Earlestown Town Hall
|Earlestown shown within Merseyside|
|Population||10,830 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||NEWTON LE WILLOWS|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Earlestown forms the western part of Newton-le-Willows, a town in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 Census the population was recorded as 10,274, increasing to 10,830 at the 2011 Census.
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In July 1831, the Warrington and Newton railway was opened, less than 6 months after the Liverpool and Manchester railway began service. A railway station was built at the junction of the two railways, a mile west of the town of Newton in Makerfield, now Newton-le-Willows and was given the name Newton Junction. A locomotive and wagon works was built just west of the station and a model town was constructed for its workers. In 1837, the name of the station was changed to Earlestown.
Locomotive building was concentrated in another area within Newton le Willows ('Between 1833 and 1895 the Vulcan Foundry produced some 6,000 locomotives to become the 4th largest locomotive building firm in the country, almost 70% of which were exported. Vulcan Foundry received its final steam locomotive order in 1954), while Earlestown was home to the major wagon works.
By 1900 it was producing 4,000 new wagons, with 13,000 major repairs, along with 200 new horse-drawn vehicles. At amalgamation into the LMS, mass production methods were introduced. The works provided all of the railway's needs for ironwork, and continued into the first half of the 20th century. At the 1963 rationalisation of British Railways, Earlestown was closed, and the work transferred to Horwich.
Earlestown owes its location - indeed its existence - to the Liverpool to Manchester railway. Other industries followed and significant employers in the town included the Sankey Sugar works and the Simon Vicars Engineering works. Additionally, the Lyme and Wood pits - located in neighbouring Haydock - at either end of what is now the "slag heaps" - employed hundreds of men between them. The sugar works closed some years ago (parts of the factory remain, including the warehouse) Simon Vickers remains (trading under a different name) but employing a fraction of the workforce of times gone by.
Newton-le-Willows has held a market by Royal Charter since the 16th century. By the 1890s, the Earlestown area of Newton-le-Willows had outgrown the older part of the town and so the market was moved to its current location in Earlestown and the market square is the town's centre-piece. Today trading takes place on Friday, with a mixed flea market/car boot sale every Saturday. The Saturday Market features many regular traders selling tools, clothing, antiques, records, DVDs, model railways, wartime memorabilia as well as cheap house clearance and bric-a-brac.
Earlestown has an impressive town hall, fronted by a war memorial. In 1962 the Beatles visited Earlestown for a night gig and played at the town hall. On the same night Newton Boys Club on Graffton Street was opened by Frankie Vaughan for the local community. http://www.beatlesbible.com/1962/11/30/live-town-hall-newton-le-willows/
Another significant building included the art-deco former Curzon cinema which was demolished in January 2010. The old railway ticket office remains which has fallen into disrepair, as did the cinema long before its demolition.
Earlestown has a small but busy town centre with many shops including high-street outlets such as Tesco, Boots, Wilkinson and several high street banks alongside independent retailers, bookmakers and fast-food takeaways. There are a range traditional pubs (such as The New Market, The Ram, The Railway, The Griffin and The Wellington which is well known for its relaxed atmosphere and kareoke nights) social clubs, a lively music venue called The L.G.M (currently closed for refurbishment following a fire in May 2008) and a nightclub called Chasers. However, when first opened the club was originally called Astley's after Newton-le-Willows-born, pop-star Rick Astley. Earlestown is well served by many fast food outlets offering a good range of Indian and Chinese dishes as well as fish and chips and the ubiquitous McDonald's. Most of the local restaurants are curry houses; Earlestown's 'curry quarter-of-a-mile' on Queen Street has three Indian restaurants and a Tandoori take-away.
Due to its role in the history of rail travel, Earlestown has good rail connections with its railway station having frequent services to Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and North Wales. Earlestown is also well located as far as the road network is concerned, being close to junction 9 of the M62 motorway, junctions 21A, 22 and 23 of the M6 motorway, and the A580 East Lancashire Manchester-Liverpool road.
Sankey Viaduct seen from the Sankey Valley Country Park.
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