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The New Ferry Summer Community Event was held in July 2014.  See the 2010s page.


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You can also see Miss Johnson's class of 1937-18 at Port Sunlight Church Drive School. See the 1930s page.


You can read the e-book about the Bromborough Ju88 incident in 1940.






Let's start our look at New Ferry in the 1930s at the place where generations of its children have played - the Dell, or as it sometimes known - the Gap. In the first half of the 20th century, the beach sand was always clean and the water fairly free of pollution (the children in the photo are building sandcastles). Today, the beach is more mud and broken bricks.  During WWII, a pill-box was built to the left, but demolished in the late 1970s.  The training ship in the river is the Conway.



This view is looking the other way.  The Dell was like a small valley, which probably once had a small tributary or stream that flowed into the Mersey.  Until WWII, there were two large villas on the right, but these were destroyed during a Luftwaffe bombing raid.  The Dell Cottage was the home of the gate-keeper who guarded the gates to one of the private housing estates next to it.  The cottage was demolished in the 1960s and replaced with the bungalow that stands there today.


HMS CONWAY  c.1930s 

HMS Conway was a naval training school or "school ship", founded in 1859 and housed for most of its life aboard this 19th-century wooden battleship. The ship was moored on the Mersey for over 70 years from 1894, but when bombing of Liverpool began in 1941 she was moved to the Menai Straits for safety reasons. While being towed back to Birkenhead for a refit in 1953, she ran aground and was wrecked, and later destroyed by a devastating fire.  The school moved to purpose-built premises on Anglesey where it continued for another twenty years.  In the two photos below, we can take a closer look at HMS Conway in her days on the Mersey off New Ferry, and the "Conway boys" onboard the ship itself probably in the 1920s or 30s.  How smart the boys look in their uniforms.


HMS CONWAY  1933     

Photos and text submitted by Conway LeGallais White, 1st May 2013

These photos are of my father, Richard White. He was born in St Helier, Jersey on 1st July 1915. All these photos from his collection date from 1933 when he was around 17 or 18 and was being trained aboard HMS Conway as a Merchant Marine. The photos were all taken on the River Mersey where HMS Conway was permanently moored.

In the first photo on the deck of the Conway, my father is on the right.

The photo of the crew rowing is "Gig's crew at practice". My father is 2nd from the left.

In the next photo (below), with most of the crew wearing scarves, my father is the fourth from left on the back row.

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Upon leaving the Conway he joined the Merchant Navy and travelled the world until arriving in Trinidad, British West Indies where he left the ships and got married. My mother was Venezuelan.

During World War 2 my father learned to fly. He wanted to stay in the RAF, but they said they had too many pilots after the war - so he got a job working as an airline pilot for British West Indian Airways during which time I was born. We moved to Venezuela in July 1952 and the rest of our family still lives here. Unfortunately, my father was "car-jacked" and murdered in Caracas in January 1970 at the age of 54.

I wasn't named Conway after the training ship - it was by pure coincidence. My father wanted to call me Helier, but my mother put her foot down. I was named Conway after my great-grandmother's surname.

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This is the second HMS Indefatigable to be moored in the Mersey and used for training purposesShe was originally built in Glasgow and completed in 1886 - but named the Phaėton.  Following service with the Royal Navy, she was decomissioned in 1913 and was purchased for £15,000 by the charity founded by John Clint.  She arrived on the Mersey on 15th January 1914, having been renamed as the replacement for the previous ship which had been condemned and scrapped.  She stayed here until 1941 when she was moved to the Menai Straits off Anglesey for safety reasons, but was shortly afterwards requisitioned back into the Royal Navy to serve as an accommodation hulk at Gourock throughout WWII.  She was eventually scrapped in Preston in 1947.
Read more about this ship on Wikipedia.


NEW FERRY ROAD  c.1930s 

Let's make our way up New Ferry Road, but taking a glimpse back towards the New Ferry Hotel which has lost its rounded tower seen in the previous decades.  What happened to it?  Damaged in a storm, perhaps?

Interestingly, there is another shop on the right (long since gone).  It seems to be a hardware store, selling Sunlight Soap.  Well really, would it have sold any other brand?


NEW FERRY ROAD  c.1930s 

Another camera shot, a little further back along the road.  Notice the large trees which once stood in the gardens between the houses, whilst the homeowner on the left has allowed nature to run riot and clad their house in ivy.



Photos submitted by Christine Glover, 20th October 2009

Unlike the grand villas at Rock Park and the area of New Ferry nearest to the river, there were clusters of small terraced housing grouped around the centre of New Ferry in which the poorest people lived. 

Small back streets and alleys were found off Woodhead Street, and also off Grove Street and - as seen in these photos - around the Olinda Street area. 

The upper photo, opposite, shows no 14 and 16 Olinda Street, which were condemned in 1931 and demolished soon afterwards.

The lower pictures show a back yard area of the properties in Olinda Street.  The old lady is a Mrs Barton.  Can anyone tell us any more about her?  Or the children in the upper photo?

Today, Olinda Street has mostly been cleared and has a large oval shaped roundabout for delivery lorries to reach the back of Heron Foods, Sayers, Ethel Austins, etc.



A series of screen shots taken from some blurry home cine film of the annual Port Sunlight Carnival.  Decorated floats and parades started off in Port Sunlight village, weaved their way through the streets and finished up in New Ferry Park where there was a fun fair.  See the floats passing St Johns the Evangelist Church in Bebington Road (right), the parade of shire horses, children playing hoop-la, enjoying rides and playing football.


The above images were captured from a video (now on DVD) called "Wirral - Memories of the 1920s and 1930s" available from Pleasures Past.  You can see the part of it featuring New Ferry below.


Once upon a time, New Ferry Park had a lush, tenderly manicured bowling green. It had banked sides with benches around it, and a pavilion with roses growing all over it.  Also in the park there was a garden for the blind, with highly-scented flowers and braille name plates next to them.  Sadly .... these are all gone!



Let's go through the gate and take a closer look at the green itself.  We can also see how much care and attention the gardeners gave to growing plants amongst rockeries in the park, and how they have created a crude wooden arch and grown a climbing plant over it.  Such a feature wouldn't last five minutes in today's "vandals rule ok" culture.  Everything in this photo epitomises what New Ferry Park has lost over the years. 



Also long gone is New Ferry Swimming Baths.  This superb 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. Bathers sat on their towels under the nearby trees to protect themselves from too much sun inbetween dips.  If only the overcrowded Oval pool in Bebington which replaced it was this big!  The Wimpey estate now stands on the site.



And we cannot finish off this decade without at least one view of New Chester Road.  The street to the right is Winstanley Road.  For many years, the shop on the corner was the Co-op.  All these buildings, on both sides of the road, are still with us today (as far as Co-op on the distant left).



Let's have another quick look at the Lyceum cinema at the junction of New Chester Road and Grove Street.  Old style cinemas like this were often known locally as "the flea pit" because in those days, when some people did not keep themselves clean and could potentially have fleas, it was thought there was the possibility that fleas and their eggs could be left in the fibres of the cinemas seats which other poor unfortunate cleaner victims could sit in and go home with.  However, this was more myth and rumour, as - in fact - old fashioned cinemas such as this were kept fairly clean and respectable.



Unlike today where we have complexes like the Odeon multi-screen cinema in Bromborough, each picture house in New Ferry had just one screen.  Having said that, New Ferry residents were spoilt in having four picture houses at one time. 

The Rialto opened in July 1933.  At that time, it was one of the most up-to-date cinemas in Wirral that people came from near and far to queue for seats.  This continued for most nights through the 1940s and 1950s.  During WWII, the building operated as the recruiting centre for the local Home Guard.


In 1961, the Rialto showed its last film and closed down.  It spent the next 30 years in various other uses such as a furniture store and a snooker club, but was finally demolished in early 2002 to make way for the new Aldi store.


Photos submitted by Christine Glover, 13th April 2010

Christine says: "These are old pictures of pupils from Grove Street School which I have in my collection. 

"In the first one, my dad's cousin is on the second row, 3rd from right.

"In the second picture which has child holding blackboard saying ''infants class 1'' -  this would be in the 1930s and my dad - Ted Glover - is second row from the back, 4th from the left.




We are intrigued by this photo which shows "St Marks Church Group V".  Andy Greenhough, the current vicar of St Marks, has no idea what this group was.  If anyone remembers, please let us know.



Photo submitted by Gordon Hughes, 10th November 2012

Gordon says: "My family moved to New Ferry in 1931 when I was 5 years old. I am now in my 86th year but can still recall the names of some of the teachers at Grove St School, Mrs McCormack, Miss King, Mrs Harper, Mrs Norman and the headmaster Mr Newitt.  Mr Delamere was the caretaker. I can remember, among many other things, him giving us a demo on the use of a fire extinguisher in the school yard.

"I lived in the New Ferry Park Lodge until 1943. Hopefully some of my contemporaries are still around who can remember the times spent in the Park as it was always called back then.

"For the past 55 years I have been living in Canada with my wife and family.

"This photo is of Grove Street's football team in 1937-8.  Team Members standing L to R are: Frank Merrick, Kenneth Jonas, Kenneth Williams, Mr McAvoy, Gordon Wilson, Geoffrey Davies, Leslie Ormerod.  Sitting L to R are: ? Roberts (?), George Carrington, Stanley Ashton, Matthew Baldwin, and myself - Gordon Hughes"

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Photo submitted by Arthur Jones, 1st July 2013

Arthur says: "My parents had 'Watchmaker & Jewellers' business at 132 Bebington Road, next to the Liberal Club.

Under the name of A.R. Jones, like many children, I attended Port Sunlight School, Church Drive.

This school photo was taken 1937-38.  I am back row far right. I have included a rough list of remembered fellow pupils. The class teacher was a Miss Johnson.  Does anyone else recognise themselves?"


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Many older residents will remember Shorrocks newsagents on New Ferry Road, close to Tam's Fish & Chip Shop at the junction of New Ferry Road and Ingleby Road. 

In this picture we see Mr Shorrock himself standing in the doorway of his shop.

The newspaper bill boards help us to date this photograph to November 1939, just as World War 2 was starting.  "Deutschland sank the Rawalpindi - full story" refers to one of the first naval battles of the war when the British armed merchant cruiser Rawalpindi was sunk by the German "pocket battleship" Deutschland and another German warship south-east of Iceland. The Rawalpindi fought against overwhelming odds until, her guns silenced and ablaze almost from stem to stern, she went down with her colours flying.  Only 17 from her crew of 300 survived.

New Ferry resident Christine Glover says about her childhood and later: "we would go there to get newspapers, sweets, bundles of wood for the fire and fire lighters.  When the Beatles were at the height of their fame they had a magazine called ''Beatles monthly'' which Mr Shorrock used to order for me."


See New Ferry in the 1940s...    

Picture Sources:

Some of the photos on this page are sourced from two excellent books we thoroughly recommend:

  • For more excellent photographs of the local area, try to find "Around Bebington" compiled by Pat O'Brien, first published in 1995 by the Chalford Publishing Company.  ISBN 0752401211     I think this may have been republished in 2005 by Nonsuch Publishing Company with a new ISBN 1845881303.  You can buy copies of this book on eBay or on

  • More difficult to find as it has long been out of print is "Old Bebington - A Portrait in Old Picture Postcards" by the late Dave Mitchelson.    It was published by S.B. Publications in 1991.  ISBN 1870708733

If the current copyright owners of these books object to their photos being used on this website, please contact us and we will remove them.  However, if they have websites where current versions of the books can be ordered online, please let us have those details as there are many people here who would love to buy these books.


To have your photos and stories posted on this page, please send them to