NOTE: Three suburbs of Widnes--Ditton, Hough Green and Halebank--have all been re-directed here.
Widnes is an industrial town located on the northern bank of the River Mersey where the estuary narrows significantly and forms the Runcorn Gap. Directly to the south across the Mersey is the town of Runcorn. Upstream and to the east is the town of Warrington, and downstream to the west is the neighbouring area of Speke, now part of Merseyside.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution Widnes consisted of a small number of separate settlements on land which was mainly marsh or moorland. In 1847 the first chemical factory was established and the town rapidly became a major centre of the chemical industry. The demand for labour was met by the immigration of large numbers of workers from Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Wales. The town continues to be a major manufacturer of chemicals although there has been a degree of diversification of the town's industries.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Widnes.