St Helens, Lancashire genealogy
HELENS (ST.), a town, a parochial chapelry, and a sub-district in Prescot parish and district, Lancashire. The town stands on Sankey brook, the Sankey canal, and the St. Helens railway, 3 miles NE by E of Prescot, and 12 ENE of Liverpool; and comprises parts of the townships of Eccleston, Windle, and Parr. It was, not long ago, a small village; but it has rapidly risen to populousness and importance through manufacturing and mining operations in and around it, through plentiful supply of excellent coal, and through proximity to Liverpool and the facility of canal and railway communication. It covers much ground; was, for a time, very irregularly built; includes an open square market place in its centre; contains a great number of new streets; and has undergone considerable improvements. The town hall, fronting the market place, was built in 1839; is in the Italian style, with a Corinthian portico; and contains a lock-up, a news room, and a large hall for courts, concerts, balls, and public meetings. The market house, near the townhall, is a large new brick edifice. St. Mary's church is an old and very spacious brick building, with a tower. Holy-Trinity church, at Parr-Mount, was built on a cruciform plan in 1839, and is in the pointed style. St. Thomas' church, in Westfield-street, was erected at a cost of about £9, 000, at the expense of the late Peter Greenall, Esq.; is a handsome edifice in the pointed style; and consists of nave and transepts, with porch and tower. The Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1862; and is a beautiful cruciform edifice, of Rainford stone, with red sandstone dressings. There are chapels for Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists; a public library; a mechanics' institution; three national schools for boys and three for girls; and charities £126. The county lunatic asylum here, is within Sutton township, and, at the census of 1861, had 704 inmates. The town has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and four chief inns; is governed by a mayor, aldermen, and town council; is a seat of petty sessions, and a county court; and publishes three weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs are held on the Monday and Tuesday after Easter week, and on the Friday and Saturday after 8 Sept. A very celebrated manufacture of crown, sheet, and plate glass, said to be the greatest in the world, is carried on. There are also manufactures of flint glass, glass bottles, and watch movements; several very extensive chemical works; oil and grease works; copper works; iron and brass foundries; a brewery; and coarse earthenware potteries. A considerable trade in coal likewise is carried on from neighbouring collieries. Pop. of the town, in 1851, 14,866; in 1861, 18,396. Houses, 3,146. The chapelry is more extensive than the town, and was constituted in 1852. Pop. in 1861, 20,176. Houses, 3,577. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chester. Value, £500.* Patrons, Trustees. Holy Trinity and St. Thomas also are vicarages. Value of the former, £300; * of the latter, £300.* Patron of H. T., the Vicar of St. Helens; of St. T., Trustees. The sub-district contains the townships of Windle, Parr, and Sutton, and part of the township of Eccleston. Pop. in 1851, 25,020; in 1861, 37,961. Houses, 6,539.
John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)