©Copyright 2012 Christopher Pearson Design
LATCHFORD HISTORY GROUP
Latchford lies south of the river Mersey in the County Borough of Warrington.
The ancient ford whereby the crossing of the Mersey was made possible before the first bridge was built was the origin of the name Latchford deriving from ‘ a ford over a laecc or stream’.
From this ford which allowed people to cross the river the township of Latchford developed. Originally the land was part of the parish of Grappenhall.
Feuding families led to the building of a bridge over the Mersey. The Boydells of Latchford were charging tolls to ford the river. The Botelers of Warrington built the first bridge in 1285 down stream of the ford and were granted the right to charge tolls. This brought the Botelers in direct conflict with Boydells who owned the land on the Latchford side of the bridge. This conflict of interests lasted many years.
By 1485 the Earl of Derby built a new bridge over the Mersey. He left money in his will to maintain the bridge and to free it from tolls. This was a blow to the Boydells and to Latchford. It affected greatly the weekly market and annual fair which had been granted to the Boydells. Now people could attend the Warrington markets and fairs free from any tolls.
Little change took place in Latchford over the next two centuries. It was mainly agricultural land, and it was still in the parish of Grappenhall. As the Industrial Revolution approached major changes came to the area. The course of the river was altered cutting off the loop where the ford was sited. In 1770 the Bridgewater Canal was built on the southern boundary. By 1801 Latchford was further divided by the building of the Old Quay Canal. Also by 1801 the population had reached 752 and by 1831 it had increased to 2166.
Two separate settlements were emerging. One was near to the Warrington Bridge where Cotton mills, Pin mills and other factories were sited. In 1777 St James Church was built close to the bridge as a Chapel of Ease. It was here the first Sunday School was founded in 1779.
The other settlement not far from the original ford became known as the village of Latchford and it subsequently grew to meet the demands of the increased population. Tanneries had opened in Latchford and were owed by eminent Latchford families.
By 1847 Warrington Borough boundary was extended to include Latchford. Further changes were the coming of the railway and Latchford Station which opened in 1860 and the opening of Christ Church in 1861 as another Chapel of Ease from St Wilfrids Grappenhall.
When the Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894 it divided Latchford once again. The land south of the Canal became known as Latchford Without. This gave the area several bridges across the canal. New approach roads were made to allow the crossing of these bridges. Locks were built to allow the boats to proceed through higher land towards Manchester. Latchford Locks has proved a lasting landmark. Another lasting landmark in Latchford is Victoria Park bought by Warrington Borough Council in 1897. It had previously been The Old Warps Estate, which dates back to the reign of Charles 11.
During the twentieth century further changes in Latchford developed into what we know today. Housing estates were built on Loushers Lane, Westy and Chester Road. This led to new schools and shopping areas to meet the demand of the ever increasing population.
Although now firmly established as part of Warrington Borough Council, Latchford still keeps its identity, both geographically and by the people who live or were born and raised within its boundaries.
BRIEF HISTORY OF LATCHFORD