History of Warrington's parks

History of Victoria Park

Originally the Old Warps Estate, Victoria Park was purchased by the Warrington Corporation in 1897 to improve the health and well being of Warrington's working class. It was renamed Victoria Park to mark the queen's jubilee year.

Did you know:

  • Close to Black Bear bridge is the site of the ancient ford over the River Mersey. Used since about 8000BC it remained the only major crossing of the river until the middle of the 13th century.
  • In the early 18th century a large area of the park was under water forming part of the notorious 'hell hole' - a river loop subject to severe silting causing many boats to run aground and dangerous even at high tide.
  • In 1724 a series of weirs were built on the Mersey, the 'hell hole' was lost and over the next 100 years the ox bow that was left was filled in and became part of the Old Warps Estate.
  • In 1819 the oldest horse in the world retired to the estate. Born in 1760, Billy worked for the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company until 1819. Old Billy was 62 years old when he died on 27 November 1822.
  • In 1912 a suspension bridge was built from Howley across to Victoria Park. It should have been a 60 foot wide bridge to relieve traffic at Bridge Foot but insufficient funds meant that only the footbridge we see today was constructed.
  • The area's first municipal bowling green was opened in 1905 and the first public tennis court in 1920.