The photograph below shows both the original church (right) and its larger replacement. The original church was built in 1842 by Joseph & Josiah Evans, the sons of Richard Evans, the very wealthy coal mine owner of Haydock. Due to an increasing congregation the larger church was built in 1878 and the original church became the Sunday school. Again the Evans family contributed 70% of the cost of £10,000. In 1962 the newer church developed dry rot and was demolished in 1965. The congregation moved back into their original church until 1982 when it too became unsafe. The church was sold to developers in 2004 and has been successfully converted into residential accommodation.
Newton Cricket Club was formed in 1847, and played its first game on the Mesnes field on Good Friday of that year. The Club continued to play there until 1858, when it moved to the present field in Crow Lane. The pavilion shown in the photograph was erected in 1904, with a two story extension added in 1936. It is interesting to see that the current pavilion is recognisably the same one erected in 1904. The Cricket Club has a vibrant sporting community, hosting a wide range of teams across all ages and a range of different sports, as well as hosting lots of local events such as the bonfire and fireworks displays, as well as beer festivals and other community events.
The Grammar School
The Grammar School, later Selwyn Jones Lower School, was opened on the 16th September 1930. Students were required to pass entrance examinations, which were held on the 1st July at the Technical School on Crow Lane, and to pay a fee of £6 13s. 6d. per annum. The first headmaster was Mr. G. Harrison. The decision to abolish grammar schools in Lancashire was taken in 1964, however it took until 1971 before the migration to the comprehensive system was complete in Newton-le-Willows.
Thanks to the efforts of local councillors and enthusiasts, some stained glass windows rescued from the building are now on display in the library.
St Mary’s and St John’s
This Church originated as a separate mission in 1861, having been previously part of St. Oswald’s, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Its services were first conducted by the Rev. Father John Lennon, in a disused room at the offices of Charles Borron’s Bottle Works, and were opened with Mass on the 3rd day of November, 1861. On November 24th, 1863, the foundation-stone of the present church was laid, and on Sunday, the 4th December, 1864, the church was blessed and solemnly opened. It then consisted of nave, apsidal chancel, north and south aisles, and tower 60 feet high, the architect being Mr. Gilbert Blount, of London; the builder, Mr. J. Middlehurst, of St. Helens, and the cost about £4,000. The land for the site was given by the Lord of the Manor.