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My Warrington Remembers…Robert Garnett & Sons


by Gordon Gandy

In a regular feature Radio Warrington’s Gordon Gandy, who has been running his “mywarrington” website covering local history for many years, looks back at some of the town’s famous families and historic buildings.

This month he looks at Robert Garnett & Sons, Furnishing Contractors, Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers.

Gordon Gandy

Robert Garnett Snr was born in 1806. He was a cabinetmaker and founded Garnett & Sons. He died in 1877. It was his son, also called Robert, who was the powerhouse of the company.

Robert Garnett Jnr was born on the 6 June 1830 in Penketh. He married Mary James on 15 Sep 1859 in Stanwix, Carlisle and they had one daughter. Garnett’s was a well-respected firm of cabinetmakers and he was a generous local benefactor to many churches. He laid the foundation stone at Penketh Methodist Church. The workshop was a familiar landmark on the Warrington skyline with its Italianate crenellated water tower.

His showroom on Sankey Street was designed by Chester architect John Douglas. Garnett’s described the building as “an imposing four-storey stone edifice to the Gothic style of Architecture”. The factory was on Barbauld Street to the rear of the showroom and they had other shops in Chester and Southport. William Roberts, his younger brother, oversaw the premises in Chester.

Robert Garnett Jnr died on 9 Apr 1903 at Hall Nook, Penketh and was buried in Sankey. Robert left over ten million pounds in today’s money in his will. The Garnetts were great philanthropists and gave a lot to the poor, they built churches and schools so the poor of society could be educated.

The Site later became the CWS printing works, but the building had been empty and deralict for about 60 years before demolition was begun in December 2017. The famous water tower, built in 1906, is also being demolished.

Meanwhile, the former showroom on Sankey Street still exists. From 1913 it was the home of Woolworths until the company closed down in 2009, and is now a pound shop.

To contact Gordon email warringtongordian@gmail.com and read more at www.mywarrington.me.uk

Garnett’s Cabinet Works -Picture Paul Jackson


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. Robert Garnett (Jnr) had more than one child, he had Mary, Helen, Robert, Philip, Fanny, Amelia & Hilda 🙂
    His brothers and sisters were called Amelia, Mary, Hellen, William, Fanny & David. There is a large painting of David in Warrington Museum painted by his son, artist & designer Alfred Payne Garnett. Mary Susannah Garnett ( nee.Thornely) (Robert Garnett Snr.’s wife) was my Great Great Great Aunt.

  2. I have a book written by Robert and Mary Garnett, Sketches and Letters of Egypt and Palestine, published 1904 with a handwritten forward by Mary. This book was owned by a member of the Whitmore family but I wonder if there might be any further information in your archives. I had an aunt, Minnie Whitmore, who was a secretary within the Warrington Guardian in the early 1900s which could perhaps be a connection.

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