In 2018, St Helens celebrated its 150th anniversary as a town. In this book, Sue Gerrard traces the fascinating and hidden heritage of this Lancashire town, which began life as four townships and became a municipal borough in 1868.During the Industrial Revolution, St Helens developed extensively with the coal mining and glassmaking in the area. It was the birthplace of the world’s first passenger railway and the world’s first navigable canal. Indeed, there is a place where these two ‘firsts’ cross each other. Industrial giants such as Pilkington Glass and Beecham’s Pills also started life here.The town was also home to three-time Oscar winner George Groves (film sound engineer), the actor and Oscar-winning screenwriter Colin Welland (Chariots of Fire) as well as the chart-topping Rick Astley. Hollywood actors Herbert Mundin and Gary Stretch were also born here. Although Saints Rugby League lead the way with sport, champion motorcyclist Geoff Duke lived here, and there are many more sporting personalities from the town.As well as people, places and events, Secret St Helens will also explore historical buildings, such as the fifteenth-century Windleshaw Chantry, and the town’s role in the modern world, including its influence on the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
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