I HAVE received a query from Bernard Wood, who lives in Parr, who is asking Coffey Time readers to help solve a puzzle. 

Bernard says it has long been reported and repeated that Parr Hall was in the area of Parr Bold Avenue, Blackbrook. However, he has come across a copy of an 1890 map of the area which shows a “Parr Hall Farm on the site of Parr Hall”.

He enclosed a copy of the map with the farm positioned in the area now called ‘Stanley Bank’, just below what is now the A580 road and beside the new Haydock bypass leading to Garswood. 

Bernard wrote: “As Ashton-in-Makerfield was the prominent town in this era, is it possible ‘Parr Hall’ would be closer to this town than Parr, a small village at the time? 

“I am just intrigued at the possibility and it may give you something to investigate at some stage.”

Well, as Parr was one of the four ‘townships’ merged to form St Helens 150 years ago, no time like the present. I can bring no personal memories to the topic as that area was one I never visited.

I have seen many features demolished, moved, relocated, renamed, etc. that one has to look at several different maps of different decades to get some sense of firm ground. 

The Local History and Archives library is closed, but one of its documents states that Parr Hall Farm was demolished in 1956.

Online research suggests the area of Parr dates back to the West Derby hundred district from the 12th century.

The Sankey Canal, also known as the Sankey Brook Navigation and St Helens Canal, flows through Parr. 

When opened in 1757, it ran from close to the mouth of Sankey Brook at the River Mersey along the valley of the Sankey Brook, ending north east of St Helens. 

The map does show that Parr Hall Farm was on the eastern side of the canal. 

Parr has a historical link to the Parr family, most famously represented by Henry VIII’s final wife, Catherine Parr. 

Her father, Sir Thomas Parr, is known to have owned or rented lands in the area. 

The family seat was Parr Hall, sited in the Redgate area close to where Frodsham Drive is today. Sir Thomas never attained the aristocratic title of baron. He did, however, hold messages, lands, woods, and rents in Parr, Wigan, and Sutton.

Given we are celebrating the 150th year of St Helens, it is worth noting that the wealthy entrepreneur John Rylands was born in Parr in 1801.

Rylands’ widow erected a permanent memorial of her husband in the John Rylands Library, on Deansgate, Manchester. 

The John Rylands Library and the library of the University of Manchester merged in July 1972 and was named the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.