Ship’s compass from Bank Quay

The only form of transport connected to our thinking now in relation to Warrington Bank Quay runs on tracks through a railway station. But as the name tells us, shipping long preceded the train as the means of travel associated with the area. The transport was for crew and cargo, rather than journeying passengers, as this ship's compass made for the trading vessel Sparling, which regularly docked at Bank Quay, in 1815, tells us.

Landscapes change, and though the Quay has changed beyond recognition, waterways in particular have left their own special mark on the town. The Bridgewater and then the ship canal drastically changing the local scenery, industry and the styles and times of journeying - even down to modern delays caused by the swing bridges.

Planners and authorities constantly have to make judgements, balancing the economic well-being of the area, industrial or commercial growth, and employment prospects, with arguments about the inconvenience caused to travellers.

Buildings which were developed because of the proximity of Bank Quay include the current town hall, built through the wealth of local industry. As with the centre of Liverpool, full of glorious architecture, bought at the cost of the victims of the slave trade, we have to ask whether wealth accumulated through trade was actually fairly gained. We may be disturbed through learning the history of slavery, whatever the current architectural heritage, but we have to wonder if our descendents might not question our own trading ethics, which is rarely marked as 'fairly traded'. It causes controversy in some corners, but Warrington has been designated a 'Fairtrade Town', following support for the move given by the Borough Council. A floral display at the entrance to the town hall was designed in 2013 and bore witness to Warrington's status.