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 Newton-le-Willows (Merseyside)   
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Newton le Willows
Newton-le-Willows (Merseyside)

Newton le Willows shown within Merseyside
Population 21,000 (2001 Census)
Metropolitan county Merseyside
Region North West
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district WA12
Dialling code 01925
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
European Parliament North West England
UK Parliament St Helens North
List of places: UKEnglandMerseyside

Coordinates: 53°27'00?N 2°38'02?W? / ?53.45008, -2.63388

Newton-le-Willows is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, in Merseyside, England. It is situated about midway between the cities of Manchester and Liverpool, 4 miles (6.4 km) to the east of St Helens, 5 miles (8.0 km) to the north of Warrington and 7 miles (11.3 km) to the south of Wigan.


[edit] History

Newton-le-Willows railway station
Newton-le-Willows railway station
Sankey Viaduct crossing Sankey Brook
Sankey Viaduct crossing Sankey Brook

St. Peters Church on Newton's High street was once a fort, defending the town from potential attacks. The nearby Newton brook was a useful asset to the fort. It was once a great river, encircling the town. It provided a source of water to the town and joined up to Sankey brook, which then led onto the River Mersey and into the Irish Sea.

[edit] Railway town

Newton's history since the 1800s has been very closely linked with the railway industry. It was little more than a village when the famous Vulcan Foundry was opened in 1831 and later developed into one of the world's foremost locomotive manufacturers. Vulcan Village, the southernmost suburb of Newton was developed to house workers from the foundry and has in recent years become a conservation area.

The western area of the town, Earlestown was developed also with the coming of the railways. Earlestown was also built as a factory village, but for the Viaduct Foundry, which later became the London and North Western Railway's principal waggon works. Since Victorian times, Earlestown has been the fastest growing area of the town and today Newton-le-Willows' town centre is situated in Earlestown.

Between Earlestown and Vulcan Village is the largely residential suburb of Wargrave.

Huskisson Monument
Huskisson Monument

William Huskisson, Member of Parliament for Liverpool and an early supporter of railways, was killed at Parkside near Newton when he was run down by The Rocket locomotive on the opening day of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. There is a memorial at the spot where the accident happened. A modern bridge in the town centre is named in memory of Huskisson.

Newton has two historic railway stations. Newton-le-Willows station is situated in the old original part of town and like Earlestown station, was opened in 1830. Today, they are two of the oldest railway stations still in existence. Earlestown was an important junction where the original Manchester and Liverpool line was joined by the 1837 line running south to Birmingham. The town has also had three other railway stations, situated at Parkside, where the first fatal railway accident happened, at Vulcan Village and one serving the old racecourse, closed when nearby Haydock Park Racecourse was opened.

Two other local railway related landmarks are Newton Viaduct, and the Sankey Viaduct which is locally known as the Nine Arches.

The town also had other industries, sugar refining, chemicals, glass, biscuit manufacturing machinery and coal mining. Parkside Colliery, opened in the 1960s with an expected lifespan of 100 years but closed in 1992. The colliery hit the national headlines due to demonstrations against its closure. Unfortunately, they did not succeed and the closure of Parkside, saw an end to Lancashire's centuries old coal industry.

[edit] Governance

Forming part of the historic county boundaries of Lancashire from a very early time, Newton-le-Willows is an ancient town having been mentioned in the Domesday Book. A parliamentary borough from the 16th century until 1832, the developing industrial town became an Urban District in 1894 under the name Newton in Makerfield. The name of the U.D.C. was changed in 1939. In 1974 it became part of St Helens Borough of Merseyside.[1]

[edit] Geography

Newton-le-Willows is a small market town in North West England, situated on the western boundary of Chat Moss. The town consists for four districts,[citation needed] Earlestown, Wargrave, Vulcan Village and the original ancient Newton in Makerfield area which makes up the eastern part of the town.

[edit] Two town centres

The old centre of Newton is on the A49 road (formerly the Warrington-Wigan Turnpike Road) and has a number of Georgian buildings, and is an attractive residential area. Today, the high street has a village appearance with small local shops serving the local area. There used to be a street market outside the parish church, which in the 1890s was moved to Earlestown. The old Town Hall, was sadly demolished some years ago after serving as a Civic Hall.

With the Industrial Revolution, the area of Earlestown developed about a mile west of the original Newton. As this part of the town grew, amenities were moved to Earlestown from Newton. As the market was moved to Earlestown and a new town hall was built to house the old Newton Council, the new town centre became based on Earlestown. Today Earlestown is a busy small shopping centre, with the main shopping street, Market Street being pedestrianised about 20 years ago. Bridge Street, Oxford Street, Queen Street and Earle Street make up the shopping area, with the market still the centre of the town with about 200 stalls making it one of the largest in the region. Well over a hundred shops make up the shopping area, from small long established independent retailers to large national organisations like Woolworths, Boots, Tesco, Wilkinson, Shoefayre, Superdrug, Netto, McDonald's, and most of the major banks. There are a number of free car parks in the town centre. Another small retail area exists at Park Road South in the Wargrave area of the town, with a small Co-op supermarket.

[edit] Transport

The M6 and M62 motorways, and also the A580 East Lancashire Road pass close to the town. This has helped Newton become an important commuter town now that most of its industry has gone. There have been many new housing estates built around the outskirts of the town.

England's first operational canal, the St Helens Canal passes through the town and is crossed, on the Sankey Viaduct, by the world's first passenger railway, also within the boundaries of the town.

Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown railway stations have a good regional service with regular trains running to Manchester and Liverpool, St Helens, Warrington, Chester, West Yorkshire and along the North Wales coast to Holyhead. Earlestown is a very large station for the size of the town, with 5 platforms. On platform 2 is the old waiting room, regarded as one of the oldest remaining railway buildings.

There is a small bus station in Tamworth Street, with a number of bus routes running around the town, and out of town services connecting neighbouring Burtonwood, Haydock, Ashton in Makerfield, Lowton and major towns of Warrington, St. Helens, Wigan and Leigh.

[edit] Notable people

(Source: Wikipedia)
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