I HAVE been in discussion with council officers with regard to celebrating the town’s 150th birthday next year. 

Of course it is the four townships of Eccleston, Parr, Sutton, and Windle that came together as a borough in 1868.

But I will try not to overlook happenings in the neighbouring townships of Billinge, Bold, Haydock, Newton, Rainford and Rainhill.

One of the projects I am working on is an update of previous town centre Heritage Trails, in time for the open days weekend in September.

It gives me a good motive to revise with my local history books and booklets.

I will then move on to publishing booklets for each of the town’s present townships, with a Heritage Trail map or maps showing the routes, plus info.

With some, such as Eccleston, being so large, they may need breaking down to two or three detailed trails to do their township justice. Then again, there are areas such as Thatto Heath or Clock Face that merit their own. 

This will be part of a long held ambition to commemorate people, places, events, and other things from the major to the important trivia from all around the fifty square miles of our borough (and maybe just across our borders), that it’s good not to forget. 

The idea began in 2006 when I was in Augusta, Georgia, attending a Laurel and Hardy Convention, in a hotel on the banks of the Savannah river. 

I was impressed by the number of plaques and interpretation boards used to highlight and promote the many different aspects of their local history and heritage, particularly compared to St Helens.

The Spanish had crossed the river in 1540, nearly 250 years before the Declaration of Independence, so one plaque told me. Another marked an Indian trail.

Here in our borough we have a Roman road almost two thousand years old. How many plaques and interpretation boards are there in the this borough?

Please let me know of any as I would like to include them on my trails. It is from these that new generations and tourists should be learning our history. 

The first step is to compile a list of all possible candidates. 

Do you know of something that should not be forgotten, or have an idea for a site or design, or enhancement? No matter how trivial it may seem, it’s important you communicate it to me.

I am pleased artist Bernadette Hughes has agreed to help me with the ideas around plaques, for, of course it is not just about he wording, but the design, its pull to attract passers-by and how it is appropriate to its environment. Other artists of all genres (poets, musos, etc.) are welcome to contribute.

n Email: chrispcoffey@gmail.com