Listed buildings in Widnes
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.
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. 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, and in 1847 John Hutchinson established the first chemical factory nearby. During the second half of the 19th century, more chemical factories were built and the town grew, absorbing the previously separated hamlets. The town became overcrowded and highly polluted with smoke, chemical fumes, and waste.
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.
|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
||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.|
|Runcorn Railway Bridge
||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.|
|St Michael's Church, Ditton
||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.|
|St Mary's Church, West Bank
||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.|
|Former power house of the Widnes-Runcorn transporter 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.|
||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.|
||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.|
|103, 105, 107 and 109 Highfield Road
||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.|
||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.|
|Mersey Lock, Sankey Canal
||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.|
|St Bede's 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.|
|Tower Building, now part of Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
||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.|
|St Marie's Church
||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.|
|Hough Green railway station
||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.|
|Widnes railway station
||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.|
|Former town hall
||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.|
||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.|
||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.|
|Wayside pulpit, St Mary's Church
||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".|
|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.|
|Kingsway Health Centre
||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.|
|Silver Jubilee Bridge
||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).|
- Listed buildings, English Heritage, retrieved 24 April 2011
- Hardie 1950, pp. 1–3
- Diggle 1961, pp. 17–19
- Morris 2005, p. 171
- Morris 2005, pp. 172–174
- Morris 2005, pp. 208–209
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- Starkey 1990, pp. 166–170
- Nickson 1887, pp. 202–206
- Cowan 1990, pp. 5–7, 10
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- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 657
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- Diggle 1961, pp. 120–121
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 648–649
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- Thompson 2000, pp. 12–15
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- English Heritage, "Norland's House, Widnes (1330352)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "The Hollies, Widnes (1130413)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "Nos. 103, 105, 107 & 109 Highfield Road, Widnes (1130414)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "Bridewell adjacent to Church of St Luke, Widnes (1330353)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "Mersey Lock St Helens Canal, Widnes (1330354)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 652–653
- English Heritage, "Church of St Bede, Widnes (1130411)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Hardie 1950, p. 56
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 650
- English Heritage, "Gossage's Tower, Widnes (1130415)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 651
- English Heritage, "Roman Catholic Church of St Marie, Widnes (1391829)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 656, 658
- English Heritage, "Hough Green Railway Station (1330351)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 656
- Dyckhoff 1999, p. 74
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- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 652
- English Heritage, "Brick sewer vent, Widnes (1130416)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "Pair of Cemetery Chapels, Widnes (1130412)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "Wayside pulpit to Church of St Mary, Widnes (1325946)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Pollard & Pevsner 2006, p. 653
- English Heritage, "War memorial, Victoria Park, Widnes (1392210)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Morris & Roberts 2012, pp. 250–251
- English Heritage, "Kingsway Health Centre and associated walls, gates and railings, Widnes (1393291)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- English Heritage, "Runcorn-Widnes Road Bridge (1130421)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Hartwell et al. 2011, p. 562
- Starkey 1990, p. 222
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