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Coordinates: 53°27′15″N 2°44′46″W / 53.4541°N 2.7461°W / 53.4541; -2.7461

St Helens
St Helens Town Hall.jpg
The town hall at Victoria Square
St Helens is located in Merseyside
St Helens

 St Helens shown within Merseyside
Population 102,629 
(2001 Census)
OS grid reference SJ505955
Metropolitan borough St Helens
Metropolitan county Merseyside
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ST. HELENS
Postcode district WA11, WA10, WA9
Dialling code 01744
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament St Helens North
St Helens South
List of places: UK • England • Merseyside

St Helens (About this sound pronunciation ) is a large town in Merseyside, England. It is the largest settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens with a population of just over 100,000, part of an urban area with a total population of 176,843 at the time of the 2001 Census.[1]

Historically a part of Lancashire, the area grew during the 18th and 19th century as a significant centre for coal mining,[2][3] and glassmaking.[4][5] Both prior and during this time it was also home to a cotton and linen industry (notably sail making)[6] that lasted until the mid 19th century as well as salt,[2] lime and alkali pits,[6] copper[7] smelting,[7][8] and brewing.[9]

The town and borough is notable for being the site of the first fully man made canal opened in autumn 1757,[10] and also the first competition for steam locomotives, in Rainhill Trials.[11]

Today, St Helens is very much a commercial town. The main industries have since left, become outdated, or have been outsourced leaving the float and patterned rolled glass producer Pilkingtons, a world leader in their industry, as the town's one remaining large industrial employer. Previously the town had been home to Beechams (now part of GlaxoSmithKline), Ravenhead glass (bought out by the Belgian nationalised Durobor),[12] United Glass Bottles (U.G.B.), Triplex (owned by Pilkington, farmed out to India), Daglish Foundry (closed and demolished 1939),[13] and Greenall's (now located in nearby Warrington).



The origin of the name St. Helens stretches back to a "chapel of ease",[2] dating back to at least the 16th century (earliest reference 1552), dedicated to St. Elyn.[14] The chapel was noted as "consisting only of a 'challis and a lytle bell".[2] The chapel was at the crux of the townships on the major thoroughfare for traffic between the River Mersey and northern Lancashire, and also between the port town of Liverpool, and the landlocked Manchester townships.[2] Windle itself is recorded on some maps as "Windhull" in 1201 suggesting the land had been occupied for at least 300 hundred years prior.

Predominantly arable land[2] the area was also noted for its large swathes of moss, heath and bog land and was covered elsewhere in parts of the greater Mersey Forest[2] (though the larger "Community Forest" was not established until much later[15]).

As late as the start of the 19th century, St Helens did not exist as a town in its own right. It was formed from the townships of Eccleston, Windle, Parr and Sutton, townships of the parish of Prescot which became civil parishes on their own in 1866. Census figures from 1801 suggest the population of the township area to be 12,500[16] which by 1860 had reached 50,000. Incorporation as a borough was granted on the 2nd February, 1868 when Queen Victoria granted St. Helens a municipal charter. Twenty years later St. Helens became a county borough.

Until the mid 1700s the local industry was almost entirely based on small scale home based initiatives such as linen weaving. The landscape was dotted with similarly small scale mining operations, notably for coal and it's the coal to which the town owes its initial growth and development[2] and (subsequently) the symbiotic relationship shared with the coal dependent glass industry.

The town was built both physically and metaphorically on coal: the original motto on the borough coat of arms was "Ex Terra Lucem" (Latin for "out of the earth comes light")[17] and local collieries employed up to 5,000 men as late as the 1970s, whilst during the boom years of the British coal industry (1913 being the peak year of production with 1 million employed in UK mining) the St.Helens division of the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation (the local miners' union) had the largest membership (10%) of that federation. Owing primarily to the abundance of winnable coal reserves, the quality of local sand, the near availability of Cheshire salt and the transport revolution—first the Sankey Canal and then the railways from 1830 onwards—a glass and chemical industry was established in St Helens. The Sankey Canal was opened in 1757 to transport coal from the pits in Haydock and Parr to the River Mersey. An extension to the canal (the St.Helens section) was made in 1775 linking the canal to St Helens. In the 1830s, the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway was built for the same purpose.

The town served as a hub for the growth of Liverpool providing raw materials chiefly due to its location. Initially Liverpool petitioned for the extension of the turnpike road (The "Toll Bar" area in St. Helens still retaining the significant reference), but subsequently resulted in the creation of an entirely new waterway. The original concept was to make the Sankey Brook navigable, but its eventual result was a full man made canal linking St. Helens to the River Mersey and the city of Liverpool. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was finished in 1830 passing through the southern edge of the town at Rainhill and St Helens Junction, and furthering its economic development as a centre of industry.

Its clock tower originally had a steeple but this was destroyed in a fire in 1913. In the centre of the modern town centre, adjacent to the town hall, is the Gamble Institute, built in 1896 and named after Sir David Gamble, who was the first mayor and who also gifted the land for the building. Today, the Gamble Institute building serves as the central library and also houses other municipal offices and archives. Other buildings of note are the Friends' Meeting House, the Beecham Clock Tower - which is now part of St Helens College - and St Mary's Lowe House Catholic Church. The town, and old county borough, included the suburbs of Clock Face, Sutton and part of Windle.

The glass industry is no longer the major employer it once was, however it still employs over a thousand people in the town.[18] The large Pilkington Brothers works, founded in 1826, dominates the town's industrial quarter and still produces all the UK's output of flat glass.

Major investment is currently transforming the quarter into a retail and communications hub with former industrial land being reclaimed for use as hotels, shopping areas and housing. The many coal mines on the outlying districts of St Helens, including Clock Face, Ravenhead, Sutton Manor, Bold, Wood Pit (Haydock), Lyme Pit (Haydock), Old Boston (Haydock) and Lea Green, were closed between the 1950s and early 1990s. The last colliery in the modern metropolitan borough and in the St Helens area of the South Lancashire Coalfield, was Parkside, in Newton-le-Willows, which was closed in 1992.


St. Helens coat of arms, "Ex Terra Lucem" - "From the Ground, Light"

In 1868, St Helens was incorporated as a borough, and was then made a county borough in 1889. The town hall was built between 1872 and 1876. As a county borough, St Helens was, from 1889 to 1974, inside the administrative county of Lancashire but remained within the geographical county palatine.

On 1 April 1974, under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, St Helens became the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens in the newly created Merseyside Metropolitan county.


'Billinge Lump' is the highest point in St Helens and Merseyside

The St Helens Borough covers roughly 30 km² over an area of soft rolling hills used primarily for agricultural purposes, mainly arable. The highest point in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, and the whole of Merseyside is Billinge Hill, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north from the town centre. The town is landlocked with a stream running through, Mill Brook/Windle Brook running through Eccleston and connecting with the (disused) St. Helens Branch/Section of the Sankey Canal in the town centre. St Helens is around 160 feet (50 m) above sea level. From the top of Billinge Hill the cities of Manchester and Liverpool are visible on a clear day as well as the towns of Wigan, Bolton and Warrington.

Carr Mill Dam is Merseyside's largest body of inland water, offering picturesque lakeside trails and walks as well as national competitive powerboating and angling events.

The Burgies are two slag heaps on the site of the old Rushy Park coal mine. They were created by the dumping of toxic chemical waste from the manufacture of glass.


Christianity is the main religion in St Helens, being about 87% according to the 2001 census. This makes St Helens the "most Christian town in Britain".[19] There is very little ethnic minority representation in the St Helens population, one of the lowest levels in the country. 98.8% of the St Helens population is White British.




St Helens lies in close proximity to the motorway network with the M6 running a few miles to the eastern side of the town, with Junction 23 at Haydock. The M62 runs a couple of miles to the south of the town with Junction 7 at Rainhill Stoops. The M57's Junction 2 lies several miles south west of St.Helens, at Prescot. The M58 is several miles north of St.Helens. The A580 East Lancashire Road runs north of the town centre alongside Eccleston, Moss Bank and Haydock. It is a former trunk road taking traffic from Manchester to the Liverpool Docks. It was built between 1929 and 1934 and was opened by King George V. It was intended to take pressure away from the A58, a major road running from Prescot (M57) through St.Helens to the A1(M) at Wetherby, West Yorkshire. The Rainford By-Pass A570 is the transport route from Southport and west Lancashire through St Helens and the M62 at Rainhill Stoops. A major development in communication was the opening of the St Helens Linkway (classified as part of the A570) in 1994, which linked the town directly with the M62 and, by proxy, an alternative connection to the M6. The A572 takes traffic from the town centre through Parr to Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows.


Rail is an important means of transport in the borough. St Helens Central serves as the town's main railway station, which lies on the Liverpool City Line. Other stations on this line in the town are Thatto Heath and Eccleston Park. The Liverpool to Manchester line serves St Helens at Rainhill, St Helens Junction and Lea Green. Lea Green station was opened in 2000 in order to bring people away from St. Helens Junction Station[citation needed], which was opened on 15 September 1830 by the pioneering Liverpool and Manchester Railway. A major redevelopment of St Helens Central has recently been completed at a cost of £6 million, which the Council hopes will encourage investment, create more jobs and improve the gateway into the town.

Air and sea

The Sankey Canal (photograph taken in Newton-le-Willows).

St Helens has no airport. The nearest airport is Liverpool John Lennon Airport, serving European destinations, located about 12 miles (19 km) south-west of the town, and is connected with a direct bus service. Manchester Airport is approximately 25 miles (40 km) away and has numerous direct flights to Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. St Helens is a landlocked town, but with easy access to the ports of Liverpool, on the River Mersey and Mostyn, North Wales, on the River Dee. The Sankey Canal, including the St.Helens section, is no longer used for transporting goods, consisting of several short sections only, the remainder being drained and filled.


Primary schools

The Borough of St Helens has one nursery school, one infant school, one junior school and fifty-two primary schools. Performance in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SATs has been consistently above national averages over the past 5 years.

Special schools

There are three special schools in St Helens - Penkford, Mill Green and Lansbury Bridge.

Secondary schools

The Borough of St Helens has ten secondary schools:

Further education

The town has seven educational institutions offering post-16 education in Cowley Language College, Rainford High Technology College, Rainhill High, St Alred's High, Sutton High (all 11-18 secondary schools), Carmel College (a sixth form college) and St Helens College (a general FE college). Carmel College is a leading college in the country with a value added score of 328. The college is an associate of the University of Liverpool. St Helens College offers a wide variety of Higher and Further Education courses including degree courses, foundation degrees, BTECs and professional qualifications at the college's Business School. The college has a growing reputation for its standards and achievements. There is no university in St Helens; locals who stay in the area and go to university often take advantage of the surrounding universities such as Edge Hill (Ormskirk), Liverpool, Manchester, Salford and Chester.


St Helens has no television or radio broadcasters. However 102.4 Wish FM gives the second part of its name (sh) to St Helens while the first half goes to Wigan (Wi), representing the two reception areas. The radio station is based in Orrell, near Wigan. There are two local weekly newspapers which are freely distributed. These are the St Helens Star and the St Helens Reporter.

St Helens College has previously broadcast temporary, limited service radio broadcasts from their Town Centre Campus, headed by the late Paul Dempsey, who previously worked as a presenter on BBC radio.

Leisure and investment

Investment and local arts

The past twenty years have seen major redevelopments in the town centre. This has included mass pedestrianisation of much of shopping area, with traffic being directed around the town centre on existing roads. There have been several noteworthy theatres in St.Helens. The first Theatre Royal was built on Bridge Street and was a large wooden barn. This was open for several seasons until heavy snow caused the roof to collapse. It was then replaced by a new Theatre Royal on Milk Street. This building can still be seen today, in its newer guise as The Citadel arts centre. The Theatre Royal on Milk Street consisted of stalls, two balconies and an ornate interior. It became extremely popular with touring theatre and music hall, playing host to the likes of Vesta Tilley and George Formby and some of the best known theatre productions of the day. Most of its popularity was due to the manager, Wallace Revill. Due to the growing audience figures, Revill built a new theatre on Corporation street and transferred the Theatre Royal name to this, and the Theatre Royal remains on the site to this day. The Milk Street theatre was then purchased by the Salvation Army where it was more or less completely re-built internally. It was re named SA Citadel. It remained in this use for nearly 90 years, until the Salvation Army moved to a newer site. It was then opened as The Citadel arts centre in 1988, and was completely refurbished again in 2000. Today it is an extremely popular venue for live music, dance, drama and art.

The Corporation St Theatre Royal opened by Revill, was relatively short-lived as it was destroyed by fire. It was then replaced by the current building which was designed by perhaps the greatest theatre architect in history, Frank Matcham. The theatre was designed with a baroque style with ornate balconies, chandeliers and boxes. It was hit by disaster again in the 1940s when part of the celling collapsed, with several fatalities as a result. In the 1960s the theatre was purchased by Pilkingtons and was gutted internally leaving it in the rather drab state it is seen in today. The beautiful auditorium was destroyed as was the ornate frontage, simply replaced with a huge glass sheet. The theatre has remained open ever since and is today a very popular venue with top class touring acts and of course, the annual Pantomime. The front of the theatre was refurbished in 2001, however the inside of the theatre still remains a grey painted reminder of a catastrophic decision in the 1960s which destroyed a masterpiece of theatre architecture.

The George Street Quarter regeneration programme left an impressive stamp on the town. The George Street area receives foot traffic from the railway station so the area was enhanced to leave a positive impression on tourists. Major improvements were made to building exteriors, parking, security, street furniture and paving. This has attracted several new businesses to the quarter including award-winning restaurants. The surrounding areas are now receiving attention, with the Hardshaw Centre receiving a new car park exit stairway into the George Street quarter. The stairway spirals around a tall pointed metal structure and is named 'The Needle'. However this new and modern looking stairway is in stark contrast to the brown, square and brick built 'Hardshaw' Centre. The main shopping areas, Church Street and Church Square, are currently undergoing extensive regeneration and there is a proposal for Duke Street, which extends into the town centre, to also receive funding. The main problem in St.Helens has been the virtual elimination of all the old buildings in the 1960s and 1970s, leaving the town with a large selection of grey, square blots and few traditional buildings. It is due to its 'fragmented' town centre, the results of years of poor planning in the 1960s - 1980s that it is not as well appreciated as the neighbouring towns of Wigan and Warrington. The current council is working hard to solve these problems with good results.

Each year many youngsters from the Scout and Guide Movement perform at the annual St. Helens Scout and Guide Gang Show. The show has been nationally recognised as being of a high standard and is often used by other gang shows worldwide as a form of inspiration to get ideas or acts or dance etc. The show is usually held in mid April at the Theatre Royal on Corporation Street. The show has a lovely mixture of dance, song and act which proves a huge hit year after year and due to its nature it is deemed one of the most family friendly shows in St. Helens.

The Catholic Church of St. Anne and Blessed Dominic is a site of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. The Victorian missionary Blessed Dominic Barberi is buried in the church on Monastery Road. It was he who received John Henry Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church. Alongside Blessed Dominic Father Ignatius Spencer is buried. The son of the 2nd Earl Spencer he was a famed convert to the Catholic faith. Elizabeth Prout, foundress of the religious order, the Sisters of the Cross and Passion is also buried with them.

Museums and parks

The Dream unveiled in 2009

The World of Glass Museum, which opened in 2000, incorporating the Pilkington Glass Museum, has received many awards including North West Attraction of the Year. The North West Museum of Road Transport is another museum located in the town. The Smithy is a small museum in Eccleston about the works of a local blacksmith.

The borough of St Helens has several major parks and open spaces. These include the historic Taylor Park, which opened in 1893. Sherdley Park is a modern park in Sutton which features a petting zoo and annually holds a funfair usually in July, called the St Helens Festival (originally called the St Helens Show). Other open spaces include the Sankey Valley Country Park and Colliers Moss Common.[20]

A 20m tall sculpture, called Dream, is sited on a former colliery in Sutton Manor in St Helens and can be seen from the M62 motorway.[21]

Nightlife and social scene

Traditionally, the town was known for its social clubs, mainly connected with the Labour Party and the Roman Catholic Church. In recent years, the boom in Britain's 'binge drinking' culture in the mid-1990s has fuelled the nightlife industry over the past 10 years. The town centre has exploded over this time with many new or relaunched drinking establishments. Many of the new bars including Dali Bar, Bar Java, Cafe Chloe and Zoo are centred around Westfield Street and Bridge Street in the town centre. Several bars such as Panama Joes, Zoo Bar and Dali Bar have licences to serve alcohol until 3am.

The town has one main nightclub; Club Rouge which opened in late December 2009. Formerly known as Club Nexus, which ceased trading on February 1, 2008,[22] the new 1,700 capacity venue opened a with a £160,000 transformation and under new management eager for a 'clean break' from its predecessors bad reputation of alcohol-fuelled violence and underage drinking.[23]

A second nightclub was planned for Bridge Street, with building work being completed for the end of 2002, but it has remained closed since completion. The building was up for sale for many months and was bought for around the sum of £3 million. There are plans to transform it from a club/cafe bar to a shopping precinct[24].

There are several restaurants in the town centre with an increasingly mixed cuisine on offer. The George Street Quarter alone offers Italian, Spanish, French/Modern British at Le Frog, Chinese and Thai cuisine. A local newspaper, The St Helens Reporter, awarded its 2005 'Restaurant of the Year' prize to The Griffin Inn, Eccleston.[25]


The principal hotel is the four star Park Inn, formerly Hilton Hotel, built during a period of massive commercial augmentation in the town during the mid-1990s. Other large hotels are the Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Thistle Hotel in Haydock. There are numerous smaller hotels, inns and B&Bs across the borough.


St Helens rugby league club's (St Helens RLFC) stadium is located in Eccleston in Dunriding Lane/Knowsley Road's residential area. During the summer, the 100 year-old stadium receives thousands of fans from St Helens and England's other rugby league towns, although it faces an uncertain future due to the rugby league club's intention to build a new modern stadium on the edge of the town with better transport links and parking facilities. The club has won the Challenge Cup eleven times and has played in many finals, the latest of which took place at the newly refurbished Wembley Stadium, where they beat Hull FC on August 30, 2008. The club was crowned World Club Champions in 2001 and again in 2007. In 2006 season the club won all three major honours in the domestic game, the Challenge Cup, League Leaders Shield and the Super League Grand Final. At the start of the 2007 season, the club also won the World Club Challenge, defeating Australian side Brisbane Broncos to add to the honours acquired the previous season. Other honours won by the club this year include, Daniel Anderson Coach of the Year, Paul Wellens picked up Man of Steel and Players' Player, and James Graham won Young Player of the Year.

In December 2006 St Helens were awarded with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award at the Annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year Ceremony, this accolade recognises the best team in any sport within the United Kingdom. At the same ceremony Daniel Anderson was given the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award - this was the first time a rugby league coach had won the award.

The town is also home to a large number of amateur rugby league teams. Most notable of these are Thatto Heath Crusaders, Pilkington Recs, Blackbrook, Haydock, Haresfinch, Bold Miners and Clock Face. Most of these teams and others in the area compete in the BARLA North West Counties League (although Thatto Heath compete in the higher ranked National Conference League).

The continued success and achievement of these teams at the grass roots level is important to the town, and have provided many players who have gone on to play for the 'Saints' and other professional and semi-professional clubs. Thatto Heath is known locally as a rugby league hotbed, having a number of amateur teams. It is the birthplace of many famous players including Alex Murphy, the Chisnall brothers, and Paul Forber.

St Helens Town FC is an English football club, currently playing in the first division of the North West Counties Football League. The club, based in St. Helens, play their home games at Knowsley Road, the home of St Helens RLFC, the town's rugby league club.

The town also has its own amateur football league, the St Helens Combination which has been running since the 1917/18 season.

An example of a cricket club in the town is St Helens Cricket Club.

The town also has several rugby union teams: West Park, Liverpool St Helens (LSH) and Ruskin Park R.U.F.C. which is based at Ruskin Drive. Facilities at Ruskin Drive are provided for football, hockey, squash, tennis and cricket. Ruskin Drive also had a running track, which was used in the film Chariots of Fire.[citation needed]

The Haydock region of St Helens is the home of the Haydock Park Racecourse, which is situated north of the A580 road and east of the M6 motorway.


The town's shopping area is centred on the parish church around which Church Square was built in the early 1970s. Church Street, the main shopping street, runs parallel to Church Square. The town centre has two indoor shopping centres. The oldest is the Hardshaw Centre which includes a Marks & Spencer as well as a TJ Hughes. Church Square forms two shopping centre, which includes a Bhs and an indoor Market. Other main shopping streets include Bridge Street, Westfield Street and Duke Street. St Helens has been criticised by residents for not attracting major chain stores; this has been due to many chain stores unable to find suitable premises. This is generally because of the small units on offer in both shopping centres.

St Helens has two retail parks, one on either side of the St Helens Linkway. The older of these, St Helens Retail Park, is home to discount stores and wholesale retailers, while Ravenhead Retail Park houses more mainstream retail stores, such as Currys, Next, B&Q and Boots. The town has several supermarkets.

Notable people


The Beecham dynasty is one of the most notable families to be associated with St. Helens. Thomas Beecham founded what was to become the world's largest pharmaceutical producer, Beechams, in St. Helens. His son Joseph Beecham built up the business and promoted classical music in the town. Conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, son of Joseph, was born in St Helens.

Pilkingtons one of the largest glass companies in the world



The town has a long history of association with the film industry. St. Helens-born George Groves is credited with being Hollywood's first "sound man", as he was the recording engineer on the seminal Al Jolson picture, The Jazz Singer (1927), as well as many other early talkies. Herbert Mundin found fame as a character actor in 1930s Hollywood. Actor, dancer and singer Robert Dorning had a career in film and television spanning from 1940 until his death in 1989. More recently, former boxer and model Gary Stretch has turned to acting, starring in films including Dead Man's Shoes, Alexander and World Trade Center.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had two St. Helens-born men amongst its production team - director David Yates and choreographer Paul Harris. Yates is also directing its follow-up, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Local girl Louise Glover Model actress and TV presenter was born St Helens, whiston hospital in 1983, she's been in the Hollywood blockbuster TV show HBO Entourage and won many titles around the world including Playboys model of the year and Miss Hawaiian Tropic.

Two actresses on the popular TV series Hollyoaks are from St. Helens - Emma Rigby and Carley Stenson. Pauline Yates, best known for playing Elizabeth Perrin in the BBC television sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is also from the town. Actor Matthew Crompton, of The Bill, Coronation Street and Brookside fame, was born and raised in St. Helens.

Pop star and Coronation Street actress, *Kym Marsh (Ryder), singer, actress, TV presenter.[26] was born in Whiston hospital and raised in Garswood, Ashton in Makerfield.

Johnny Vegas, the comedian and actor, was born and raised in St. Helens, and maintains close ties with the town. He is not the only comedian to come from the town - ostrich-jockey Bernie Clifton is also from St. Helens.

St. Helens has had several notable musicians, mostly in bands based elsewhere. For example, Haydock-born guitarist Nick McCabe found fame in The Verve. Drummer Peter Clarke (better known as 'Budgie') played in Liverpool bands The Spitfire Boys (formed by St Helens guitarist David Littler) and Big in Japan before moving to London and joining Siouxsie and the Banshees. He was married to Banshees vocalist Siouxsie Sioux for a time, but they are now divorced. One-time Beautiful South vocalist Jacqui Abbott is from St. Helens. Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton reportedly heard her singing at a party in the town and asked her to join the band.

Jeffrey Walker, best known for playing bass in Carcass, is from St. Helens. He joined his first band Electro Hippies in Rainford .

Jimmy the bass player of the early 80's punk band The System lived in Haydock, they recorded 2 EPs and an unreleased album with Penny Rimbaud of the band Crass as producer.

Recently local band The Loungs have come to some degree of prominence, releasing an album and three singles on the Manchester-based Akoustik Anarkhy label. Despite favourable reviews in the press and online they have yet to break the charts.


Rugby league has a large following in St. Helens. The town's major club St Helens RLFC are currently in Super League. Their home ground is GPW Recruitment Stadium, formerly known as Knowsley Road. Notable rugby league players from the town include Saints players Paul Wellens, James Roby and Keiron Cunningham; Huddersfield Giants centre Kevin Brown; and Alex Murphy, who had a long and successful career playing for Saints, Leigh and Warrington, and later as a coach. League referee Steve Ganson is also from the town, as is BBC Rugby League commentator Ray French.

In football St Helens Town F.C. compete in the North West Counties Football League and share Knowsley Road with the rugby club. St. Helens has also supplied the world with several notable football players - former leading women's football player Lily Parr, Manchester United players Bill Foulkes (one of the Busby Babes and survivor of the Munich plane crash), Tommy O'Neill and Phil Marsh and Manchester City player Gary Owen. City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann was originally from Germany but settled in St Helens after World War II.

Premier League football referee Chris Foy is also from the town.

World champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer Geoff Duke is from St. Helens, as are darts players Alan Tabern and Dave Chisnall. The former is an avid Saints supporter, and has 'The Saints Are Coming' by The Skids as his entrance music as a tribute to the team.

Boxer Ray Shiel,1938 - 2009, whose career lasted 1960-1966. He fought Gerhard Zech in German in 1962 entering the fight with a record of 22 wins / 21 losses / 2 draws / 12 KO. He could be seen regularly in the Sutton area of St. Helens.

Amateur boxer Ronnie "No Mercy" Mercer was named ABA light fly weight champion in 1996. Nicknamed "Lord of the Flies", Ronnie went on to box for England. He was later forced to retire early from boxing due to a detached retina.[27]

Professional mixed martial arts fighter and former Cage Rage Heavyweight Champion Rob Broughton also comes from St Helens. With notable wins over Butterbean and James Thompson in the cage. Rob was ranked third at super heavyweight in the world for 2006.


St. Helens has produced some notable artists. Although now based in Northern Ireland, Jim Manley was also born in the town.


Richard Seddon, who went on to become Prime Minister of New Zealand, was from St. Helens. He is currently the country's longest-serving Prime Minister, holding the office from 1893 until 1906.

Other people born in the town include Victorian philanthropist John Rylands, Independent theatre reviewer Paul Taylor, glamour model Louise Glover, 1950's theatre actor Paul Walsh[citation needed], businessman and philanthropist Michael Smurfit, and Harold Dacre Robinson Lowe (1886–1952), who had dinosaur Monoclonius lowei named after him by CM Sternberg in 1940, Businessman and philanthropist Kevin O'Brien

Mike Clarke, known locally as the godfather of St Helens, still resides in this town.

Mark Edwardson, TV presenter for the BBC in the North West, was born at Cowley Hill Hospital in St Helens and was brought up in Haydock.

Cultural references

A famous Punch cartoon had Napoleon lamenting, "Oh, no! I've been banished to St Helens!" This was a pun on St. Helena, the South Atlantic island to which Napoleon was exiled.

International links

St Helens has links with two twin towns:

See also


  1. ^ Census 2001. "Census 2001: St.Helens population". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 3–11. 
  3. ^ St. Helens Choral Society. "Origin of St. Helens". 
  4. ^ T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 108–120. 
  5. ^ T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 202–223. 
  6. ^ a b T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 120–131. 
  7. ^ a b T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 223–246. 
  8. ^ T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 75–90. 
  9. ^ T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 90–108. 
  10. ^ T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 11–23. 
  11. ^ T.C. Barker, T.C & Harris, J.R. (1994). Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. pp. 181–193. 
  12. ^ House of Commons report. "Ravenheads cause taken to Parliament, 2001". 
  13. ^ Stephen Daglish. "The Daglish Foundry, St. Helens". 
  14. ^ St. Helens Parish Church. "The history of St.Helens Parish Church". 
  15. ^ The Mersey Forest. "The Mersey Forest overview". 
  16. ^ Vision Edina. "St Helens District: Total Population". 
  17. ^ "Public art project for M62 site". BBC Online. 2007-07-23. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  18. ^ Taken from St Helens Casino Bid Background Information 1.4.1
  19. ^ Vision of Britain: St Helens
  20. ^ Countryside Walks - Visit St. Helens, Merseyside
  21. ^ Sooke, Alastair (25 April 2009), The new face of the North West, Telegraph Review, The Daily Telegraph, p. 16 
  22. ^ Nexus nightclub forced to close - St Helens Today
  23. ^ Club Rouge to pep up local nightlife - St Helens Star
  24. ^ Kilmurray, A., Savoy site snapped up in £3m deal, St. Helens Star, October 24, 2007
  25. ^ Where To Eat In St Helens (July 2003) - Liverpool dining articles - restaurant features & stories
  26. ^ Wylie, Ian (23 February 2006). "Pop star Kym gets Corrie role". Manchester Evening News. 
  27. ^ International date for boxer Ronnie


  • T.C. Barker & J.R. Harris (1994, 1st Ed 1954). A Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution: St. Helens, 1750-1900. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-4555-1. 

External links


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