Runcorn is an industrial town and cargo port in Halton, Cheshire. In 2011, Halton's population was recorded to be 127,500, with Runcorn alone being 70,000. The town is on the southern bank of the River Mersey, where the estuary narrows to form Runcorn Gap. Directly to the north across the Mersey is the town of Widnes. Upstream and to the northeast is the town of Warrington and downstream to the west is the city of Liverpool.
Runcorn railway station is on a branch of the West Coast Main Line. It provides frequent services to London (Euston), Liverpool and Birmingham. The A533 road passes through the town from the south, crossing the Runcorn Gap over the Silver Jubilee Bridge, the lowest bridge crossing of the River Mersey. The Manchester Ship Canal runs alongside the Runcorn bank of the River Mersey; the Bridgewater Canal terminates in the canal basin in the town centre, as the staircase of locks leading down to the ship canal was filled in many decades ago.
Runcorn was a small, isolated village until the coming of the Industrial Revolution. It was a health resort in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Towards the end of the 18th century, a port began to develop on the south bank of the River Mersey. During the 19th century, industries developed the manufacture of soap and alkali, quarrying, shipbuilding, engineering and tanning. In the early 20th century, the prime industries were chemicals and tanning. The original village has grown to include what were outlying villages. Except for chemicals, all of the old industries have disappeared and there has been diversification, in particular because of the close links to the motorway system and the development of warehousing and distribution centres. A new town was built to the east of the existing town in the 1960–'70s and areas of private housing have been established, farther to the east; this has resulted in the population more than doubling from around 30,000 to its present level of 70,000.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Runcorn.