AS I flicked through the pages of the national newspapers my heart sank when I saw the headlines proclaiming Warrington to be bottom of the league for culture and the “worst town in Britain for culture vultures!”
How could it be? My home town which boasts the first ever public library and a museum celebrating its 160th anniversary and our historic Golden Gates and town hall and the impressive Walton Hall and Gardens, to name but a few, rank bottom of the league.
When I came to the line proclaiming Warrington had no canals I realised the report was not entirely factually correct – when in fact we boast the Sankey St Helens canal, one of the oldest in the country, the Bridgewater canal and the Manchester Ship Canal – apparently these canals didn’t count because they are privately owned!!
Working closely with my friends at Culture Warrington we moved quickly to set the record straight and it wasn’t too long before the authors of the original report, the Royal Society of Arts, were back pedalling a little bit attempting to clarify the rankings and the awarding of points. It transpired the whole of Cheshire ranked pretty poorly.
I won’t bore you with the details of the point scoring mechanisms as I personally don’t think they are worth the paper they are written on – a little bit like some of the tabloid press who appeared to take great pleasure in slagging off our town (again) without checking their facts.
I took great pleasure in poking The Times and their Cultural Editor in the eye on social media with their factually incorrect reporting and their silence spoke volumes.
It eventually transpired that Warrington wasn’t even bottom of the overall league table, (we are bottom for assets apparently) with the likes of Rotherham, Slough, Knowsley, Darlington and Luton below us.
On a positive note what the report has done is highlight how much we have got to be proud of in Warrington and how we need to make more of the opportunities to tap into the heritage funding pots of money to help showcase and preserve what we have got.
With a revitalised Warrington Civic Society now gaining momentum, working in partnership with Culture Warrington, who have opened up the museum for their meetings, there is plenty to be positive about looking to the future.