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Ellesmere Port is a large industrial town and port in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chestermarker and the ceremonial county of Cheshiremarker, Englandmarker. It is situated in the south of the Wirral Peninsulamarker on the estuary of the River Merseymarker, and to the north of the city of Chestermarker. The town had a population of 64,100 as of the 2001 Census.

The town is primarily industrial, being dominated by a Shell oil refinery at Stanlowmarker and a former ICI chemical works. The town is also home to the Vauxhall Motors car factory, noted for producing the Astra range of cars in the United Kingdom. There are a number of tourist attractions: the National Waterways Museummarker, the Blue Planet Aquarium and the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outletmarker which is owned by McArthurGlen Group.

History

The town of Ellesmere Port was founded as an outlet to the sea from Ellesmeremarker, Shropshiremarker and the Welsh border area around Llangollenmarker via a canal initially called the Ellesmere Canalmarker. The canal was designed and engineered by William Jessop and Thomas Telford as part of a project to connect the rivers Severn, Merseymarker and Dee. The canal connected to the Mersey in the village of Netherpool, and the basin was known as Whitby Locks. The section between Whitby Locks and Chestermarker was opened in 1795, connecting two of the rivers; but the connection to the Severn was never completed.



The village of Netherpool gradually 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 (the suburbs of Great Suttonmarker, Little Sutton and Hootonmarker are all mentioned). Many of the village names are derived from Old Norse, in common with much of the rest of the Wirral Peninsula, which had been an extensive Viking settlement. 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 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, the town 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 (now part of the Westminster housing estate) to an area that had once been home to a stud farm (indeed, Ellesmere Port and Nestonmarker Borough Council officially refer to the town centre as 'Stud Farm' for housing allocation purposes) around the crossroads of Sutton Way/Stanney Lane and Whitby Road. Demand for housing was further increased with the opening of the Vauxhall Motors car plant in 1962. Between the 1950s and 1980s, a number of new housing estates were developed, many of them on the sites of former farms such as Hope Farm and Grange Farm. Most of these estates consisted of both council housing and privately-owned homes and flats. In the mid-1980s, the Port Arcades, a covered shopping mall was built in the town centre, which complemented the erection of Lewis's store which was bought out by Asda prior to the completion of the Port Arcades. 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, following the demolition of the King's Cinema in Little Sutton, the town's only cinema had been a single screen in the EPIC Leisure Centre.

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.

The Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port is now Vauxhall's only car factory in Britain since the closure of the Luton plant in 2004, and currently produces the Astra and Vectra models for the British market. Doubts over the plant's future were ended in 2007 when General Motors confirmed that the next generation Astra will be built at the plant when it is launched in 2010. The Vectra's replacement is also expected to be built at the plant from 2008.

Governance

Civic Hall


Ellesmere Port was nearly included into the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, when that was formed on 1 April 1974. It was removed from the proposals before the Local Government Act 1972 had its first reading, and instead remained in Cheshire as part of the borough of Ellesmere Port and Nestonmarker. The two towns, and the other villages that comprised the borough, are places on the Wirral Peninsulamarker that are not part of Merseyside.

Ellesmere Port is part of the Ellesmere Port and Nestonmarker parliament constituency. The current MP is Andrew Miller (Labour).

In 2007, plans were announced which proposed combining the borough of Ellesmere Port and Neston with the Chester and Vale Royalmarker districts to form a new "West Cheshire" unitary authority. On 25 July 2007, following a consultation period, the name of the new unitary authority was officially announced to be City of Chester and West Cheshiremarker. This was the subsequently renamed Cheshire West and Chestermarker and the Conservatives won control of this council in elections in May 2008, including winning a majority of seats in the Ellesmere Port area for the first time. The new unitary authority came into being on 1 April 2009.

Twin towns



Geography

Suburban localities of Ellesmere Port include:

Transport

Ellesmere Port is located near the interchange of the M56 and the M53 motorways. The A41 road between Birkenheadmarker and Chestermarker, also passes through the area. There is a bus station in the town centre with frequent services to Liverpool, Runcornmarker, Eltonmarker, Incemarker, Chester and Nestonmarker. There are some services to Mold, North Wales. Occasional National Express coaches serve the bus station. Most services are operated by Arriva North West & Wales, First Chester & The Wirral or GHA Coaches.

Ellesmere Port railway stationmarker has frequent electric trains to Liverpoolmarker via the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. There is also an infrequent service to Helsbymarker, with the route passing through Stanlowmarker and Elton.

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

Sports

Speedway racing operated at the stadium in Thornton Road in the mid to late 1970s and in the 1980s. Ellesmere Port Gunners raced in the lower tier Leagues. Vauxhall Motors F.C. are the local football team.

Notable residents

The following people are natives of Ellesmere Port, or have lived there for a period of time.
  • Comedian Russ Abbott grew up in the town's Wolverham district.
  • Lillian Beckwith, author, grew up in Ellesmere Port the daughter of a grocer as chronicled in her book About My Father's Business.


  • Horror author Ramsey Campbell has used the local library in the town when working on his novels.
  • Sam Chedgzoy, footballer who played for Everton between 1910-1926.
  • Stan Cullis, former Wolverhampton Wanderers player and manager was born in Ellesmere Port on 25 October 1916. Like his friend Joe Mercer he played football for Cambridge Road School and Ellesmere Port Boys.
  • Anastasia Dobromyslova, 2008 Ladies World Darts Champion currently resides in Ellesmere Port with her husband Tony Martin.
  • Dave Hickson, footballer who played for Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers. Born in Ellesmere Port in 1929. He worked for Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council before returning to Everton, where he works as an ambassador for the club.
  • Beverley Hughes, Labour MP and former government minister, born and educated in the town and still has family connections locally.
  • Lee Latchford Evans from pop group Steps grew up here.
  • Joe Mercer, England football international and manager was born in Ellesmere Port on 9 August 1914. He played football for Cambridge Road School and was selected to play for Ellesmere Port Boys against Chester Boys in January 1929. Mercer led Manchester City to the 1968 First Division championship, and went on to win the FA Cup (1969), League Cup (1970) and European Cup Winners' Cup (1970).
  • John Prescott, The Ex-Deputy Prime Minister attended the Grange Secondary Modern School in 1948.
  • Ian Prowse, singer songwriter who has worked with Elvis Costello, Christy Moore and was a favourite of John Peel.


See also



References



External links




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