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.
The Warrington Wire Industry
Warrington is a town built around wire production, as reflected in the rugby team’s nickname ‘The 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.
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