Written by Anonymous Visitor and posted in Merseyside, North West

No Hole Too Dank: Welcome to the unbelievable and absolute horror that is St Helens.

The North’s very own time machine, St. Helen’s is a land that time forgot with its grim, bleak and depressing post-war reconstruction era feel. This is surely the frontier and outer rim of the known world if you are from Liverpool. Here you will find some grotesque sights on par with Runcorn, Widnes and Wigan. You’ll be surprised to find that dinosaurs still roam here and often frequent down the pubs reminiscing over the good old days before the Romans left and when jobs were still available. Desolate and uninviting, St. Helen’s can only live in the past as the rest of the developed country has simply forgotten about it.

The former pride of the town is Pilkington’s Alexandra Park building, a 1960’s cold war tower block dominating the view and a central point in the town. Pilkington’s Glass was the main source of employment for the town before being sold to a foreign company. This has now upsettingly been preserved as a listed building as it is one of the best known preserved examples of a miserable era that everybody would like to forget and is akin to an open infected wound in appearance. The towers presence is like Sauron’s all-seeing eye and is a constant visual reminder for future generations of the sheer bleakness and hopelessness that they face in a town with no direction or meaning.

Surrounding this block are the factories that loom large over the town and sadly resembles a catastrophic accident at Chernobyl; and much like the people of Prypiat, the residents of St. Helens are too at risk of genetic mutations. The insular nature of the town has created a stream of simple people who are missing a few vital genetic components. The hills have eyes in this squalid cesspool and this achievement can only be matched by other outlying no-mans-land areas like Widnes and Wigan where the rivalry is high for two reasons, rugby and the race to find new genes. If you arrive by train to St. Helens Central station then the mere sight of this disused complex will make you suicidal and is truly a sight to behold! These cold war looking ruins are such an eye sore that on first inspection you would believe that you’ve just arrived in a third world country with a total collapse in civilisation. I’ve known illegal immigrants to run back into the lorries from which they emerged after feasting their eyes on this war torn shell of a town.

Historically the town’s main trade was glass making and mining, both of which have now gone overseas; the harsh reality is that unemployment is extremely high with little opportunities besides low level retail. The mining may have stopped but St Helens continues to be a pit of despair. St. Helen’s can easily be characterised as a frontline trench full of excrement, the sick and the wounded living a simple existence on state rations and hoping for it all to end soon. You will lose the will to live if you are trapped within its barren trench walls for too long but there seemingly isn’t any government ladder to climb out with. St. Helens desperately needs investment and a new industry in order to survive and thrive but it will likely end up the way of Skelmersdale whose community rarely functions and is prone to collapse. It has to be said that St. Helens is still the most promising of these Dark Age settlements and may still rise from the ashes with much needed care, support and attention.

However at present, St. Helens looks like it’s been closed for business for many years and peak hour shopping looks like a post zombie apocalyptic wasteland has hit; there is simply no activity to sustain any trade whatsoever outside of the mobile phone accessory business and pound shop bakeries. The town has all the charisma and excitement of a T.J Hughes closing down sale (which incidentally happened many moons ago and was quite comically its most prestigious retailer). Most of the outlying residential areas are grey, stark and extremely dangerous. Visitors from the Falls Road in Belfast would feel quite comfortable in these familiar surroundings.

Totally devoid of any purpose and unflattering on the eyes, St. Helens is home to the North’s gypsy communities and is plagued by its roaming gangs that effectively rule the streets. St. Helens also boasts an impressive number of disabled residents, beaten only by Southport. This understandably is the reason for St. Helens having a monopoly on GP practices and health centres, which can be found every 100 yards in any direction and adds to the depressing state of the place. The main communal area for socialising is the Job Centre and this is most likely where the local survivors will find their future partners as they battle it out with the immigrants for entitlements, larger homes and sometimes jobs.

Totally defunct and depleted of all use, St. Helens compromises of little entertainment but what it does have is offered by way of two Weatherspoons pubs; the Running Horses, which caters for anybody under 40 and the Glass House, which is a place for those flat capped ‘peaky blinders’ looking geriatrics that drink themselves to death to wade away the hours whilst watching the races. The people here are scarred and abandoned, hoping for a miracle by way of local investment or other small opportunity to drag them away from suicide.

Don’t expect any kind of night life in the town as you’ll quickly find that this is confined to half a street of the most dismal, dilapidated and shocking shanty town establishments such as Dreeem. A tour of the local nightlife can be completed in less than 2 minutes walking distance through Westfield Street. Drinking in St. Helens is a traumatic and intense experience when trying to stay alive amongst the angry clubbers and moody back streets; and much like an abscess you really want that pressure to be relieved with a quick incision at the root of the problem. And that problem people is frequent street violence, but this is understandably the only outlet for a population chained down by poverty, inbreeding and no easy escape from a town with no opportunities; well that’s unless you’re one of the king gypsies ruling your ghetto patch.

If St. Helens was located near the ocean then it would certainly gain a reputation as a gaudy pirate utopia with its lax policing, illegal dealings, cutthroats, local raiding and its vile congregation of wenches who are easy prey. Pirate town or not, it’s still washed up. However, much like a pirate port, St. Helens offers many essential routes out of the town and most of its lucky inhabitants survive on employment and normality elsewhere away from their base of operations.

There is however one redeeming feature, and that St. Helens College. This is without a doubt the best educational establishment for further training and higher education within the North West and is the town’s only saving grace. This impressive structure stands smugly over the ruined wreck of the town and is quite frankly the only beacon of hope for the people who want to escape, just as long as you are still willing and determined to better yourself academically. I cannot commend the college enough for the extremely positive impact it has had on the town. This is solely the only thing that the town can be proud of and is highly recommended to any students of Merseyside and further afield.

  • TonyB

    The town a main centre of social deprivation resulting from the closure
    of its coal mines and the shrinkage of its glass making industry since
    it was sold to the Japanese. However, the writer was deliberately
    misleading – or simply lying – in saying it has ceased as St. Helens
    still produces a great deal of float glass. The piece was obviously
    written tongue-in-cheek by someone with a humour by-pass or
    alternatively it was thrown together by someone with a very immature
    and ill-informed perception, but that is no excuse for the factual
    errors and opinion dressed as fact. For example, T.J Hughes has not
    disappeared from the town and still has a large store in the town. There
    are too many other mistakes (lies?) to catalogue which serve only to
    undermine the credibility of the author. I do not understand the ‘big
    up’ of the college at the end since this is a mis-managed, over sized
    and has an ambience quite in keeping with the rest of the town. Perhaps
    it was written by someone in management there who is forced to commute
    here each day and needed some outlet for his misplaced misanthropy? The
    people are what matter in any community and he has totally misjudged
    them, Its an OK place if you look objectively!

  • TonyB

    The town a main centre of social deprivation resulting from the closure of its coal mines and the shrinkage of its glass making industry since it was sold to the Japanese. However, the writer was deliberately misleading – or simply lying – in saying it has ceased as St. Helens still produces a great deal of float glass. The piece was obviously written tongue-in-cheek by someone with a humour by-pass or alternatively it was thrown together by someone with a very immature and ill-informed perception, but that is no excuse for the factual errors and opinion dressed as fact. For example, T.J Hughes has not disappeared from the town and still has a large store in the town. There are too many other mistakes (lies?) to catalogue which serve only to undermine the credibility of the author. I do not understand the ‘big up’ of the college at the end since this is a mis-managed, over sized and has an ambience quite in keeping with the rest of the town. Perhaps it was written by someone in management there who is forced to commute here each day and needed some outlet for his misplaced misanthropy? The people are what matter in any community and he has totally misjudged them, Its and OK place if you look objectively!

  • Elaine Heaton

    If this total moron who wrote this is so educated how come you don’t know your own name ? And have to remain anonymous?

  • Coro

    Is the OP not allowing comments or only certan comments?

  • Coro

    For all the time you spent delving into your well-trained mind to
    produce this article you could have been doing something positive.
    Taking delight out of other people’s misery … there’s a word for that. Yes, St Helens is grim, there are people worse off than you yet that makes you feel better about yourself. I cant work out which is grimmer.

  • Coro

    For all the time you spent delving into your well-trained mind to
    produce this article you could have been doing something positive.
    Taking delight out of other people’s misery … there’s a word for that. Yes, St Helens is grim, there’s people worse off than you and that makes you feel better about yourself. Can’t work out which is grimmer.

  • Billy Big Balls

    One thing about St helens rugby team. They always have an advantage cos they all have 6 or 7 fingers on each hand.

    • Al

      Having grown up four miles from Sint Ellins ( come on now say it properly), and followed the Saints throughout the sixties I have an atavistic feeling of affection for the town. You must admit, the initial poster over eggs the pudding, but he made me laugh. No mean feat considering I’ve been in bed since Sunday coughing my guts up.
      The people are lovely, but there is an element of Deliverance about the place. Strange that Warrington, only a cockstride away, has developed so prosperously. I’ve often wondered about the positive influence of Manchester on Warrington???

      Sint Ellins is certainly in poor shape, but I know that it has a thriving art community. As for T J Hughes being the principal retailer – my dear! Haven’t you heard of Tyrer’s? A shop that wouldn’t be out of place anywhere in the country.

      On my trips north to see what’s left of family I always have a shop – it’s a darned sight cheaper for the same products than where I live. Wish we had a Home Bargain. Walking the town centre, usually around 10.00 am, my jaw never fails to drop at the view of lovely young women with pies in their faces, and the toddler in the pram masticating on an outsized sausage roll. True, my two sets of friends who live there will bear me out.

      About time some of the youngsters got some gumption, and strove for self improvement, as their grandparents did.