St. Helens, United Kingdom
St. Helens
United Kingdom

St. Helens is an industrial town just to the east of Liverpool. There's a really nice site with an online version of   The Pictorial History of Lancashire  that describes the town in some detail, including how glass was manufactured. Barker's book has a payroll list for two weeks in 1849 for Pilkington Glass in St. Helens.

"The Pictorial History of the County of  Lancaster", George Routledge, 1854, page 99.

"St. Helens is a township in the parish of Prescot mentioned hereafter, and  may be said to contain the four townships of  Sutton, Parr, Windle, and  Eccleston. It is uninteresting in appearance-straggling and irregular; built of red brick; is ill-paved, dirty, and lies low. It has a neat townhall, which contains a news' room, magistrates' court, and police office. The church of St. Mary is a large building erected of brick; the other churches are St. Thomas, built by Mr. Greenall, M.P. for Wigan, provided  for by a small endowment; one at Eccleston, outside the town, built by Mr. Taylor, of Eccleston Hall, and a chapel of ease to St. Helens at Parr. A canal runs from St. Helens to Runcorn Gap, passing close to Warrington, and joining the Mersey: it is one of the oldest in England. Of the  railroad from St. Helens to Runcorn, about three miles is used as a branch  to the great Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and numerous colliery  railways run into the line, connecting with it different works.

 "There are many Irish in St. Helens, and about four thousand Catholics,  also an Independents' chapel, and a Quakers' meeting-house of great antiquity.

 "All sides of the place exhibit tall chimneys and dense smoke; the chemical  works around exhale sulphurous vapours, and many of the inhabitants have  their houses-out of the town in consequence."

 "The Pictorial History of the County of  Lancaster", George Routledge, 1854, page 89-90.

"St. Helens, originally an inconsiderable village, is now a very thriving town, and is likely to rise into a place of very considerable importance. Its prosperity must chiefly be attributed to the great abundance of excellent coal found in its neighbourhood, and its easy communication with the port of Liverpool, by railway and canal. In addition to the facilities afforded by the Manchester' and Liverpool railway, there is a railway between the St. Helens coal-field and Runcorn-Gap, which affords a direct and cheap communication with the navigation of the Mersey. These advantages early pointed out the place as a favourable locality for the establishment of works in which great heat, and consequently a large consumption of  coals, would be required, such as the smelting and refining of copper ores, the manufacture of glass and vetrified pottery-ware, etc. Our artist has here given a distant view of St Helens. Formerly, the establishments erected for smelting copper were on a very large scale; but they have now been for the most part discontinued, and the staple manufacture of the place is plate glass, which is carried on at Ravenhead, and is the largest establishment of the kind in England, affording employment to more than three hundred workmen. The first company for the manufacture of British plate glass was incorporated in 1773, and commenced its operations at Ravenhead; on its failure, the concerns were transferred, in 1798, to a new company, under the management of which the establishment has thriven beyond all expectation or precedent, so as to render the British plate glass superior to that of any other country."

 "The Pictorial History of the County of  Lancaster", George Routledge, 1854, page 100.

" The principal manufacture of St. Helens, as already shewn, is glass. A species intended to supersede the plate, has been lately manufactured in the town, and is called German glass, made by foreign workmen, principally Belgians, introduced by Mr. Pilkington in 1841. This glass is not cast, as plate glass is, but made somewhat in the mode of window or crown glass, and intended as a cheap substitute for plate."

"Lancashire Gazetteer, Joseph Aston, 1808"

"St. HELLENS, (N. lat. 53º. 25". W. lon. 20º. 39") 4 miles E.N.E. of Prescot; 12 miles E.N.E. of Liverpool;
  51/4 miles S.W. of Ashton-in-makerfield; 10 miles N.W. of Warrington; and 198 miles from London. This
  flourishing place is in the parish of Prescot, under which it has a chapel of ease; patron, the vicar of Prescot.
  Here are also a dissenting chapel, and a Quakers' meeting house, in a part of the town called Hardshaw, the
  name by which the place was formerly known, but the titulary saint of the chapel of ease, soon after it was
  built, gave it a new name, and that of Hardshaw is now nearly forgotten. St. Hellens has risen, during the
  present reign, from a small inconsiderable village, to a large well built populous town"

"Lancashire Gazetteer, Joseph Aston, 1808"

"WARRINGTON, (N. lat. 53º 2". W. lon. 2º 30".) 18 miles W. of Manchester; 18 miles E. of Liverpool; 12
  miles S. of Wigan; 10 miles E.S.E. of Prescot; 523/4 miles S.S.E. of Lancaster; and 188 miles from London,
  is situated on the river Mersey, which divides it from the parish of Groppenhall, in Cheshire, part of which
  parish forms a suburb to, and appears to be a part of the town of Warrington, to which it is joined by a stone
  bridge, built by the Earl of Derby, in the reign of Henry VII. The principal part of the town of Warrington,
  consists of four streets, which cross in the centre. There was formerly an Augustine priory, in this place,
  (founded in 1379) of which no traces now remain. Of the earlier antiquities of Warrington, we have little more
  than tradition. It has been said that Warrington was a Roman station, but the opinion has not much, if any
  conclusive evidence to rest itself upon. The trade of Warrington chiefly consists of glass and sail cloth
  manufacturies, tho' it has a portion of the check and cotton trade. The parish church, which is a rectory, stands
  at the E. side of, and at the extremity of the town; patron, the heirs of R.A. Gwillam, Esq. Besides the mother
  church, there is a handsome chapel of ease, patrons, the heirs of the late T. Leigh, of Lyme, Esq. and in the
  Cheshire suburb, another chapel, under the parish church of Groppenhall. The parish church has under it the
  chapels of Burton-wood and Hollinfare. The town has also places of worship for dissenters of almost every
  persuasion. The market day is Wednesday; and the annual fairs are held July 18, and November 30, for
  horses, cattle, and woollen cloth: the latter fair lasting near a fortnight. Warrington gives title of Earl to the
  noble family of Grey, the title being borne by the same nobleman who is also Earl of Stamford. In 1801,
  Warrington contained 2,296 houses, and 10,567 inhabitants"


T.C. Barker, "The Glassmakers, Pilkington 1826--1976". Weidenfield and Nicholson, London. 1977..
T.C. Barker and J.R. Harris, "A Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution. St. Helens 1750-1900.", Frank Cass & Co. London. 1993.
R.A. Parkin, "The Window Glass Makers of St. Helens", Society of Glass Technology, Sheffield. 2000.
Mary Presland, "St. Helens, a Pictorial History", Philmore & Co. Chichester, West Sussex. 1995
George Routledge, "The Pictorial History of the County of Lancaster," Manning and Mason, London. 1854.

Back to Home page
                                                          Mike Henderson,