William Johnson was born about 1712 and in the year 1747 when his son William was baptised at the Independent Chapel he was in possession of a house of unknown antiquity formerly held by members of the Lyon family. He was at that time described as a carpenter but he later became a brewer and added his own brewery buildings to the house which later became known as Rainford House.

He was followed in 1795 by his son William who continued brewing here until his death in 1803. The buildings later known as Johnsonís Cottages were added during Williamís time, originally as brewery outbuildings and later converted into cottages and shop. The business was carried on under the control of his widow Anne until 1818 when she leased the house and brewery to James Birch who was at that time living at Rookery House.

James, who was previously a pipe maker, extended the brewery and soon become the owner of several public houses in Rainford, namely Mill House, Queen Inn, Wheat Sheaf, Bottle & Glass, Eagle & Child, Maypole, New Bull and others further afield. He also bought additional land to the north of Johnsonís original land on which he built hop and malt rooms and four cottages which became known as New Barn Cottages. The whole of Jamesís property passed to his only daughter Mary when he died in 1847. Mary was by then married to Joseph Richardson of Manchester who was also a brewer, no doubt working with James in his later years, and they now occupied Rainford House.

Joseph Richardson died within ten months after his father-in-law and the brewery business was continued by his widow and eldest son Richard aged 25 who was the third of their twelve children. He was later joined by his brother William and eventually Richard sold his interest in the brewery and the property to his brother and went to live at Murray House. William ran the business for many years until it was sold to Greenall Whitley & Co. in 1893 and finally closed by them. When his widow died in 1929 the house and cottages were sold to the Nevin family. The building which had been James Martindaleís grocerís shop in 1840 and later that of the St Helens Co-operative Wholesale Society then became Nevinís shop.

Modern developments have swept away all traces of William Johnsonís buildings, including the splendid Rainford House, and now all that remain are the New Barn Cottages.