The History of Rainhill

Written by kathryn hatashita-lee
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The History of Rainhill
Rainhill is a commuter village located nine miles from Liverpool. (Modern buildings in Liverpool image by Natasha Walton from

Rainhill, Merseyside, located in North West England, was known as the "vill of Raynhull" in 1190. Rainhill's agricultural history includes records of weaver Henry Thomas and blacksmith Edward Halsall in the 17th century. Rainhill's history has close ties with transportation and infrastructure marvels.

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1829 Rainhill Trials

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company held the Rainhill Trials of 1829 to determine the best engine for the world's first intercity passenger railway service. Engineer George Stephenson, his son Robert and Henry Booth built the winning Rocket, which featured a multitube boiler and reached a speed of 24mph.


In the mid-18th century, a turnpike road crossed through Rainhill to connect Liverpool and Warrington. George Stephenson built Skew Bridge, opened in 1830, the first bridge to cross a railway at an oblique angle. The bridge held a section of Warrington Road.

According to the Rainhill Parish Council, in 1870 Kendrick's Cross Station became the world's first rebuilt train station, later known as Rainhill Station.


The Lancashire County Lunatic Asylum, built in the Queen Anne Style, opened in 1851 with 220 patients. By 1900, building expansions accommodated 2,000 patients. Renamed the County Mental Hospital, this facility was one of Europe's largest psychiatric hospitals, with 3,000 patients in 1936. As the Rainhill Mental Hospital, the facility closed in 1992.

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