ONE hundred years ago and through much of the 20th century, Warrington was instrumental in the success of an industry.

This week we take a look at how the location of the town made it perfect for success in the packing industry.

Janice Hayes, in her book Warrington at Work, takes up the tale.

"In the early 1900s two men saw Warrington's potential a location for the packaging industry.

"In his newly acquired premises in Orford Lane Felix Maginn set up a single-room factory with secondhand machinery and a staff of eight - the Alliance Box Works was born.

The Alliance Box Works

The Alliance Box Works

"Despite some initial setbacks Maginn secured contracts to supply local firms including the soap industry.

"By the time of the founder's death in the mid 1920s the firm had expanded to occupy the former premises of a velvet cutting works and the site of the Orford Lane glassworks.

"More crucially Maginn had also acquired business acumen and up-to-date machinery from the United States and spread his empire to Partington, where the company's new mills supplied boxboard for conversion into containers at the Warrington plant.

"Meanwhile Thomas Chadwick brought his paper making firm from Oldham, acquiring the Howley Mill and converting it to paper production.

"In 1937 a much larger firm, Thames Board, opened its new Mersey works at Warrington to serve as a northern production centre for cardboard, packaging materials and cartons. Here we can see, very clearly illustrated, the value of of Warrington's excellent location.

Staff at Thames Board in Warrington Image: Supplied

Staff at Thames Board in Warrington Image: Supplied

"Although this was two decades before the construction of the motorway network, the plans for a national highway system were already being formulated and it was obvious that Warrington would be a major interchange in the future.

"It was of course already well situated on the railway network, and it was equidistant between the Manchester and Merseyside conurbations, where demand for the packaging products was high. Geographical position, rather than an established tradition of paper and card production, was instrumental in the decision to locate the new factory at Warrington.

"The new complex was built on very modern lines, with a technologically-advanced production process. The factory was an early leader in the field of recycling, taking in waste paper from much of north-west England and processing it to cardboard and cheap packing materials.

"Long after the mills have closed Thames Board may be best remembered in local history as the site of the town's major air raid of World War Two, on 14 September 1940, when a single , dropped on the autumn fete, being held in the grounds, killed 16 people sadly injured many others."