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Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port - canal frontage - - 452590.jpg
Canal Village
Population 55,715 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SJ4175
• London 170 mi (270 km) SE
Unitary authority
  • Cheshire West and Chester
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CH65, CH66
Dialling code 0151
Police Cheshire
Fire Cheshire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Ellesmere Port and Neston
List of places
CheshireCoordinates: 53°16′44″N 2°53′49″W / 53.279°N 2.897°W / 53.279; -2.897

Ellesmere Port /ˈɛlzmɪərpɔːrt/is a large town and port in Cheshire, England, south of the Wirral. The town had a population of 55,715 in 2011.

As well as a service sector economy, the town has retained large industries including Stanlow oil refinery, a chemical works and the Vauxhall Motors car factory. There are also a number of tourist attractions: the National Waterways Museum, the Blue Planet Aquarium and Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet.


Ellesmere Port Dock at the Manchester ship canal pointing towards the Stanlow Refinery

The town of Ellesmere Port was founded at the outlet of the never completed Ellesmere Canal. The canal now renamed was designed and engineered by William Jessop and Thomas Telford as part of a project to connect the rivers Severn, Mersey and Dee. The canal was intended to be completed in sections. In 1795 the section between the River Mersey at Netherpool and the River Dee at Chester was opened. However the canal was not finished as first intended; it never reached the River Severn. Upon reevaluation it was decided that the costs to complete the project were not projected to be repaid because of a decrease in expected commercial traffic. There had been a loss of competitive advantage caused by steam engine-related economic advances (nationally, regionally and locally) during the first decade of canal construction. During or before the construction of the canal the village of Netherpool changed its name to the Port of Ellesmere, and by the early 19th century, to Ellesmere Port.

Settlements had existed in the area since the writing of the Domesday Book in the 11th century, which mentions Great Sutton, Little Sutton, Pool (now Overpool) and Hooton. The first houses in Ellesmere Port itself, however, grew up around the docks and the first main street was Dock Street, which now houses the National Waterways Museum. Station Road, which connected the docks with the village of Whitby, also gradually developed and as more shops were needed, some of the houses became retail premises. As the expanding industrial areas growing up around the canal and its docks attracted more workers to the area, the town itself continued to expand. Whitby was a township in the ancient parishes of Eastham and Stoak, Wirral hundred, which became a civil parish in 1866. It included the hamlets of Ellesmere Port and Whitbyheath. To enhance the economic growth of the area, the Netherpool, Overpool and Whitby civil parishes were abolished on 1 April 1911 to become parts of the new civil parish of Ellesmere Port.

Whitby lighthouse

By the mid-20th century, thanks to the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894 and the Stanlow Oil Refinery in the 1920s, Ellesmere Port had expanded so that it now incorporated the villages of Great and Little Sutton, Hooton, Whitby, Overpool and Rivacre as suburbs. The town centre itself had moved from the Station Road/Dock Street area, to an area that had once been home to a stud farm (indeed, the former Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council officially referred to the town centre as Stud Farm for housing allocation purposes) around the crossroads of Sutton Way/Stanney Lane and Whitby Road.

In the 20th century, a number of new housing estates were developed, many of them on the sites of former farms such as Hope Farm and Grange Farm. Many estates consisted of both council housing and privately owned houses and flats.

Ellesmere Port, in more recent times has had an influx of Liverpool immigrants. Thus demand for housing increased with the opening of the Vauxhall Motors car plant in 1962. Opened as a components supplier to the Luton plant, passenger car production began in 1964 with the Vauxhall Viva. The plant is now Vauxhall's only car factory in Britain, since the end of passenger car production at the Luton plant in 2004 (where commercial vehicles are still made). Ellesmere Port currently produces the Vauxhall Astra model on two shifts, employing 2,500 people.

In the mid-1980s, the Port Arcades, a covered shopping mall was built in the town centre. By the 1990s, it was the retail sector rather than the industrial that was attracting workers and their families to the town. This was boosted with the building of the Cheshire Oaks outlet village and the Coliseum shopping park, which also included a multiplex cinema; prior to this since the closure of the cinema in Station Road, Little Sutton (King's cinema) and the Queen's cinema adjacent to Ellesmere Port railway station in the 1960s the town's only cinema had been a single screen in the EPIC Leisure Centre.

Since 1974 Ellesmere Port has been an unparished area when the civil parish of Ellesmere Port was abolished and all its functions assumed by the town.

The town continues to grow and expand, and more housing estates and shops are being built. The industrial sector is still a major employer in the town although in recent years, a number of factories have been closed and jobs lost. Marks & Spencer have built (September 2012) what is being claimed to be their largest store apart from Marble Arch on a site opposite to the Coliseum shopping park.


The 2011 UK census listed the ethnicity of the town as follows;

White British 95.2%
White Irish 0.8%
White Other 1.7%
Mixed 0.9%
Asian 1.1%
Black 0.2%
Other 0.1%


The main religion of Ellesmere Port is Christianity with 70% of the population. 10.2% have no religion. 6.9% are unspecified. 0.8% are Muslim and 0.1% are Buddhist.


  • Blue Planet Aquarium, largest aquarium in the UK 1998-1999.
  • Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, largest outlet village in the UK 1995–present, largest outlet village in Europe 1995-1998. It is the location of the UK's largest artificial Christmas tree, 90 feet (27 m) tall and 32 feet (9.8 m) wide.
  • The Coliseum Retail Park, retail outlet located next to Cheshire Oaks Outlet.
  • Ellesmere Port Sports Village a £15 million sports village opened in late 2015.
  • Marks & Spencer, 2nd largest store in the UK.
  • National Waterways Museum, largest canal boat collection in the world.
  • Stanlow Oil Refinery, 2nd largest industrial space in the UK.


Ellesmere Port is located in the county of Cheshire.


Ellesmere Port is located near the interchange of the M56 and the M53 motorways. The A41 road between Birkenhead and Chester, also passes through the area. Ellesmere Port railway station has a half-hourly electric train service to Chester and Liverpool. The railway was electrified by British Rail with the Merseyrail connecting stations in Birkenhead and Liverpool with Hooton and Chester. There is also an infrequent service to Warrington via Helsby and Frodsham with the route passing through Stanlow and Ince & Elton.

The Manchester Ship Canal joins the Mersey estuary north-west of Ellesmere Port at Eastham, but the town is also the northern terminus of the Shropshire Union Canal (which used to exchange goods with seagoing boats at what is now the National Waterways Museum).

There is a bus station in the town centre with frequent services to Chester, Liverpool, Runcorn, Elton, Ince, Helsby, Frodsham, Birkenhead and Neston. There are also services to Mold, North Wales operated by Stagecoach. Occasional National Express coaches serve the bus station. Most services are operated by Arriva North West & Wales, Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, GHA Coaches and Helms of Eastham.

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