Article date – 22 May 2019

To celebrate the 190th anniversary of the Rainhill Railway Trials, Rainhill Library will host a full programme of events and activities over the late May Bank Holiday weekend (25-27 May).


The library will be open between 10am – 4pm on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th May when visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities for all the family, including the opportunity to travel back in time to 1829 via a virtual reality experience, to relive the sights and sounds of Stephenson’s Rocket.

Event-goers can also visit the library’s permanent Rainhill Trials exhibition, a former railway carriage which houses historic artefacts and memorabilia relating to the trial, while further artefacts from the borough’s local history archive will also be on display.

Meanwhile, Victorian librarian Flora Dunkhill – a character played by local artist and performer Bernadette Hughes – is visiting Rainhill Library. She’s heard the buzz about the Rainhill Trials and is excited by the new horizons and travel possibilities that have opened up for her. Come along and chat with Flora about the places you’ve visited by rail, and where she could go.

Among many other community events over the weekend, a key highlight will be a parade on Sunday 26th May at 1pm, led by a replica Rocket! Arranged by Rainhill Parish Council and Rainhill Rotary, the replica has been kindly loaned to support the event by the National Rail Museum in York.

The parade will start adjacent to the Ship Inn and will travel into Rainhill Village, with the replica Rocket stopping for a while in Exchange Place on display, by the Eco Garden. Warrington Road will be closed to traffic at the Skew Bridge junction with Rainhill Road, through to the Mill Lane junction from 12:30pm to accommodate the parade.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Libraries, Councillor Anthony Burns, said: “The Rainhill Trials carved a permanent place in world transport history for the people of St Helens Borough and now 190 years later, St Helens Library Service will join partners in the community to deliver a weekend to remember. There’s a lot going on for everyone in the community, so come along and celebrate our local heritage in rail and industry this Bank Holiday weekend.”

The activities at Rainhill Library are funded by Arts Council England and delivered by St Helens Council’s Library Service, which is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

To find out more about the events please visit or contact Rainhill Library on 01744 677822.


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