Skelmersdale is a town in Lancashire, England, on the River Tawd, 6 miles (10 km) west of Wigan, 13 miles (21 km) northeast of Liverpool and 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Preston. In 2006, it had a population of 38,813. The town is known locally as Skem .
The first recorded use of the name Skelmersdale appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was under the rule of Uctred as part of the hundred of West Derby.
The urbanisation and development of Skelmersdale largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution. Industrial scale coal mining began in the early 19th century and continued to expand during that century to give rise to Skelmersdale as an important colliery village. The town forms part of the Wigan Urban Area.