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Widnes, Cheshire

Town of Widnes, Cheshire

Widnes is an industrial town within the Borough of Halton, in the county of Cheshire, England, with an urban area population of 57,663 in 2004.


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Before becoming part of the borough of Halton in 1974 Widnes was part of the county of Lancashire.

Widnes is located on the northern bank of the River Mersey where the estuary narrows to form Runcorn Gap. Directly to the south across the Mersey is the town of Runcorn . Upstream and 13 km (8 miles) to the east is the town of Warrington , and downstream 22 km (16 miles) to the west is the City of Liverpool .

Widnes lies on the southern route of the Liverpool to Manchester railway line. The main roads passing through the town are the A557 in a north-south direction and the A562 which runs east-west.

Until the coming of the Industrial Revolution, Widnes consisted of a small number of separate settlements on land which was mainly marsh or moorland. In 1847 the first chemical factory was established and the town rapidly became a major centre of the chemical industry. The demand for labour was met by the immigration of large numbers of workers from Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Wales. The town continues to be a major manufacturer of chemicals and there has been a degree of diversification of the town's industries.

The most usual explanation for the origin of the name Widnes is that it comes from the Danish words vid, meaning wide, and noese, meaning nose and that it refers to the promontory projecting into the River Mersey.

Since the Widnes promontory is not particularly wide another possible explanation is the the first part derives from the Danish ved, meaning a wood and possibly referring to a tree-covered promontory. Earlier spellings of the name were Vidnes, Wydnes and Wydness

Official Town of Widnes, Cheshire website: www.halton.gov.uk

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