St. Helens is a large town on Merseyside, England. It was an insignificant village on the South Lancashire Coalfield until the mid-eighteenth century, but the construction of a turnpike road to St Helens in 1746 and the opening of the Sankey Navigation, the first modern canal in Britain, in 1762, made it an ideal site for industrial development. Its location on a coalfield, and close to the salt deposits of Cheshire, allowed economical manufacture of chemicals and glass, and many large companies were set up in the growing town. St. Helens became a municipal borough in 1868. Just over a century later, in 1974, it was transferred from the traditional county of Lancashire to the newly formed metropolitan county of Merseyside, and its boundaries were enlarged to take in the surrounding towns of Newton-le-Willows, Haydock (famous for its racecourse, Haydock Park) and Billinge. The enlarged borough has a population of around 180,000 people, and retains a significant glass industry. It is also the home of St. Helens RFC, one of the strongest Rugby League teams in Britain. The club has won the Challenge Cup ten times, World Club Challenge in 2001 and 2007. The club has also won Super League (Europe) a record six times.
The town also has a soccer club, St Helens Town FC, which plays in the first division of the North West Counties Football League.