Widnes is situated in the north west of the country in the county of Cheshire. It is part of the Borough of Halton and lies on the River Mersey by the Runcorn Gap.
It is thought that the Widnes area may have been inhabited during Stone Age times and there is some evidence of Roman inhabitation here. During the times of the Viking invaders Widnes was part of the Danelaw and stood at the boundary between the Danelaw and Mercia, the Saxon kingdom of the time.
In the times of the Normans Widnes was ruled by the Baron of Widnes, Yorfrid, who was given the area by the Earl of Lancaster, Roger de Poictou. The Normans built a church sometime in the late 1100s in the Farnworth area of the town. This area was also given a Grammar School a few centuries later in the early 1500s.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the Widnes area became more connected with the outside world via the establishment of the canal and railway networks. In the mid 1800s the first chemical factory opened in the town. Once this factory was established a number of other concerns were opened making Widnes a major chemical hub in the industrial world. The types of factories here produced, for example, soda ash, borax, bleaching powder and salt cake. These industries, together with the town’s iron and copper factories, made Widnes a heavily polluted and unpleasant place. At this point, however, growth was such that the town had to bring in overseas workers and the population of the area boomed. The chemical industry in the town still plays a major part in its economy and social structure.
Visitors to Widnes can take advantage of various shopping centres and indoor and outdoor markets. The Victoria Promenade is worth a visit as is Spike Island. The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre is a popular visit for children as well. Many of the town’s churches are listed buildings and are therefore architecturally interesting. The Town Hall and the Power House of the original transporter bridge are also listed buildings.
There are also plenty of park and nature options in the town. These include Victoria Park, Hough Green Park and Crow Road Park. Nature lovers and walkers may also enjoy a trip to one of the town’s nature reserves such as Clincton Wood, Hale Road Woodlands and Pickering’s Pasture.