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Locker Wire Exhibition

Locker Wire Takes Centre Stage in The Wire Works Exhibition

National Lottery Heritage funded project, The Wire Works, began in 2020 to celebrate and raise awareness of Warrington’s significant contribution to the global wire industry. A range of activities have focused on capturing the unique stories of Warrington’s wire heritage.

See other videos from The Wire Works

The Warrington Wire Industry

Warrington is a town built around wire production, as reflected in the rugby team’s nicknameThe Wire.

Locker’s role in Warrington’s Wire Heritage

Thomas Locker in Warrington is believed to be the first person in the world to weave wire mesh on a steam powered loom. This mechanized approach rapidly spread throughout the industrial North West of England as part of the Industrial Revolution, with Thomas’ family business growing to be the largest private employer in the Borough of Warrington in the 1950's. The Locker Group today is proud to play its role in the local community and continue the Locker spirit of industrial innovation. Read more.

The Wire Works Exhibition

The staff at The Locker Group are proud to play their part in celebrating the long and successful history of the Warrington wire industry and donate the wire mesh for the exhibition’s central artworks.

Locker’s Peter Bradburn created a wire mesh rugby ball sculpture to be included in the exhibition which connects Warrington, Locker and the Warrington Wolves rugby team whilst also focusing on the modern applications of wire mesh. The ball includes a ‘Faraday cage’ compartment where exhibition visitors can place their mobile phone and witness the signal blocking effects of wire mesh. This ‘Radio Frequency Interference’ (RFI) and/or ‘Electromagnetic Interference’ (EMI) protection is a major use of wire mesh today. Read more.

Christine Wilcox-Baker

To create the exhibition’s stunning wire mesh artwork, Locker has partnered with local artist Christine Wilcox-Baker. The company previously worked with Christine in the creation of a huge King Canute sculpture made entirely from different grades of Locker wire mesh for The RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.

This time Christine has used Locker wire mesh to create the centre piece of the exhibition – a statue of ‘Winnie’. Winnie represents an early female wire worker, fitting in with the exhibition’s focus of illustrating how the role of women in the wire industry has changed over the years.

Priestley College Architecture Students

Christine took donated Locker wire mesh to Priestley College in Warrington, where she guided talented architecture students to create six of their own wire mesh sculptures which can also be seen in the exhibition. The sculptures represent objects relating to the town’s history and the wire industry.

Locker team members, Adrian Billingsley and Joe Harrison also supported the project by giving a presentation to Priestley students on the use of wire mesh for architecture.

The Wire Works project is led Warrington Borough Council, in partnership with Culture Warrington, volunteers, artists Laurence Payot and Christine Wilcox-Baker and local media company, Ludovico.

Local Press coverage 

Christine Wilcox-Baker 

Priestley College 

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Locker receive thanks from the Queen’s representative

Andrew Campbell, Locker CEO, has received a letter from the Lord-Lieuenant of Cheshire in recognition of the valuable work done by the company at their Warrington factory during the COVID 19 crisis.

David Briggs MBE, KStJ is officially the Queen's representative in Cheshire.  His letter begins 'I write as the Queen's representative in Cheshire, on her behalf, to thank you for the outstanding work you have been doing'.

Read the letter in full

Click here to find out more about the role of the Lord Lieutenant in Cheshire.

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The Locker Cup Returns to Rugby League after 24 Years

The Locker Group is delighted to announce that their sponsorship of ‘The Locker Cup’, which ceased in the mid-1990s, has been re-instated this year following dialogue between Locker Chairman, Howard Platt, and Karl Fitzpatrick (CEO, Warrington Wolves).

All match proceeds are to be paid to the Wolves charitable foundation.

To mark the occasion, players and coaches from both Warrington and Wigan attended Locker’s Warrington Farrell Street factory for a series of press interviews and photographs promoting the event.

Locker were particularly honoured to welcome back former employee Mike Nicholas, who is also an ex Warrington player and former winner of the Locker Cup.

The Locker Cup fixture was played on Saturday 24th May between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves as part of the Dacia Magic Weekend held at Anfield stadium in Liverpool.

Warrington Wolves’ nickname ‘The Wire’ confirms the strong historical relationship between the town and the wire industry, a relationship current Locker CEO, Andrew Campbell is keen to celebrate.

Having had a lifetime in the wire industry, the first time I went over to the Halliwell Jones and heard 12,000 people singing ‘The Wire’ I thought suddenly ‘I’m home, after all these years!…. We’re absolutely over the moon to rekindle The Locker Cup”.

On the day, Wolves beat Wigan Warriors by a resounding 26-14 to bring the Locker Cup home to Warrington.  Locker Director, Dominic Stott presented the trophy to the jubilant winning team on behalf of The Locker Group.

All proceeds from the match were donated to the Warrington Wolves charitable foundation.

History of the Locker Cup

Competition for the Locker Cup began as a pre-season friendly in 1938 between local rivals Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.  In those days it was known as the Wardonia cup which was donated by a local firm for charity matches. The idea was that charities and amateur football in both towns would benefit from the proceeds.

Warrington won the inaugural Wardonia Cup on 20 August 1938, even though the match ended in a draw of 17-17.  Warrington team captain Jack Arkwright won the cup following the toss of a coin at Central Park, in front of a crowd of 8,000.

The proceeds of the Locker Cup matches were shared equally between the two clubs for distribution to local charities plus junior rugby league. For the first match each member of the winning team, Warrington received a case of cutlery as a memento of the occasion, whilst the Wigan players each received a clock.

Warrington managed to retain the trophy a year later with a 14-11 victory at Wilderspool, and for the 1972 season the trophy was renamed to The Locker Cup.

The Locker Cup was last played for on 6 August 1995, when Wigan beat Warrington 38-30 at Wilderspool. Unfortunately the launch of Super League in 1996 meant the end of the Locker Cup pre-season friendlies.

Overall, the trophy was played for on 53 separate occasions – 29 times as the Wardonia Cup with Warrington winning eight, Wigan winning 20 and one draw. As the Locker Cup both teams won 12 of the 24 matches.

It has been agreed that The Locker Cup will continue to be played for on an annual basis.

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Scrap wire mesh donated to TCAT Partnership

TCAT Partnership

Locker Group is delighted to announce a partnership with The Challenge Academy Trust (TCAT) to supply metal based wire meshes for TCAT’s art and design and engineering projects.

TCAT has seven member schools within Warrington with a total of over 7,000 pupils aged from 3 to 19.  They include; Beamont Collegiate Academy, Bridgewater High School, Great Sankey Primary School, Penketh High School, Penketh South Community Primary School, Priestley College and Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School.

Locker Group, Warrington’s only surviving wire products company, is donating a range of wire mesh scrap and metal offcut materials to TCAT ranging from ultra-fine mesh to more robust specifications in non-ferrous, stainless and mild steel mesh.

Steven Lane (Assistant Curriculum Leader Art & Design) is pictured inspecting the first batch of material with Danny Woodward, Production Manager Locker Group.

Stephen commented “This initiative will support our 500 students studying art design engineering and architecture by giving them access to a range of amazing materials that can be used in so many different ways”.

Danny commented “We are pleased to help our local schools with this initiative, Lady Gaga had an outfit made from Locker fine stainless wire mesh, and this is a great example of what can be achieved with our materials”.

Woven wire mesh is both strong and malleable which makes it ideal for art and sculpture.  The transparency and light reflective properties of wire mesh provide many opportunities to create a wide range of effects, from soft shimmering translucency to more rigid, harsh solid metal.

Locker wire mesh is regularly used by a number of sculptors and artists.  Contact us for more information.

Scrap wire mesh donated to TCAT Partnership
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