IT is fair to say the the Royal family and Warrington have had something of a chequered history together.

First Warrington ended up with the Golden Gates because Queen Victoria was so annoyed that the same ironmonger had made a statue of the arch-Republican Oliver Cromwell that she no longer wanted them.

And it is rumoured she was none too impressed that Warrington took both and proudly put them on display.

But it was Warrington people who were left angry by the royals in the early 20th century.

And the story was relayed during the latest Great British Railways BBC2 programme earlier this week when Michael Portillo was filming in Warrington.

Warrington Guardian:

Michael Portillo with Janice Hayes

Janice Hayes, heritage manager at Culture Warrington, explained how the town had two visits from two different kings within four years.

She said: “The date July 6, 1909, was supposed to be a red letter day for Warrington as the town eagerly awaited a royal visit by Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and their daughter Princess Victoria.

“The town council had voted a special grant of more than £1,000 (the equivalent of £140,000 in today’s money) to decorate the route with colourful flowers and Sankey Street was a colourful scene of red, white and blue with excited crowds in their Sunday best clothes.

“Alas the air of expectation captured here was dashed as the royal party sped along the route in a closed car; paused for less than five minutes at the Town Hall and drove swiftly off with a loyal address and a diamond necklace for the royal princess.”

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This was because not only had Warrington paid for the decorations, the council also put the necklace for Princess Victoria.

But the royal party stopped only to open the car door, take the necklace and drive off.

So it was that the new king, George V, was soon back on his way up north.

He came to Warrington in July 1913 to open the bridge over the Mersey, now known as Bridge Foot.

Janice explained: “On July 7, 1913 George V officially opened the first half of the bridge.

“To atone for the hasty visit of Edward VII in 1909, his son’s visit to Warrington was a carefully-managed affair.”

And it was far more successful too.

With thousands lining the route of the royal party, including along Bridge Street, above.