NEW FERRY'S BIG FREEZE January 2010
Text and photos submitted by Mark Anthony Craig, 6th January 2010
"2010 is just days old, and the country is gripped in an arctic chill the kind of which was last seen in the winter of 1981/2. As in common with most other parts of the UK, although the snow may only have been 3 or 4 inches deep, the local Council has struggled to find enough grit and can only clear essential roads. As daytime freezing temperatures plunge to minus 10 degrees celsius and more at night, this compacted snow has become a lethally dangerous layer of ice covering roads and pavements alike. These photos were taken as I walked to work at 8am on the morning of 6th January, the day after the rush-hour hell of Tuesday 5th January which will go down in history as the day the big freeze descended, the snow came and workers struggled to drive home, journeys taking 4 hours instead of 10 minutes, on roads that became skating rinks, cars mounted kerbs and crashed into lamp-posts."
The photos below show Merseybank Road, Napier Road, Bebington Road and New Ferry Park.
DEMOLITION OF THE GREAT EASTERN PUB 25 June 2010
Photos submitted by Martin Morrow
A crime against the community was committed on 25 June 2010 when housing developer Worksharp EcoHomes of Southport demolished the historic Great Eastern pub. Although Wirral Borough Council Planning Committee had met on 1st June and deferred making its decision whether to approve the proposals for 10 new semi-detached houses until 6th July, the developer had turned some members of the community against this landmark building by deliberately opening it up for vandals to hasten its demise. A gang of arsonists were fought off by local residents Mark Anthony Craig, his daughter Laura, and a community police officer who arrived very quickly after Mark dialled 999. The gang eventually left, and later in the evening the Council sent in a team to board up the building again.
In order to give the planning committee a nudge, the developer had the former pub demolished during the June heatwave just 1 week before the committee were to have a site visit to see the pub for themselves. 148 years of history were snuffed out by the short-sightedness and monetary greed of a developer seeking to make a quick profit out of destroying one of our community's historic landmark assets.
It seems that the mistakes of the demolitions carried out during the 1960s and 1970s have not been learned. Landmark buildings give a community its identity, not endless rows of bland cheap domestic architecture. Without landmarks, communities such as New Ferry become as anonymous as a suburb of Telford. Those who allowed this crime to be committed should hang their heads in shame.
NEW FERRY EXPLOSION, 25 March 2017
This flat rooved building was constructed in the 1960's after the Methodist Church which stood here before it had been demolished. In the 2000's it was occupied by the Job Centre and then Connexions which offered support to young people looking for work.
After being empty for 5 years, Pascal Blasio opened his ill-fated furniture store, 'Homes in Style' in August 2016. In March 2017, with his business failing, he quietly emptied the store a few days earlier, and on Saturday 25th March he switched on the gas at 6pm with an electric fire left switched on.
At 9.15pm on the evening of Saturday 25th March 2017 - the night before Mother's Day - a massive explosion tore the heart out of New Ferry's district centre. The blast demolished a whole block of buildings that included the Homes In Style furniture store, the PHAB Charity Shop, Co-op Funeralcare, and the dance studio where Complete Works called home. 81 people were injured, many of them eating inside Lan's House Restaurant on the other side of Bebington Road; whilst 21 year old Lewis Jones suffered major life-changing injuries when the side wall of the furniture store collapsed on top of him as he waited for a bus. Bricks from the demolished buildings rained down on the communities of New Ferry and Port Sunlight.
In total, some 65 properties were either demolished or so badly damaged that many people had to leave their homes and find temporary accommodation - in some cases for over two years whilst their homes were rebuilt. Over 100 others suffered varying degrees of damage including bricks through tiled rooves, cracked windows and paintwork. The explosion was the largest on Merseyside since World War 2, and was reported not only on national news outlets, but also abroad in other countries across the world.
In October 2019, Pascal Blasio who ran Homes in Style, was found guilty of having caused the explosion in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim. His business was failing and he was desperate to raise cash. He was sentenced to 20 years.
Pascal Blasio opened his furniture store "Homes in Style" in the former Connexions building in 2016.
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