Warrington: The Facts
To my shame I don't have the name for this particular contributor - if they want to get in touch I will add their name on to it. Or not, as they please.

As you all know, The Cheshire Cat is now known as the 'Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat' because they moved the county boundaries - or more commonly, 'The Cat formerly known as Cheshire'. But what is Warrington, and what exactly is a 'Unitary Authority'? Read on....

A Unitary authority is a term used in the United Kingdom for a local government body which forms a single tier of administration. Similar areas used to be called county boroughs until their abolition in 1974. After this there was a two-tier arrangement where each county had a council and contained multiple districts with councils of their own.

Unitary authorities can be created by statutory instruments, so do not require separate legislation, under the terms of the Local Government Act 1992. Typically a district of an administrative county is designated as a new administrative county, but without a county council. The borders of the original administrative county are adjusted to exclude the unitary authority area. In common usage unitary authority areas are not usually referred to as counties, although there are exceptions such as the unitary authority of county of Herefordshire, which along with Rutland was a reinstatement of an administrative county lost in the 1974 reorganisation, and the road signs of Herefordshire now refer to it as a county.

In some cases, such as the boroughs of the metropolitan counties and Berkshire the unitary authorities are not legally counties in their own right, but have instead had all functions transferred to them and the county council has been abolished. This is in practical terms the same thing.

Scotland and Wales consistently use unitary authorities. They have been becoming common in England since the 1990s. However the two-tier arrangement (increasing to three-tiers, for the remaining county administrations) has remained in a different form due to the introduction of a regional level of administration.

London boroughs (including the City of London), the Isles of Scilly, are also counted as unitary authorities.

Warrington is a unitary authority in the north west of England. Part of the (historic) county of Lancashire, it was administered by Cheshire from 1974 until the late 1990s, when it becamea unitary authority. It is main town situated between Manchester and Liverpool. Landmarks of the town are Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, the Alice in Wonderland statue commemorating writer Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) born in nearby Daresbury, Old Market Gat and The Peace Centre (formerly the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Peace Centre). The Centre opened to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in 1993, particularly on Saturday March 20, the day before Mother's Day, when an IRA bomb killed two boys, Johnathan Ball (3) and Tim Parry (12).

Several celebrities were born and grew up in Warrington - including actor Pete Postlethwaite - and one, George Formby, was buried here in Warrington cemetery.

Warrington is notable in political history for being the first place to field a candidate for the newly-formed SDP-Liberal Alliance. Former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins stood for MP in 1981 but lost to Labour candidate Doug Hoyle by a small number of votes.

However, many people, particularly Americans, will remember Warrington best as the location of Burtonwood RAF base, one of (if not the) largest RAF bases in England. During the war, Burtonwood was visited by major celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Bob Hope who arrived to entertain troops.