THE TOLL BAR, NEW CHESTER ROAD/BEBINGTON ROAD (circa 1890)
When the new turnpike road between Birkenhead and Chester was built in the 1840s, one of its toll posts was positioned in New Ferry at the new crossroads created where an existing road from Bebington led to the river.
This is the toll building, where everyone using the road had to pay a toll to pass. A gate was positioned across the road,
JOHN EDGE, BUTCHER, NEW CHESTER ROAD (circa 1880s)
John Edge established his butcher's business close to the Toll Bar crossroads in 1844, and was one of the first businesses to become established in the township of New Ferry which began to grow at this location. The business is still operating today as Edge & Sons, and is so popular that its customers still come from as far as Cheshire to buy the
NEW FERRY TO CHESTER STAGECOACH (circa 1890s)
Until the development of motor engines in the early 20th century, the only means of public transport were steam trains or else, horse drawn stagecoaches like this one pictured at an unknown location somewhere along the A41.
Throughout the 19th century, for most people travelling any great distances, if trains were not available, this was how you trave
NEW FERRY TO CHESTER STAGECOACH (circa 1899)
A closer look at one of the stagecoaches which travelled between New Ferry and Chester. It looks as if the travellers are well dressed for their journey, but conditions could turn quite wet and chilly if the weather turned before they reached their destination.
I have been unable to determine the exact location this was taken, but although the advert pa
THE OLD TRAM SHED, NEW CHESTER ROAD (circa 1890s)
Birkenhead was the first city in Britain to introduce trams, in 1860, shortly before London. Find out more about Birkenhead's trams. New Ferry was as far as Birkenhead's trams came up the A41 towards Chester, and trams terminated here. The young boys in uniform (to the left) may have been employees of the tram company, their job being to change t
BIRKENHEAD TRAM AT NEW FERRY (circa 1890)
Here we see the Wirral Tramways Company car no. 9 outside the New Ferry tram depot. This type of car was known as a turtle back because of the shape of its roof.
Horses were stabled overnight in purpose built stables which once stood where the back entrance to the old Co-op store (now PHAB) stands today - opposite the back entrance to Kesh's Cafe.
ST MARK'S CHURCH, NEW CHESTER ROAD (c. 1880s)
Although we are unsure of the date of this photo (and it seems to pre-date the erection of telephone wires and poles), the church was built in 1866 and was the first church to be built in New Ferry as the township grew rapidly in the late 19th century.
To the left of the church we can see the original Victorian vicarage with its tall chimneys. It stood
WESLEYAN (METHODIST) CHURCH, BEBINGTON ROAD (drawing dated 1896)
The Wesleyan (Methodist) Church was built at the junction of Bebington Road and Boundary Road in 1892, and is seen here in an artist's drawing produced in 1896. The church had very little space around it, so had no graveyard.
The building was demolished in the late 1960s and replaced with a contemporary flat rooved block of shops wh
TOLL BAR CROSSROADS & BEBINGTON ROAD (1899)
Back to the crossroads for a proper look into the top end of Bebington Road just prior to the introduction of the electric trams. The toll bar building on the left had just been replaced by a new building after the tolls were abolished in 1883. It was originally a pub selling North & South Ales, but at the end of the late 20th century it was the HSBC ba
THE PLOUGH VAULTS PUBLIC HOUSE, BEBINGTON ROAD (c.1899)
Many of you are going to wonder where this was. I'm going to surprise you! The building is at the northern end of the terrace where the Cleveland Arms sits.
Originally built as a pub (as seen here in this photo from the 1890s), it was converted to a shop at the turn of the 20th century (see the 1920-1921 page). Perhaps you will remember it
THE WIRRAL HOTEL, BEBINGTON ROAD (c. 1890s)
On the opposite side of the junction with Woodhead Street was (and remains!) another pub .... The Wirral Hotel. Here, it looks far more decorative than it does today, with the arched windows long having been replaced with more boring rectangular ones.
Yet again we can see a circular sign overhanging the street (as is common with the other pubs seen on thi
THE RAILWAY INN, BEBINGTON ROAD (c.1875)
Photo submitted by www.historyofwallasey.co.uk
Clearly looking a little different today, the Railway Inn most probably dates from when the Birkenhead to Chester railway was constructed in the 1840s. This would also have been long before the development of Port Sunlight village started around it.
The front ground floor windows are significantly larger t
THE BEACH AT THE DELL (circa 1896)
The boat on the foreshore belonged to one of the training ships moored in the background and was used to fetch the boys ashore. In 1864, Liverpool shipowner John Clint had set up a charity with the aim of training the sons of sailors, destitute and orphaned boys to become merchant seamen. They boys had a sports field not far away from the Dell, complete with i
THE DELL (circa 1898)
Another view of almost the same shot with the tide in, leaving no beach for the two little boys to play on during their visit. These could be day-trippers who have come over from Liverpool on the ferry, or they may be local residents just out for a stroll along the promenade.
To the right we can see New Ferry's pier and a departing ferry.
NEW FERRY PIER AND TERMINAL (1898)
Opened in 1865, the pier and ferry terminal brought day-trippers over the water from Liverpool's Harrington Dock to enjoy the fresher air and greener spaces that were on this side of the river.
Here we can see the terminal building and its cobbled approach. Most of the cobbles are still in place today, even though the building and pier are now long gone (see t
NEW FERRY PIER AND TERMINAL (1890s)
Another angle of the building, at another year to the shot above (judging by the painting over of the gable end of the terminal building). Here was can see the pier, extending to out into the river.
When steamers were not sailing from New Ferry because of fog, two white lights, attached to tramway standards between New Ferry and St Paul's Church, were switched on
TIMETABLE FOR THE FERRIES (1899)
In 1899, the Birkenhead Corporation built a new ferry station at Rock Ferry. This was partly due to the expansion of Rock Ferry and Tranmere as a settlement, filling in much of the green spaces between New Ferry and Birkenhead. However, they underestimated the impact of the opening of the new railway tunnel underneath the Mersey in 1897 which connected the railway
FLYER/POSTER FOR THE NEW FERRY FERRY SERVICE (1899)
The New Ferry river crossing not only served commuters, but as these numbers dwindled when customers switched to the trains, the ferry company kept promoting the ferries for tourists and, in this case, cyclists by making New Ferry an attractive starting point for leisurely bike rides into the Wirral and Cheshire. Cycling had become an increasing
NEW FERRY PIER AND FERRY TERMINAL (1890s)
A last look - in this decade - at the ferry terminal building in all its glory. We should also marvel at the amount of shipping seen on the river in those days, with steam gradually replacing sail as the means of propulsion.
Outside at the front of the terminal building we can see a set of weighing scales where, for a halfpenny, visitors/commuters could we
NEW FERRY PIER (February 1895)
In February 1895 the River Mersey resembled a vast ice field in one of the coldest winters for many years. Large ice flows had come down from the upper reaches of the river, bringing small icebergs and the river froze - remaining so for a few weeks before the thaw set in. It was said it was possible to walk across the river from Liverpool to the Wirral side.
SHOPS AT NEW FERRY ROAD (circa 1899/1900)
The tourists and day-trippers who arrived at New Ferry by ferry boat found a "mini" tourist resort upon their arrival. Overlooking the pier was this fine terrace of shops which included a post office where visitors could buy postcards and other souvenirs to take home with them.
The shops disappeared many decades ago (see the 1920s page to discover why), and
POSTCARDS FROM NEW FERRY (1890s/early 1900s)
And here are examples of the kind of postcards that might have been sold in the above post office. Every tourist-attracting location had its postcards, and for people today it must be strange to realise that New Ferry was once a desirable place to visit for tourists enjoying a day out.
The first example shows day trippers desperate to catch the last ferr
GREETINGS FROM NEW FERRY (circa 1890s/1900s)
This postcard shows a variety of skillfully drawn black and white illustrations probably copied from photographs depicting scenes from around New Ferry. We can see the pier and the Indefatigable training ship moored out in the river.
The other scenes show residential streets including The Dell. When New Ferry's villas were being built, there were still
NEW FERRY HOTEL, NEW FERRY ROAD (early 1890s)
Directly opposite the ferry terminal stood the New Ferry Hotel. This is the original hotel in the late 1890s when it was already looking very drab and having seen better days. Just a few years after this photo was taken, in 1896, it was replaced by a much grander, more modern late Victorian hotel (see the 1900-1909 page); itself also now long gone.
THE GREAT EASTERN PICNIC HOTEL, NEW FERRY ROAD (1880s)
The Great Eastern Picnic Hotel was built in 1862, just three years before the pier which brought all the day trippers over from Liverpool. It was only by sheer coincidence that it was named after Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great ship, the SS Great Eastern which, in 1888, would end its days on the beach behind the once popular drinking establ
ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP OF PART OF NEW FERRY (1898)
On this extract of the 1898 Ordnance Survey map, there are many interesting features to see.
The New Ferry hotel is seen at the top of the map - but behind it we can see not only the hotel's gardens (with fountains!), but also the FIRST New Ferry Park. The park was located here so that visitors coming by ferry could enjoy it as much as the residents
SCRAPPING THE SS GREAT EASTERN (1888/89)
Launched in 1858, the SS Great Eastern was - at that time - the largest ship in the world. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built on the River Thames in London, she was to have a career taking 4,000 passengers from England to Australia without having to refuel. However, after being damaged in an onboard explosion during her maiden voyage, she end
The shore at New Ferry (known locally as 'The Sloyne' had been used for decades for ship breaking. It was custom to salvage and recycle as much as possible from older ships, so the various fittings were sold off at auction.
One eager buyer was the then owner of the Great Eastern Picnic Hotel who bought some of the ornate wooden panelling from the ship and fitted it to the walls inside his pub, alo
NEW FERRY ISOLATION HOSPITAL (1875-1965)
Until 1875, maritime port cities like Liverpool were vulnerable to infectious tropical diseases brought home by its sailors. Fatal infections such as typhus and cholera could spread like wildfire amongst the local population, so sailors coming home to port who showed signs of illnesses were quarantined and "hospitalised" in old, decommissioned sailing ship
The Liverpool Mercury newspaper of 4th March 1875 reported the following:
“The Health Committee submitted for approval the plans of the proposed Port Sanitary Hospital at Rock Ferry.
"Dr Taylor explained that the building would be of corrugated iron, and would afford accommodation for 24 inmates, besides attendants. The ground, eight acres in extent, would be surrounded by a stone wall nine feet high, and a road 36 yards wide. He had stated on a former occasion, that the cost would be about £3,000; but, owing to the cost of the wall and the road, the engineer now estimated that the cost would be about £5,000.
"The plans were approved.”
Contracts for the construction of the hospital were awarded in February 1876, though the final cost of the hospital, including the keeper’s house and the kitchens not included in the original contract, was £14,137-14-3d.
The hospital opened in 1877, but it was four years before a single patient arrived.
In July 1883, the Birkenhead Medical Officer issued the following instructions in the event of Cholera:
“Should a case of cholera be imported on board ship, a berth remote from other vessels would be found for the infected vessel in waters designated by the Port Sanitary Authority. The vessel would be thoroughly disinfected, and all on board subjected to careful medical examination before being permitted to land. Accommodation for patients from shipboard is provided at the Port Sanitary Hospital, Bebington, and should this become full, the grounds in connection therewith would furnish area space sufficient for several hospital tents.”
On 18th January 1884 the Clarence Reformatory School Ship for Boys, which was moored off New Ferry, was destroyed following an arson attack, the boys were temporarily housed at the Port Sanitary Hospital. This only lasted until 19th July 1884 as the sanitary authority thought the hospital might be needed due to a suspected outbreak of Cholera on the St Dunstan, a ship newly arrived from Marseilles.
In April 1892, the health committee considered the “useless expenditure of money on the Port Sanitary Hospital” as it was costing around £700 a year, it hadn’t had a patient for many years and similar facilities now existed in Liverpool. However the motion to close the hospital was lost by 24 votes to 18.
The costs of running the hospital where proportioned as follows: Liverpool 82.5%, Birkenhead 9.2%, Wallasey 2.5%, Bootle 2.3%, Garston 1.5%, Toxteth Park 1.4% and Lower Bebington 0.5%.
On 26th November 1894, 18 boys were transferred from the Clarence Reformatory School Ship (which had been replaced following the fire) to the hospital, suffering from Smallpox.
To avoid bringing sick patients through the town, the ill sailors could be delivered by rowing boat from their ship directly to the shore, and taken up a wooden flight of steps to the hospital facility.
The hospital was surrounded by a high wall and railings not only to keep the patients "in", but also to keep curious local residents "out" (for their own safety). The brick pier with the stone pier
Nursing staff had to live on-site, in these quaint looking cottages/dormitories photographed circa 1900.
The hospital closed in 1962 and for a few years, adventurous local children dared each other to scale the walls and break in - an activity obviously discouraged by concerned parents who warned of "bogeymen" and "ghosts of dead patients" to scare their children off such activities incase they cau
In the end, the buildings were deliberately burned down by the Fire Department in 1963. The flames could be seen in the sky as far as Runcorn.
Today, the site is covered by the second phase of the Wimpey estate which was built in 1990 (Samaria Avenue / Scotia Avenue / Oakworth Drive).
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