Exploring St Helens and its Neighbourhoods

St Helens is a bustling and historic town located within the county of Merseyside in northwest England. With a population of approximately 102,000, this former industrial town has transformed into a thriving urban centre with a rich history and a strong sense of community. St Helens offers a variety of attractions and experiences, making it a unique and enjoyable destination in Merseyside.

  1. Industrial Heritage: St Helens has a long industrial history, particularly in glassmaking, coal mining, and chemical production. The town was a significant centre for glass manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, with the Pilkington Glass company originating here in 1826. Visitors can explore the fascinating history of glassmaking at the World of Glass museum, which features interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and impressive glass art collections.
  2. Parks and Green Spaces: St Helens boasts numerous parks and green spaces, providing residents and visitors with ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Some notable parks include Taylor Park, with its beautiful lake and Victorian boathouse, and Sherdley Park, which hosts the annual St Helens International Food and Drink Festival. Additionally, the Sankey Valley Park, a linear park following the path of the Sankey Canal, offers a perfect setting for walking, cycling, and wildlife spotting.
  3. Sports and Recreation: St Helens is known for its passion for sports, particularly rugby league. The town’s professional team, St Helens R.F.C., also known as the Saints, play their home games at the state-of-the-art Totally Wicked Stadium. The town also has several golf courses, sports centres, and athletic clubs, catering to a wide range of interests and abilities.
  4. Shopping and Dining: St Helens town centre offers a mix of high street retailers, independent boutiques, and local markets, providing a diverse shopping experience. The Church Square Shopping Centre and St Mary’s Market are popular destinations for shoppers. The town also boasts a variety of restaurants, cafes, and pubs, serving both traditional British fare and international cuisine.
  5. Arts and Culture: St Helens is home to several cultural institutions, such as the Theatre Royal and the Citadel Arts Centre, which host a range of live performances, including theatre, music, and comedy. The town also has a vibrant arts scene, with local artists and creative events supported by the Heart of Glass initiative.
  6. Surrounding Attractions: St Helens is ideally located for exploring the wider Merseyside area and beyond. The town is just a short drive from the bustling city of Liverpool, the beautiful coastline of Crosby and Formby, and the stunning countryside of the West Lancashire Plain.
Photo of St Helens in Merseyside

Other Interesting Facts About St Helens

  1. First and Last: St Helens holds the distinction of being both the first and the last place in the UK to have a canalside rail-to-barge coal tippler. The tippler was constructed at the Gerards Bridge coal basin in 1893 and remained in operation until 1972, marking the end of a significant era in British industrial history.
  2. Birthplace of Beecham’s Pills: In 1842, Thomas Beecham founded the famous Beecham’s Pills company in St Helens. Initially, he produced the pills in his own home, and eventually, the company grew into one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical enterprises.
  3. The Steve Prescott Bridge: Named in honour of the late St Helens and England rugby league star Steve Prescott, the iconic pedestrian and cycle bridge spans the A58 linkway and connects the town centre to the Totally Wicked Stadium. The bridge’s unique design features a stunning multi-coloured lighting system that illuminates the structure at night.
  4. The Dream Sculpture: Located on the former Sutton Manor Colliery site, the 66-foot tall Dream sculpture, created by renowned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, serves as a symbol of regeneration and hope. This impressive landmark, which features a white, elongated face of a girl with her eyes closed, has become a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike.
  5. Rainford: St Helens is home to the charming village of Rainford, which has a rich agricultural history and was once known as the “Home of the English Strawberry.” Rainford is also famous for its pottery industry, with several potteries operating in the area between the 17th and 20th centuries.
  6. St Helens RFC’s World Records: St Helens R.F.C. holds the world record for the highest-ever score in a Challenge Cup Final, having defeated Swinton 48-0 in 1926. The Saints also share the record for the most consecutive Challenge Cup Final appearances, participating in six consecutive finals between 2000 and 2005.
  7. St Helens Central Library: The town’s central library is housed in the historic Gamble Building, which was originally built as a technical school in the late 19th century. The library contains a wide range of resources, including an extensive local history collection, providing valuable insights into the town’s rich past.

Smaller Areas Within St Helens

  1. Eccleston: A primarily residential suburb in the south of St Helens, Eccleston is known for its well-maintained parks and green spaces, including Eccleston Mere, a popular spot for walkers and nature enthusiasts. The area features a mix of housing styles and offers a strong sense of community.
  2. Haydock: Situated to the north of St Helens, Haydock is a village with a rich industrial history, particularly in coal mining. Today, the area is best known for Haydock Park Racecourse, a renowned horse racing venue that hosts numerous events and races throughout the year.
  3. Newton-le-Willows: Newton-le-Willows is a charming market town located on the eastern edge of St Helens. It is known for its historic architecture, including the picturesque Earlestown Town Hall and the ancient Newton-le-Willows All Saints Church. The town also offers a variety of shopping and dining options, as well as several parks and green spaces.
  4. Rainhill: A village in the eastern part of St Helens, Rainhill is steeped in history, with its roots dating back to the Roman era. The area is famous for the Rainhill Trials, which took place in 1829 and determined the future of steam locomotive design. The village is also home to several listed buildings and the beautiful St Ann’s Church.
  5. Thatto Heath: This residential area, situated in the south-west of St Helens, boasts a range of local amenities, including shops, schools, and parks. Thatto Heath is well-connected to the wider St Helens area, with its own railway station providing easy access to nearby towns and cities.
  6. Sutton: Once a separate village, Sutton is now a suburb of St Helens, with a rich history in coal mining and glassmaking. The area is home to the iconic Dream sculpture, which sits atop a former colliery site and serves as a symbol of regeneration and hope for the community.
  7. Parr: Located to the east of St Helens, Parr is a large residential area with a strong community spirit. The area features several parks and green spaces, including Parr Fold Park and Parr Hall, which host community events and activities.
  8. Rainford: Rainford is a picturesque village known for its agricultural heritage, with a history of strawberry farming and pottery production. The village features a mix of historic and modern buildings, as well as scenic walking routes and local amenities.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy