Widnes ( WID-nəss) is an industrial town in Cheshire, England, which at the 2011 census had a population of 61,464.
Historically in Lancashire, it is on the northern bank of the River Mersey where the estuary narrows to form the Runcorn Gap. Directly to the south across the Mersey is the town of Runcorn. Upstream 8 miles (13 km) to the east is Warrington, and 4 miles downstream to the west is Speke, a suburb of Liverpool.
Before the Industrial Revolution, Widnes was a small settlement on marsh and moorland. In 1847, the chemist and industrialist John Hutchinson established a chemical factory at Spike Island. The town grew in population and rapidly became a major centre of the chemical industry. The demand for labour was met by large-scale immigration from Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Wales. The town continues to be a major manufacturer of chemicals, although many of the chemical factories have closed and the economy is predominantly based upon service industries.