WIDNES, a town, a township, and a chapelry, in Prescot parish, Lancashire. The town stands on the river Mersey, at the intersection of the Warrington and Liverpool and the Ormskirk and Runcorn railways, adjacent to the new great railway viaduct over the Mersey at Runcorn Gap, 11 miles ESE of Liverpool; rose from a pop. of less than 2,000 in 1851 to a pop. of nearly 13,000 in 1869; began, in 1847, to be a seat of extensive chemical works; produces annually about 32,000 tons of the several products of soda; produces also large quantities of nitrogenised bone manure; has likewise copper-smelting-works, iron-works, foundries, soap-works, grease-works, oil and paint-works, a limestone mill, and sailcloth manufactories; acquired, about 1864, well-constructed docks, with 12½ acres of water area and 3,348 yards of berthage; exports coal to the amount of about 10,000 tons a-week; and has a post-office under Warrington, a r. station with telegraph, waterworks constructed in 1869 at a cost of £40,000, a court-house, a police station, a church of 1856, an Independent chapel, two Welsh chapels, a handsome Wesleyan chapel of 1864, another Methodist chapel, an ornate Roman Catholic chapel of 1866, and a national school. The township includes Appleton and Farnworth villages and several hamlets; and comprises 3,000 acres of land, and 330 of water. Rated property in 1841, £6,236: in 1864, £41,601. Pop. in 1851, 3,217: in 1869, 6,905. Houses, 1,257. The manor belongs to Mrs. Hutchinson. The chapelry includes only part of the township, and was constituted in 1859. Pop. in 1869, 7,072. Houses, 1,320. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chester. Value, £160.* Patron, W. Wright, Esq.
John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)