- Thomas Patten’s Copper Works
- Bank Quay Glass Works
- Josiah Perrin
- Robinson’s Mersey Glass Works
- Joseph Crosfield
- Warrington Transporter Bridge
- Lever Brothers
- Bank Quay Foundry Co.
- Charles Tayleur
- James Fairclough & Sons Ltd
- Monks, Hall and Co
- Warrington Bank Quay Station
- Warrington Police Station
- Museum of Policing in Cheshire
- Thewlis Street Workingmen’s Mission
- Sacred Heart Church
- The Bowling Green Hotel
The name of the district comes from “bank” i.e. the bank of a river, the Mersey in our case, and “quay”, a wharf for the loading or unloading of vessels.
Two views of the Bank Quay industrial area taken on 22 April 2003
Thomas Patten’s Copper Works
The Patten Arms hotel facing Warrington Bank Quay Station. In the early 16th century the Patten family purchased the entire Winmarleigh estate.
The Bank Quay area of town is based around industry. The area was called “Bank Key” (‘key’ is an older form of ‘quay’) on a 1712 map, and the area was also known as “Bank Fyelds”.
Thomas Patten made the River Mersey navigable at Bank Quay from Warrington to Liverpool in 1697 in order to support his copper works. It was his son, also called Thomas, who built Bank Hall (now our Town Hall) in 1750.
By 1690 Thomas realised the importance of the river for Warrington to become a key distribution point for inland trade and was responsible for making the lower Mersey navigable Runcorn to Bank Quay enabling copper to be brought by boat from Ireland, Cornwall and Anglesey right to the family’s quay.
By 1697 Patten had established a copper works at Bank Quay and had improved the navigation of the River Mersey specifically to enable him to import copper ore for his works. However, by 1795 the works were said to be disused.
The Patten family originated in Chelmsford, Essex, in about 1119. One member, William, was the founder of Magdalen College, Oxford, Bishop of Winchester, and Chancellor of England in 1456.
Another branch of the family arrived in Warrington in 1536 from Derbyshire and by the middle of the 17th century had settled in Patten Lane, off Bridge Street, as merchants dealing in a wide range of commodities including tobacco, sugar and tea. See the Warrington Borough Council website for more.
One important industry in the area was glassmaking, especially for companies like Perrin, Geddes & Co, Mersey Flint Glass Works and Robinson’s. Glass House Row is shown on the 1892 Ordnance Survey Map, as is Factory Lane. A glassworks opened in 1695 but the owner John Leafe moved to St Helens soon after. I used the National Libraries of Scotland side by side maps for reference. You might also find them useful if you wish to do your own research.
Bank Quay Glass Works
Photo of lead crystal glass used for illustration purposes only. Taken from Wikipedia.
Two of my personal wine glasses which have been in the family for as long as I can remember. I have no knowledge of what type of glass they are made from.
Two glasses purchased to celebrate my mum and dad’s golden wedding in 2008.
The Bank Quay Glass Works was started in 1757 by Robert Patten, Peter Seaman, Edward Deane and Thomas Falkner. It was located on the north bank of the Mersey and consisted of three cones (a large central furnace with a flue to carry waste gas to the top of the structure and away) and workshops of every description. These included pot rooms, warehouses, offices, show rooms, steam engine and machinery (including the apparatus required for cutting flint glass).
In addition there were facilities to look after the workers and horses, including manager’s house, stables, thirty cottages for workmen, and every convenience for carrying on glass manufacture on an extensive scale. Together with a small plot of land adjoining the factory to extend the works as required, the site was a hive of industry.
The whole premises, excluding the wharf mentioned below, comprise an area of between eleven and twelve thousand square yards, of which a small portion was of freehold tenure. The remainder was leasehold for terms of 999 years, at nearly nominal ground rents, amounting together to £15 10s per annum.
Flint glass is optical glass that has relatively high refractive index and low Abbe number (high dispersion).
With respect to glass, the term flint derives from the flint nodules found in the chalk deposits of southeast England that were used as a source of high purity silica by George Ravenscroft, c. 1662, to produce a potash lead glass that was the precursor to English lead crystal.
Traditionally, flint glasses were lead glasses containing around 4–60% lead (II) oxide; however, the manufacture and disposal of these glasses were sources of pollution. In many modern flint glasses, lead oxides are replaced with other metal oxides such as titanium dioxide and zirconium dioxide without significantly altering the optical properties of the glasswikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_glass
They works were situated on the banks of the River Mersey, navigable for vessels of upwards 120 tons burthen. But they were exempt from the tolls levied by the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company on vessels proceeding a few yards higher up the river. There was a substantial wharf on the banks of the river, built at great expense, which belonged to and was to be sold with the manufactory, whereby goods and materials can conveniently shipped or landed.
The works also adjoin the London and North-Western Railway (with which there is communication by means of a private railway running into the works). The works were also within three-quarters of a mile from the Sankey Canal.
By 1797 Josiah Perrin and Edward Falkner had the largest share in the firm. Perrin, Geddes & Co supplied the glass tableware for the Prince Regent’s banquet at Liverpool in 1806. The Prince admired it, and the Liverpool Corporation subsequently ordered a set of glassware as a gift to him. See the lyonandturnbull.com website for an image of part of the set. The factory was visited by the La Rochefoucauld Brothers in 1785, who described the process of making twist glasses. The Partnership was dissolved in 1827.
[Information used with kind permission of Grace’s Guide.]
Robinson’s Mersey Glass Works
A fruit bowl, part of a set of six in my home, which includes one large one and five smaller ones.
A promotional glass for The Film Recovery Company Limited.
In 1869, Robinson & Skinner’s Mersey Glass Works was established at Bank Quay, Warrington. It was located just south of Bank Quay Glass Works, but also on the north bank of the Mersey. The firm became Robinson, Son and Skinner in c1880, then Robinson, Skinner & Co. in c1890.
Robinson Skinner & Co. only registered one design (on 10 May 1892, RD 192298) and I’ve just acquired this example, a beautifully-finished low comport/ tazza /cake plate/ whatever in clear flint pressed glass, and thought it might be of interest as there are comparatively few examples of Registered Designs from Warrington glass works. Diameter 7.5 inches, height two inches.
Peter Robinson had originally been in partnership with Edward Bolton as Robinson & Bolton of the Orford Lane Glass Works, Warrington, before leaving to co-found Robinson & Skinner.
There was only one design registered to Robinson & Skinner (28 January 1875), then one design registered to Robinson, Son & Skinner (10 December 1885). The firm became Robinson, Smith & Co. c 1900 (with one design registered on 3 July 1909), then Robinson, Son & Co. c1920. It was eventually taken over by John Walsh Walsh in 1933 and moved to Birmingham.
Regarding his name, he claimed that it came about because the sponsors at his baptism were rather nervous and instead of saying just the Christian name John, said John Walsh, which made him John Walsh Walsh for the rest of his life. Church registers of the period, however, do not support his story. Read more at glassmessages.com and Grace’s Guide.
There were other locations in the town where glassmaking took place, including Orford Lane Glass Works (started by Thomas Kirkland Glazebrook), Crown Glassworks and Cockhedge Glass Works, both at Scotland Road.
Warrington Worldwide forum readers give more insight into the industry. It makes some interesting reading. Click here for details.
I also point you to a history of the Molineaux and Webb family involvement in the Warrington Glass industry.
The Crosfield’s office on 10 Sep 2006
In 1815 Joseph Crosfield opened his soap works here. At this time soap manufacturing was growing rapidly and with the recently developed canals and river navigations in the area, it allowed for easier transport of the raw materials into the factories and for the distribution of the finished products.
The premises occupied that of a failed wire mill and the business started with a capital of £1,500. It struggled at first, partly due to the trade depression at the time, but by 1818 it was making a profit. In addition to making soap, like many other soap makers Joseph Crosfield was involved in making candles.
By the mid-1830s Crosfield’s was producing around 900 tons of soap annually. The factory saw many changes, mergers and takeovers during its lifetime, but on 15 October 2020 it ended production. One reason for the decision to close is that Persil washing powder, manufactured here since 1909, is no longer the first choice for many consumers as they have begun to choose other brands and types, such as liquid variants. The site is to be demolished and the area redeveloped.
Read Joseph Crosfield’s profile and more about the company in Warrington People
Warrington Transporter Bridge
Warrington Transporter Bridge, a Grade II listed monument, was built in 1916 at a cost of £34,000 by Sir William Arrol from a design by William Henry Hunter.
It was built to connect parts of the Joseph Crosfield and Son Ltd soap and chemical works. It hasn’t been used since 1964. It is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument and currently on the English Heritage “at risk” register.
In 2015 I interviewed Margaret Ingham on Radio Warrington about saving the transporter bridge from decay. To join the campaign, see the Facebook page, Save Warrington Transport Bridge. Read more here.
1952 advert for Joseph Crosfield & Sons, from Grace’s Guide. Silicate of Soda, also known as Sodium Silicate and Water Glass. Use for many things, but mainly in the film industry it is used as “passive fire prevention” as well as ice frost effects and waterproofing. Sodium silicate is a clear, colourless liquid. If you want more technical knowledge, click here.
Advert for Sunlight Soap from October 1903. Image from Grace’s Guide.
Advert for Lifebuoy Soap from June 1922. Image from Grace’s Guide.
Lever brothers was a British manufacturing company founded in 1885 by two brothers: William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), and James Darcy Lever (1854–1916).
They invested in and successfully promoted a new soap-making process invented by chemist William Hough Watson. Lever Brothers entered the United States market in 1895 and acquired Mac Fisheries, owner of T. Wall & Sons, in 1925. Lever Brothers was one of several British companies that took an interest in the welfare of its British employees. Its brands included “Lifebuoy”, “Lux” and “Vim”.
Starting with a small grocery business begun by his father, William Lever and his brother James entered the soap business in 1885 by buying a small soap works in Warrington.
The brothers teamed up with a Cumbrian chemist, William Hough Watson, who became an early business partner. Watson invented the process which resulted in a new soap, using glycerin and vegetable oils such as palm oil, rather than tallow. The resulting soap was a good, free-lathering soap, at first named Honey Soap then later named “Sunlight Soap”. Production reached 450 tons per week by 1888.
Larger premises were built on marshes at Bromborough Pool on the Wirral Peninsula at what became Port Sunlight. Though the company was named Lever Brothers, William Lever’s brother and co-director James never took a major part in running the business. He fell ill in 1895 and resigned his directorship two years later.
By 1911, the company had its own oil palm plantations in the Belgian Congo and the Solomon Islands. Lever Brothers Ltd also acquired other soap companies including A&F Pears, John Knight of London, Gossage’s of Widnes, Watson’s of Leeds, Crosfield’s of Warrington, Hazlehurst & Sons of Runcorn and Hudson’s of Liverpool.
In September 1929, Unilever was formed by a merger of the operations of Dutch Margarine Unie and British soapmaker Lever Brothers, named as a blend of the two firms’ names. By 1930, it employed 250,000 people and in terms of market value was the largest company in Britain. Unilever was the first modern multinational company.
Text from Wikipedia. Read William Lever’s profile in Warrington People.
Bank Quay Foundry Co.
1810 (1806*) Born son of Charles Tayleur and his wife Jane in Liverpool.
1832 Married Henrietta Campbell in Newcastle upon Tyne.
1837 Charles Tayleur, 27, engineer, born in Liverpool, lived in Mannheim with Henriette Tayleur, 24.
Took over the Vulcan Works after the retirement of his father but his health failed and the business was taken on by his brother Henry.
1859 Died in Bruges, Belgium.
*West Flanders, Belgium, Civil Registration
Charles Tayleur, a Liverpool engineer, founded the Vulcan Foundry at Newton-le-Willows in 1830. Robert Stephenson was a member of the firm from an early date but retired on being appointed to the London and Birmingham Railway. In 1847 they took over the Bank Quay Foundry.
In 1846 the company provided a number of heavy cannon, preparatory to their shipment for the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
In 1847 George Samuel Sanderson entered into partnership with Charles Tayleur and Edward Tayleur; they opened (or took over?) a foundry at Bank Quay, Warrington. 1847 Dissolution of the Partnership between Charles Tayleur, of Liverpool, and George Samuel Sanderson, of Warrington, under the firm of Charles Tayleur and Company, Vulcan Foundry, near Warrington, and under the firm of Tayleur and Sanderson, Bank Quay Iron Works, Warrington.
Highlights in the company’s history.
1847 The new landing stage for St George’s Pier, Liverpool built at Warrington.
The whole formed an immense deck of 512 feet in length, little short of 90 in breadth, and sharp at both ends, each forming a bow. The framework was of great strength, and, as a stage, well and judiciously put together. It was built upon upright posts, so that the water may be introduced, and the pontoons, or boats, upon which it was to float may be placed and secured under it.
1848 Hydraulic press for raising the Britannia Bridge was cast at Bank Quay.
The large cylinder of the hydraulic press, intended to be used to raise the tubes of the bridge of the Chester and Holyhead Railway over the Menai Straits, was cast at the Bank Quay Foundry, Warrington. This cylinder was the largest ever made (at the time) for hydraulic purposes, and weighed 25 tons. It was designed to sustain a minimum pressure of 1,000 tons when at work.
1850 The sale of materials at Britannia Bridge was concluded.
The hydraulic presses have been purchased by the makers, the Bank Quay Foundry, Warrington, for the purpose of exhibition at the forthcoming industrial display of 1851. Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser – Saturday 30 November 1850.
Hydraulic Press used in raising the Britannia Tubular Bridge. From 1851 ‘Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue’ Vol 1
1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition.
See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class V.. Exhibited the Great Hydraulic Press used in raising the Britannia Tubular Bridge.
1853 The largest iron vessel ever built in Lancashire was launched at Warrington from the yard of Messrs Tayleur & Co., Bank Quay Foundry.
The Tayleur, as it was named, was a first-class clipper-ship. It was built for Messrs Charles Moore and Co., of Liverpool.
A report in The Greenock Advertiser, Friday 14 October 1853 said the following:
“She is of exceedingly handsome model, and her proportions are as follow:- Register, 1,730 tons, burthen 2,500, new measurement; length of keel and forerake, 225 feet; rake of sternpost, 5 feet; beam, 39 feet ; depth of hold, 28 feet ; shear, 2 feet 6 inches.
“The Tayleur, when completely fitted, will accommodate about 680 passengers, exclusive of cargo. She is double-rivetted throughout; is divided into five water-tight compartments, each fitted with pumps, and contains altogether about 780 tons weight of iron. The ship will form one of Messrs Pilkington & Wilson’s ‘White Star’ line of packets.”
For more on RMS Tayleur see On the Waterfront.
1853 The company produced the ironwork for the original Arpley Bridge for the Warrington and Stockport Railway’s crossing of the River Mersey.
A report in the Liverpool Albion on Monday 10 October 1853 said the following:
The bridge is one well worthy of notice; being designed by Mr. Edwin Clarke, a gentleman whose skill was signalized in connexion with the tubes of the Britannia-bridge, across the Menai Straits. The present structure carried the Warrington and Altrincham line across the Mersey, near the bridge at Warrington, and is 200 feet in length. It has three girders, the middle girder to be sixteen feet in depth, and those on the outside twelve feet each.
The bridge is still standing strong today. See Arpley Meadows in Downtown for more about the bridge.
1854 Launch of the Deer-Slayer, at Warrington.
This was a large and handsome iron vessel launched from the yard of the Bank Quay Foundry, in the presence of a large concourse of spectators. The Deer-Slayer has been built for Mr. Blythe, of this town.
1855 Sarah Palmer ship launched at Warrington.
The Liverpool Daily Post reported on the occasion in their Thursday, 2 August 1855 edition as follows:
On Tuesday, a few minutes before two o’clock, a magnificent iron clipper-built ship, of large dimensions, was launched from the building-yard of the Bank Quay Foundry Company, Warrington. The day was far from favourable, as far as the weather was concerned, but, in defiance of that, there was present a large assemblage of ladies and gentlemen from Liverpool, and also belonging to Warrington and the neighbourhood; besides these there were also present many from a distance.
The full tide was at minute or two in or over two clock, and the latter period the preparations for launching her were completed. At that hour the props and cradlings being removed, she glided into the river with great majesty, carrying with her a small portion of the cradling She was christened by Miss Sarah Palmer, daughter of Mr. Palmer, of Jones, Palmer, and Co after whom she has been named. She was taken in tow by the steamer “Victory,” and, amidst the cheers of the assembled multitude, towed down the river to Liverpool.
1855 The Bank Quay Foundry ceased working and all the hands were discharged.
There were 150 shipwrights constantly engaged in that extensive concern, besides many hundred operatives of other handicrafts connected with the building of ships. All these will be for the present thrown upon the labour market, but no doubt the owners, who are men of large capital, will shortly resume operations.
1856 The company was put up for sale by auction.
Sale Notice: ‘BANK QUAY FOUNDRY, WARRINGTON, MR. WHEATLEY KIRK is instructed to SELL by AUCTION, on WEDNESDAY, the 15th, THURSDAY, the 16th, FRIDAY, the 17th, and SATURDAY, the 18th October, commencing each day at eleven o’clock, on the Premises of the Foundry and Shipbuilding Works, known as the “BANK QUAY FOUNDRY,” Warrington.
There is more information on Grace’s Guide, who I thank for permission to reuse their notes on the mywarrington website.
From St. Helens Examiner – Saturday 23 May 1908
Death of an Old Warringtonian. The funeral took place at the Warrington Cemetery on Saturday of an old Warringtonian in the person of Mr. Henry Mills, of 9, Gladstone-street, who passed away the previous Wednesday.
Mr. Mills was born in the year 1833 and when he was fourteen years of age he was apprenticed at Jones’s old foundry in Bewsey Street as a boiler maker. He also worked at the Bank Quay foundry and took part in the construction of the ship Tayleur which was built there. He was one of the first to work upon the London and North-Western Railway iron bridge across the river at Arpley and was the oldest boiler maker in the district.
He joined the Boiler Makers’ Trade Society at Liverpool in the year 1855 and rendered devoted service to the organization in various capacities. He was a man of the highest character and was indefatigable and conscientious in any work with which his employers entrusted him, gaining their respect and that of the workmen too.
He was in America for a short time, working at Philadelphia, and on return he entered the employ of Messrs. Pearson and Knowles at the Dallam boiler works. He continued in their service up to the time of his illness. He was a member of the Bewsey Road Wesleyan Church for over 25 years and also attended Mr. Bailey’s class.
James Fairclough & Sons Ltd
James Fairclough & Sons Ltd, millers, were another major employer in the area alongside the Mersey. A corn mill existed here in the late 18th century. It burnt down in 1830 and was rebuilt in 1863 by James Fairclough. From the 1960s it belonged to Allied Mills.
It was later demolished apart from the silo, which now bears a mural of the Big Pink Eye on the side of the building. Fairclough’s son, Richard, who took over the business from his father, later had a school named after him. Read more about Richard Fairclough in Warrington People.
The Big Pink Eye
It was on Walking Day in 1999 when artist Anthony Turk picked up his paint gun and headed down to the old Fairclough Mill in Sankey Bridges.
Over the next two weeks, he painted a giant mural on the side of the 110ft high former flour mill on Atherton’s Quay – depicting an eye shedding one solitary tear.
In doing so, he spawned not only a landmark building in the town but also a unique new phrase for every Warringtonian’s lexicon – the Pink Eye roundabout.
Read more in the Warrington Guardian.
Monks, Hall and Co
The Monks, Hall & Co site, located next to the West Coast Main Line. Original photos © P. Spilsbury, composite by G. Gandy
Monks Hall & Co advert from 1916. Image from Grace’s Guide.
The company founded by Frederick Monks and Thomas Hall, trading as Frederick Monks & Co in 1874. They were listed as occupying Bedstead Works, Atherton’s Quay, Warrington; of Mersey Tube Works, Warrington (1916).
The 1888/1893 O.S. map shows the works at Atherton’s Quay, Sankey Bridges, on the north bank of the River Mersey, connected to the L&NWR Garston and Warrington line. The 1905/1907 map, 1925/1927 map and 1937-1941 map show that the works had considerably expanded, and the iron works being joined by the Mersey Rivet Works, Mersey Tube Works, and Wire Mattress Works.
See the Warrington Guardian for a series of photographs taken in 1903. One of these, taken from high level and looking north, shows a ‘C’ shaped building surrounding another building, the space between housing a number of chimneys and cylindrical vessels. Similar vessels and chimneys are seen in the foreground. They can also be seen in the 1905/1907 map. The cylindrical vessels are Rastrick boilers, which recover heat from the puddling furnaces to produce steam. The southern half of the large site is now occupied by housing, while industry survives at the northern end, in the form of Warrington Fabrications, who occupy 4.5 acres.
See also Warrington People for more on Frederick Monks and a bit more history on the company.
To read the full report on Monks Hall & Co, including extracts from the Warrington Guardian from 1903, see Grace’s Guide, who I am grateful to for permission to reproduce these notes on the mywarrington website.
Warrington Bank Quay Station
The first Bank Quay railway station opened in 1837 on what is now the site occupied by Poundstretcher alongside Bank Quay Bridge (A5061 Liverpool Road). The railway line from Birmingham to Liverpool and Manchester passed through the station.
The current Bank Quay station was built in 1838, and featured high-level and low-level platforms to cater for two railway lines, the Birmingham line mentioned and the Warrington to Altrincham line (on the low-level) which passed through Arpley Station.
A private excursion stopping off at Bank Quay on 28 April 2007
In the early 1970s, Liverpool Road bridge was altered to make way for electricity cables to cater for the next generation of trains. This involved raising the height of the bridge and at the same time planning for more vehicles on the roads by making the carriage way wider. The result was the views in the first two images above. I was about eight years old when they did the work and I used to walk the mile or so from home to watch the workers. In the second view we can also see one of the two B&Q stores opened in the town within a week of each other. The other one was at Cockhedge. The Milner Street one in the photo is no longer a B&Q – it is now a Selco Builders Warehouse. In 2010 the carriageway was adjusted again for increasing traffic (third and fourth images). I imagine it will change again in the future as the Bank Quay industrial site is demolished and redeveloped.
A Stanier Black Five Class 5MT 4-6-0 steam train, the Lancashire Fusilier (left), was built by Armstrong Whitworth in Scotswood, Newcastle in 1937, passing through Bank Quay on 28 April 2007. The Virgin Pendolino (right) during a regular run earlier the same day. The first UK train designed to tilt around curves at high speed, the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) was a disaster in the 1970s. See a photo of one in Peter’s Gallery, where you can also see photos of the original Liverpool Road bridge featured earlier.
Warrington Police Station
Arpley Street police station opened in 1901 and is seen here on 13 May 2013
The foundation stone
Arpley Street police station, 4 Aug 2012
Until 1867, the only body comparable to a police force in the town were watchmen who were supported by private subscription. They were equipped with lanterns, wooden rattles and a bunch of keys. They patrolled the streets of the town inspecting private yards and warehouses. They also had to call out the hour of the day and what the weather was. It reminds me of Arthur Mullard’s character in a 1970s comedy film called Lock Up Your Daughters who called out the time – “it’s three o’Clock in the morning…and all’s well!”
The watchmen continued their duties well into the 1840s but the records show progress in the town towards solving crime.
By this time there were four parish constables, usually tradesmen, who were appointed by the court leet.
The court leet was a historical court baron (a type of manorial court) of England and Wales and Ireland that exercised the “view of frankpledge” (a system of joint suretyship common in England throughout the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages) and its attendant police jurisdiction, which was normally restricted to the hundred courts.
The word “leet”, as used in reference to special court proceedings, dates from the late 13th century, from Anglo-French lete and Anglo-Latin leta of unknown origin, with a possible connection to the verb “let”.Read more here.
Take A Ride Down In Side. I know TARDIS doesn’t mean that but it’s my invitation for you to enter the Museum of Policing in Cheshire at Warrington police station.*
An item on display from the museum showing two uniforms worn by the police.
In 1838 a James Jones was the constable of the borough, who worked from 9am till about midnight and had four assistants, two to patrol during the day and two at night. The population of the town was about 18,000 at that time.
By an Act of Parliament of 1813 the police commissioners were authorised to build a bridewell (lock-up) on a piece of land in their district. Warrington’s was on Irlam Street on the site of modern-day St Mary’s Green Roundabout at the junction of Church Street, Mersey Street, Buttermarket Street and Fennel Street.
The 1835 Municipal Corporations Act permitted towns with a population of more than 5,000 to form a police force. Lancashire Constabulary was established in 1839. Warrington Borough Police Force was established in 1847 when the town became a borough.
In 1852 the Warrington force included one sergeant, three police officers, three assistants and one clerk. The 1856 County & Borough Police Act made it mandatory for each county to form a police force.
By 1880 the town’s police force number 37 men. By 1890 the number had increased to 54, and 66 officers were employed by 1896. By this time, out-stations were opened in Latchford and Sankey Bridges. Today the town has police stations in Risley, Stockton Heath and Penketh, as well as town centre.
The Bridewell at Irlam Street served as the police station and jail until 1901 when a larger building was opened on Arpley Street. You might be interested to know that prior to the police station occupying the Arpley Street site, a militia barracks was present, as seen on the National Museums of Scotland map of 1893.
The foundation stone for the Arpley Street site was laid in 1899 and the architect was R Burns Dick. By 1920 the number had increased to 100. After the Second World War the police force number 121, including four police women.
In 1963 when the M6 motorway opened, experimental traffic units were formed involving Staffordshire, Cheshire & Lancashire forces to police the motorway, with a helicopter used to monitor traffic during the experiment.
Warrington’s police force merged with Lancashire police in 1969. This arrangement stayed in place until the county boundary changes in 1974. Warrington came under Cheshire Police for its crime prevention and community activities from that point on.
The following sources were used in my research: Museum of Policing in Cheshire and Wikipedia, with brief extracts taken from Warrington and the Mid-Mersey Valley (Carter, 1971) and Warrington Hundred (1947).
Museum of Policing in Cheshire
A scene showing how a police cell looked when in use in times gone by. What might be said in the old times if somebody complained? If you don’t like the grime, don’t do the crime!
The Warrington police headquarters on Arpley Street are home to the Museum of Policing in Cheshire, a registered charity. The Museum of Policing in Cheshire preserves and researches the heritage of policing in the county.
The exhibits were originally on display in Crewe until the centre closed in 2004 and the items then moved to Warrington. There were many items to display, so a more formal structure was established to manage it.
Examples of handcuffs used by the police over the years
*Please remember, the museum is housed in a working police station, so you can’t just walk in. You either need to arrange a visit or wait until there is an open day. In the UK, phone 01606 365803 for more information.
Thewlis Street Workingmen’s Mission
The Workingmen’s Mission on Thewlis Street taken on 10 Sep 2006
John Crosfield was actively involved in the Warrington Town Mission from 1862-1869. One of the missioners of the Town Mission was John Urmston, who became a missionary of a Workingmen’s Mission in 1870 when children were gathered in a Sunday School in a fustian-cutting shop opposite the Ship Inn. He was paid by John Crosfield. The venture was so successful that Crosfield built a chapel near to the Ship Inn which opened for public worship on 24 December 1871. In 1874 a Sunday School was built alongside the chapel. However, as the population in the area increased a new Sunday School was built in 1899.
The charity’s mission statement says, “the mission chapel and premises to be used, occupied and enjoyed as and for a place for the worship of God and also for the instruction of children and adults and the holding of services and meetings according to such rules as the church members shall from time to time direct”.
As the Crosfield’s site expanded, a new chapel was built in 1903 on Thewlis Street. The foundation stone was laid by Captain G.R. Crosfield on 15 August 1903 and another stone records the opening of the chapel by Mrs Crosfield on 27 February 1904. One of the stained glass windows depicts Christ blessing a group of children.
A war memorial tablet is featured in the chapel showing the names of 15 lost souls from the First and Second World Wars. See the Imperial War Museum for a description.
Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart Church on Liverpool Road as seen on 10 Sep 2006
Sacred Heart Catholic church was built on Liverpool Road opposite the Crosfield’s works in 1894 to cater for the needs of families living in the area at the time.
The foundation stone, laid on a Sunday, bears a Latin inscription which translated into English means “To the honour of the Holy Trinity and in the name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus’. The stone was laid on 3 June 1894 by the Most Reverend James Canon Carr, Vicar Capitular. Reverend Michael Ryan was the Rector. Money for the building of the church – but not for its furnishing or the land on which it was built – was provided by two priests – Frs John and James Lennon. Built to the designs of Messrs Sinnot, Sinnot and Powell of Liverpool, the church was constructed in red brick with sandstone edgings to the windows and the builder was Mr Winnard of Wigan. The total cost was around £6,000 and it replaced a smaller chapel on the same site.
Spot the difference. The social club is seen in the view from 22 April 2003, which had been demolished by the time of the second scene from 10 September 2006.
Alongside Sacred Heart church is River View dated 1867. I can imagine the owner being able to see the River Mersey and the fields beyond from their home before the industrial site opposite grew in size.
The Bowling Green Hotel
The Bowling Green Hotel is no more. It is now Dunky’s Day Nursery. The building, as you might imagine, was accompanied by a bowling green to the north. It formed a triangle with rows of housing on two sides, Powys Street and Liverpool Road, with Green Street on the northern section. That was until 1971 when the roundabout and new road layout at Little Sankey Green took shape. Until 1935, the town centre to Sankey Bridges tram route passed to the south of the hotel. See the National Library of Scotland map for more about the area.