Listed buildings in Widnes

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A four-storey building with four bays painted pale grey, with an extra glass storey on the roof and a glass lift on the right side; in front is a small tree and a row of parked cars
Tower Building, originally the office of Hutchinson & Co, now part of the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Widnes is an industrial town in the Borough of Halton, Cheshire, England, on the north bank of the River Mersey where it narrows at Runcorn Gap. Of the 21 listed buildings in the town, 5 are classified by English Heritage as Grade II*, and 16 as Grade II; Widnes has no Grade I listed buildings. In the United Kingdom, the term "listed building" refers to a building or other structure officially designated as being of special architectural, historical, or cultural significance. Listed buildings are categorised in three grades: Grade I consists of buildings of outstanding architectural or historical interest; Grade II* includes particularly significant buildings of more than local interest; Grade II consists of buildings of special architectural or historical interest. Buildings in England are listed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on recommendations provided by English Heritage, which also determines the grading.[1]

Before 1847, the area now occupied by the town of Widnes consisted of the hamlets of Farnworth, Cronton, Appleton, and Upton; a few scattered houses; and areas of mostly marshy farmland.[2] In 1833 a canal and a railway reached the area; the Sankey Canal was extended to a point on the River Mersey to the east of Runcorn Gap and the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway established a terminus adjacent to the canal. Widnes Dock, the world's first railway dock, was established at the new terminal,[3] and in 1847 John Hutchinson established the first chemical factory nearby.[2] During the second half of the 19th century, more chemical factories were built and the town grew, absorbing the previously separated hamlets.[4] The town became overcrowded[5] and highly polluted with smoke, chemical fumes, and waste.[6]

The town's listed buildings reflect its history. The oldest, St Luke's Church in the former village of Farnworth, dates from the 12th century. Also built before 1847 are three houses, a bridewell adjacent to St Luke's Church, and the lock at the terminus of the Sankey Canal. The buildings from after 1847—three churches and the cemetery chapels, one public building (the town hall), two railway stations, two bridges crossing the River Mersey, and the former power house of the now-demolished transporter bridge—largely reflect the growing population of the town and its increasing transport links. The Tower Building, formerly an office and now a museum, and a sewer vent, relate to the chemical industry. The latest structure to be listed is a war memorial in Victoria Park. Other than the bridges and the lock, the building materials used are brick or local red sandstone.

Key[edit]

Grade Criteria[1]
II* Particularly important buildings of more than special interest
II Buildings of national importance and special interest
Name and location Photograph Grade Date Description
St Luke's Church, Farnworth
53°23′04″N 2°43′38″W / 53.3844°N 2.7273°W / 53.3844; -2.7273 (St Luke's Church, Farnworth)
A Gothic style sandstone church with a grey slate roof seen from the south; a crenellated tower to the left, a porch in the middle and a large chapel projecting on the right II* 12th century with later additions St Luke's is a parish church constructed in red sandstone dating from the late 12th century. Its tower was added in the 14th century. There were later additions and restorations, the final restoration being in 1894–95. The plan consists of a west tower, a five-bay nave with north and south aisles, a chancel, and north and south porches. At the east end of the north aisle is the Bold Chapel, which contains many family monuments, and the transept is known as the Cuerdley Chapel.[7][8][9]
Runcorn Railway Bridge
53°20′48″N 2°44′18″W / 53.3468°N 2.7383°W / 53.3468; -2.7383 (Runcorn Railway Bridge)
A bridge consisting of four girders on sandstone piers crossing the River Mersey seen on a frosty morning; beyond the railway bridge is the arch of the road bridge and under the arches is a church II* 1864–68 Spanning the River Mersey to provide a more direct rail connection between London and Liverpool, the bridge is constructed of three wrought iron girders carried on four sandstone piers. It is approached on each side by viaducts. The structure was designed by William Baker and now carries the Liverpool branch of the West Coast Main Line.[10][11][12][13]
St Michael's Church, Ditton
53°21′45″N 2°45′40″W / 53.3625°N 2.7610°W / 53.3625; -2.7610 (St Michael's Church, Ditton)
A tall narrow tower with a small pointed spire surrounded by trees in leaf almost hiding the body of the church; to the left is a footpath with railings and a wall
II* 1876–79 St Michael's is a Catholic church built for a Jesuit community who had been expelled from Germany in 1872. It is constructed in red sandstone ashlar and has a cruciform plan. At the west end is a tall tower with a saddleback roof.[14][15][16]
St Mary's Church, West Bank
53°20′56″N 2°43′58″W / 53.3488°N 2.7329°W / 53.3488; -2.7329 (St Mary's Church)
The west end of a Gothic Revival style church built in different coloured sandstone, showing a tall tower with a flagpole; in front is a hedge and to the sides are trees
II* 1908–10 St Mary's parish church was built to replace an earlier church nearby which had been damaged by subsidence, It is constructed in red sandstone in Perpendicular style. It has a nave, aisles, transepts, chancel and a tower at the west end.[17][18][19]
Former power house of the Widnes-Runcorn transporter bridge
53°20′52″N 2°44′09″W / 53.34774°N 2.73595°W / 53.34774; -2.73595 (Former power house)
A red sandstone building seen from the rear, in two storeys, with an arch over a footpath on the left in the lower storey, and a plain wall in the upper storey; two chimneys and two hipped roofs; on the left are parts of the bridges and on right is the edge of the approach to the road bridge II* 1901 This is a small red sandstone rectangular building in three storeys which originally contained the power house to drive the transporter bridge. It has been converted into use as an electrical sub-station.[20][21]
Norland's House
53°23′39″N 2°44′35″W / 53.39415°N 2.74312°W / 53.39415; -2.74312 (Norland's House)
A pathway with a wall on the right leads to a white-painted two-storey house with attic and black-painted dressings; a lower two-storey wing extends to the left and on the right is a lean-to extension II Early 18th century Norland's House is a farmhouse dating from the early 18th century with later alterations and additions. The house is built in brick on a stone plinth. It has two storeys and has been painted white. At the corners are rusticated quoins which have been painted black.[22]
The Hollies
53°22′52″N 2°43′43″W / 53.38107°N 2.72874°W / 53.38107; -2.72874 (The Hollies)
A sandstone wall with a hedge and a gate in front of a plain brick house in two storeys with three bays and an arched central doorway; the right side of the house is painted white and the edge of a larger house is to the left II Late 18th century The Hollies is a brick house with two storeys which was built in the 18th century. At the sides of its doorway are a Doric fluted columns and over it are moulded frieze and a fanlight. From 1867 to 1873 it was the home of Ludwig Mond.[23]
103, 105, 107 and 109 Highfield Road
53°22′26″N 2°44′03″W / 53.3739°N 2.7341°W / 53.3739; -2.7341 (Nos. 103, 105, 107 and 109 Highfield Road)
A row of two-storey brick cottages with grey slate roofs; the door frames, elaborate window frames and string course are painted white; short gardens are in front and a tree is on the right II Early 19th century This is a terrace of four brick houses with slate roofs which were built in the early 19th century. They have two storeys with a string course between them.[24]
Farnworth bridewell
53°23′04″N 2°43′37″W / 53.38436°N 2.72699°W / 53.38436; -2.72699 (Bridewell)
A low plain building in red sandstone with a gently sloping gabled roof and a door to the right with flaking black paint and a notice reading "Bridewell" in Gothic script II 1827 This was originally a bridewell situated adjacent to St Luke's churchyard. It is a plain rectangular building in red sandstone with a slate roof.[25]
Mersey Lock, Sankey Canal
53°21′09″N 2°43′54″W / 53.3525°N 2.7317°W / 53.3525; -2.7317 (Mersey Lock)
A canal lock with sandstone walls and wooden gates seen from its midpoint; the gates are closed and water is held at a higher level beyond them; railings run along the top of the gates and on the wall to the right II 1833 The lock is at Spike Island, the terminus of the Sankey Canal where it joins the River Mersey. There is a difference of 12 feet (4 m) between the water level in the canal and the river.[26]
St Bede's Church
53°22′16″N 2°43′51″W / 53.3711°N 2.7308°W / 53.3711; -2.7308 (St Bede's Church)
A Gothic Revival sandstone church seen from the side with a crenellated tower on the left and the body of the church with a clerestory to the right; in the foreground on the right is a path with shrubs and a tree that partly obstruct the view of the church II 1847 St Bede's is a Catholic church built in red sandstone. The west tower is broad and has angle buttresses and gargoyles. The plan of the church consists of a nave with aisles, and a chancel with a tripartite east end.[27][28]
Tower Building, now part of Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
53°21′07″N 2°44′01″W / 53.35184°N 2.73364°W / 53.35184; -2.73364 (Tower Building)
A four-storey building with four bays painted pale grey, with an extra glass storey on the roof and a glass lift on the right side II c. 1860 Tower Building was constructed for the chemical firm of Hutchinson & Co and was later used by Gossage's. In 1989 it was converted into a museum; a glass-surrounded observation deck was built on the roof and a glass external lift was added to the east.[29][30][31]
St Marie's Church
53°21′45″N 2°43′38″W / 53.3624°N 2.7271°W / 53.3624; -2.7271 (St Marie's Church)
A plain brick church seen mainly from the end, with a steeply pitched roof, a doorway and buttresses on the left side, and a small bellcote with one bell on the gable end II 1864 This was a Catholic church which was designed by E. W. Pugin and has been little altered since. It is built in red brick with sandstone dressings. Its plan consists of a nave and apse with lean-to aisles. The church became redundant in 2006 and was listed the same year.[32][33]
Hough Green railway station
53°22′21″N 2°46′30″W / 53.37245°N 2.77507°W / 53.37245; -2.77507 (Hough Green railway station)
Two sets of rails between platforms beyond which is a brick building with two gables and a canopied area between them; a sign to the left says "Hough Green" II 1872 The station was built in brick for the Cheshire Lines Committee. It has an H-shaped plan with gables at each end and a canopy between.[34][35]
Widnes railway station
53°22′43″N 2°44′01″W / 53.37856°N 2.73361°W / 53.37856; -2.73361 (Widnes railway station)
Two sets of rails between platforms beyond which is a brick building with two gables and a canopied area between them; a sign to the left says "Widnes" II 1872 Widnes station was built in brick for the Cheshire Lines Committee. It has an H-shaped plan with gables at each end and a canopy between. It was originally called Farnworth station.[36][37][38]
Former town hall
53°21′43″N 2°43′55″W / 53.36195°N 2.73183°W / 53.36195; -2.73183 (Former town hall)
A two-storey brick building with extensive terracotta dressings and decoration; a steep grey slate hipped roof with a central attic and chimneys; each lateral bay protrudes slightly forward and is topped by a complex irregular gable end II 1885 The former Widnes Town Hall is built in brick with terra cotta dressings. It is a symmetrical building in nine bays with an ornate central bay and Dutch gables over the outer bays.[32][39]
Sewer vent
53°22′21″N 2°43′07″W / 53.372410°N 2.718569°W / 53.372410; -2.718569 (Sewer vent)
A chimney-like brick structure in two stages with some brick decoration and a corbelled top
II c. 1893 This chimney-like structure is a sewer ventilation shaft, built in decorated brickwork and approximately 30 feet (9 m) high. It is the last survivor of a system of seven vents whose purpose was to remove the effluent from chemical manufacture.[40][41]
Cemetery chapels
53°22′51″N 2°44′09″W / 53.3809°N 2.7358°W / 53.3809; -2.7358 (Cemetery chapels)
Two joined gabled sandstone chapels with a tower between in Gothic Revival style; the tower is truncated and has the metal skeleton of a spire on its top, the whole acting as a chimney II 1897 This is a pair of joined gabled chapels that are built in red sandstone. Between the chapels is a tower with an octagonal steeple. Part of the structure has been converted into a crematorium with the steeple used as a chimney.[42]
Wayside pulpit, St Mary's Church
53°20′54″N 2°43′59″W / 53.348433°N 2.732975°W / 53.348433; -2.732975 (Wayside pulpit)
A sandstone structure in the shape of an inverted T with an inscription in Gothic script along the top; behind is part of the church to the right and a row of houses to the left II c. 1910 This sandstone structure is a pulpit which forms part of the boundary wall of the churchyard of St Mary's Church. It incorporates a religious text which reads, "Go out into the highways and compel them to come in that my house may be filled".[43]
War memorial,
Victoria Park
53°22′28″N 2°43′49″W / 53.37454°N 2.73039°W / 53.37454; -2.73039 (War memorial)
A curved area of grass with a floral border beyond which is a cream-coloured obelisk on a large plinth; in the distance are leafless trees and houses II 1921 Listed in 2007, the memorial is built in York and Portland stone. It comprises an obelisk surmounted by a flaming urn which stands on a plinth on a platform. The sculptor was Herbert Tyson Smith.[44][45][46]
Kingsway Health Centre
53°21′48″N 2°43′59″W / 53.3633°N 2.7330°W / 53.3633; -2.7330 (Kingsway Health Centre)
Widnes Health Centre.jpg II 1938–39 This a rare example of a 1930s comprehensive health centre outside London. It is designed in Moderne style and incorporates Art Deco elements. It was listed in 2009, and the associated walls, gates and railings are included in the listing.[47]
Silver Jubilee Bridge
53°20′47″N 2°44′16″W / 53.3463°N 2.7379°W / 53.3463; -2.7379 (Silver Jubilee Bridge)
In the foreground is the Manchester Ship Canal with a portion of shore and its wall beyond; behind this is a grey-coloured arch carrying a roadway with the piers of the railway bridge beneath; under the arch are factories on the far side of the river II 1956–61 This road bridge crosses the River Mersey and links Runcorn with Widnes, replacing the former Widnes–Runcorn Transporter Bridge. It is a through arch bridge which carries a four-lane carriageway and a cantilevered footway to the east. Its span is 1,082 feet (330 m) and its total length is 1,628 feet (496 m).[48][49][50]

References[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ a b Listed buildings, English Heritage, retrieved 24 April 2011 
  2. ^ a b Hardie 1950, pp. 1–3
  3. ^ Diggle 1961, pp. 17–19
  4. ^ Morris 2005, p. 171
  5. ^ Morris 2005, pp. 172–174
  6. ^ Morris 2005, pp. 208–209
  7. ^ Foster 1981, pp. 35–42
  8. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 653–655
  9. ^ English Heritage, "Church of St Luke, Widnes (1130417)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  10. ^ English Heritage, "Runcorn Bridge railway bridge over River Mersey (1130418)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  11. ^ Starkey 1990, pp. 166–170
  12. ^ Nickson 1887, pp. 202–206
  13. ^ Cowan 1990, pp. 5–7, 10
  14. ^ Diggle 1961, pp. 66–67
  15. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 657
  16. ^ English Heritage, "Church of St Michael, Ditton (1325926)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  17. ^ Diggle 1961, pp. 120–121
  18. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 648–649
  19. ^ English Heritage, "Church of St Mary, Widnes (1130420)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  20. ^ Thompson 2000, pp. 12–15
  21. ^ English Heritage, "Former Transporter Bridge Power House, Widnes (1130419)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  22. ^ English Heritage, "Norland's House, Widnes (1330352)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  23. ^ English Heritage, "The Hollies, Widnes (1130413)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  24. ^ English Heritage, "Nos. 103, 105, 107 & 109 Highfield Road, Widnes (1130414)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  25. ^ English Heritage, "Bridewell adjacent to Church of St Luke, Widnes (1330353)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  26. ^ English Heritage, "Mersey Lock St Helens Canal, Widnes (1330354)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  27. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 652–653
  28. ^ English Heritage, "Church of St Bede, Widnes (1130411)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  29. ^ Hardie 1950, p. 56
  30. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 650
  31. ^ English Heritage, "Gossage's Tower, Widnes (1130415)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  32. ^ a b Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 651
  33. ^ English Heritage, "Roman Catholic Church of St Marie, Widnes (1391829)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  34. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 656, 658
  35. ^ English Heritage, "Hough Green Railway Station (1330351)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  36. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 656
  37. ^ Dyckhoff 1999, p. 74
  38. ^ English Heritage, "Widnes North Railway Station (1106340)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  39. ^ English Heritage, "Widnes Town Hall (1330355)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  40. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 652
  41. ^ English Heritage, "Brick sewer vent, Widnes (1130416)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  42. ^ English Heritage, "Pair of Cemetery Chapels, Widnes (1130412)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  43. ^ English Heritage, "Wayside pulpit to Church of St Mary, Widnes (1325946)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  44. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 653
  45. ^ English Heritage, "War memorial, Victoria Park, Widnes (1392210)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  46. ^ Morris & Roberts 2012, pp. 250–251
  47. ^ English Heritage, "Kingsway Health Centre and associated walls, gates and railings, Widnes (1393291)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  48. ^ English Heritage, "Runcorn-Widnes Road Bridge (1130421)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013 
  49. ^ Hartwell et al. 2011, p. 562
  50. ^ Starkey 1990, p. 222

Sources

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  • Dyckhoff, Nigel (1999), Portrait of the Cheshire Lines Committee, Shepperton: Ian Allan, ISBN 978-0-711-02521-9 
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