St Bartholomew's Church, Rainhill
|Population||10,853 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||173 mi (278 km) SE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Historically part of Lancashire, Rainhill was formerly a township within the ecclesiastical parish of Prescot, and hundred of West Derby. Following the Local Government Act 1894, it became part of the Whiston Rural District.
Rainhill is most famous for being the location of a pioneering competition to decide a suitable locomotive design for use on the new Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first inter-city passenger railway which was routed through the village. The Rainhill Trials of 1829 resulted in the selection of Stephenson's Rocket as the world's first "modern" steam locomotive.
Rainhill has been recorded since Norman times but its name is believed to come from the Old English personal name of Regna or Regan. It is thought that around the time of the Domesday Book that Rainhill was a part of one of the townships within the "Widnes fee". Recordings have shown that in the year of 1246, Roger of Rainhill died and the township was divided into two-halves for each of his daughters. One half was centred on the now standing Rainhill Manor public house, see Rainhill Stoops below, and the other centred on Rainhill Hall, just off Blundell's Lane.
Towards the end of the 18th century, four Catholic sons of a farmer, who came from the area around Stonyhurst, decided to seek their fortunes in Liverpool. The names of the brothers were Joseph, Francis, Peter and Bartholomew Bretherton. In 1800, Bartholomew decided to break into the coaching business. The partnership that he had with one or two of his brothers quickly built up and by 1820, he had the bulk of the coaching trade of Liverpool. He was running coaches to and from Manchester fourteen times a day from the Saracen's Head in Dale Street, Liverpool. Bartholomew chose Rainhill as his first stage and he developed facilities on the land alongside the Ship Inn (originally the New Inn by Henry Parr 1780) and on this site he was believed to be stabling at least 240 horses, coach horses, farriers, coach builders and veterinaries.
Bartholomew had begun to purchase land in Rainhill, and in 1824, he bought the Manor of Rainhill from Dr James Gerrard of Liverpool. By 1830, he owned over 260 acres (1.1 km2) around Rainhill. In 1824, across the road from the stables, he built Rainhill House and laid out beautiful gardens around it. Between 1923 and 2014 the house was known as Loyola Hall, serving as a retreat centre run by the Society of Jesus. Since 2017 it has reverted to Rainhill Hall and is a wedding venue.
Rainhill was the site of the 1829 Rainhill Trials, in which a number of railway locomotives were entered in a competition to decide a suitable design for use on the new Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The winner was the Rocket, designed by George Stephenson. In 1979 the 150th anniversary of the trials was celebrated by a cavalcade of trains through the ages, including replicas of the winner and runner-up in the trials.
During the Victorian era, Rainhill was the location of a notorious mass murderer; Frederick Bailey Deeming. In March 1892, the bodies of a woman and her four children were discovered buried under the concrete floor of Dinham Villa, Lawton Road, Rainhill.
The series of events that led to this gruesome discovery began with a marriage in St. Ann's Church, Rainhill. Miss Emily Mather married Frederick Bailey Deeming, who called himself Albert Williams and posed as an officer in the army. The couple emigrated to Melbourne, where Deeming murdered his wife and buried her under the floor of their kitchen. Victoria Police contacted Scotland Yard, who, as a result of information passed onto them, made a search of Dinham Villa, home of Deeming's supposed sister and her four children. Marie Deeming, however, was his first wife. Her throat had been cut, as had the throats of three of the children. The fourth was strangled. Deeming was convicted of the murder of Emily Mather and hanged in Melbourne, Australia. Dinham Villa was demolished in April 1892 with the permission of its owner. This fact is reported in the Cheshire Observer of 16 April 1892 and several other newspapers of the time. Small bungalows are now in place of it. The Rainhill victims were interred in the graveyard of St. Ann's Church. The headstone marking their grave was stolen and the grave has since remained unmarked.
The village of Rainhill lies 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Prescot, 2.9 miles (4.7 km) south-southwest of St Helens, 3.7 miles (6.0 km) east-northeast of Huyton and 9.3 miles (15 km) east of Liverpool City Centre.
The most southerly area of Rainhill is known as Rainhill Stoops . The name of junction 7 of the M62 motorway and the A570 is known as "Rainhill Stoops".
Warrington Road was a prominent road as a route between the larger settlements of Liverpool, Prescot and Warrington with Rainhill on route. The stoops (a historic marker, waypost or similar guide) existed along the road at key positions.
With the establishment in 1753 of the Liverpool to Prescot turnpike, and its subsequent extension to Rainhill and then on to Warrington, a system of toll bars were installed with one such barrier at the stoops.
Rainhill has several churches including: St Ann's, St Bartholomew's and St James' – which are Church of England, Roman Catholic and Methodist, respectively. There is also an evangelical church.
A feature of the village is the George Stephenson Skew Bridge, a skew arch bridge of sandstone construction that carries the main road over the railway. It takes its name from the unusual diagonal angle at which the railway passes under the bridge. It is the world's first bridge to cross over a railway at an angle. The bridge was later widened to accommodate increases in road traffic. The milestone on the bridge that informs travellers of the distances to Warrington, Prescot and Liverpool was moved to the opposite side at the time of the expansion. Therefore, the distance markers pointed to the wrong destinations. This quirk was corrected in 2005 when the milestone was returned to the correct side of the bridge.
St Ann's well, a medieval stone lined structure is on the border with Sutton.
Rainhill is now primarily a commuter village, mainly for workers in Liverpool but also St Helens and Widnes. Housing on the southerly side of Rainhill is a mixture of semi-detached and detached dwellings, whereas homes to the north, across the Skew Bridge there is a more varied mixture of housing with examples of terraced with semi-detached as well as bungalows. Rainhill as a whole has a mixture of modern, inter-war and Victorian dwellings.
Rainhill has several medical centres but the largest and most notable is Scott Clinic which once treated Michael Abram after he was convicted of stabbing Beatles member George Harrison. Rainhill was also home to Rainhill Hospital at one time the largest mental health asylum in the world; which, in December 1911, housed 1,990 patients. This was demolished in 1991. Its former site is now a housing estate as well as accommodating Reeve Court, an extra-care housing project for older people.
There are regular buses serving the area notably the 10A bus route which runs from Queen's Square in Liverpool city centre via Kensington, Page Moss, Huyton and Rainhill to St. Helens. The 61 bus route runs from Liverpool ONE bus station via Wavertree and Rainhill to Widnes town centre.
There are several primary schools in Rainhill: Oakdene, Longton Lane, St Ann's and St Bartholomew's. Secondary education is provided by Rainhill High School which caters for students aged 11–18. Rainhill High School has a Sixth Form Centre offering A-level and Level 3 vocational qualifications. Part of the Stephenson Trust, Rainhill High School and Sixth Form Centre is the lead academy in the trust. Tower College is also situated in Rainhill and is a private independent school which provides education for children aged 3–16.
Rainhill is home to several sporting clubs including Rainhill Town AFC, Rainhill Cricket Club, Rainhill Rockets, Rainhill United JFC and Blundell's Hill Golf Club as well as Rainhill Forge Amateur Boxing Club. Mohammed Ashraful, the Bangladesh national cricket team captain made several appearances for Rainhill Cricket Club in 2006.
People and culture
Rainhill is a suburban area with households mainly of families and the elderly.
Crime in Rainhill had a 3.6% decrease in total recorded crime from 2010 to 2011 however there was a 33% rise in vehicle theft, a 9% increase in drug offences and a 3% growth in criminal damage and arson.
The centre of Rainhill now supports a number of restaurants including the Spice Inn, which offers a popular South Asian cuisine, Kozi which specialises in modern British cuisine, the Blue Mango for Indian cuisine and Galleria which produces Italian dishes doubling as an art gallery. The area is primarily residential although a few industrial estate roads exist.
In February 2008, the Warburton Hey council estate in Rainhill was demolished after being acquired by Helena Housing Partnerships. The late 1960s estate which comprised 167 properties including multi-story flats and terraced housing blocks was considered "no longer fit for purpose" as the declining condition of the estate led to serious levels of crime and deprivation. Helena Housing have since invested £17 million into regenerating a sustainable estate with newly developed properties for rent and shared ownership. Regeneration work started on the estate in April 2009 with the construction of 135 new properties. The new estate has been renamed Ratcliffe Park.
- Melanie C (also known as Sporty Spice) from the Spice Girls was brought up in Rainhill before moving to Widnes.
- Frank Cottrell Boyce, screenwriter and novelist, was brought up in Rainhill.
- David Yates, film and television director, was brought up in Rainhill.
- Ian Nolan, former Tranmere Rovers footballer, lives in Rainhill.
- Les Dennis, television presenter, lived in Rainhill.
- Steve Coppell, ex-Manchester United winger and ex-Reading manager, was brought up and lived in Rainhill.
- Sue Smith, international women's footballer, was a pupil at Rainhill High School and lives in Rainhill.
- Peter Lloyd, author and journalist
- Jenny Welsby, England women's international rugby league player, was brought up and lived in Rainhill.
- Alan A'Court, English footballer who mostly played for Liverpool.
- Tony Cooper, a scholar in the Scouse language, lives in Rainhill.
- Cliff Hall of the Spinners lived in Rainhill.
- Raheem Sterling, footballer for Manchester City and England, attended Rainhill High School.
- Andre Wisdom, footballer from Derby County, lives in Rainhill.
- Jordon Ibe, footballer for AFC Bournemouth, attended Rainhill High School.
- Willy Russell, playwright, was born in Whiston Hospital and lived in Rainhill as a child.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold, footballer for Liverpool and England, attended Rainhill High School.
- Ben Woodburn, footballer for Liverpool and Wales, attended Rainhill High School.
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