Eccleston, St Helens
Eccleston shown within Merseyside
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||St Helens|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ST. HELENS|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||St Helens South and Whiston|
Historically a part of Lancashire, the early history of Eccleston is marked by its status as a township, an area much larger than the modern civil parish, extending into what is now St Helens. Part of the township was united with Parr, Sutton and part of Windle to form the Municipal Borough of St Helens in 1868.
Eccleston is one of seven civil parishes in St Helens, and one of the largest covering the neighbourhoods of Eccleston Park, Gillars Green, Trapwood Close, and the area around Springfield (now a Carmelite monastery) south of the A580 road.
Eccleston means church farm or settlement. Eccles which is found in several place names in the North West of England is derived from the Welsh Eglwys and the use of this word implies a Celtic religious foundation. However, there does not seem to have been a church in the township of Eccleston until Portico Our Lady's Roman Catholic chapel in the late 18th century. St Thomas, Eccleston (now on Westfield Street, St Helens town centre) and Christ Church date from 1838/39. It is suggested that the name is connected with the adjoining town of Prescot which has had a church for over a thousand years. The present Eccleston Hall dates from the 1820s but there have been halls on the site from the late mediaeval period. The Eccleston family, who were Lords of the Manor of Eccleston, were recusants and there was a Catholic chapel in the old hall which was built in the Tudor era.
Eccleston is built upon green fertile rolling hills with countryside to the north and west and urban sprawl to south and east. Running through Eccleston there is a stream or brook called Windle Brook (actually the boundary with Windle CP) and Mill Brook. There is a mere called Eccleston Mere and three dams used for cooling purposes in factories. There are several open public spaces including many woods and small nature reserve at Millfields. There are a number of public footpaths through local countryside such as Green Lane and Sadlers Lane.
There is a large public area at Ecclesfield playing fields, which is located behind the Library.
Road connections are to the M6, M62, M57 and M58. The A580 (Liverpool to Manchester) locally known as the 'East Lancs' is a 1930s trunk road running north of the borough linking the M58 and M6, traffic problems are often reported at the notorious Windle Island. The A570 (St Helens to Southport) links the M58 and M62. The B5201 takes traffic from Prescot through the centre of Eccleston.
There are many frequent bus services that run to parts of St Helens and Liverpool some of these are: 35/35A Gillars Green-St Helens Junction (Arriva) 37 Eccleston-St Helens Bus Station (Arriva) 137/138 Billinge/St Helens Circular (HTL) There are no railway stations in Eccleston but there are a number of stations close by such as St Helens Central, St Helens Junction, Eccleston Park, Prescot, Whiston. Liverpool John Lennon Airport is the closest airport and Manchester seconds to that both no more than a 45 minute drive.
Houses in Eccleston include 1930s semi-detached homes in Eccleston village, council estates at Gillars Green and Trapwood Close (now a mixture of private and housing association property), small 1970s housing estates at Eccleston Mere and an abundance of 1990s detached houses, including small developments at Ledbury Close, Long Meadow, Eccleston Woods and The Cloisters.
Most recently, detached houses have been built at The Spires and Pikes Bridge Fold, and flats have been built on Holme Road. Extensive development is currently being carried out at Eccleston Grange on the site of the old Triplex factory.
Eccleston is a suburban area with a limited number of shops at Walmesley Road, Mill Brook Lane and Gillars Green Drive. These are mainly local shops including two small supermarkets, four hairdressers, a chemist, a florist and a continental-style coffeehouse.
An NHS medical centre is located on the site of the church hall, Chapel Lane. Broadway offers a library, a private day nursery and an NHS dental practice. A private dental practice is situated on Kiln Lane.
A number of Mother and Toddler groups take place at St Julie's Parish Hall, the library and the Lester Drive Centre.
Eccleston has several pubs including The Seven Stars, The Griffin, The Stanley, The Game Bird (previously The Royal Oak) and The Wellington. All of these public houses serve food.
The main attraction is The Smithy Heritage Centre on Kiln Lane, which is a museum about the works of a local blacksmith’s businesses
Eccleston was also home to the St Helens RLFC rugby team (known locally as 'The Saints') and St. Helens Town AFC (the town's non-league football side), from 1890 until stadium closure in 2010, when both the teams moved from the Knowsley Road stadium to Langtree Park. The capacity of the Knowsley Road stadium was 19,100 (standing) with 3,000 seats in the main stand. The stadium also boasted a restaurant and a club official store.
Eccleston Mere is owned by Pilkington Properties and is jointly supervised by the Pilkington Sailing Club and the Pilkington Angling Association. The mere was originally constructed to hold water to feed through to Pilkingtons Watson Street works, but is now used solely for recreational purposes.
People and culture
A resident of Eccleston is known as an "Ecclestonian". Accents in Eccleston vary from that of a St Helens accent through to a 'posh' northern English accent. The people of Eccleston are mainly of St Helens origin with family in the area. Eccleston is an area with households mainly comprising families and the elderly. Young people tend to move away and come back later in life to settle down.
Religion is still quite vibrant in Eccleston with several churches including St Julie (Roman Catholic), Christ Church (Church of England), St James (Church of England) and Portico (Roman Catholic). Eccleston Methodist Church closed in May 2006. The former United Reformed Church on Kiln Lane closed in 2005 and the site has now been redeveloped into retirement homes. Ethnicity is approximately 98% British/Irish White.
In terms of sport, the area is home to the amateur Rugby League team Eccleston Lions. There are also teams for the youngster of Eccleston these clubs are Millfields and Bleak Hill.
Eccleston has some of the best primary schools in the metropolitan borough, including one of the top three primary schools, Eccleston Mere. Other schools include St. Julies and Eccleston Lane Ends. De La Salle High School is also located in Eccleston. Schools in the area have good outdoor, IT, special needs and catering facilities.
- 2001 Census: Eccleston (Ward), Office for National Statistics, retrieved 8 February 2009
- Eccleston: Historical Boundaries, A Vision of Britain Through Time, retrieved 1 December 2005
- Townships: Eccleston, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, British History Online, 1907, pp. 362–367, retrieved 1 June 2007
- Hamer, David. "Seddon, Richard John - Biography". By David Hamer. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
- 2001 Census: Ethnic Group, Office for National Statistics, retrieved 8 February 2009
- St Julie's Catholic Primary Inspection Report, Ofsted, July 2008, retrieved 8 April 2009
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