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Alternate uses: see Warrington (disambiguation).
Borough of Warrington
Missing image

Status:Unitary, Borough
Region:North West England
Ceremonial County:Cheshire
- Total
Ranked 196th
180.64 km²
Admin. HQ:Warrington
ONS code:00EU
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 69th
1,070 / km²
Ethnicity:97.9% White
Arms of Warrington Borough Council
Warrington Borough Council
Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
MPs:Helen Jones, Helen Southworth

Warrington, United Kingdom’s second biggest town (as opposed to city) is a town and borough in North West England, between Manchester and Liverpool. It was traditionally in Lancashire, but was moved to Cheshire in 1974. Since April 1, 1998 it has been an independent unitary authority and administrative county. It has crown and county courts, housed in a modern building.

At the 2001 census the population was 193,204.

Landmarks in the town are the Town Hall (1750) and its Victorian golden gates (iron, painted in gold leaf), the "Guardians" artwork in the town centre by Howard Ben Tré, a statue of Oliver Cromwell next to the Academy (a dissenters' institute where Joseph Priestley taught and which is now, after being moved from its original location, the offices of a local newspaper), and the old Fish Market, with nearby a Mad Hatter's Tea Party statue (Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was born in nearby Daresbury). Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in the borough is visible from many miles away.

Warrington has grown rapidly in modern times (it was part of the Warrington-Runcorn New Town) and is seeking city status, and to that end it has developed a cultural quarter centred on Palmyra Square.



In Roman times, Warrington was a centre of industry and was founded as a crossing place of the River Mersey for Roman soldiers to go north from their base at Deva (modern Chester) some remains have been found at Wilderspool.

In medieval times Warrington's importance was as a bridging point on 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 church area) at Cromwells Lodgings (now a restaurant) and the Marquis of Granby public house. Dents in the walls of the Parish church are rumoured to be have been caused by the cannons used in the Civil War.

The bridging point at Warrington was vital to the town's future growth. The Red Lion Inn on Bridge Street is an example of a building built exclusively for people using the bridge.

By the 1890s when it acquired county borough status on reaching a population of 75,000, it 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.

The town was historically in Lancashire, and when local government was reformed in the 1970s, it was originally proposed to attach it to either Merseyside or Greater Manchester. Lobbying by the borough council prevented this, but since it would have been left with no geographic connection to Lancashire; it was made into a district of Cheshire instead. Due to a change in composition, the council changed its mind at the last minute, but to no avail. The borough eventually had its previous county borough status restored in another local government reform in the 1990s, when it became a unitary authority.

On the 20th March 1993, the IRA exploded two bombs 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. Their deaths provoked widespread condemnation of the Irish terrorist organisation responsible. The blast followed a bomb attack a few weeks earlier on a gas storage plant in Warrington.

Tim Parry's father 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 in 1993.

Warrington is notable in political history for being the first place to field a candidate for the newly-formed SDP-Liberal Alliance. Former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins stood for MP in 1981 but lost to Labour candidate Doug Hoyle by a small number of votes.

However, many people, particularly Americans, will remember Warrington best as the location of Burtonwood RAF base, one of (if not the) largest RAF bases in England and the largest US Air Force base in the world, outside the United States. During the war, Burtonwood was visited by major celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Bob Hope who arrived to entertain troops. The base was closed in 1993.

There was a further RAF base at Padgate, a Royal Naval air base at Stretton and an army base at the Peninsula Barracks in O'Leary Street.

Warrington still remains a major transport centre, sitting at the intersection of three of Britain’s biggest motorways, the M56, the M6 and the M62. It also sits on the west coast mainline, one of Britain's busiest railway lines.

Arts and entertainment

Warrington has a concert hall (the Parr Hall), a new arts centre (the Pyramid), a museum, an art gallery, and a public library (the first rate-supported library in the UK and the second largest in England). The Victorian swimming baths closed in July 2003. There is a cinema at Westbrook and one is being considered as part of a town centre redevelopment. There is also indoor bowling, located at Winwick Quay and indoor paintball. There are several parks (see also Parks in Warrington) and one nature reserve area (Risley Moss). An indoor karting centre is also located near to Bank Quay.


A number of festivals, carnivals, and walking days are held annually in the Warrington area. Warrington Walking Day is held on the closest Friday to the last day of June, and includes the annual fair.

Other festivals, besides the many walking days, include:


Warrington is now one of Britain’s best shopping towns. Where other towns have seen a decline in customer trade, Warrington has seen an increase, due to the modernisation of the town centre. It has a shopping mall (Golden Square) built in the 1970s, with a bus station attached. Construction has started for the mall to be extended, and a new bus station provided. There is an indoor market. 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 4 streets meet there is an attractive award-winning costly redevelopment with a large fountain and "skittles" (officially "guardians") designed by Howard Ben Tré. It 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, which is located next to the large out-of-town shopping area of Gemini, which has large Marks and Spencer's, Toys 'r' Us, and Next outlets.


The most interesting buildings are the Town Hall (formerly Bank Hall), the Academy, the so-called "Cromwell's Cottage" (17th century), the 14th Century Parish Church of St Elphin, largely a Victorian rebuild, with its 280-foot spire, the second largest in the UK, the fine row of late Victorian terracotta shops on Bridge Street, the Moderne style Mr Smith's nightclub and the fine industrial modernist Unilver Soapworks . The impressive Cheshire Lines railway warehouse is derelict but is to be redeveloped as apartments.

Missing image
Warrington after the coming of the railway, 1851


The town has two main railway stations. Bank Quay on the Chester-Warrington-Newton-le-Willows-Manchester and London to Glasgow lines, and Central on the Liverpool-Widnes-Manchester line and the Transpennine Route. Bank Quay is much altered, but Central (built 1873) is of some architectural merit, featuring polychromatic brickwork. There are also stations in the suburbs at Padgate, Sankey and Birchwood. The town is close to the M62, M6 and M56 motorways and midway between Liverpool and Manchester 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 Altrincham, Manchester, the Trafford Centre, Liverpool, St Helens, Runcorn and Chester. A new real-time passenger information system has been installed.

The River Mersey runs through the heart of the town dividing it into two. There are only two points in Warrington to cross the Mersey: Bridgefoot and the Kingsway Bridge. Warrington is also divided by the Manchester Ship Canal but there are three swing bridges and a hgih-level cantilever bridge providing crossing points. The picturesque Bridgewater Canal runs through the Borough from the scenic village of Lymm to Walton Lea Gardens, a local park/leisure area.


The town's premier sports team is the Warrington Wolves Rugby League club. It has recently moved to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, leaving its home for over a century, Wilderspool. Football is represented by Warrington Town (http://ds.dial.pipex.com/mozz) at Cantilever Park, next to the Manchester Ship Canal.

Civil Parishes

Warrington District was formed from a number of Civil Parishes which were the basic unit of local government prior to 1974. These were

Some of these parishes continued in existence and are governed by Parish Councils. The District also included a part of the Parish of Bold.


Council Wards

The council is headed by the Mayor of Warrington.

New wards were introduced for the 2004 elections. 30 Labour, 21 Liberal Democrat and 8 Conservative Councillors were elected, a total of 57 Members who represent 22 wards.

See Also

External links

Districts of England - North West England Flag of England

Allerdale | Barrow-in-Furness | Blackburn with Darwen | Blackpool | Bolton | Burnley | Bury | Carlisle | Chester | Chorley | Congleton | Copeland | Crewe and Nantwich | Eden | Ellesmere Port and Neston | Fylde | Halton | Hyndburn | Knowsley | Lancaster | Liverpool | Macclesfield | Manchester | Oldham | Pendle | Preston | Ribble Valley | Rochdale | Rossendale | St Helens | Salford | Sefton | South Lakeland | South Ribble | Stockport | Tameside | Trafford | Vale Royal | Warrington | West Lancashire | Wigan | Wirral | Wyre

Administrative counties with multiple districts: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside

Warrington eo:Warrington fr:Warrington

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