In the late Eighteenth Century Stanley Bank, situated in what is now known as Sankey Valley Country Park, was an important centre of local industry and was the site of a now vanished iron slitting mill. It was at mills like this and with the arrival of good transport links through canals that the Industrial Revolution was said to have come to the area and the development of St Helens was accelerated. Nowadays, little evidence remains of the mill, either in written records, or at the site itself.
The Stanley Bank Project was established to find and record any remains of the slitting mill and the corn mill that replaced it and to create a 3D reconstruction of what the mills would have looked like. The project has been a partnership between St Helens Council, Groundwork Merseyside, the Mersey Basin Campaign, the Merseyside Industrial Heritage Society, Sankey Canal Restoration Society and St Helens Historical Research Society and was largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The archaeological work in the project was run by the National Museums Liverpool Field Archaeology Unit along side St Helens Borough Council, as part of a Community Archaeological Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The University of Salford and Fusion GFX were involved in interpreting the archaeological work to produce a 3D model of what the site may have looked like at different times during its history to help visitors to understand the site’s past.
Stanley Bank is now an interesting place to visit either to learn more about the site and St Helens’ industrial heritage or just for a walk around the remains of the mills and the reconstructed water wheels.