NEW FERRY ONLINE

 The Community Website of New Ferry, Wirral, UK

 

HOMEPAGE


About New Ferry


Clubs & Societies


Community in Action


Community Consultations


Events & Meetings


History of New Ferry

Pre 19th Century

1801-1900

1901-2000

2001-Today


Latest News, Hot Topics  & Announcements


Local Services & Facilities


Memories & Photos


Parks and Open Spaces


Shopping in New Ferry


Useful Information


 

See a Victorian map of where your home is today:

 

If you are a New Ferry resident, click on the map picture below.  A new window will open on a different website which will show  various old maps of New Ferry.  Type your postcode into the box and you will be able to see where your home is now (on the modern map to the right) compared to the 1835 tithe maps.  You can also choose the 1875 and the 1910 maps to compare the changes which have taken place between then and now. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(For those of you just visiting this site who do not live in New Ferry and don't know a postcode here, just type in CH62 5BE which will take you to the shops in the centre).

 


 

HISTORY OF NEW FERRY: 1901-2000


As New Ferry continued to grow, its facilities were gradually updated and improved. New Ferry Park, an abandoned building site, was landscaped with a bowling green, tennis courts and a garden for the blind with highly-scented flowers which had Braille name plates next to them. It replaced the previous park (dating from the 1880s), to the rear of the Ferry Hotel, which had been bought for development and today is covered with houses (Onslow Road).

The Park Lodge was built at the main entrance, as a home for the park keeper. Grove Street School was built next to the park, replacing an earlier school building which had become too small.

In 1906, some cottages on New Ferry Road were demolished to make way for Hope Hall, which remained in use as a church until a few years ago.

By the 1930s, there was a housing boom. New homes appeared to the south of New Ferry, at Bolton Road East and the surrounding streets. Meanwhile, the Council was building houses on infill sites such as Grove Square, and all over the former pleasure gardens at Shorefields (Shorefields, Merseybank Road, Mayfields, etc).

As compensation for loss of the gardens, the Council also built an open-air swimming pool – New Ferry Baths – in 1932. The pool closed in 1979, and in the late 1980’s was demolished to make way for the Wimpey housing estate.


New Ferry Swimming Baths in the early 1960s. How many older residents used that slide to get into the water?  Most of the trees seen in the background (where tired swimmers sheltered from the summer sun on their towels) are still with us today

As times changed and people had more money to spend, an enterprising builder constructed a new estate of small terraced cottages at Beaconsfield Road / Poolbank Road / Elmbank Road in the early years of the 20th century.  He used bricks that came from the brickworks at Mayfields, a site where clay had been dug from the ground, creating a large pit.  When the brickworks closed, the Council used the hole to fill with Wirral's rubbish.  The tip site was closed and levelled in the mid 1970s, when residents in Shorefields, Merseybank Road and Graylings Road remember a plague of displaced rats escaping from the tip and running through the streets.  Once capped, the tip site was landscaped with the two football pitches that are still on it today.

Adding to the Lyceum Cinema which had stood at the corner of New Chester Road and Grove Street since the early part of the century (the site now occupied by Iceland), the Rialto Cinema was also built on Bebington Road in 1933. At the time, it was the most up-to-date cinema in Wirral and people came from all over Wirral to watch films there. It screened its last film in 1961, and was used for the next 30 years by a variety of clubs until being demolished in 2002 to make way for the new Aldi store. A third cinema was also built in the 1930s at the top of Beaconsfield Road – today the building is occupied by Andy’s Aquatics.

During World War 2, New Ferry and its shoreline played an important role in the national crisis. The Shorefields overlooking the river were host to an anti-aircraft gun emplacement, defending Liverpool and Birkenhead from attack by German bombers and manned by Poles.  Despite this protection however, during the 1941 Blitz, a bomb fell on some of the terraced houses in Egerton Road (those on the north side). The houses, only completed a few years earlier, were destroyed. Garages stood on the site until 2003 when new houses were finally built. Other bombs fell on the villas at the junction of the Dell and Rock Park Road – they were demolished and today there is just a grassy bank leading down to the Esplanade.

Following the war, when the gun emplacements were removed, the barracks were used as a temporary internment camp for German POWs during 1946 and 1947.  There was no barbed wire surrounding the "camp", and the prisoners were allowed out during the daytime where they found work on local farms; they simply had to return to the camp each night by the allotted curfew time. 

After 1948, the barracks were then used as temporary living accommodation for people who had lost their homes during the blitz.  The buildings were eventually demolished in the early 1970s.  Today, there is no trace of them on the flat grassy field overlooking the river.

At the bottom end of Bolton Road East, behind the houses in Eccleshall Road, is a large mound (not the tip!). Underneath this is buried one of the fuel storage tanks that was part of the PLUTO system.  A pipeline was laid down the length of the country to the south coast, and then on the bottom of the sea bed across the Channel to France to supply fuel to the Allies when they invaded Europe following D-Day.  It collected the oil from various storage tanks such as the one at Bromborough Dock, and by autumn 1944 over 100,000 gallons a day were being pumped over to France after D-Day to fuel tanks, armoured cars and other vehicles used by the forces.

The New Ferry shoreline was also used to construct some of the landing pontoons used for the D-Day landings. These had to be towed around the coast and taken across the Channel as part of the invasion.

New Ferry Park still has its public air-raid shelters – although they are buried under the grass mounds next to the playground!

In the 1950s, rising car ownership saw New Ferry becoming a traffic bottleneck. The New Ferry bypass opened in 1960, starting at the Bolton Road junction but terminating at Thorburn Close. The bypass was extended to the Tranmere roundabout in 1976, after many of the decaying Rock Park villas had been purchased and sadly demolished. The Thorburn Close junction was removed and replaced with the underpass.

By the 1960s, the isolation hospital had closed down. Fearful of catching any of the diseases once treated there, contractors refused to demolish the complex – so, in 1963, the local fire department burnt the hospital to the ground. The site also disappeared under the second phase of Wimpey homes in the early 1990s (Scotia Avenue, Oakworth Drive, Ortega Close, Alvega Close).

In the 1970s, highway engineers recommended that so much traffic was still using New Chester Road rather than the bypass that it should be widened to a dual carriageway.  All the buildings on the eastern side of the road between New Ferry Road and Bolton Road East would have been demolished.  Fortunately, the Council rejected the proposal.

The former bus depot was demolished in the 1980s to be replaced by the new Post Office.

Bebington Road was pedestrianised in 1991. At the same time, Kwik Save (now Somerfield) arrived to demolish some derelict shops along New Chester Road and build their new store. Iceland moved into Kwik Save’s former unit soon afterwards.  

 

Find out more about 2001 to the current day......

 

The Lodge (built in 1904) once guarded the main entrance to New Ferry Park.  Two large gates, one on either side of the lodge, were locked every night and the park patrolled by the park keeper. Today it is a restaurant.

 

The Travellers Rest public house, on New Ferry Road is seen here circa 1915.  The pub closed at the end of the 1990s, and has since been converted into a row of terraced houses.

 

New Ferry open air swimming pool was 330 feet long, 90 feet wide and varied from 3 to 16 feet in depth.  It was filled with water that was pumped from the River Mersey, filtered and cleaned.  It is seen here in the late 1930s shortly after it opened.  If only the Oval pool in Bebington was this big!

 

By the 1920s, the Toll Bar crossroads had become a busy junction.  This view looks across New Chester Road towards New Ferry Road. Note the policeman standing on point duty in the centre of the road to direct traffic! You can also see the bus approaching the junction: the success of buses had put the trams out of business in the previous decade.

 

Beaconsfield Road pictured in the mid 1980s.  The houses were built in the early years of the 20th century by a builder who wanted to create affordable housing for local people.

 

The Port Sunlight annual parade, held regularly during the first half of the 20th century, ended with a fete in New Ferry Park.  This image shows New Ferry residents trying their luck with the hoop-la in 1934.

 

Bebington Road in the late 1940s.  The shop to the immediate left is a newsagents today.  The Methodist Church (with the spire) at the junction with Boundary Road was demolished in the 1960s' the site is now occupied by the Connexions building.

 

New Chester Road in the early 1950s.  To the immediate left is Woolworths (now Heron Foods), whilst to the right, the pub selling Peerless Ales is now a credit shop.

 

The same view as above, although slightly further along New Chester Road in the late 1950s.  Traffic moving between Birkenhead and Chester was often gridlocked here. The buildings to the immediate left still contain shops, but the Lyceum Cinema with its tower (seen behind the double decker bus) has long since gone.  Iceland stands there today.

 

Construction of the first part of the New Ferry By-pass in 1960.  This is the New Ferry Road bridge.  The houses seen in the distance are those in Easton Road.

 

The Wimpey Estate was built on the site of the former swimming baths between 1987 and 1990.  The trees that once offered shelter to protect swimmers from sun-burn were protected from development.