Whiston, Merseyside

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St Nicholas' Church, Whiston - geograph.org.uk - 147261.jpg
St Nicholas' Church
Whiston is located in Merseyside
Whiston shown within Merseyside
Population 14,263 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SJ4791
Civil parish
  • Whiston
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PRESCOT
Postcode district L35
Dialling code 0151
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
List of places
53°24′47″N 2°47′53″W / 53.413°N 2.798°W / 53.413; -2.798Coordinates: 53°24′47″N 2°47′53″W / 53.413°N 2.798°W / 53.413; -2.798

Whiston is a large village and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 Census the population was recorded as 13,629, (6,560 males and 7,069 females).[1] increasing to 14,263 at the 2011 Census.[2][3]

Historically part of Lancashire, Whiston has close associations with neighbouring Prescot. It gave its name to and formerly administered the Whiston Rural District which operated under the county of Lancashire from 1895 until 1974 when it ceased to exist upon local government boundary changes and the formation of the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley, Merseyside.

Whiston is crossed by the historic Liverpool to Manchester Railway with services operating from Whiston railway station.

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust operates Whiston Hospital. The hospital supports the primary maternity department for the Knowsley and St Helens boroughs, alongside a regional Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit serving North West England, North Wales and the Isle of Man.[4] The Trust is member organisation of the teaching hospital system partnered with the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Edge Hill University.

A new village, Halsnead Garden Village, has been proposed with government support, and will be located in the Halsnead area of the town.[5] The new village will contain over 1500 houses, a primary school, a country park and various community and leisure facilities. Construction will cost around £270m.[6]


Historically in Lancashire, it was known for its coal mines. Its recorded history begins in the 13th century but its roots are much older.

In the mid 14th century, the manors of Whiston, Skelmersdale, Parr and Speke, were held by William Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre.[7]

A polished stone hand-axe, a relic of the Neolithic Age, was discovered there in 1941 and in 1986 fragments of flint tools were found on a local farm.

The Church of St. Nicholas on Windy Arbor Road was consecrated on 30 July 1868. It hosts a war memorial, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, which was struck by lightning in 1928. The memorial was replaced in 1932.[8]


Whiston consists of the Whiston North and Whiston South wards of the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley. The North and South wards are separated by the Liverpool to Manchester Railway which runs directly through the town.

Whiston was formerly the headquarters of the Whiston Rural District.

Whiston Hospital[edit]

Whiston Hospital
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Whiston Hospital, Merseyside.jpg
A&E Entrance, Dragon Lane
Location Warrington Road, Prescot, Merseyside, L35 5DR
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type Teaching
Affiliated university University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Edge Hill University
Emergency department Yes Accident & Emergency; Mersey Regional Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit
Beds 956[9]
Speciality Burns and Plastic Surgery
Founded 1843 as Prescot Union Workhouse
Website www.sthk.nhs.uk
Construction of the New Whiston Hospital, 2007
Old Whiston Hospital, 2005. The buildings pictured, including the water tower and chimney; are remnants of the former Prescot Union Workhouse which would later house ancillary operations of the hospital. This section was later cleared to provide space for the new hospital construction in 2006.

Whiston is home to Whiston Hospital, one of the largest acute hospitals in Merseyside and one of two hospitals (along with St Helens Hospital) managed by St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.[10] The Trust is one of the top performing NHS trusts in the country. As a teaching hospital, it has well established educational and research relationships with the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University for medical, nursing and allied health professionals. Over 4,000 members of staff are employed across the organisation and as Lead Employer, on behalf of the Mersey Deanery, it is responsible for an additional 2,000 trainee speciality doctors based in hospitals and GP practice placements throughout Merseyside and Cheshire. Whiston Hospital offers the full range of acute healthcare services along with specialist burns care in the Mersey Regional Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit, serving a population of over four million people across Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, the Isle of Man and other parts of North West England.[9]

The original Whiston Hospital was built in 1843 when Prescot Poor Law Union established the Prescot Union Workhouse on Warrington Road, Whiston.[11][12][13][14][15] In 1871 a new general hospital was built with a medical isolation unit added in 1887 for cases of cholera and other serious infectious diseases of the time. From 1904, to protect those from disadvantage in later life, birth certificates of infants born in the workhouse gave their address as just 1 Warrington Road, Whiston.[11]

When the NHS was established in 1948, the hospital, then known as the County Hospital; had 6 main blocks of wards accommodating 500 patients. Renamed Whiston Hospital in 1953, the hospital expanded its range of specialties. In 1960 the 82 bed Burns & Plastic Surgery Unit opened and four years later an Intensive Care Unit and a Pathology Laboratory were built. In 1973 these were joined by a Maternity & Gynaecology Unit and Postgraduate Medical Centre. The original workhouse buildings were still in functioning use up until plans to rebuild the hospital were approved in 2003 and a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project began in 2006. The building is owned by New Hospitals and is leased back to the trust. It is currently maintained by Vinci FM.

Whereas the majority of the former hospital buildings were extended across the entirety of the hospital site, the redevelopment of Whiston Hospital witnessed the centralisation of wards and departments into one single, six-storey complex on a previously cleared section on the north west corner of the site, the original location of the historic workhouse hospital chapel, facilities management service and medical records block. The new building was designed specifically to be constructed around the old hospital buildings and thus when work began, service to patients was uninterrupted. Upon completion of the new hospital, inpatients were transported into the new building via a temporary sheltered walkway from the original main entrance of the old building. Many former buildings were cleared to open up new land for car parking, drop-off and landscaped recreational facilities. Buildings that were demolished and cleared for land use included the main Victorian ward blocks (A to F, and K) and Maternity & Gynaecology Unit (H-Ward block, opened in 1973). The only remaining building of the former hospital is the G-Ward block which was opened in 1996 by the late Dr Eric Sherwood-Jones, a Whiston Hospital doctor and pioneer of intensive care medicine in the UK,[16] who along with his colleagues led the establishment of the Intensive Care Unit at Whiston Hospital in 1964.[17] Sherwood-Jones later became a founding member and president of the Intensive Care Society.[17] The G-Block, located on the south-east corner of the hospital grounds, along with the construction of the new building – was renovated and renamed as Nightingale House. Nightingale House previously accommodated the A&E Department and the Mersey Regional Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit; and now houses the new education, training and conference centre alongside a new pathology laboratory, mortuary, clinical coding and Vinci FM. The new mortuary is housed within the former A&E department, which was completely refurbished for its present use. The original locations of the former pathology laboratory, mortuary and education centre on the main site, along with the recreation hall and ancillary buildings on the north site, have also been cleared to provide additional car parking and landscaped facilities.

Knowsley Resource and Recovery Centre, operated by 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; is co-located alongside Whiston Hospital's main building. It is the only acute mental health facility on the Whiston Hospital site and the only building not managed by St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. It is informally referred to as the T-Block, a historical reference to when separate buildings at Whiston were referred to alphabetically. Knowsley Resource and Recovery Centre was formerly named the Sherdley Unit and originated from the devolved closure of the Sherdley Division at the since demolished Rainhill Hospital, previously the largest psychiatric hospital complex in Europe.

The rebuild cost is estimated to be £338 million.[18] To mark the completion of the project, the new hospital was officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex on 24 April 2013.[19]

In addition to the redevelopment of the hospital, the upper playing field of the former Knowsley Higher Side School grounds (now St Edmund Arrowsmith) off Stoney Lane has been re-surfaced to serve as a designated helicopter landing site for the dedicated use of air ambulance, being in close proximity to emergency medical facilities at the hospital.

Jazz FM presenter Claire Anderson began her career with Whiston Hospital Radio Along with John Gilmore BBC Radio Lancashire and Derek Webster formerly of Smooth FM


Local industry includes Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, producing kitchen appliances and employing approximately 1,000 people.


Primary education[edit]

  • St Luke's Catholic Primary School
  • Halsnead County Primary School & Training School
  • Whiston Willis Primary School
  • St Leo's Catholic Primary School

Secondary education[edit]

In 2010, two of Whiston's secondary schools were closed and redeveloped under the Labour Party governments 'Building Schools for the Future' scheme. This £150 million programme created seven new 'Centres for Learning' to replace the ten existing secondary schools within the Knowsley borough.[20]

  • Knowsley Higher Side Comprehensive School, Cumber Lane.

Constructed in 1964, Knowsley Higher Side Comprehensive School was one of the first comprehensive schools in the local area, purpose built under the Labour Party's education reforms to formally abolish the tripartite system of education; to amalgamate grammar, technical and secondary modern schools into one appropriately named Comprehensive System. In March 2010, after serving the local area for 46 years, Higher Side Comprehensive School was permanently closed and subsequently demolished to make way for the new St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning which was constructed on vacant land behind Higher Side's main buildings. The land on which Higher Side once stood now serves as a car park and recreational area for staff and pupils of the new St Edmund Arrowsmith.

The only remaining building of the former Higher Side School site is the Whiston & Prescot City Learning Centre (CLC), which opened in 2000. Pupils of the school who were still enrolled at Higher Side at the time its closure were transferred to the replacement Knowsley Park Centre for Learning (now Knowsley Park School) based on Knowsley Park Lane, Prescot.

Closed, relocated and rebuilt behind the former Knowsley Higher Side Comprehensive School on Cumber Lane. Renamed as 'St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning'. The original St Edmund Arrowsmith Building has been retained and redeveloped as a youth training academy.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2001 Census: Whiston, Office for National Statistics, retrieved 22 February 2009 
  2. ^ "Knowsley Ward population/Whiston South population 2011". Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Knowsley Ward/Whiston North population 2011". Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Whiston Hospital Clinical Departments: Maternity & Gynaecology Services". St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals. 
  5. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-ever-garden-villages-named-with-government-support
  6. ^ http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/one-biggest-residential-developments-merseyside-12394403
  7. ^ Edward Baines, William Robert Whatton, Brooke Herford, James Croston, The history of the county palatine and duchy of Lancaster, vol. 5 (J. Heywood, 1893), p. 2
  8. ^ Whiston Origins and History, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, retrieved 21 January 2008 
  9. ^ a b http://www.drfosterhealth.co.uk/hospital-guide/hospital/nhs/Whiston-Hospital-823.aspx
  10. ^ http://www.sthk.nhs.uk
  11. ^ a b http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Prescot/
  12. ^ http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/43838
  13. ^ http://www.sthk.nhs.uk/pages/PatientsAndVisitors.aspx?iPageId=10055
  14. ^ http://www.runcornandwidnesweeklynews.co.uk/runcorn-widnes-news/runcorn-widnes-local-news/2010/03/25/author-reveals-past-life-of-whiston-hospital-as-a-workhouse-55368-26101573/
  15. ^ http://www.whistonworkhouse.co.uk/
  16. ^ http://www.sthelensreporter.co.uk/news/local/family_remembers_pioneering_doctor_1_4248405#
  17. ^ a b http://www.sthk.nhs.uk/pages/Departments.aspx?iPageId=5436&iStart=1
  18. ^ St.Helens & Knowsley NHS Trust Strategic Redevelopment Project, retrieved 4 October 2008 
  19. ^ http://www.sthk.nhs.uk/pages/News.aspx?iNewsItemId=747
  20. ^ Future schooling in Knowsley, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, retrieved 15 August 2007 

External links[edit]