An Editorial Review

I have continually struggled to keep to the 500 words advised, as you will have undoubtedly noticed, and what was meant to be four short posts giving an historical overview on each of Warrington’s ‘quarters’, has ended up around 6,000 words. Fine perhaps for an introduction to the book I am planning but, as I am starting to realize, a blog has different rules..

Although this long-winded detour has proved extremely useful to me, in identifying my stylistic faults – not least a tendency to overuse certain adjectives – and showing me the difficulties I have in grappling effectively with a large mass of information, it cannot be said to be fulfilling the ideal of what a blog is Meant to Be.

For myself, the main purpose of setting up a blog was to narrow down a theme for my book from all my research, and evolve and refine a written style in which to express it, so in that sense it can be said to be working well. However, as my search for better blogging techiques is uncovering, I should also be thinking of you, the reader.

The beauty of the blog format is the ability to edit afterwards, and I have been doing this frequently, treating each post as a draft chapter to be revised, corrected and added to. Not only is this not much fun for the reader, I am also realizing that I have become far too bogged down in these corrections, and lost sight of my original aim: to look at the Masterplan Framework’s suggestions for development, in the light of Warrington’s historical background.

A useful little article on copywriting for blogs has helped to clarify for me what a blog should actually be, (apparently, something between a press release, a short magazine article and an opinion piece, for the similarly non-tech-y types amongst you) so, with a bit of luck and a fair wind, improvements should be seen soon.

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Background to Warrington – A Look at the 1851 Town Plan

Warrington’s South-east Quarter

From Roman times to the thirteenth century, the North/South crossing point of the river was on the south bank at Latchford. The flood plain of Howley Meadows, unsuitable for building, ran up as far as modern-day Parr Street, and the Anglo-Saxon parish church and Norman castle, and subsequent medieval town of Warrington, were built on the higher ground just above it, pretty much in a straight line from the ford. When the bridge across the Mersey replaced the ancient ford crossing, around the middle of the century, the town, which had previously been little more than a single street, extended westwards along to meet it, and then ballooned out to form a new, late-medieval town, centred on the area between the East/West Buttermarket Street and the North/South Newgate, later Bridge Street.

The 1851 Town Plan shows the town still pretty much in its medieval form, but on the very cusp of change. Four streets run along the compass points, dividing the town into quarters and meeting at the broad opening of Market Gate. From the parish church, now at the far east of the town, to Buttermarket Street, a single row of buildings lines the south side of Church Street on burgage plots, which run back to gardens and orchards, and then open countryside. A school for Clergy Daughters has taken the place of the castle and a National School, built in 1833, sits next to the seventeenth-century Marquis of Granby Inn. On the higher ground to the North, additional small streets thread the gardens and orchards behind the buildings along the road, and the Grammar School, founded 1526, is still going strong over three hundred years later.

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