A Timeline of Runcorn & District History

National and International events are in orange

1750-1550 B.C.      Stone axe hammer from this period found at Weston Point and a bronze palstave at Runcorn.


54 A.D. The Romans invade Britain.
84-87 Roman road from Chester to Wilderspool (Warrington) passes through Sutton Weaver and Daresbury
460 Romans leave Britain
915 Fortress built by Aethelflaeda, daughter of King Alfred the Great, at Runcorn, as a defence against Viking raiders.
1066 Battle of Hastings. The Normans conquer England. William of Normandy becomes King
1066 William devastates the north of England
1070-80 A castle is built on the hill at Halton by Nigel, the 1st. Baron of Halton
1086 Runcorn itself is not mentioned in the Domesday Book but the surrounding villages of Halton, Norton, Weston, Aston and Enley-in-Norton are included. (These named areas still exist, with the exception of Enley.)
1115 Augustinian Priory founded in Runcorn by William FitzNigel, second Baron of Halton
1134 Priory moved to Norton by William FitzWilliam, third Baron
1178 Cistercian Abbey established at Stanlawe (Stanlow) by John FitzRichard, 6th Baron of Halton
c.1178 Permanent ferry established across Runcorn Gap
1207 King John reputed to have visited Halton Castle
1215 King John signs Magna Carta at Runnynede
1236 Fire at Norton Priory
1236 Chapel built at Aston by Sir Thomas de Dutton
1262 Prior of Norton granted permission for mass to be said at a manor house in Sutton Weaver
c.1265 Chapel of ease at Weston
1279 Stanlow Abbey flooded
1287 Fire at Stanlow Abbey and the tower collapsed
1296 Monks moved from Stanlow Abbey to Whalley near Cltheroe, Lancashire.
1323 King Edward II visited Halton
1348-49 The "Black Death" decimates the English population
1359 Duke of Lancaster, as 13th. Baron of Halton, claimed the right to have Halton Castle battlemented
and to have a prison in the castle
1361 John of Gaunt became 14th Baron of Halton
1391 Norton Priory raised to the status of a mitred abbey
1399 Henry Bolingbroke became 15th, and last, Baron of Halton and the barony passed to the monarchy when he usurps King Richard II and takes the throne to became King Henry IV
1408 After the Battle of Shrewsbury, prisoners are lodged in Halton Castle
1450s New gate tower erected at Halton Castle
1455-85 The "War of the Roses"
1536 Dissolution of the smaller monasteries by King Henry VIII.
1536 Dissolution of Norton Abbey
1539 Dissolution of the greater monasteries by King Henry VIII.
1545 Manor of Norton and abbey buildings bought by Richard Brooke
1558 Elizabeth I crowned.    Parish registers started
1568 Rocksavage Hall complete (Elizabethan building)
1579 Halton Castle becomes a prison for recusants
1617 King James I entertained at Rocksavage by Sir Thomas Savage
1620 Voyage of the "Mayflower" to America
1635 Consecration of Aston churchyard
1642 Civil War between King Charles I and Parliament starts
1642 Henry Brooke at Norton Priory repelled Royalist attack in civil war
1643 Halton Castle garrisoned for King Charles I
1643-4 Halton Castle, Halton Old Hall and Rocksavage damaged in Civil War
1649 King Charles I executed.     The Commonwealth instituted
1662 Restoration of the Monarchy.     Charles II crowned King
1662 Henry Brooke made baronet by King Charles II
1697 Chancel of Aston chapel enlarged
c1730 Tudor house at Norton Priory replaced by Georgian country house
1733 Chesshyre Library opened in Halton Village
1736 Nave of Aston chapel reconstructed
1738 Halton Castle's medieval gatehouse demolished and replaced by a new courthouse
1740 South aisle of Runcorn parish church rebuilt in brick
1746 Battle of Culloden
1757 Sankey canal completed from St.Helens to Widnes.
1773 Runcorn locks opened
1775 Tidal basin completed
1776 American Declaration of Independence
1776 Bridgewater Canal complete between Runcorn and Manchester
1777 Trent and Mersey canal completed
1781-2 John Wesley preached in the neighbourhood
1789 The French Revolution
1789 Party of Methodist preachers expelled from Runcorn
1790 Norton Priory remodelled
1791 New dock for sailing flats opened
1800 Methodist Sunday School opened in a room in the Holloway
1802 Galleries added to parish church
1803 John Johnson opened soapery on south bank of Bridgewater canal.
The "Runcorn and Weston Volunteer Corps" founded.
1804 Runcorn to Latchford (Old Quay) Canal opened, providing another water route to Manchester
1805 Battle of Trafalgar
1806 Plans for building Bridewell in Bridge Street approved.
Runcorn Friendly Society established
1810 Weston Canal completed, this extended the Weaver Navigation Canal from Northwich to the Mersey at Weston Point.
1811 Parish (National) school established.
Weekly market started
1815 Battle of Waterloo.
1815 Halton Female Friendly Society formed
1816 Thomas Hazlehurst opened soapery on north bank of Bridgewater canal
1817 First Runcorn to Liverpool Steam packet by teh "Prince Regent"
1818 Small Methodist chapel built in Halton Village.
St John's Congregational chapel opened.
Colours of Runcorn and Weston Volunteers Corps deposited in the parish church
1819 Runcorn to Northwich road turnpiked.
1820 Methodist Sunday School moved to Martins Gardens (later Nelson Street).
1822 Salt water baths built
1823 Dennis Brundrit and Philip Whiteway joined in partnership as stone merchants and shipbuilders
1824 Stocks renewed.
Halton Methodist Sunday school opened
1825 Dock constructed at Old Quay
1827 Organ presented to parish church
E Timmins & Sons, engineers, established at Delph Bridge
1828 New line of locks opened on Bridgewater Canal down to the Mersey
Brunswick Wesleyan Methodist chapel opened
1829 Welsh chapel, Back King Street, opened
1830 St Luke's Congregational chapel and schoolroom, Mason Street, opened
Liverpool to Manchester Railway opened
1831 Belvedere Terrace built.
"The Ladies' Charity for Poor Mothers" commenced.
Runcorn Dorcas Society established,
Mariners' Mission, Irwell Lane opened.
1832 Parish churchyard extended. Town Offices and Police Station opened.
Cholera epidemic.      
1833 National school replaced by a new parish school.
Dennis Kennedy & Thomas Maguire built soap and chemical works at Weston.
Sankey canal extended to Widnes.
1835 Bethesda Congregational chapel and schoolroom, High Street, opened
c1835 Runcorn Literary Institute established
1836 Hazlehurst's chimney built.
Forester's Hall, Devonshire Place, opened.
Kennedy & Maguire sold soapworks to Johnson's
1837 Runcorn Gas Company formed.
Crewe to Warrington Railway built with stations at Preston Brooke and Moore.
1838 Holy Trinity church consecrated.
Primitive Methodist chapel, Regent Street, opened.
1841 Christ Church, Weston Point, consecrated.
1846 Catholic Chapel (St. Edwards) opened on Windmill Brow.
Old Parish Church demolished.
1849 New Runcorn Parish Church consecrated.
1851 St.Mary's Church, Halton, built.
Chester to Warrington Railway built with staions at "Runcorn Road" (later Halton), Norton and Daresbury.
1862 Town now governed by an elected "Board of Improvement Commissioners".
1853 Ragged School, Mill Brow, built.
Railway branch line built from Chester-Warrington line at Norton to Bridgewater Canal at Preston Brook
1856 Welsh chapel built in Rutland Street.
Market hall opened.
1857 Fountain erected outside town hall.
Dutton workhouse opened.
Fire engine purchased.
1858 Public library opened in High Street.
Methodist Sunday school held in converted cottage, Gilbert Street.
1859 Runcorn Penny Bank opened.
Freemasonry started in Runcorn with the formation of Ellesmere Lodge.
Runcorn and Weston canal completed, joining the Weaver navigation canal to the Bridgewater canal.
William Collier established works in Weston.
1860 Halton became separate parish.
Charles Wigg, Neil Matheson & Duncan McKecknie set up Old Quay Works.
Alfred Dock completed.
Cemetery opened off Greeenway Road.
Public Hall built.
1861 Aston became separate parish
Camden Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Lowlands Road, opened.
1862 Runcorn Industrial Cooperative Society opened shop in Devonshire Square.
Runcorn again became an independent customs port.
Runcorn Guardian newspaper launched.
William Collier sold his works to Johnson's.
1863 Church of England school opened in Weston (also served as mission church)
1864 Weston Penny Bank opened.
First stone of railway bridge laid by Philip Whiteway.
Foundation stone of St Paul's chapel laid.
1865 Day school opened by Runcorn locks for migratory boat children.
Johnsons' ships sunk at Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Civil War
Johnsons became the Runcorn Soap & Alkali Company.
Runcorn Ferry leased to the London and Liverpool Railway.
Theatre Royal built in Duke Street.
1866 St Paul's Wesleyan Methodist chapel, High Street, opened.
Roman Catholic day school opened
in St Edward's church.
1867 Day school opened in former Brunswick chapel.
1868 Large entrance porch added to Norton Priory.
Newtown Mission and St Michael's, Shaw Street, school opened.
Runcorn railway bridge and its footpath opened.
Waterworks commenced operation.
1869 Widnes separated from Runcorn Methodist District.
1870 Thelwall made into a separate parish from Runcorn.
Runcorn and Widnes Examiner first appeared.
Camden school enlarged
1871 Halton Road Wesleyan Methodist chapel opened.
Greenway Road Primitive Methodist chapel and schoolroom opened
1872 St Peter's Mission, Dukesfield, closed.
Weston Methodist day school opened.
Bridgewater Navigation Company bought Bridgewater Canal and Irwell Navigation.
Weston Point Wesleyan Methodist chapel opened
1874 "Runcorn School Board" formed.
1875 Seamen's Mission founded.
Trinity Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Halton Village, opened.
Fenton Dock opened.
Runcorn branch of Young Men's Christian Association formed.
Brunswick school enlarged.
1876 Upper Mersey Navigation Commission constituted,
Runcorn Weekly News launched
Runcorn and Weston Canal opened.
1879 Strike of dock workers of Bridgewater Company
1880 Daresbury became separate parish.
First board school opened in old ragged school, Mill Brow.
Methodist Sunday school restarted in Nelson Street
1882 Runcorn Free Public Library opened.
Bethesda Board School opened
1883 Runcorn Old Hall demolished
1884 Waterloo House became new Town Hall
1886 Greenway Road Board School opened (later Victoria Road)
1887 St Michael's church, Greenway Road, opened.
Building of Manchester Ship Canal started.
Manchester Ship Canal Company purchased the Bridgewater Canal Company.
1888 Marble reredos given to Parish Church.
Roman Catholic church opened in Irwell Lane.
Weston School (Catholic) opened
Salt Union formed
1890 United Alkali Company formed
1891 Seamen's Institute, Station Road, opened.
Serious fire at Bethesda Congregational chapel.
Congregational school opened adjacent to the chapel.
1892 Norton water tower built.
Ship Canal complete to Weston Mersey Lock. Runcorn end of the Old Quay canal destroyed due to Ship canal construction work.
1893 Welsh Presbyterian schoolroom opened in Victoria Road.
Waterworks company sold to the town.
1894 Mill Brow quarry ceased production.
Customs port of Runcorn abolished; became part of Port of Manchester.
Manchester Ship Canal opened completely.
Technical Institute, Waterloo Road, opened.
Runcorn Urban District Council formed.
1895 Runcorn rugby club left the Union to form the Rugby League.
Granville Street school transferred to Runcorn School Board
1897 The Castner-Kellner Alkali Company established in Weston Point.
Weston Cross restored.
1898 St John's church, Weston, opened.
Brunswick school for boys closed
1899 Runcorn & Widnes Transporter Bridge Company formed
1900 Parish church altar rails replaced and further windows added to chancel.
Runcorn Hill quarry closed.
1902 The original Weston (Catholic) school closed and became the village hall.
Technical Institute also accommodated Runcorn County Secondary School.
1903 Victoria Memorial Hospital opened
1904 St John's Welsh Presbyterian chapel, Victoria Road, opened.
1905 Transporter Bridge opened
1906 Theatre Royal destroyed by fire.
New Public Library, paid for by Andrew Carnegie
1911 Curve of Ship Canal to west of railway bridge increased
1912 New vicarage for Parish Church built
1914-18 First World War, (the "Great War")
1914 Hazlehurst & Sons soapworks closed; became Camden Tannery
1916 Private T.A.Jones gained the Victoria Cross at Morval
Castner-Kellner company merged with Brunner-Mond
1920 War memorial, Moughland Lane, unveiled
1921 Brooke family left Norton Priory. Castner-Kellner Alkali Company started building houses in Weston Point
1923 Runcorn Soap & Alkali factory in town centre closed
1924 Mersey Road constructed
1926 I.C.I. (Imperial Chemical Industry) formed, an amalgamation of many separate chemical companies in the UK, Castner-Kellner being among them.
1928 Norton Priory demolished
1930 St John's(Weston) and St Michael's became separate parishes.
1931 Weston Works (formerly Johnson's) closed. This later became the site of Rocksavage Works ( ICI and now INEOSFLUOR)
1932 Halton Grange acquired and became Runcorn Town Hall
1937 Salt Union merged with ICI
1939-45 Second World War.
1940 Aston church damaged by a bomb
1942 Weston quarry abandoned
1950 Parliamentary constituency of Runcorn created
1952 End of Commercial traffic on the Bridgewater Canal
1956 St Edward's Roman Catholic church, Ivy Street, opened.
Construction of new road bridge over the Mersey commenced
1958 Camden Tannery closed. Church Street redevelopment scheme commenced.
1959 The first part of the ICI "The Heath" offices were opened.
1960 Weston Cross restored again
1961 New single-arch Road Bridge to Widnes opened by HRH Princess Alexander and the Transporter bridge closed.
London to Liverpool railway line electrified.
New Market Hall and Bus Station opened.
1964 Puritan and Astmoor Tanneries closed.
Runcorn New Town designated
Railway bridge footpath closed
1967 Highfield Tannery closed
1971 Excavations began on the site of Norton Priory
1972 The Queen opens the new shopping centre in Runcorn New Town, ("Shopping City")
1974 Runcorn Urban District Council merged with Borough of Widnes to form the Borough of Halton
1975 Norton Priory Museum established
1977 Halton Borough Council leases Halton Castle from the Duchy of Lancaster.
The Road Bridge is made into 4 lanes and new access roads from Runcorn are added. Renamed the "Jubilee Bridge" to mark 25th year of the Queens accession.
1981 Runcorn Development Corporation merged with Warrington New Town Corporation
1982 New museum building opened at Norton Priory by the Duke of Gloucester. Sir Richard Brooke also present.
1998 The Queen opens the Rocksavage Power Station, and the renovated first Town Hall in Bridge Street.
2001 ICI sell the Castner Kellner and Rocksavage chemical works to INEOS. (The ICI Company itself delists from the Stock Exchange in Jan. 2008).
2004 "The Brindley" arts centre opens. It has a 400+ seat auditorium plus workshop and display areas.
2014 Work starts on building a new bridge across the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes
( The "Mersey Gateway project"). It will be have three-lanes in each direction, but it will be a toll bridge.
Completion date is autumn 2017
2017 The new Mersey Gateway bridge at Runcorn is opened at midnight, Oct 13th/14th. Jubilee bridge closed for repairs and major changes.
2021 Jubilee bridge reopens. Reverted to a two lane highway plus dedicated cycle track over the bridge itself. The new access roads added 1977 removed. Same tolls imposed as on Mersey Gateway bridge.