Town of Warrington, Cheshire
Current time and facts
Warrington is on the banks of the River Mersey.
Warrington Borough Council attained Unitary status on the 1st April 1998.
Warrington stands between the M6, M62 and M56 motorways which, along with nationwide railway links, carry the traffic of commerce and prosperity to the very heart of Warrington.
Heavy industry and big business has grown in and around Warrington, but retailing and small businesses have flourished too
On the south bank of the Mersey at what is now Wilderspool, the river could be forded - and where there was a ford, a community soon grew up, trading the rich fruits of the river - cockles and salmon - while the fruits of the local landscape bore gooseberries which, for centuries, were regarded as being the very best in all England.
When the Romans came, their aim was conquest, which meant that a ford was of strategic importance at an otherwise impenetrable barrier of moving water. So the Romans erected a camp, which soon became a town. During Saxon times, Warrington expanded onto the opposite bank of the Mersey, near the present parish church, and the town’s strategic importance continued throughout and beyond the Norman period. Warrington also became a market town, causing so much traffic that its first bridge had to be built to allow a free flow of traffic across the river.
During the Civil War, Warrington’s importance as a strategic river crossing became its downfall, as it was wrested from the Royalists by the troops of Oliver Cromwell. In so doing, Cromwell’s troops virtually destroyed the town to the ground (search out the east wall of St Elphin’s parish church and see the scars of cannonball-fire) and for perhaps the only time in its history, the resilient and confident character of Warrington was brought to a low ebb for ten years.
However, it wasn’t long before the confident and outward-looking character of Warrington re-emerged. The town embraced the Industrial Revolution to its bosom - and with characteristic good sense, it became the centre of not just one, but a whole myriad of industries, from copper smelting to sail-making and pin manufacture. The navigational properties of the river Mersey were improved, canals were built, and the town grew yet more prosperous and popular. Great buildings of consequence were erected (consider what is now the Town Hall, once the home of the prosperous Patten family) and 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.
Like so many other towns Warrington experienced the days of depression and two World Wars - but has always found new opportunities that were of benefit to the area. RAF Burtonwood which became the largest US airbase in Europe. It played a key role during World War ll and then again for the Berlin airlift.
In the 1960s and ‘70s, the town re-invented itself as it had so many times in the past - this time as a ‘new town’, with new growth and optimism.
Warrington continues to prosper, with new industries, new businesses and new retail outlets investing in the town, while the people of Warrington care for each other and their community with respect for the past and a proper regard for the future.
Daniel Defoe once visited Warrington and observed kindly that it was ‘a large, populous and well built town - rich and full of good country tradesmen’. In addition, Warrington was the birthplace of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, more popularly known as Lewis Carroll, author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
Official Town of Warrington, Cheshire website: www.warrington.gov.uk
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