What's On

  • 200,000 reasons to make a visit 
    Warrington Museum & Art Gallery 

    Natural sciences, antiquities, social history, decorative arts and an extensive local photographic archive ....

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  • Set in Beautiful Parkland  
    Castle Park Arts Centre 

    Visit the historic town of Frodsham and enjoy three galleries, craft units, coffee shop ....

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  • Scything Workshop 
    Marbury Country Park 
    1st Jul 2017 

    This heritage skill is so environmentally friendly and is increasingly being used by the likes of stately homes and local authorities ....

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  • Rock of Ages (Musical) 
    Grange Theatre 
    1st Jun 2017 - 3rd Jun 2017 

    Salt and Pepper Productions present Rock of Ages (Musical) ....

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  • Warblers and Waders 
    23rd Apr 2017 

    Renowned ecologist Jeff Clarke is at it again ....

     

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  • An Outstanding Day out in Cheshire 
    Lion Salt Works 

    Now open to the public after a £10m restoration and voted the UKs best heritage project  ....

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Widnes

Virgin Voyager heads North

A Perfect Place to Visit

Widnes is mentioned as early as 1200, the name meaning wide promontory. It lies on the north bank of the River Mersey and prior to reorganisation in 1974 was in Lancashire.

The industrial revolution had its beginnings in Widnes between 1714 and 1830 and the birth of the chemical industry was between 1830 and 1865. It was once one of the most heavily polluted towns in the country and if you fell in the Mersey you were take immediately to hospital for treatment!  Today the chemical industry has changed and parts of the river are even developed for wildlife preservation.

The making of Sankey Brook navigable for coal barges from St Helens to Sankey Bridges was particularly significant. The Sankey Navigation Canal arrived in Widnes in 1833. The canal and the railway terminated at Spike Island.  The name is probably derived from the word for the cheap boarding houses that had sprung up in the area.

A new dock was built with sidings enabling easy transfer of coal from railway to sailing flats. By 1855, Spike Island was the centre of the new chemical industry.  Spike Island is now a waterside park with anchorage for fishing boats and a heritage trail.

The Catalyst Museum is the museum of the chemical industry and was opened in 1989.  Science comes alive through a host of interactive exhibits and hands-on displays.

Widnes station has a plaque recalling that while waiting for a train, Paul Simon wrote the words of the song ‘Homeward bound, I wish I was’ – an understandable sentiment in the old Widnes!

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