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.
BEACH AND THE DELL
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.
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
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
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
Photos and text submitted by Conway LeGallais White, 1st May 2013
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
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
In the next
photo (below), with most of the crew wearing scarves, my father is the fourth from left on the back row.
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.
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.
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.
This is the
second HMS Indefatigable to be moored in the Mersey and used for
training purposes. She 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.
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?
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
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.
photo, opposite, shows no 14 and 16 Olinda Street, which were condemned
in 1931 and demolished soon afterwards.
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?
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.
SUNLIGHT/NEW FERRY CARNIVAL c.1934
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
St Johns the
Evangelist Church in Bebington Road (right), the
parade of shire horses, children playing hoop-la, enjoying rides and
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.
BOWLING GREEN, NEW FERRY PARK
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!
BOWLING GREEN, NEW FERRY PARK
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
FERRY SWIMMING BATHS
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.
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).
LYCEUM PICTURE HOUSE
Let's have another
quick look at the Lyceum cinema at the junction of New Chester Road and
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
RIALTO PICTURE HOUSE, BEBINGTON ROAD
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.
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.
GROVE STREET SCHOOL PUPILS
Photos submitted by Christine Glover, 13th April 2010
says: "These are old pictures of pupils from Grove Street School which I
have in my collection.
first one, my dad's cousin is on the second row, 3rd from right.
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.
MARKS CHURCH GROUP V
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.
GROVE STREET SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM
Photo submitted by Gordon Hughes, 10th November 2012
"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
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"
SUNLIGHT SCHOOL, CHURCH DRIVE
Photo submitted by Arthur Jones, 1st July 2013
"My parents had 'Watchmaker & Jewellers' business at 132 Bebington
Road, next to the Liberal Club.
name of A.R. Jones, like many children, I attended Port Sunlight 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?"
SHORROCK NEWSAGENTS, 81 NEW FERRY ROAD
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
picture we see Mr Shorrock himself standing in the doorway of his shop.
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.
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."
Some of the
photos on this page are sourced from two excellent books we thoroughly
excellent photographs of the local area, try to find "Around Bebington"
compiled by Pat O'Brien, first published in 1995 by the Chalford
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
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
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.