AN ONLINE archive will be created to preserve memories of the town's history after funding for the project was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

St Helens Council Library Service has been awarded £86,400 from the HLF for the project to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the town's creation.

Called the St Helens Living Archive, it will focus on the creation of an online virtual archive where members of the community will be encouraged to upload photographs, videos and stories of their own lives and memories of the town.

These will feature alongside new previously unseen images from the St Helens Local History and Archives.

In 1868, Queen Victoria granted a Charter of Incorporation, which defined St Helens officially as a municipal borough.

As next year marks the 150th anniversary of the town, the project will engage St Helens residents past and present in their own heritage.

Following on from the previous HLF-funded St Helens Through The Lens project, this will also include the digitisation and preservation of more than 60 unique and historic oral history cassette recordings that will be made accessible to the public.

Community photo-scanning sessions, archives on tour exhibitions, family history and reminiscence workshops, primary school activity and volunteering opportunities will also form part of the project.

St Helens Council’s cabinet member for libraries services, Cllr Sue Murphy, said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support residents to be active citizens with pride in their heritage.

“Our library service has enjoyed a hugely successful 12 months or so, with its Arts in Libraries programme gaining national recognition as best arts project in the National Lottery Awards last year, and more recently when it secured £440,000 in funding after becoming a National Portfolio Organisation.”

The online archive will be launched next year, although preparatory work on the project has already begun.

Anyone who would like to learn how to research their own family history can join a free course at Eccleston Library by emailing or calling 01744 677675.

To volunteer on the project and help preserve historic audio recordings, contact