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Warrington Borough
Status:Unitary, Borough
Region:North West England
Ceremonial County:Cheshire
Historic Counties:Lancashire, Cheshire
- Total
Ranked 196th
180.64 km²
Admin. HQ:Warrington
Grid reference: SJ6088
ONS code:00EU
- Total (2005 est.)
- Density
Ranked 72nd
1,078 / km²
Ethnicity:97.9% White
Arms of Warrington Borough Council
Warrington Borough Council
Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
Executive:Liberal Democrats / Conservative
MPs:Helen Jones, Helen Southworth
Map sources for Warrington at grid reference SJ602882

Warrington is the largest town and borough in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, in the North-West of England. The former Warrington county borough was situated in Lancashire, but it combined with Lymm urban district and part of Runcorn Rural District; from Cheshire, and part of Warrington Rural District in Lancashire in 1974 to form the non-metropolitan district of Warrington, in Cheshire. Since April 1, 1998 it has been an independent unitary authority, within the ceremonial county of Cheshire. It is served by Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire Service.

At the 2001 census the population of the entire borough, including its 18 civil parishes, was 191,084. 158,195 of these live in the Warrington Urban Area, defined by the ONS, and of these, 80,661 live in the core area.

Warrington has grown rapidly in modern times, having been designated a New Town in 1968. It is seeking city status, and to that end it has developed a cultural quarter centred on Palmyra Square. It also has one of Britain's lowest unemployment rates, with many new jobs at the hi-tech end of the market replacing traditional industries. [citation needed]

People from Warrington are known as "Warringtonians".


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 Roman 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). Popular legend has it that Cromwell lodged in the building which survives on Church Street as The Cottage Restaurant, though it is likely that the actual place was nearby, possibly next door. 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 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.

Warrington was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1847 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.

Warrington acquired county borough status on reaching a population of 50,000 in 1900. 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.

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 current borders of Warrington Borough were thus set in 1974, covering the former county borough of Warrington, Lymm Urban District, Warrington Rural District and part of Golborne urban district, part of Runcorn Rural District and part of Whiston Rural District. In another local government reform in the 1990s, Warrington 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 on the seventh anniversary of the bombing in 2000.

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 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, now used by the Territorial Army.

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 Main Line, one of Britain's busiest railway lines.



Warrington is bordered by Halton, Greater Manchester, Macclesfield, Newton-le-Willows and St.Helens boroughs. [1]

The M6 runs to the east of the borough until the interchange with the M62, after which is bisects the northern outskirts of the town. The M62 passes through the north of the town, and the M56 skirts the south of the borough, only serving the outer limits of the borough.

The Mersey river basically cuts the town in half, and is the dividing point for the two parlimentary constituences. There is also a distinct difference between the North and South of the river [2].

Arts and entertainmentEdit

Warrington has a concert hall (the Parr Hall), a new arts centre (the Pyramid), a museum, an art gallery, and various public libraries throughout the borough (Warrington Central Library is the first rate-supported library in the UK). The Victorian swimming baths closed in July 2003. There is a cinema at Westbrook, the Odeon (formerly UCI), and one is being considered as part of a town centre redevelopment. There are several parks (see also Parks in Warrington) and nature reserves at Woolston Eyes, Risley Moss, Rixton Claypits, Paddington Meadows and Lymm Dam. There is also indoor bowling, located at Winwick Quay and indoor paintball. An indoor karting centre is located near to Bank Quay, and a Laser Tag arena (Laser Q) can be found very close to the town centre.


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:


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 this 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) built in the 1970s, which is being 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 there is an attractive 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, which is located next to the large out-of-town shopping area of Gemini, which has large Marks and Spencer, Toys "R" Us, and Next outlets.


File:Warrington town hall.jpg

Sites of interest in Warrington include:

  • The Town Hall (and its golden gates) formerly a private residence, Bank Hall, built in 1750.
  • 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.
  • "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 280-foot spire, the sixth largest in the UK.
  • Holy Trinity Church, 1758, at Market Gate
  • The row of late Victorian terracotta shops on Bridge Street
  • The Woolworths Building in Sankey Street (at least the upper storeys),
  • The Art Deco style Mr Smith's nightclub which was originally a large cinema
  • The industrial modernist Unilever Soapworks.
  • The Cheshire Lines railway warehouse, currently being redeveloped as apartments.
  • The Warrington Transporter Bridge which is classed as a listed building.
  • The Barley Mow, established in 1561, is the oldest pub in Warrington.
  • The Parr Hall, home to one of the few remaining Cavaille-Coll organs.
  • Fiddlers Ferry Power Station

Educational institutionsEdit

File:Sir Thomas Boteler High School.jpg

Warrington is home to two colleges, Priestley College, and Warrington Collegiate. The University of Chester has a campus at Padgate that was part of Warrington Collegiate. Most of the high schools have their own post-16 provision (sixth-form).

There are High Schools throughout the borough. They are located in: Birchwood, Culcheth, Appleton (known as Bridgewater High), two in Latchford (Sir Thomas Boteler C of E High School and Cardinal Newman Catholic High School), Sankey (Sankey High School), Lymm, Padgate, Penketh, Westbrook (St.Gregory's Catholic High School), Orford (William Beamont High School), and Woolston[3]. There are also 74 Primary Schools in the Borough, all of which feed into at least one of the above.[4].

Warrington is also home to the Peace Centre, built after the IRA bombings which occurred in the town centre in 1993. This was Warrington's model to become a city, calling itself a "City for Peace".


File:Warrington - 1851 - Project Gutenberg eText 13721.jpg

The town has two main railway stations. Bank Quay on the London to Glasgow and Chester - Warrington - Newton-le-Willows - Manchester 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. However, both main railway stations have suffered from years of under investment. There are also stations in the suburbs at Padgate, Sankey and Birchwood.

The town lies 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 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 Interchange has recently opened at the Golden Square shopping centre.

The River Mersey runs through the heart of the town dividing it into two. There are only two main thoroughfares crossing the Mersey in Warrington: at Bridgefoot and at the Kingsway Bridge. 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 downstrean nearer Runcorn. Although shipping movements on the 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 town's premier sports team is the Warrington Wolves Rugby League club, nicknamed "the Wire" because of Warrington's industrial history which includes, among other things, wire making. It has recently moved to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, leaving its home for over a century, Wilderspool. Football is represented by Warrington Town at Cantilever Park, next to the Manchester Ship Canal. Warrington Athletic Club are 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.

Famous peopleEdit

Civil ParishesEdit

Apart from the former county borough of Warrington which remains unparished, the borough of Warrington includes a number of civil parishes:


Council WardsEdit

Council meetings are chaired by the Mayor of Warrington.

New wards were introduced for the 2004 elections. The 2006 local elections left Labour with 26 seats, Liberal Democrat 25 and Conservative 6, a total of 57 Members who represent 22 wards. A "shared administration" of Lib Dem / Conservative members took control of the Council. One Labour member has since resigned the party whip.

Parliamentary constituenciesEdit

Warrington has two constituencies: Warrington North, whose MP is Helen Jones, and Warrington South, represented by Helen Southworth. Both seats are held by the Labour Party.

Twin townsEdit


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 Addeda Agricultureb Industryc Servicesd
1995 3,636 14 1,361 2,261
2000 4,768 10 1,433 3,324
2003 5,774 18 1,399 4,356
  • ↑a  includes hunting and forestry
  • ↑b  includes energy and construction
  • ↑c  includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  • ↑d  Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


  • Population:191,080 (for Warrington Borough, as at 2001) of which:
    • 49.13% are male
    • 50.87% are female
    • 97.86% are of white origin
    • 0.84% are of asian origin
    • 0.60% are of mixed origin
    • 0.51% are of "other" origin
    • 0.19% are of black origin
  • Households:78,030 of which
    • 75.23% are owner occupied
    • 12.17% are rented from the council
    • 6.42% are rented from other sources
    • 5.42% are rented from housing associations
    • 0.77% are of shared occupancy

Of all the "adult" (16-74 years) residents of Warrington:

    • 26.87% have no qualifications
    • 39.06% have basic qualifications (up to GCSEs or equivlent)
    • 27.04% have advanced qualification (Lv3 or higher)

Rate of unemployment in the borough of Warrington at the 2001 census was 2.92% (5579 people). (Regional rate: 3.63%, National Average: 3.35%)

Warrington borough has stastically one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the UK, as well as one of the lowest proportions of ethnic minorities.


  1. A-Z Warrington and Districts
  2. Personal Experience as a resident of Warrington
  3. from Warrington Borough Council's Community Information Resource
  4. Count from Warrington Borough Council's community Information resource

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Districts of 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

Counties with multiple districts: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside

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