The 1851 Town Plan – Warrington’s North-east Quarter (part two)

Warrington’s North-east Quarter (part one)

Warrington Industries – Textiles, Files and Glass – and Parr’s Bank

Around Cockhedge Lane, behind the buildings on the lower end of Buttermarket Street, is Warrington’s main industrial area on what looks like a green field site. Even in 1825 Warrington was already considered ‘one of the earliest manufacturing towns in Lancashire’ and, the Town Plan depicts its first ‘industrial estate’, today completely covered by the Cockhedge Shopping Centre and New Town House.

On the corner of Scotland Road, behind the Britannia Inn, the Scotland Road Foundry, surrounded by workers’ housing, fills all the space between Cockhedge Lane and Orford Street, now completely taken up by the grey concrete mass of New Town House.

North of Cockhedge Lane, a file manufactory and vast glass works are joined by the Cockhedge Cotton Factory to the north-east, which is surrounded by purpose-built houses for the ‘hands’, and has a reservoir shown close by to the north. An infirmary, north of the reservoir on the east corner of Crown Street and Orford Street, suggests a previously isolated spot for infectious diseases, or an early example of employee welfare. Or possibly extremely detrimental working conditions for the ‘hands’.

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The 1851 Town Plan – Warrington’s South-west Quarter

Warrington’s South east Quarter

In the area to the South-west, between Bridge Street and Sankey Street, the medieval town extends west across Bridge Street as far as modern-day Barbauld Street, before giving way to orchards and gardens and then open countryside. A distillery, tucked away in a courtyard near the Eagle and Child Inn, is the original site of the renowned Warrington gin the basis of the famous Greenall‘s brewing empire.

The bottom corner towards Bridge Foot, the site of the Austin (Augustinian) Friary, founded around 1280 and a later casualty of Henry VIII’s Reformation, is now punctuated with small-scale industrial works: Jolley’s File Manufactory, Friar’s Green Cotton Manufactory, Friar’s Green Old Tannery and Friar’s Green Saw Mills. To the left of these are signs of eighteenth-century development, including the lovely houses of Stanley Street, designed by the famous Warrington painter and engraver, Hamlet Winstanley. A rented building on Friar’s Green is the earlier home of the Warrington Library, started by the Presbyterian minister Dr John Seddon, later founder of the Warrington Academy, in 1760. It was amalgamated with the Natural History Society’s Museum in 1848, the same year it was taken over by the newly-fledged Warrington Corporation to become the first municipal library in Britain. Continue reading