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Ellesmere Port
Town
Fountain in front of Civic Hall - geograph.org.uk - 422531.jpg
Ellesmere Port Civic Hall
Ellesmere Port is located in Cheshire
Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port
Population 61,090 (2011 census)
OS grid reference SJ4175
• London 170 mi (270 km) SE
Unitary authority
  • Cheshire West and Chester
Ceremonial county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ELLESMERE PORT
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
UK
England
Cheshire
53°16′44″N 2°53′49″W / 53.279°N 2.897°W / 53.279; -2.897

Ellesmere Port ( ELZ-meer) is a port town in the Cheshire West and Chester borough in Cheshire, England. Ellesmere Port is on the south eastern edge of the Wirral Peninsula, 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Chester, 12 miles (19 km) south of Birkenhead, 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Runcorn and 11 miles (18 km) south of Liverpool. The town had a population of 61,090 in the 2011 census. Ellesmere Port also forms part of the wider Birkenhead urban area, which had a population of 325,264 in 2011.

The town was originally established on the River Mersey at the entrance to the Ellesmere Canal. As well as a service sector economy, it 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 including the National Waterways Museum, the Blue Planet Aquarium and Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet.

History

Ellesmere-port-stanlow
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.

Ellesmere-port-lighthouse-1
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.

Demography

Joseph Groome Towers, Ellesmere Port (1)
Joseph Groome Apartment blocks
Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Ellesmere Port
Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church
Population since 1901
Year Population
1901 10,366
1911 10,253
1921 12,891
1931 18,267
1951 32,653
1961 44,681
1971 61,637
1981 63,315
1991 31,378
2001 64,100
2011 61,090

The 2011 census records 27,134 households in Ellesmere Port, with 40.9% of the population aged between 30 and 59. It lists the ethnicity of the town as 95.2% White British, 0.8% White Irish, 1.6% White Other, 0.8% mixed ethnicity, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Black and 0.1% other. 97.8% speak English as a first language.

Religion

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.

Landmarks

  • 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.

Geography

Ellesmere Port is located in the county of Cheshire.

Transport

Road

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. The M56 carries the European Route E22 in this area.

Buses

There is a bus station in the town centre with frequent services to Chester, Liverpool, Runcorn, Elton, 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 Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire with one service operated by Helms of Eastham and another by Arrowebrook Coaches.

Rail

Ellesmere Port railway station is on the Wirral line of the Merseyrail network and has a half-hourly electric train service to Liverpool via Birkenhead. The line was electrified from Hooton to Ellesmere Port by British Rail in 1994. There is also an infrequent service to Warrington.

Canal

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).

Sports

Ellesmere Port Greyhound Stadium (1)
Ellesmere Port Greyhound Stadium

Speedway racing operated at the stadium in Thornton Road in the mid to late 1970s and in the 1980s; since March 2013, the stadium has been back in use for greyhound racing. Ellesmere Port Gunners raced in the lower tier Leagues. The Gunners' best season was their last, 1985, when they won the National League championship. The campaign was marred by a career-ending injury sustained by inspirational captain Joe Owen. Owen was hurt in a track crash at Birmingham. Ellesmere Port Town F.C. was once of town's main football team before the founding of Vauxhall Motors F.C. in 1963. Ellesmere Port Town F.C. was founded in 1948 and folded in 1973. The club's main achievements were playing in the Northern Premier League (The 7th tier in the English Football Pyramid) and reaching the F.A. Cup First Round in the 1971–1972 season, losing 3–0 to Boston United. Vauxhall Motors F.C. are the local football team.

In 2009 Eddie Izzard and his run around the UK for Sport Relief saw him pass through Little Sutton village centre and Hooton. The footage is only minutes long however.

In 2012 Ellesmere Port played host to the Paralympic Flame as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations. West Cheshire Colleges campus in Ellesmere Port was one of the drop off points for the flame as well as the EPIC leisure centre and the David Lloyd Leisure Centre. Events included sporting demonstrations and the parade of the Paralympic flame.

Construction began in January 2014 for the new multimillion-pound Sports Village in Stanney Grange which initially was to incorporate an Olympic sized swimming venue (now smaller), tennis courts, football pitches and other sport halls, and will be the new home of Cheshire Phoenix, the local professional British Basketball League team from the start of the 2015/16 BBL Championship season. The village is situated on site of the old Stanney High School by Cheshire Oaks, the Coliseum and M&S.

Notable people

Herbert williams
Sir Herbert Williams, 1924
John Prescott on his last day as Deputy Prime Minister, June 2007
John Prescott, 2007

The following people are natives of Ellesmere Port, or have lived there for a period of time.

  • Norman Sailes (1920 in Ellesmere Port – 2012) a Fleet Air Arm pilot in WWII, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross
  • Arthur Goddard (born 1921) was in charge of the Land Rovers engineering development from 1947 to 1957, went to the Little Sutton Primary School
  • Hardeep Singh Kohli (born 1969) is a British presenter of Sikh heritage and TV presenter and personality. He lived briefly in the Little Sutton area.

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