Rainhill Civic Society


On this page you can find news of forthcoming events and records of what the Society has been doing.
Go to the Archive page to see "old news".


Remebrance Sunday 2019

Members of the Civic Society Committee attended the Remembrance Service at St Ann's Church on Sunday. President Gill Harris laid a wreath at the war memorial. At the Ex Services Club a refurbished Roll of Honour was presented to the British Legion by Chairman Colin Ince. Ann Veronica Howitt gave a short speech explaining how the Roll of Honour for men from Rainhill Asylum who served in WW1 was rescued from a British Legion building in Thatto Heath which was due to be demolished. It has been restored by Mike Gaffney, a local artist, and Civic Society has funded the cost of materials.

Quiz night Rainhill in Bloom 2019 - awards to winners.

September 17th saw the presentaion of awards to this year's winners. Here is the overall winner. 2019 winners 2019 winners


Queen VicA drop of rain didn't deter our Queen Victoria and her consort in the great parade at Rocket190 in May

Commemorative Plaques

This is one of the new plaques that have been installed throughout the Village to highlight Rainhill's important sites. You can find the others by following the Heritage Trail described lower down this page Plaque on Skew Bridge

Annual General Meeting, 2019

At the AGM on Tuesday, 30th April, our longstanding President, Christine Scott, retired. Here you can see the Chairman, Colin Ince, presenting her with a token of the Society's appreciation. The new President will be Gill Harris. Meeting pics

New Heritage Displays

On Wednesday 24th April Christine Scott, president of the Civic Society unveiled two new display boards showing Heritage Walks in Rainhill. These were designed and partly funded by the Society. Funding was also provided from CIF money. Ward Councillors Barry Grunwald and Joe De Asha and the clerk to the Parish Council, Gill Pinder, were in attendance. Details of the walks can be accessed from the QR code on the boards and at http://www.rainhillremembers.uk/heritage-trails.html. You can see a video of the unveiling ceremony here. Display boards launch


St Helens Local Plan

Rainhill Civic Society's response to the Council's consultation about the Local Plan has been submitted by the Society's Planning Sub-committee. You can see a copy of the document by following this link.

Did you win?

Bart Simpson imageThere was a good turnout of teams at our light-hearted quiz on 26th March.


February Meeting

February's speaker - Carole CoddCarole Codd, a retired Liverpool Registrar, entertained us with amusing anecdotes from her experiences of conducting weddings, and other ceremonies. in the Liverpool area. She has even had to lend her own ring for a wedding ceremony.


A Peace Dividend

Colin and Wendy Parry’s son, Tim, was one of two boys who died as a result of the IRA bomb in Warrington in 1993. The other was Johnathan Ball.  Colin spoke at our January 2019 meeting, describing the awful events of that time and what they eventually led to. The Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Peace Centre in Warrington is part of the reconciliation process that came about as a result of Colin and Wendy’s work over the intervening years. Colin described the work of the Centre and spoke about some of the people he had met  in connection with the Irish peace process.


""Ooh! You are naughty..."

Who would have thought that a scullery maid could be so saucy. Betsy , a.k.a. Joanne Halliwell, told us about her difficulties in absorbing the new-fangled Victorian Christmas traditions. Silly idea to bring a tree inside when you could see so many in the grounds. There were more personal experiences as well, where an early #metoo campaign might have helped. Betsy’s version of the Twelve Days of Christmas brought the house down, assisted, as you can see, by willing members of the audience.

""The War is Over"

A capacity crowd filled the Ex-Sevices Club on Saturday evening, 10th November, to join in with our centenary clebration of the end of the First World War. Music from the Parr Brass Band, songs from the Rainhill Hi-Notes Choir and an enactment by members of the Rainhill Garrick Society provided a good mix. We are very grateful to the club, the band, the Hi-Notes, the Garrick and to Roger Phillips of Radio Merseyside, who compered the event. During the evening there were readings from the 100 year old autograph book which had been kept by nurse Edith Lidstone, in which convalescent soldiers at Rainhill's VAD hopital wrote poignant and amusing messages. The Society's new book, based on the soldiers' stories, was launched at the event. It will soon be available to buy on this site. You can find out much more about the soldiers and Rainhill life during WW1 at our dedicated website Rainhill Remembers These pictures give a flavour of the evening's happenings.

An autumn update.

While our new website is being established here is a summary of this autumn's events. In September there was a very successful walk to Pex Hill, involving members and friends. Later in the month Peter Elson gave a talk about "John Lennon - Man, Myth or Monster". At the same meeting the awards for this year's Rainhill in Bloom competition were presented. The overall winner was again Norman Pollock. On October 2nd Bill Sergeant told us about Noel Chavasse, a double VC winner during the First World War. A twin son of the Bishop of Liverpool, Noel was a man of great character and he distinguished himself in many fields.

What a difference a day makes.

Society members and friends took time recently to resuscitate the tubs on Warrington Road, near to St Bart's school. You can see the results here.

Dry tub at the stoops

tub after planting


Visit to Norton Priory

It was a fine day for our  visit to Norton Priory in Halton on Sunday, 13th May.

Data Protection

New data protection laws come into force later this month. Like all organisations that hold people's details we have to comply. We are contacting people on our lists to confirm that they still want us to keep in touch. If you have any concerns or would like to add or remove your details please email the Secretary at rainhill.civic@gmail.com


Our 50th birthday celebrations at the AGM on April 17th went well. A good attendance of members and visitors saw the celebratory cake cut and watched an audio-visual presentation about events over the years. There will be a re-run of the presentation at "Rainhill Remembered" on Tuesday, 8th May at 1.45 pm in the St Ann's Centre. Do drop in for a chat and a cuppa.

A new insightCharlotte mum and Lexi

Charlotte Graham spoke to us on February 20th about her Tourette's Syndrome. She explained how she deals with the daily difficulties caused by her condition. She is clearly a very determined individual and she told us how music, in particular, helps her cope. She showed a moving video of a young man as he suffered a very serious episode of Tourette's. We came away from the meeting with any preconceptions of the syndrome firmly  corrected and with much admiration for Charlotte. She is shown here with mum, Jane, and support dog Lexi.

Derek Houghton

Sadly, Derek Houghton, a founder member of the Society died recently. He had been one of our Vice-presidents for many years.The good attendance at his funeral on 12th February testified to the esteem in which he was held in the Rainhill community.

A variety of speakers

Mike Palin, Chief Executive of St Helens Borough, gave a very comprehensive explanation of future plans for St Helens when he visited the Society on January 23rd. February's speaker will be something of a contrast. Charlotte Graham will speak about her experiences of Tourette's Syndrome. She'll have her mother Jane and her dog with her. Tuesday 20th February, at 7.30pm in the usual venue, the St Ann's Centre in View Road.

Planter Revisited

The planter shown in the picture below has now been planted up with bulbs and shrubs. Bulbs planted in the autumn throughout Rainhill are now appearing. Both projects were funded by the Co-op Local community Fund.


On Saturday November 25th we shared in the celebrations for the Co-op's Community Fund. We had a stall in the Rainhill store to show our activities and we were presented with a cheque representing our share of the £20 million distributed by the fund. We are grateful to the Co-op and to shoppers who nominated the Society as their local cause. Other recipients were Rainhill Gala and the Pensioners' Luncheon Club.

Cheque presentaion at the Co-op

Ready for the spring

Thanks to the Co-op Community Fund, as part of our planting programme we have purchased a planter and installed it in the Village centre.  Here it is with committee members who put it in place.

Planter with committee members

Loyola Hall

If you are a Facebook follower you may have seen that Loyola Hall has now been sold, after a long period of uncertainty. The purchaser is Signature Living, a hotel and property group based in Liverpool. Lawrence Kenwright, the man in charge, has been in contact with local people, including a group of Society members, and has explained in outline his ideas for the conversion of the Hall to a hotel. It is likely that the name will revert to Rainhill Hall, although Mr Kenwright is asking for the opinion of locals about that.

Bulb Event

Thanks to a grant from the Co-op Community Fund we've been able to plant nearly 1000 spring bulbs near the Village Hall and the shopping precinct. We are grateful to shoppers for nominating the Society as their local good cause.

Planting bulbs in PrecinctPlanting bulbs near Village HallPlanting bulbs

Local Plan

St Helens Council has just announced (October 24th) that the revised version of the Local Plan will now be put forward in "early  summer, 2018". We will put forward our views when the consultation begins.

Recent meetings

Our first two speaker meetings of the season were well attended. In September, after the Rainhill in Bloom presentations, Laura Rafferty described her life as a child growing up in "The Asylum" and later as a nurse there. Our October meeting heard Frank Hargrave, the Director of Norton Priory, describe the new visitors centre. He also explained the background  of some of its exhibits. We hope to arrange a visit to the Priory later.

Please note that the venue for December's meeting has been changed to the Victoria Hotel.


The displays of wildflowers on our roadside verges are particularly striking this year. Thanks to Rainhill Parish Council and to local Borough Councillors for brightening up our surroundings.
Picture of flowers Picture of flowers




Autumn newsletter

We've recently circulated our Autumn Newsletter You can find a copy here.

Visit to the National Memorial Arboretum

Members of the Society and friends recently visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Here they are pictured outside the Arboretum on a fine sunny day. Picture of coach party


AGM 2017

The AGM on 25th April went well. People were able to see the varied activities we've been doing over the past year when sub-committee leaders gave their reports. AGM 2017



At our meeting, on March 28th, Tamsin Cooke of Historic England told us us about the work of that organisation, formerly called English Heritage. Tamsin also gave us more details about the work that was carried out in restoring St Anne's Well in Rainhill. Some members of the Society visited the Well last October.


The Lettuce Line

Sadly, there was little talk of lettuces when Keith Hick told us about the history of the railway line between Southport and Preston, which was closed during the Beeching cuts of 1964. Keith described the development of the line, its value to the local farming community and its importance in linking Southport to the rest of the country. Closure was sudden and unexpected. Though much of the line has since been built over, residents of the settlements through which it passed still long for it to be reopened.


St Helens Council's Local Plan Options.

St Helens Council's public consultation about the Local Plan began on Monday December 5th. The plan details land to be developed for residential or commercial use over the next 15 years and beyond. There is much concern in the Borough over the loss of Green Belt land. The Society submitted comments on the plans and the text of our response can be seen here. The consultation closed on January 30th, but there are later stages in the process when the public can express views.


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