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Timeline

This timeline features different events from the long and fascinating history across the different areas that now make up the borough of St Helens.  

1086  -  Newton-le-Willows (as Neweton) is mentioned in the Domesday Book

1212  -  The manor of Billinge is held by Adam de Billinge 

1220  -  Rainhill is passed from the Eccleston family to Roger of Rainhill

1246  -  Rainhill Hall is built

1257  -  A charter is granted by Henry III to Robert Banastre for a weekly market and a fair at Newton-le-Willows

1415
  -  The Windleshaw Abbey Chantry Chapel, built by Sir Thomas Gerard, is inaugurated

1465  -  Wargrave (as Allgreve) is mentioned in The Legh Survey.

1539  -  First mention of a church in Billinge as a chapel of ease

1541  -  First mention of a church in Rainford

1552  -  There is a reference to St Elyn's Chapel, 'consisting only of a 'challis and a lytle bell', a chapel of ease for travellers from Prescot to Warrington

1559  -  The first two MPs in the area are returned by Newton to Parliament, Sir George Howarde and Richard Chetwoode

1569  -  The first Eccleston Hall is built

1629  -  The Ye Olde King's Head public house is built in Hardshaw (demolished in 1878)

1634  -  Newton Hall is built by the Blackburne family

1648  -  Oliver Cromwell defeats the Duke of Hamilton and his forces in a Civil War battle at Red Bank, Newton/Winwick

1678  -  Quakers establish the Friends' Meeting House in St Helens (one of the oldest friends' meeting houses still in use)

1692 Garswood Hall is built by the Saunders family

1702  -  The congregational church is built in Rainford

1714  -  Sarah Cowley dies and leaves the bulk of her estate for educational purposes in St Helens (The Cowley Trust)

1721  -  The Foot O'th Causeway Inn is built in Billinge

1726  -  The Turnpike Road opens from Liverpool to Prescot

1730  -  The Red Lion Hotel is built in St Helens

1745  -  The Eagle and Child Inn is built in Billinge

1746  -  The Turnpike Road is extended to St Helens

1757  -  The Sankey Canal opens, built by Henry Berry (the first canal of the industrial age)

1759  -  The Black Bull Inn is built in St Helens

1761  -  A patent is granted to Jonathan Greenall of Parr for a newly invented fire engine for drawing mines, coal pits and land from water

1762 Greenalls Brewery opens

1773  -  The British cast plate Glass Company is established at Ravenhead

1779  -  The Parys Mountain Company (copper smelters) comes to St Helens

1798  -  The St Helens Foundry is established by Lee Watson (later bought by Robert Daglish)

1800  -  The first Wesleyan Chapel is erected in St Helens

1805  -  Sherdley House is built by Michael Hughes

1810  -  The streets of St Helens are now lit by oil lamps

1825  -  The first post office in St Helens opens

1826
  -  Pilkington Glass is founded

1828  -  Thomas Moore & Company glass bottle manufacturers establish a glass works at Kendricks Cross, Rainhill

1829  -  Mr J.C. Gambles's chemical works is founded

1829
  -  The Rainhill Trials take place (an important competition in the early days of steam locomotive railways)

1830  -  The Sankey Viaduct opens (the first major viaduct of the railway era)

1830  -  Earlestown Railway Station opens (the waiting room on the Liverpool-bound platform is the oldest station building in the world)

1832
  -  The Vulcan Foundry was founded by Charles Tayleur in partnership with George Stephenson. Later parts of the engineering works survive on Wargrave Road.

1834  -  Charles Rawlins sets up a smalt factory in Sutton

1839  -  St Helens Town Hall is built in Market Place

1840  -  The Melling family open the first iron foundry in Rainhill

1842
  -  Thomas Beecham begins producing Beecham's Pills

1844  -  St Helens Waterworks Company is founded

1845  -  A board of commissioners is created by St Helens Improvement Act covering WindleParr and Eccleston with responsibility for roads, lighting, paving, sewering etc.

1845  -  Mr R.J. Seddon, the first Prime Minister of New Zealand, is born in Eccleston

1846  -  Kurtz chemical works opens at Hardshaw Brook

1851 Rainhill Hospital opens, renamed through the years as the Lancashire County Lunatic Asylum, the County Lunatic Asylum, the County Mental Hospital, the Rainhill Mental Hospital then finally Rainhill Hospital until its closure in 1991. At one time it was the largest and busiest psychiatric hospital in Europe.

1852  -  The 'St Helens Intelligencer', the first newspaper in St Helens begins publication

1857  -  Liverpool St Helens Football Club is founded (the world's oldest open rugby club)

1868  -  
St Helens becomes a Municipal Borough and is granted a Charter of Incorporation by Queen Victoria, uniting the four townships of Eccleston, ParrSutton and Windle

1870  -  Rainhill Gas and Water Company is formed

1871  -  St Helens Town Hall burns down

1872  -  St Helens Hospital is established (then known as St Helens Cottage Hospital)

1873 
-  St Helens Rugby Football Club is founded

1875
  -  Edward Cannington joined with John Shaw to form the Sherdley Glass Works under the management of Cannington, Shaw & Co

1876  -  
The new St Helens Town Hall is built

1877  -  
Beecham's Clock Tower is built

1878  -  There are disastrous colliery explosions at Queen Pit and Wood PitHaydock

1879  - 
Celebrated conductor and founder of the London Philharmonic, Sir Thomas Beecham is born

1881  - 
Horse drawn trams begin running in St Helens

1882 Peasley Cross Hospital opens

1884  - 
The Providence Hospital opens

1885  -  St Helens becomes a Parliamentary Borough, Mr Henry Sefton-Karr being the first MP

1886  -  The foundation stone for Haydock Cottage Hospital is laid by Mrs Josiah Evans

1887 
Victoria Park opens to the public

1887  -  'St Helens Lantern' is first published

1889 
-  The new Theatre Royal opens on Corporation Street

1890  -  Emmanuel Church is built at the Holt, Rainhill

1893  -  Taylor Park is presented to the town by Mr. Taylor

1896  - 
The Gamble Institute is opened

1899  -  The current Haydock Racecourse opens

1899  - 
The first electric tram runs in St Helens

1905  - 
A Statue of Queen Victoria is unveiled outside St Helens Town Hall

1905 
-  Famed footballer Lily Parr is born in Union Street, Gerrard's Bridge, St Helens

1911  - 
The first purpose-built cinema in St Helens opens (the Scala Cinema, Ormskirk Street, originally called the Electric Theatre)

1929  - 
The Grade II listed St Mary's Lowe House Catholic Church is built

1913  -  Ravenhead Glass merged with five other glass manufacturers, forming UGB (United Glass Bottle Manufacturers Limited)

1927  - 
St Helens Trolleybus system opens 11 July

1948  - 
St Helens is twinned with Stuttgart and becomes the first British town to twin with a German city after World War 2

1963
  -  The first Newton-le-Willows Town Show takes place 

1964  - 
The distinctive blue-glass tower block of Pilkingtons HQ is completed

1968
  -  The borough of St Helens celebrates its 100th anniversary

1974  - 
St Helens becomes a Metropolitan Borough which includes Haydock, RainhillNewton-le-Willows and Rainford, as well as parts of Billinge, Ashton-in-Makerfield and Whiston

1982  - 
The Hardshaw Centre opens

1988  - 
The Citadel Arts Centre opens

1991  - 
North West Museum of Road Transport opens

1993
  -  Parkside Colliery closed (the last remaining deep colliery in the Lancashire Coalfield)

1998  - 
St Mary's Market opens in its current location

2000  - 
The World of Glass opens

2001  - 
The Theatre Royal re-opens after refurbishment

2007  - 
A major redevelopment of St Helens Central train station is completed

2009  - 
Jaume Plensa's Dream is unveiled at an opening ceremony in Bold Forest Park, the former Sutton Manor Colliery site

2012  - 
St Helens Rugby League Club (Saints) move to Langtree Park (later renamed Totally Wicked Stadium)

2012 
-  Screenwriter, novelist and actor Frank Cottrell-Boyce (from Rainhill) wrote the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics

2014  - 
The bridge linking the town centre to the grounds of St Helens Rugby League Club is renamed 'The Steve Prescott Bridge'

2015
  -  Vera Page Park is opened (a local park renamed after a local resident) 

2018
  -  The borough of St Helens celebrates its 150th anniversary


This timeline does not cover every event in the history of the borough.  Please get in touch if you have a suggestion of an event to be added.