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St helens


See local St Helens website. The borough of St Helens was formed in the mid-seventies when Newton-le-Willows, Rainford and Eclleston were merged with the town of St Helens itself. The area has a long history of settlement, the earliest known reference to which came in a document from the 16th century where the chapel of St Helens is mentioned, although it is thought that some sort of significant structure has existed on the site since the 1300's. As St Helens grew during the Industrial Revolution, thanks largely to trade and innovation emanating from the nearby city and docks of Liverpool, it was the first place in the country to have it's own industrial canal; such canals became vital for the transportation of goods such as coal for heavy industry, also the linking by road to Liverpool in 1746 aided this. St Helens has strong links to the early days of steam travel: it was here that Stephenson's "Rocket", widely accepted as the world's first steam locomotive, was put through it's paces in a series of trials in 1829. The borough also boasts the Sankey Viaduct, which carried Stephenson's and, indeed, the world's first passenger railway over the canal. Once all these various transport links had connected St Helens so efficiently with local industry, the borough was set to be at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. These days St Helens is a vibrant borough with many listed buildings, museums and galleries, in fact, indirectly, the town is a Turner Prize winner. The winning piece of the 1994 Turner Prize, "Field for the British Isles" , was made up of a room filled wall to wall with 35,000 terracotta figures and was ostensibly the work of artist Anthony Gormley, but it was actually made in St Helens by local people.