Wartime Warrington


This is a study of the infrastructure of Warrington and it’s surrounding area in the immediate post World War II period. It was surrounded by airfields, munitions factories, and military camps representing all 3 services plus the US Army. It’s location was ideal, close to the Liverpool docks, good rail links, (and the Manchester Ship Canal), a large industrial base with everything from cardboard boxes to tank parts being produced here as wartime warringtonwell as all the chemicals needed for soap and explosives. It was about as far as you could get from occupied Europe but this didn’t stop it from being bombed and the airfield at Stretton was originally built for the fighter defense of Liverpool and Manchester. I grew up at Winwick in the 60’s and lived opposite an old gentleman who’s wartime duty was fire watch from up the Winwick church tower. From there he could see the flames from raids on Liverpool  and Manchester. Warrington itself was bombed in September 1940, Warrington Museum’s local history site has some details of this on www.warringtonmuseum.co.uk/local-history/warrington-at-war-1939-45


Risley (Birchwood) 1947ROF Risley                                      I’ll start with the area I live in, the site of the Risley R.O.F. filling station No 6                                   August 1939 – 3.8 Km² of heath and mossland was compulsorily purchased, draining and construction began. Site chosen because of it’s remoteness but easy access with rail links both to the north and south, and, it was an area usually covered with low cloud and mist  and so was hard to see even in daylight. Notice the dedicated rail link to the Manchester-Wigan branch line from Newchurch Halt on the present day Culcheth linear park. The stream on the right of the link is still there and marks the route of the pathway from the Warrington east M62 junction to Culcheth, a derelict WW2 nissan hut can be seen from this path. There was also a ‘halt’ on the Liverpool-Manchester line where Birchwood station is today. Both lines were used for moving materials and bringing in workers                                                                              September 1940 – Bomb production starts                                                                  February 1941 – Construction completed                                                                            As a filling factory Risley received explosives in bulk from other ROF’s then filled them into various casings to produce the finished munitions. These were kept in storage bunkers to await dispatch, four of Risley’s bunkers survive in Birchwood Forest Park but access is not possiblerof-risley1                   January 1946 – Site taken over by Directorate of Atomic Energy production (DATEN) as headquarters for the production of fissile material for use in Britains nuclear bombs. The Culcheth rail link still being used to bring in workers from Manchester.   1954 – HQ site expanded with the formation of the UKAEA to establish a civil nuclear power program alongside the military one. Workforce at this time was 20,000 increasing to 40,000 in 1963                                                                                                       1963 – Entire area disused and put up for sale                                                                 1965 – First batch of UKAEA apprentices enrolled at Risley (see http://www.enuii.org/risley/ ) I was in the 1968 intake. The last was in 1989 and the main apprentice training school building was finally demolished in March 2014              1968 – Site bought by Warrington and Runcorn Development Corporation and Birchwood new town development started. This was then the largest derelict industrial site in Europe and the rubble produced by it’s demolition was enough to build the large mounds around the north of the site, the largest becoming Pestfurlong Hill and, although originally flat moss land Birchwood continues to become quite bumpy with the landscaping of the Risley landfill sites to become new mountains in recent years. There are a few signs of the ordnance factory remaining, the 4 overgrown and filled in bunkers on Forest Park and the defensive pill box on Delenty Drive. Also many of the roads are named after military characters eg, Admiral’s Road, McCarthy Close, or objects, eg Ordnance Ave., and Barham, Vanguard, Centurion and Nelson were all the names of Battleships. Roads around the Risley science come from it’s nuclear physics past – Faraday St, Cavendish Ave and Daten Ave.                                                                                                                    The Noggin Inn survived all these changes but not as it was. The great thing about pubs back then was most had an ex-army nissan hut in the back where we could party and make a lot of noise without disturbing the other drinkers. The one at the Noggin was very popular for live music, folk and heavy rock, naturally making it a great bikers pub. Then a new landlord decided he wanted to attract more office workers from Risley and got rid of the hut as well as banning all bikes from his car park, it wasn’t just there, other pubs stopped farm workers from coming on their tractors, closed the bar sides and banned working clothes. Pubs were changing.

HMS Gosling camps 1,2 & 3

HMS Gosling camp 4, Lowton

HMS Gosling camp 5, Glazebrook

Croft – HMS Gosling                                                                              Also collectively known as the RN Aircraft Training Establishment, Risley, HMS Gosling was opened in July 1941 as the training depot for Air Fitters, Mechanics and Radio Mechanics for the Fleet Air Arm. Also Royal Marines of the RNAS Defence Force were trained here. It consisted of 5 dispersed camps:-                                           Camp 1 – New lane, Croft (at Eaves Brow) HQ and admin. centre                                         Camp 2 – Risley (on the site where Risley prison would be built in 1960)                                            Camp 3 – Lady Lane, Croft  (substantial remains until 2014 when it was demolished for housing development)                           Camp 4 – Lowton (this one is interesting to me because in the bottom left corner of the map are the Sovereign Confectionery Mills where my mother worked for a few years until it closed, (weekly treats for us kids) before she took a job at Winwick Hospital until retiring)         Camp 5 – Glazebrook (Cadishead)

Some of its facilities were tasked with for the conversion and outfitting of specialist radio and radar vehicles for use by RN Mobile Operating Navy Air Bases (MONABs). This was the last unit to leave the Risley complex (then HMS Aerial II) in the mid 70’s in what is now the Trident industrial estate.    Camp 3 Lady Lane was adapted into a transit hotel by the Americans in the 50’s. This was for personnel and families arriving at ‘the gateway to Europe’ – Burtonwood, it’s facilities, ie Club and Cinema, were very popular amongst Croft locals.                        information from http://royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk and ‘Burtonwood’ Aldon P. Ferguson, Airfield Publications

Padgate Camp Padgate RAF training camp                                   No3 RAF Depot Padgate was the national recruit training centre for the RAF during and after World War II. It opened in April 1939 and by 1943 it’s weekly intake was 1500. The group of buildings in the top left hand corner was the barrage balloon depot, see http://warrington.photomag.co.uk/padgate-raf-padgate-warrington-balloon-depot/balloon-site-1946/          It continued after the war with National Service recruits, including Bruce Forsyth who remembered being marched to the camp from Padgate station on one of his game shows. In fact, I spoke to many people who remembered being at RAF Padgate when I mentioned that I was from Warrington. It finally closed in 1957 and there were still a hurricane and spitfire on the main entrance in the early 60’s when we used the camp as a playground, (hide and seek was great there)  As with Risley the remaining clues to the area’s past are the road names on the housing development that covers the camp area, Insall Rd from it’s commander, south of this all base names eg Catfoss, Gosport and Valley, and to the north, all aircraft names eg Lysander, Harrier, Vulcan, Victor and Valiant. Have a look at  http://www.jazznorthwest.co.uk/padgate.htm and http://www.qaranc.co.uk/nationalservice.php  for some great tales and pictures from the 50’s

HMS Aerial West & East, Culcheth

Culcheth – HMS Ariel                  Royal Navy Air Training Establishment (RNATE), Culcheth or HMS Ariel was established in October 1942, at first under the admin control of HMS Gosling, for the technical training of RN and WRNS radio mechanics. It consisted of 3 camps, Ariel West at Culcheth, East at Newchurch and South  in Warrington.                  The RN archive site www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/FAA/Bases/Culcheth.htm#.V77KhVsrK70   lists Ariel South as being near the Chester road swing bridge at Walton but I can’t find any sign of it on the 1947 OS maps. I had a reply to an enquirery to the RN research site saying that it was on the road from Culcheth to Warrington at Risley which would place it at the NW of the ROF site where the Trident Industrial estate is now. Radio and radar repair and maintenance was started in 1944 and this was continued in Ariel South until the 70’s. West and East camps were closed in 1952 and soon the establishment of the civil atomic energy program at Risley meant vast numbers of new workers required accommodation in the area. Temporarily, this was solved by using the Ariel camps while new permanent housing was built, increasing the size of Culcheth dramatically. A hostel (now private flats) and sports club were built on Ariel West site. The club was purchased from the UKAEA in 1998 and became ‘Culcheth Sports’ which still Displays the HMS Ariel crest and has an Ariel lounge, for the complete history see http://www.daten.co.uk/club-history. The ‘Little London’ part of the site was then used by the UKAEA for some fuel test experiments, I spent some time there as an electrician in the mid 70’s. That, and the remaining parts of the camps became housing developments and the Taylor industrial estate. I was at Culcheth secondary school (same site as Culcheth High) in the mid 60’s in the original buildings which still had its air raid shelter outside, ‘smokers corner’! Culcheth Hall had been demolished in the 50’s but it’s avenue of tree’s was still there. A fascinating history of Culcheth can be found on   www.culcheth.org/history1.htm

RNAS Stretton – HMS Blackcap                                                                                           HMS Blackcap, RNAS StrettonThe runway layout at Stretton is that of a RAF airfield rather than FAA, this is because when construction was started in 1940 it was needed for the fighter defense of Merseyside and Manchester but this Blitz was over before it was completed and the RAF first loaned it to the Admiralty who took over completely and commissioned it as HMS Blackcap in 1942. The 3 main areas were the airfield for flight operations, to the north was the RN aircraft maintenance yards and eastwards was the Fairey Aviation hangers. Faireys also had a single building factory on Wildespool Causeway in Warrington that is now the Network Warrington bus depot. These hangers, the main runway and some other buildings are still there. After the war, Stretton was the collection point for thousands of surplus aircraft and their scrapping led to some Warrington scrapyards becoming a mecca for aircraft and engine parts and to a thriving aluminium industry in the town. The main communal area was where the Young Offenders Institute is now. Wrens were accommodated in Grappenhall Heyes on Lumbrook Lane, Grappenhall Hall on Church lane, now a special school and Springfield which was the Wren’s sick bay. Post war, Stretton was extremely busy as a training and maintenance base and the home of the RNVR until it’s closure in 1958.                                                                                                                                     Just south of Stretton, at Wildacre Farm, can be seen the remains of Northern Radar, Antrobus which had a massive job in controlling all the Merseyside, Burtonwood, Stretton  and Manchester air traffic in the 50’s and 60’s, see www.rafburtonwood.org/northern.html and http://nwex.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6400 for info and pictures.                                       Information for HMS Blackcap from ‘Cheshire airfields in the second world war’ by Aldon Ferguson.

Burtonwood airfield and base complexburtonwood without the airbase
 This 1947 map of the Burtonwood base area, the layout of which which has obviously not been included, the same for goes for RNAS Stretton. Detailed layouts of military installations were obviously not allowed on maps that were to be offered for sale to the public for security reasons. ROF Risley was not in use by this time so was detailedBurtonwood airfield and base complex

Canada Hall – WAC’s accommodation

Bruche Hall – GI accommodation

Haydock Park – Associated storage base for Burtonwood, Apparently still packed with vehicles and gliders on the day of the first post war race meeting in 1946. see www.south-lancs-aviation.bravepages.com/history_of_haydock_park.htm

1938 – Site selected by the RAF as an aircraft repair depot and aircraft storage unit and construction started.  April 1940 – Opened as No 37 MU and Burtonwood Repair Depot (BRD site) under the control of Fairey Aviation who also began operations on the Mary Ann Site. These were also used for training RAF personnel on US airframes and engines.             April 1942 – Burtonwood selected by the US Army for the repair and maintenance of US Aircraft and the 1st American units arrived in June. May 1946 – Control handed back to the RAF                                           1948 – The Berlin Airlift and the Americans return                           1951 – Massive extensions until 1957                                               1958 – end of flying operations by the USAF, battle commenced between the NCB who wanted to mine coal under the runway and the RAF who didn’t want to give up one of the longest runways in the country. Hard standings for 4 V-bombers were constructed along with facilities for their crews for dispersal operations                       1965 – RAF formally takes over occupancy, airfield status “active when required”                             1967 – General de Gaulle quits NATO and orders the US Army out of France. so the US Army re-occupied the base facilities as Burtonwood Army Depot one – BAD1. Runway is now unfit for flying operations but RAF cadet gliders and US Army helicopters still operate there.                                                                                     1972 – M62 constructed on the runway, Mining subsidence forms depressions in it’s otherwise flat surface.                                     1993 – the cold war is over and the US Army run down BAD1 and evacuate.                                  2009 – last major buildings are demolished, some remain, see ‘Lancashire at War’s’ excellent page on http://www.lancashireatwar.co.uk/raf-burtonwood/4589011296

My first encounter with aircraft came from Burtonwood, growing up on a farm in Croft and then in Winwick village we were on the flightpath. A flight of B36’s landed when I was 4 years and the noise scared the life out of me, though long, the runway could only take B36’s lightly loaded so one circled Manchester all night burning up fuel. 3-4 years later I was at school at Winwick when Vulcans dropped in occasionally on dispersal excercises and my fear went through fascination to obsession.

For the full Burtonwood story see Aldon P. Ferguson’s Airfield publications ‘8th Air Force Base Air Depot ‘Burtonwood” and ‘Royal Air Force Burtonwood’ 50 years in photographs, and the RAF Burtonwood Association at http://www.rafburtonwood.com/

Penketh Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery


Moore Lane Camp




Frodsham AAOR


Widnes POW camp and AA Battery


Warrington – town centre

Warrington town centreWarrington had a massive industrial base, steel wire, iron castings, aluminium, leather, chemicals and paper to name a few and so had been responsible for producing everything from guns to cardboard boxes during the war. It was also a major hub for rail and water transport and the map shows numerous rail tracks and canals with links to the river and ship canal. The two main lines are still in use, the closed lines and former canal routes are now linear parks or footpaths providing very nice off road access to most of the town. The Howley Lock and the remains of the Paddington Lock can still be seen from the newly revamped riverside walk from Bridgefoot to Woolston New Cut. To the west the Sankey Valley park contains part of the St Helens canal. You can go south from Latchford to Stockton Heath on the route of the Black Bear section of the Runcorn Latchford canal. Sustantial remains of the Warrington dock are on the path by the Ship Canal towards Walton and the last warfs that I can remember on the Mersey were at Thames Board Mills (marked as ‘Mersey Works’ on this map) about where the village hotel is now.

1086 – Doomesday book lists Warrington as a ‘small village’ and the Normans built a wooden castle here around this time.                                                                               1258 – First reference to a bridge at Warrington                                                               1292 – A small town with a population of several hundred, also the Augustinian Friars arrived in Warrington around this time.                                                                             1495 – Stone bridge built over the Mersey                                                                           1526 – Sir Thomas Boteler leaves tne money for the Grammar School                          1539 – Friary closed by Henry VIII                                                                                        1642 – The Civil War, Warrington (population 2000) was important because of it’s bridge, was seized by the Royalists but only until May 1643 when the Parliamentarian army laid siege and captured it. 13 Aug 1651, Battle of Warrington Bridge, one of the last battles of the war                                                                                                                              June 1834 – First Warrington Walking day                                                                              4 Oct 1853 – RMS Tayleur launched from the Vulcan (Tayleur & Co) Foundry yard at Bank Quay. The largest iron merchant ship constructed at that time she was built for the White Star Line and, like her successor the Titanic, was lost on her maiden voyage with large loss of life.                                                                                                                1872 – Excavations following the demolition of old cottages for the widening of Bridge Street reveal the foundations of the 13th Century Friary Church in the area known as Friars Gate.                                                                                                                       1891 – Orford (Penisula) Barracks opened                                                                          29 March 1894 – Dugout canoe found in the mud of Arpley Meadows near Walton Lock  14 Sept 1940 – Thames Board recreation field bombed during a fete, many civilian casualties                                                                                                                          1974 – Boundary changes move Warrington from Lancashire into Cheshire

54 thoughts on “Wartime Warrington

  1. do you know where the german bombs fell on Warrington,have you any info of incedary bombs falling on Amelia street orford.

    • This was at the Thames Board Mills annual fete on Sept 14th 1940. The stray German bomber had been raiding Manchester and was travelling along the Manchester Ship Canal. It spotted a large crowd of people at the fete and decided to unload its last remaining bombs.
      There was carnage as one bomb fell on the canteen burying 150 people in the wreckage, killing 16, injuring a further 28, 15 of them seriously. Sorry, I can’t find any information on Amelia Street

  2. What a great page! Full of information I needed (Or wanted) I am from Irlam/Cadishead but moved to Birchwood 10 years ago and now live in Croft. It’s great to read about local history. As a child, we would play on Glazebrook ‘army camps’ as we called them and had so much fun!

  3. Hello Robin,
    I have found some useful information on your interesting web site regarding HMS Gosling, where my mother served for 3 years as a Wren during the Second World War.
    However I’m looking for a bit of clarity about the various sites it occupied, because I have a list of all the places where she served from 1941-46 and one of them was at HMS Gosling (Camp 5) from 1942-45, and this is stated as being at Lowton St. Mary’s, but going off your history this was Camp 4?
    I also have her autograph book from the same time, and various entries there are marked ‘Lowton’ under the signatures of the people she served with, and no mention of Glazebrook/Cadishead, although some others are just marked ‘Camp 5′.
    Now of course she could have been sent to the different sites during the time she was there, as I’m sure other Wrens were, but it seems a bit strange she put Camp 5 at Lowton St. Mary’s, because the list of her service I have is in her handwriting.

    One other thing that now puzzles me is HMS Cabbala, which as you know was where Lowton Civic Hall was, (Hesketh Meadow Lane) and shown on the map that you have put for HMS Gosling Camp 4, so were these two camps totally separate, because so far I have never seen anywhere the two camps mentioned together on any site, which seems a bit strange as they were so close together?
    I presume on the map the camp shown a few hundred yards SW of HMS Cabbala, is HMS Gosling on Norwood Avenue??

    Sorry to ramble on, but hopefully you, or maybe others reading this, might be able to shed some light on my confusion, as sadly there is no one alive in my family now that I can ask about it.

    • Hi Vince, One of the sites I got the information of was the Royal Navy Research archive, on http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/FAA-Bases/Risley.htm#.W7dlQntKjIU .I didn’t know about Cabbala and it isn’t on the list of FAA bases in the archive but Lowton civic hall’s website has an excellent page on HMS Cabbala – https://www.freewebs.com/lometh/hmscabbala.htm and there are 2 separate camps laid out on the map, https://maps.nls.uk/view/101103686 Hope this makes sense to you
      cheers Robin

      • Hi Robin,
        Thanks for the quick reply, and yes, I have seen those pages, and I suppose the Royal Navy Research web site is to be believed as to which camp was which, but I may post a request there for any info just in case.
        Yes, as I mentioned there is what seems to be two separate camps shown on that old map, and I have to assume one camp is HMS Gosling and the other is HMS Cabbala, which as you say does certainly have information on the ‘net about it and where it was situated.
        Although it does still seem strange to me that where ever I find info for one ‘ship’, the other is never mentioned, given that they were so close together!
        Anyway, thanks again, and if I find anything further I’ll update my post.

    • Camp5 became GlazebrookCountryClub which was a commercial social venue until it was rafidged by travellers whom claimed settlers rights-
      Eventually evicted the property , then subjected to severe abuse of oppotnnists -now greatly damaged but still proudly standing strong and proud of its historical history/
      Owned by a private ‘TRUST’ whom is protecting the premises-
      The British Flags were raised this year 2019 on Rememberance Sunday And currently the Union Jack and The AMERICAN Flags Are raised together.
      The Trust is moving forward with plans of restoration –
      We invite , welcome ,enthusiastic people to join our ranks.

  4. Do you have any information regarding the accommodation for the munition factory workers, mostly the Irish girls. I was told that maybe Culcheth Hall or Risley hall was the place, but can find no trace?

    • Hi Philomena, sorry, I have no information about accommodation for the factory workers locally, large numbers were brought in by train, presumably from Manchester and Liverpool and there were buses for local residents. To be honest there were so many Americans accommodated, eg in places like Canada House (Padgate College) and Bruche that I think they’d taken all the available space. Culcheth Hall was definitely used by them but I don’t know about Risley Hall. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  5. Hi Robin

    Are there any photos of what HMS Gosling, Camp 1 looked like immediately post war.

    Having misunderstood my mother for many years I now know she was referring to Eaves Brow not Easborough. My parents were there in 1952 awaiting transit to Malaya. Unfortunately my mother went into premature labour with me, in the camp and I was born in 1952 in hospital at Warrington – not in the Far East as was expected. Today we drove around the area – in the rain and found Christ Church where I won a baby competition in July 1952. I would love to see what the camp looked like all those years ago. Mum, now 91 years of age, was pleased that some names had been retained in the housing estate which is there now. All she can really remember of the countryside was that she had to walk a long way to get anywhere. Jenny

  6. Hi Robin

    Fantastic information on wartime Warrington.

    Would you happen to have any photographs/layouts of ROF Risley for a research project? I am finding it very hard to source images 1939 to 1945 compared to say ROF Kirby where lots of images are available. Any help most welcome.

    Many thanks


  7. Hi, I’m trying to find moss croft. It show in lots of old maps but no new ones, the closest I can pin it down to is near locking stumps. Any idea why it’s on old maps but not recent ones?

  8. hi there i have just bumped into your blog. i have been researching Poulton In Fearnhead for a number of years now and gathered so much information i have decided to fully recreate Padgate RAF Training Camp building for building as a fully complete 3D Overlay for Google Earth i was lucky to find a complete Aerial map of the whole area so i built it and also the surrounding buildings of interest.

    I started this a year ago and its all in black and white but now i have started to fully colour it as it shows more detail…

    The 3d map is a total run around fully interactive with info pins the works…

  9. Hi Robin…My mum, Marion Davies (home address: 2, Collin street, Warrington) met my father, a RCAF soldier, in 1942. For him to have met her in Warrington (at a so-called Canada Club / French Club), I have to believe that he probably was based at the “R” depot in Houghton Green / Padgate? If so, what was going on in that camp?

    Brian Gosselin

  10. Thanks for all this information! my 9 year old son is currently working on ww2 at school (and as I was originally from the area) we chose the Birchwood forest park bunkers as his school project. Your obvious hard work has made this a really interesting project for us so many thanks.
    And as we live in such a small world, while showing the project to his Grandad it appears he knows you! So thanks again from the daughter and grandson of Phil Rees.

  11. Hi there I am looking for any old photo’s of Moore lane in ww2 they had an army base there about 100 tents in a field just trying to find out more.
    Many thanks

  12. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for confirming that Culcheth existed: I’m typing out my late father’s autobiography notes and he mentioned that he was posted there, after general radar training, for ‘top secret’ radar training in 1942 for the navy. He said it was surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Do you know anything about this secret radar camp?

  13. Hi Robin,
    I just found your brilliant page tonight and your kind comments about my website and I wondered if you wouldn’t mind contacting me directly?
    Many thanks

  14. Hi. As a very young child, I lived, with my parents, in Risley, between circa 1952 and probably 1954 or thereabouts. [Too young to be certain]. My Father was then a Civil Servant, employed by the Admiralty..having left the Royal Navy as a Lt Cmdr, Stores. I can recall we first lived at Turf & Feathers farm, which was probably Admiralty accommodation? Our garden backed onto a sewage works. I made the headlines in the local press by escaping my pram, crawling [apparently] under the boundary fence, and falling into a settling tank. It appeared there were search parties out looking for me at the time. Later, my parents moved to wooden shed/huts/bungalows on Delenty Drive [Although back then spelled Telenty Drive, or so one or two official documents relating to my mother would have it?] Number 10, to be precise. The road ran along the rear of the back gardens of a row of brick houses, with sloping flat roofs. I had a long association with a family who lived in one, by the name of Dempsey. The husband [Jack] was a member of what I later found out to be, the Admiralty Dockyard Police. The wife, [Gladys] was at one time employed at ROF Risley, and carried an injury typical, so it was said, of Warrington lasses…of having a finger or two missing. Although I think, from what I recall of her accent, she hailed from Devon, where they later moved back to. We moved away before I achieved school age. Sadly, I believe, Turf & Feathers is now somewhere under the M6?

    • Well Alastair. Have just come across your post, no our mother never worked at the ROF, neither did she have any fingers missing.

    • Hi Alastair, well you are a bit out on some of your recollections, our mother never worked in the ROF, or naval stores as it became. She also had all her fingers.

    • That’s very interesting Phil, I’ll place it on here if you like and credit it to you, send to rob@robineldridge.co.uk . Or if you are on facebook people on the Culcheth memories and chat page would be very interested to see it. cheers Robin

  15. Hello robin i have niow finished the raf camp overlay and its looking great now i redone it in full colour if you would like some images on how it looks please email me, what i would like if possible and or if anybody can help is what all the buildings were hahaha i know i built a camp with over 600-700 buildings on and dont know what half of them are like clothings stores,officers mess, and so on barracks and other bits are self explanatory but i would say 300 i do not know what they are but i built them in 3d hahahha funny but true…. the overlay looks much better than your last look

  16. Hi Robin. I’m Group Scout Leader at the 21st Warrington West (1st Appleton) Group. I’m pulling together our history. We started in 1964 meeting at Appleton Parish Hall. This was the old Officers Mess for a base on Appleton Park. Do you have information about this base, or the Interment Camp that was nearby. I’ve seen copies of old OS maps of the area 1954 showing the two camps and 1967 showing the old village hall. Hope you can help. Stephen

    • Hi Stephen, I can’t tell you much about the camps I’m afraid, if you look on the 4th map on
      it does show shaded areas listed as camps on the extreme left outside the airfield boundary. All the information I have about
      HMS Blackcap, Stretton Airfield, I got from Aldon Ferguson’s books ‘Cheshire Airfields in the Second World War’ and ‘Eighth Air Force Base Air Depot, Burtonwood’ which are very good. Also somewhere, temporarily lost in a house move, I have a book on the airfield itself which was sold by the Beehive Stores on the junction of the A49 and Tarperley Road, hopefully they are still available. Not much I’m afraid but good look with your research. Robin

  17. Hi, I have just found your site and, as a Warrington lad, found it very interesting. I was born in 1947, lived in Longford on what was Sandy Lane and renamed St Stephen’s Ave when the new council estates in Orford were built. I was actually looking for any info on the history of our houses, they are the flat roofed houses and were the property of the Admiralty, later they became Warrington Council. There was a repair facility next to Sandy Lane Club ( Alberts as it later became)
    I was wonderibg if you had any info on the history of the flat roof housing before 1947? Cheers, Alan.

    • Hi Alan, I can’t find much about them really, other than the flattops were a more permanent solution to replacing the 475,000 houses destroyed in the war after the pre-fabs by using traditional brick walled buildings along with more modern materials such as pre-cast concrete plinths and roofs to speed construction. Some of these were used to house the new labour force arriving for, the new nuclear industry for example. My uncle lived in one north of Culcheth when he first started at Risley. Some of them on Poplars were still military owned through the 70’s, I had a girlfriend who lived in one who’s father was in the Parachute Regiment and working in the Recruiting Centre. Sorry I can’t be of more help

  18. Hi Robin, thanks for an absolutely brilliant info page.
    I would like to know when the site at Padgate teacher training Campus was built and for what purpose. The teacher training began in 1946 and Canadian forces were there prior to that. From looking at the maps the accommodation blocks look to the same type as built at Croft, Risley and Glazebrook of and I am guessing that they were built around the same time. Was there another name for the site ?

    • Hi Martin, thanks for your message. From Aldon Fergusons’ ‘8th air force base air depot, burtonwood’, the site was developed by us for the Americans in 1942 as an accommodation unit called Canada House along with Bruche Hall, each had 13 hostel type barracks capable of housing 1500 men with a recreational//mess hall//
      admin building. Later, as more accommodation became available, they became more dedicated to female officers and then Canadians on their way home. I can’t guarantee the accuracy but I hope this is useful to you. cheers Robin

  19. Hello Robin, excellent work all round, some remarkable Burtonwood photos there. My long-since departed Grandmother worked there, in some sort of admissions capacity, allocating where incoming US Services men were to be housed.

    Consequently she was bribed mercilessly with American comics, bottles of Gin, all sort. Remarkably, we only finished one of the bottles earlier this year (yes really, 2021) Here are a few photos of it, before & after. It’s stamped with Imported Duty Free / U.S. Forces Only, so don’t tell anyone I drank it please https://www.2hq.co.uk/burtonwood/

    I arrived at your page looking for something you might be able to help worth, courtesy of me working on some content for Kennet Aviation and its restored Seafire Spitfire.

    What’s the connection with Burtonwood? Probably none, but there is a Warrington connection, as Seafire Mk.XVII SX336 was originally salvaged from a Warrington scrapyard, which I’ve seen described as ‘just south of the town, off the A49 near the football ground’ which is possibly the Rugby ground being mistaken for a football ground.

    Anyway, Joseph Brierley & Son scrap yard was the name of the place and we’re talking 1973 when the airframe was salvaged. There probably IS a Burtonwood connection, as both B26 and B17 sections were spotted and salvaged at the time.

    I probably walked past the place as an 8 year old.

    Anyway, I was looking for a 1970s map that might have it marked on, haven’t found one yet. Any pointers re: the exact location would be fascinating for me.



    • One more thing: Aforementioned Grandmother’s surname: Tonkinson, just in case. Additionally, that’s a bonus photo of me with a monkey in the first Gilbey’s Gin photo. I’m wearing a tie so it much ave been Walking Day! Raymond

    • Hi Raymond, I asked on the Warrington Memories facebook page and got a good response, that section of the A49 is Wilderspool Causeway and runs between Bridge Foot, (over the Mersey) and the Stockton Heath swingbridge over the Manchester ship canal. The football ground is actually the former home of ‘the Wires’ Warrington Rugby now call the Wolves. Jack Cox wrote ‘Brierley’s scrap yard ran from behind St James church to the Warrington R.L. ground. The ground is now cleared and is called St James Court business centre’ he also said ‘The ground which is presently Warrington bus depot was built as Fairey Aviation during the war and active planes were taken there for repair ready to be sent out into action again. The planes arrived on low loaders with their wings taken off. There was a piece of spare land across the road from the repair site and the planes were left on this when either the repair site had no room or the planes arrived at weekend. As a child we lived about 25 yards away and we used to play on and inside the the unguarded planes. Fairey Aviation building and yard was built by Taylor Woodrow.’ As Fairey aircraft these would have come from HMS Blackcap, Stretton airfield as would your Seafire along with all other FAA aircraft sent for repair or scrapping. I hope this is useful to you and I will soon see the spitfires, hurricanes, mustangs et all at the flying legends new home. Best wishes Robin

  20. Ha that’s incredible! Thanks ever so much for that, amazing to think you could have played in the fuselage of SX336! It looks like she could well have been there from the late 1950s until salvaged in the 1970s.

    Thanks once again and let me know if you’d be up for me getting you a pint / coffee / milkshake when I get up to Stockton Heath to see my mum later this year Sir. Thanks once again, truly amazing man!

  21. Your page is a great help, considering that there is very little information about Houghton Green available in searches.

    My father was among thousands of young Canadian air force vets returning to Canada. He was stationed at “R” depot Warrington for almost a month, which I now believe was Houghton Green, awaiting his turn to board a ship at Liverpool departing for Canada.

    I’m merely trying to find how far it might have been for these lads from their barracks to the train station. I suppose on a good day I might also wonder how many such airmen were actually accommodated at R depot. Judging by the number who boarded the ships, there must have been accommodation for at least a thousand repatriating soldiers.

    Thanks for whatever help you can offer!

    • Hi Gus thanks for your message. Yes there was accommodation for many thousands, for example at it’s height there were over 30,000 Americans working at Burtonwood alone. I think the area between the Padgate RAF training camp and Houghton Green would have been the ‘R’ depot with Canada House, now Padgate College, between Padgate and Risley. Padgate train station would have been the closest, just the other side of the RAF camp, but for the numbers involved I would think they would go to the larger Warrington Central Station 2 miles south. Both on the liverpool-Manchester line. for some earlier history of Houghton Green see https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol4/pp166-168
      I hope this helps

  22. Hi Robin,
    I was wondering if you still use and update this blog. If so, I would like to ask few things related to the very useful information here.

  23. Hi Robin,

    I have been compiling an Autobiography of my father’s World War 2 Experiences. He joined the RAF in May 1940 Leo Bernard Lamb SN: 1012281 and went to RAF Padgate initally for training then onto RAF West Kirby for final training. He was posted to 73 Squadron at RAF Debden, then transported to Northe Africa 1940 to 1943 then onto Italy 1943 to 1944 when he was HE due to injuries.
    I am with a publisher who needs me to get consent/approval from the Image provider to enable the details to be published. Hence allow me under your copyright to use the information. I look forward to your reply.
    Kind regards,
    Philip Lamb

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