Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Wirral (Part II)

The Wirral is full of tourist attractions and excellent places to visit. I shall show some of the architecture in this posting and leave the countryside for another day. Most of these photos are ones I took in the 1960s and '70s.

This is the new landing stage for the Mersey Ferry (it is obligatory at this stage to sing ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ as per Gerry and the Pacemakers).

In the middle of Birkenhead is Hamilton Square, a piece of 19th century architecture which includes a number of ‘listed’ buildings. (Buildings which are specially listed as of interest and which the owners can only alter with specific permission.)

One side of the square has the old town hall – now the area’s museum.

In the middle of the square is a model of an Eleanor Cross. (The Eleanor crosses were 12 lavishly decorated stone monuments, of which three survive intact, in a line down part of the east of England. King Edward I had the crosses erected between 1291 and 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the nightly resting-places along the route taken by her body as it was taken to London.)

The highest point of the Wirral is Bidston Hill on which stands Bidston Mill.

A number of attractive pubs and restaurants can be found throughout the Wirral. This is the Cottage Loaf at Thurstaston. (Mum is the woman in the middle of the group outside, talking to a friend, John Banham.)

The Wirral has a number of old and unusual churches. This is the church at Capenhurst. The church was built between 1856 and 1859 and in 1889–90 the tower was added.

One of the many villages on the Wirral is Burton which has a some thatched cottages. Burton is an attractive village with a few black and white timber-framed houses and sandstone cottages. Surprisingly, it was a port in medieval times but is now well inland as a result of the silting of the River Dee.

The red sandstone church at Burton has a working clock on its western tower with only one hand.

This attractive church is St Mary’s, Eastham. A place of worship has been here since before the time of the Domesday Book which mentions a priest at Eastham. The present church contains architecture from many periods although a major restoration took place between 1876 and 1880. Some of the masonry in the north wall dates from the 12th century. The nave dates mainly from the 13th century, the tower originated in the 14th century and the aisles in the 15th century. The south porch dates from the 16th century. The tower was rebuilt in 1752 and the chancel in 1863.

Many of the top slave, cotton trade and manufacturing families of Liverpool had their main residences on the Wirral. One of these, the Lever family, owned Thornton Manor where Viscount Leverhulme lived. A local philanthropist, his empire included shipping, grocery and soap manufacturing. It is now a country house hotel and wedding venue.

This is the main gatehouse at Thornton Manor.

This is Hillbark (also known as Royden Hall), once home of the Royden family. An imposing, if rather tastless, mock-Tudor building it dates only from 1931, though incredibly enough it was originally built in 1891 near Bidston Hill for soap magnate R.W. Hudson and moved brick by brick to its current position by Sir Ernest Royden.

This is the smithy at Thornton Hough. Although it looks older, the present smithy was built in 1905 to replace the original one, which was demolished to create space for the erection of a church.


  1. Gosh. How much have I forgotten in the 35 years since I lived on the Wirral. It seems so long ago.

  2. Wow! What neat shots! Thanks for the virtual "tour."

  3. What beautiful buildings! What's inside of Hamilton Square? Are they homes, businesses? I wouldn't mind checking out the Cottage Loaf. Looks charming. Such history in these buildings!

  4. Hamilton Square is now mainly composed of offices - solicitors, surveyors and similar professionals. If you ever venture there beware of the dreaded Traffic Wardens who can spot a car that's not at a meter from about three miles away!

  5. What a wonderful tour. Thanks so much.


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