammarker, Fairfield, Gemini, Gorse Covert, Grange, Hermitage Greenmarker, Hollins Greenmarker, Howley, Hulme, Kenyon, Lane End, Latchfordmarker, Little Town, Locking Stumps, Martinscroftmarker, Omegamarker, Longford, Orfordmarker, Paddington, Padgatemarker, Risleymarker, Sankey Bridgesmarker, Statham, Thelwallmarker, Westbrookmarker, Westymarker, Wilderspoolmarker, Woolstonmarker, Wright's Green, Old Hall



Based on ONS statistics

Population and ethnicity

Warrington has a total population of 319,782, of which 49.1% are male and 50.9% are female. The average age of the population is 38.06 years, which is slightly below the regional and national averages. In the borough, the majority of people are of white ethnicity (97.9%). The key minorities are mixed race (0.6%), black ethnicity (0.2%), and Asian origin (0.8%), other racial origins account for 0.5% of the population.

Housing and social situation

As at the 2001 census (the last available data), the borough of Warrington had 80,593 households. Of this 80,593 households, 76% are owner occupied, 17.6% are rented from the council, 4.8% are rented from other sources and 1.6% of houses have residents who live 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. 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).


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Halton and Warrington at current basic prices published (pp. 240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 3,636 14 1,361 2,261
2000 4,768 10 1,433 3,324
2003 5,774 18 1,399 4,356

In spite of its proximity to significant retail areas in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and the out-of-town Trafford Centre, Warrington continues to have one of the larger shopping centres in North West England. Despite the competition, Warrington has seen an increase in its customer trade, due in part to the modernisation of the town centre. It has a shopping mall (Golden Square) first opened in 1974, which has been extended to include a Debenhams store, and a new bus station. The old Cockhedge Textile Mill was demolished and replaced by another shopping mall. The main shopping streets are Buttermarket Street, Horsemarket Street, Sankey Street and Bridge Street. Where these four streets intersect at Market Gate, there is an award-winning redevelopment with a large fountain and "guardians" (known locally as "the skittles") designed by Howard Ben Tré. The town also has a large indoor market, and several other small shopping malls, such as Hatters Row. In the surrounding modern suburbs, there are several shopping areas, from small groups of shops to malls such as Birchwood Mall. IKEA chose Warrington as the location for their first store when they came to the UK; the store is located in the large out-of-town shopping area of Gemini, which has a large Marks and Spencer (the biggest outside London), Toys "R" Us, and Next outlets.


Warrington is home to one of the most important strategic development projects in Europe in the Omega Development Sitemarker close to the M62. It will be a vibrant, active and sustainable business community which is to be developed in stages over the next 30 years. The site for this is the of space on the former Burtonwood Airbasemarker. The cost of this is set to reach £1billion.

Other developments in Warrington include the Wire Works on Winwick Street which is set to transform the gateway into the town centre with a mixture of retail, cafes, bars, apartments, and an 8-screen cinema.


Warrington after the coming of the railway, 1851

The town has two main railway stations. Bank Quaymarker is on the main West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Glasgow Centralmarker and the Manchester Piccadillymarker to North Walesmarker via Chestermarker line. Centralmarker is on the Liverpool to Manchester (via Widnesmarker and Warrington) line 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. There are also railway stations in the suburbs at Padgate, Sankey and Birchwood.

The town lies close to the M62, M6 and M56 motorways and midway between Liverpoolmarker and Manchestermarker airports.

Warrington Borough Transport, one of the few municipal bus companies to survive in public ownership, runs most bus services within the town. First Group and Arriva Northwestern provide bus links to surrounding towns and cities such as Manchester, the Trafford Centre, Liverpool, St Helens, Runcorn, Widnes and Chester. A new real-time passenger information system has been installed. A new bus station known as Warrington Interchangemarker 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 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, and another high-level crossing is planned downstream nearer to Runcornmarker. 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.


has a concert hall (the Parr Hallmarker), an arts centre (the Pyramid), a museum (Warrington Museum & Art Gallerymarker), 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 considered as part of a town centre redevelopment. There are several parks (see also Parks in Warrington) and designated nature reserves at Woolston Eyesmarker, Risley Moss, Rixton Claypitsmarker, and Paddington Meadowsmarker.There is also ten-pin bowling located at Winwick Quay, and indoor paintball. An indoor karting centre is located near to Bank Quay. Alongside the karting centre is a golf driving range, with an American golf shop attached. A Laser Quest arena and a snooker club can also be found in Warrington, both located close to the town centre. Gulliver's Theme Park is located in Old Hall. Apple Jacks Farm Theme Park is situated in Stretton.

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:

Warrington also has many musical groups, including Warrington Male Voice Choir, Warrington Youth Orchestra and the North Cheshire Wind Orchestra.


Rugby league is the town's premier sports in the form of Warrington Wolves who are nicknamed "The Wire" because of Warrington's history of wire making. The club moved in 2003 to the Halliwell Jones Stadiummarker, leaving its home for over a century, Wilderspool Stadiummarker. Warrington Wolves are the only team to have played every season in the top flight of rugby league. The town is also home to Warrington Wizards who also play their home matches at Wilderspool Stadiummarker. The Wizards are currently in the Rugby League Conference. Warrington is represented in the BARLA leagues by Crosfields ARLFC, Bank Quay Bulls ARLFC, Rylands ARFLC, Woolston Rovers ARLFC, Latchford Albion ARLFC, Burtonwood Bulldogs ARLFC and Westbrook Tigers ARLFC.

Football is represented by Warrington Town at Cantilever Park, next to the Manchester Ship Canal. The club has several nicknames including Town, Yellows, Wire and Warriors. Warrington Town are currently in the Northern Premier League Division One North.

Warrington Athletic Club is based at Victoria Park, where a new eight-lane synthetic track was built in 1998, after the original track was destroyed in a fire the previous year.

Speedway racing, formerly known as Dirt Track racing was staged in Warrington in its pioneering era between 1928 and 1930. The track entered a team in the 1929 English Dirt Track League and the 1930 Northern League. Efforts to revive the venue in 1947 failed to materialise.

Warrington Wolves Basketball team was set up in 2009 and will compete in the English Basketball League Division Two.


Warrington is home to two colleges: Priestley Sixth Form and Community Collegemarker and Warrington Collegiate. The University of Chestermarker has a campus at Padgatemarker that was formerly part of Warrington Collegiate. Most of the high schools have their own post-16 provision (sixth-form).

The high schools throughout the borough are located at: Birchwoodmarker, Culchethmarker, Appletonmarker (known as Bridgewater High School Warringtonmarker), two in Latchfordmarker (Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High Schoolmarker and Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic High Schoolmarker), Sankeymarker, Lymmmarker (Lymm High Schoolmarker), Padgatemarker (Lysander Community High Schoolmarker), Penkethmarker, Westbrook (St Gregory's Catholic High Schoolmarker), Orfordmarker (William Beamont High School), and Woolstonmarker. Woolston High School is to be closed in 2012.

There are also 74 primary schools in the borough, all of which feed into at least one of the above.


Sites of interest in Warrington include:

Notable residents

  • 18th century free-thinker and scientist Joseph Priestley lived and taught in Warrington, at the Academy.
  • William Beamont was a Victorian solicitor and local philanthropist who founded several churches and the municipal library, the first rate-aided library in the UK.
  • Entertainer George Formby lived for many years in Warrington and is buried in Warrington Cemetery, with his father George Formby , also an entertainer.
  • First class cricketer George Duckworth was born in Warrington and played Test cricket for England. He played first class cricket for Lancashire between 1923 and 1947.
  • First class cricketer Neil Fairbrother was born in Warrington and played Test cricket for England.
  • The late William Norman, VC (1832-1896), a local war hero, was born in Warrington.
  • George Sampson, dancer and winner of Britain's Got Talent in 2008.
  • DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans was born and grew up in Warrington.
  • Fashion designer Ossie Clark (1942 - 1996) grew up in Warrington where he attended William Beamont Secondary Technical School.
  • Actor Pete Postlethwaite is from Padgate in Warrington.
  • Author Pete McCarthy was born in Warrington and there is a rememberance plaque on the wall of the Pyramid ats centre bearing his name.
  • Tim Curry (actor/singer/composer) was born in Warrington and lived in Grappenhall.
  • Ian Brown (rock musician) was born in Warrington and lived in Forster Street. He now lives in Lymm.
  • Sue Johnston (actress) star of Brookside and The Royle Family.
  • Darren Jeffries (actor) best known for his role as OB in Hollyoaks.
  • Steven Arnold (actor) best known for his role as Ashley Peacock in Coronation Street.
  • Pete Waterman, record producer, lives in Warrington, in the village of Winwick.
  • Kerry Katona (singer/actress) Lives in Warrington, on the very affluent are of Winwick Park

Twin towns

See also


External links

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