A NEW book has been released charting the life of Warrington’s first mayor – and still one of its most recognisable names.

Historian Harry Wells has published the work entitled William Beamont – Antiquarian and Philanthropist.

The Orford resident has written or edited 21 books on the history of the town and this one focuses on the man whose name is still link to schools in the Orford area.

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William Beamont , born in 1797, became Warrington’s first mayor of modern times when the town received its charter in 1847.

He was a council member of the Chetham Society and served as vice president from 1879 to 1882.

A prolific author of antiquarian titles, he was also a noted philanthropist, building schools and churches.

And he played a key role in setting up Warrington Library and Museum in the mid 19th century.He laid the foundation stone for the museum in the mid 1850s.

Harry said: “His diaries and correspondence reveal his genuine humanity and wide interests and provide a wealth of biographical material which has been drawn on in this study.”

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The former St Ann's Church

His charitable work included setting up St Ann’s Church, chosen in memory of his wife Ann. The building still stands today, although is now an indoor climbing achievement.

His other roles included market reforms to make sure livestock was sold under cover.

He was a governor of the old Warrington Infirmary and had a nearby street named after him, although Beamont Street disappeared and the land was used for the new crown and county courts off Legh Street in the town centre.

As well as his physical achievements, the book also aims to describe the man himself.

It uses his diaries to look at his character and outlook and it looks at his wife and son, William John, of whom much less is known and has been written about.

Perhaps remarkably, there is nothing in his diaries about his year as mayor and Harry describes them as ‘very patchy’.

The story also focuses on his birthplace and the businesses which helped get him his fortune - much of which he used to build Warrington.

William Beamont – Antiquarian and Philanthropist is out now.

Priced £19.99