Monks Hall Works, Sankey

Today’s blog post is a brief one, I wanted to share with you all a great picture of Monks Hall Iron and Steel works at Sankey, founded in 1874 and finally closed in 1986.

The reason I like this little drawing, taken from a Victorian advertisement, is that it shows perfectly just why so vast a company would be based exactly where it was. In front of the work we have the Mersey and behind the works passes the railway. Add to this Liverpool road and the nearby Sankey Canal and you have a veritable smorgasbord of transport links.

If you read my earlier blog post about pollution in Sankey, then you might also note the forest of chimneys on the works, proudly shown bellowing out thick black smoke.

Around the time of Monks Hall being founded, smoke pollution in the town was becoming an issue of debate in the papers, with the general response of Warrington’s industrialists being that every chimney represented people in work, food on tables, and clothes on the backs of the poor.

Whether you agreed with the poet John Dyer and saw factory chimneys as “the incense of thanksgiving, all is joy”, or agreed with writer Charlotte Bronte and saw “Soot vomiting mills”, smoking chimneys were a major part of Warrington’s streetscape, and a familiar site to every resident.

This article was posted on Friday, September 1st, 2017.