About St.Helens - Liverpool City Region
St.Helens Settlements - The Rugby Heartlands
Originally a part of the county of Lancashire, the Metropolitan Borough of St.Helens was formed on the 1st of April in 1974, following a merger of the former County Borough of St Helens, the urban districts of Haydock, Newton-le-Willows, Rainford, parts of Billinge-and-Winstanley, parts of Ashton-in-Makerfield urban districts and a part of the Whiston Rural District. It was also at this time that the Metropolitan Borough became a part of the newly formed Merseyside County Council.
St Helens is the largest settlement and the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough
of St Helens.
It is a commercial town with an estimated population of approximately 103,000 people.
A former powerhouse of the industrial revolution,
with industries involved in salt production, copper smelting, brewing, coal mining,
cotton, lime and alkali pits, all employing within the town and its extended regions.
However, much of the main industries have since left, leaving behind one remaining large industrial employer, the float and patterned rolled glass producer Pilkington. They still employ over a thousand people in the town and are a world leader in their industry, producing all the United Kingdom's output of flat glass.
Throughout the 20th Century the mere name of St.Helens has become synonymous with Rugby League, as they've continuosly produced some of the greatest teams in the world.
Like the nearby town of St Helens, Newton-le-Willows has also seen many industries come and go throughout the years. With the Chemical industry, Coal Mining and Biscuit Manufacturing once employing in the town. It's currently home to the head office of Nicholls Foods, the makers of the favourite soft drink 'Vimto'. The west of the town owes most of its growth to the Railway industry, with Earlestown and Vulcan Village seeing a huge growth in population since the 19th century. The Vulcan Foundry which opened in 1831 developed into one of the world's foremost locomotive manufacturers. Vulcan Village which is now a conservation area, was created to house workers from the foundry.
Rainhill is a large village in the south west area of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, it was once a part of Prescot and later Whiston. It's most famous for being the location of a pioneering competition to decide a suitable design for use on the world's first inter-city passenger railway, the Liverpool to Manchester line which runs straight through the village. The Rainhill Trials in 1829, resulted in the selection of Stephenson's Rocket as the world's first 'modern' steam locomotive. Today Rainhill is primarily a commuter village, mainly for workers in Liverpool but also St Helens and Widnes. All public transport in Rainhill is co-ordinated by the Merseyside county passenger transport executive, Merseytravel.
Haydock was once one of the UK's richest areas in coal and coal mining,
with as many as 13 collieries working at one time.
The last of these went in 1971 and with it the end of the trade in the region.
The village is most famous for its racecourse, which was awarded 'Racecourse of the Year' in 1998 and 2000. The 'Old Newton Cup' is the world's oldest continually competed for trophy, with a history dating back over two centuries.
Eccleston is a civil parish with a population of around 11,000 people, it was once home to the former world champions of rugby league St Helens RFC. The Knowsley Road stadium was built in 1890 and had a capacity of over 22,000 supporters before it was demolished in 2010, due to the relocation of 'The Saints' to the newly built Langtree Park in St Helens. Eccleston is mainly a suburban area with few commercial areas.
Rainhill is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens with a population of over 8,000 people, it is located on the north side of the East Lancashire Road. It was once well known for the manufacture of clay smoking pipes and up until the sixties, it was also a location for sand excavation, for use in the glass factories of St Helens.
Billinge is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens with a population of just under 7,000 people, like Rainford, it is located on the north side of the East Lancashire Road.