New Ferry is lucky enough to have three football pitches on two of its parks. The largest is at Mayfields, a site with an interesting history.
This green space alongside the bypass, between Graylands Road and Alvega Close was originally a clay pit. Clay was extracted from here for decades for making bricks, and a brick kiln was located in the bottom of the pit. A brickworks once stood on the shoreline where boats could collect bricks to take downriver to Birkenhead and across to Liverpool for building purposes, but the works disappeared in the 1930s when Lord Lever announced he wanted to build his own private dock for ships bringing palm oil to his Port Sunlight soap factory. Brick-making in New Ferry ceased, and silting ponds to deposit silt from the River Dibbin and the new dock further upstream nearer the soap factory were constructed on the river shore and out into the estuary (now the former tip site which has since been turned into Port Sunlight River Park).
In the early years of the 20th century, the owner of the brick-making business fancied himself as a developer. Realising that more people were able to buy their own houses, he decided to build a small “village” of terraced houses next to Port Sunlight village. Although small, these homes were just affordable to those people whose salaries were rising as people began to to become better off. This “Brickfields Village” consists of the houses in Beaconsfield Road, Elmbank Road, Willowbank Road.
By the 1950s, the brick making process had long since ceased, and the “hole” was being used by the Council as a tip for household rubbish. In the hotter summers of the 1960s, local residents remember seeing rats from the tip running around their streets and gardens in the Graylands Road, Mayfields and Shorefields areas, looking for food in bins and in garden sheds.
When tipping had finished, part of the site was levelled and now has two large football pitches on it which are well used during the summer months by teams including New Ferry Rangers. An underpass beneath the bypass (built in 1960) links Mayfields to Beaconsfield Road.
The part of the former clay pit not filled in with rubbish became the site of the water treatment works. The plant was rebuilt in 2001 at a cost of £50 million (along with several identical facilities across the north-west), but later had to have £7 million worth of additional works carried out to reduce the foul smells that were being generated every week when sludge tankers from Birkenhead were discharging their waste into tanks at the plant. You can find out more about the water treatment plant and how it cleans our waste water on an information board near to the fence of the plant inside Port Sunlight River Park.
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