An extra special Warrington Walking Day is taking place on Friday 28 June, with the return of the Golden Gates.
This year’s Walking Day will see the unveiling of Warrington’s beautifully restored Golden Gates, following intensive repair works. The gates will be officially welcomed back to the town in a rededication ceremony to take place before the procession. The rededication is a rare and important occasion, with the last restoration and rededication being held around 50 years ago.
To mark the special event, the family of Frederick Monks, the man who originally donated the gates to Warrington in the late 19thcentury, will be attending the ceremony and procession. Also in attendance will be Mark Edwards, a former guilder who worked on the gates as an apprentice when they were last restored in the 1970s, and this year helped with the gates restoration as one of his last projects before retiring.
The rededication ceremony will start at 10.25am, led by the Rector of Warrington, Revd Paul Wilson. Revd Wilson – joined by the Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Wendy Johnson – will lead a rededication prayer and blessing. The occasion will also be marked by Warrington Brass Band, who will play an original fanfare, ‘The Gates’, composed especially for the event.
Following the rededication, the Walking Day procession will leave the Town Hall at 10.30am, making its way through the town centre.
Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Wendy Johnson, said: “Walking Day is a fantastic Warrington tradition. It’s great to see so many people and families join in year after year, filling the town centre with life.”
“This year will be particularly special for Warrington residents with the rededication of the Golden Gates, and we’re delighted to be joined by guests who have personal and family connections with this iconic symbol of Warrington.”
Brian Hall of Hall Conservation Ltd, the specialist company that did the restoration work said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be part of Warrington’s very special Walking Day. It was an honour to be asked to restore the magnificent Golden Gates. They are a fantastic piece of heritage for the town and its people. We’re very pleased to be part of this great community event.”
Fay Newham, Associate at Ramboll, said: “Our aim was to deliver a high standard of repair and leave a full and detailed record for the next generation.
“The realisation of these objectives has been made possible with extensive conservation experience and 21st Century technology and techniques, which have enabled us to re-create intricate components accurately, and re-assemble with concealed fixings and strengthening.
“The Golden Gates were originally created by the Coalbrookdale Company to showcase their skills at the Great Exhibition in 1862, and today no-one could cast such large, complex pieces, so we have had to take great care with them. It is a special project not only to the Town of Warrington but also for us, as conservation engineers.”
If you’d like to book a FREE seat on Sankey Street for the re-dedication ceremony and the Walking Day procession, please call 01925 442142.
About the Golden Gates restoration project:
- Presented to the town in 1895, the Golden Gates are an iconic symbol of Warrington, and a major landmark in the borough’s cultural and civic heart. The gates are afforded statutory protection as a Grade II* listed structure along with their associated gate piers and lamps. The setting is further designated as the Town Hall Conservation Area.
- They were last repaired and re-painted in 1978-9. Having long been virtually black, they acquired a paint finish that was much more in keeping with their original design. Extensive gilding covered their ornate frame, topped by the former coat of arms of Warrington Borough Council. This restoration led to the structure becoming known as Warrington’s ‘Golden Gates’.
- Warrington Borough Council has taken a conservation-based approach to ensure that not only has the work not harmed the Grade II* listed structure but that it has preserved and enhanced the gates, ensuring them many more years as a much-loved symbol of Warrington’s civic pride.
- The council has worked with international engineering, design and consultancy company, Ramboll, and Hall Conservation Limited to carry out the specialist restoration works.