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WIRRAL WATERFRONT The jewel in the crown of England’s North West


Wirral Waterfront The jewel in the crown of England’s North West

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Wirral Waterfront The jewel in the crown of England’s North West Photographs by Guy Woodland

21 EAN 978-1-905547-01-2

ISBN 1-90554701-3

Cities500 International Publishers Vice-President and Publisher: Guy Woodland Editor-in-Chief: Lew Baxter Guy Woodland and Lew Baxter are hereby identified as the authors of this work in accordance with section 77 of the (UK) Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means – either electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors alone, apart from where specified. Proof reading: Judy Tasker Printed and bound: Bookprint SL, Barcelona, Spain Additional photography: page 11, Hal Mullin First published in 2005 by Guy Woodland In association with cities500 as a 21st Century Cities publication and a collaboration with Barge Pole Press 4 Warren Park, Grove Road, Wirral CH45 3HG, UK Tel: + 44 (0) 151 639 0960 e.mail: info@cities500.com – www.cities500.com © cities500 December 2005


Celebratory Partners

The Northwest Regional Development Agency Wirral Borough Council Wirral Waterfront The Ethel Austin Property Group Doorstore (Birkenhead) There Today Couriers bigcheese

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Contents

Dedication Dedication and Acknowledgements – page 7 Forewords The Right Hon The Lord Hunt of Wirral, MBE – page 9 Ben Chapman, MP for Wirral South – page 11 Peter Macready, Chair of Wirral Waterfront – page 13 Introduction The Sparkling Jewels of Wirral’s Waterfronts – page 15 Chapters Parkgate to Thurstaston – page 25 West Kirby to Hilbre Island – page 45 The North Shore – page 67 New Brighton – page 79 New Brighton to Twelve Quays – page 105 Birkenhead – page 131 Birkenhead to Stanlow – page 147 Resumé Books by cities500 – page 176

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Dedication

THERE ARE, of course, many people that I would like to thank for encouraging and supporting this book, which has taken a few years to compile. It is part of a series on waterfronts worldwide that we are working on and I am particularly pleased that this focus on Wirral is one of the first, as I live and work in this wonderful area. From the start the idea was given a huge thumbs up by Howard Mortimer, who runs the special initiatives unit at Wirral Borough Council, Martin Purssell at Wirral Waterfront and by Emma Degg who heads up Wirral Borough Council’s tourism and marketing department. Once again, Peter Mearns, director of marketing at the Northwest Regional Development Agency, proved to be a staunch ally as have also been Andrew Lovelady, Barry Owen and last but not least Peter Wicks. There has also been terrific support from my sons George and Henry, who have spent endless days and weekends over the years walking patiently around Wirral with me as I tried to capture its sometimes elusive magic with my camera. And, finally, I would like to thank Ben Chapman, Lord Hunt and Peter Macready for having the confidence in our abilities and concepts to pen complimentary tributes – without having a clue how the book would finally turn out.

Guy Woodland December 2005

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The Right Hon The Lord Hunt of Wirral, MBE

I WAS PROUD to represent Wirral in the House of Commons for 21 years. Our family home was in Hoylake and my children grew up there. I can think of nowhere better. I made so many friends in Wirral and fought so many battles for so many causes alongside local people that, when I became a member of the House of Lords, there was only one title I wanted – Lord Hunt of Wirral. Wirral – the name derived from Wir-hal, meaning ‘the peninsula’ – is surrounded by water on three sides, which is perhaps what gives it its unique and clearly focused perspective. Those very differing waterfronts certainly help to explain Wirral’s idiosyncratic personality. It is hardly surprising that the convenient positioning, sheer physical attraction and the lush expanse of the Wirral peninsula have combined over time to establish it as one of the tourist hot spots for the whole of the UK. We offer so much. For instance, we can boast the premier golf course in the UK and have hosted the Open. The pace of development in Wirral has surged in recent years, and on many levels. Apart from being a glorious tourism attraction, with few rivals in this country, Wirral’s residential areas offer an unusually high quality of life. It is little wonder that Wirral is sometimes described as the ‘Home Counties of the North of England’! Despite all the visitors, Wirral remains utterly unspoiled. Hilbre island in the Dee estuary is one of our finest bird sanctuaries and our wide open spaces remain wide and open. Despite retaining its charms as an area of outstanding natural beauty, however, Wirral also boasts a cultural and vibrant social scene all its own. I am delighted that this book now puts a fascinating focus on Wirral and highlights the many scenic and cultural glories, as well as relating the fascinating history of this remarkable peninsula and its people. Enjoy the book – and enjoy Wirral!

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Ben Chapman, MP for Wirral South

AS A POLITICIAN people naturally expect me to be forthright and positive about the area I represent, but I can genuinely say that there is no need to embellish Wirral’s very special appeal. It is a peninsula of mixtures – of rural villages alongside model industrial villages; of countryside and coastline; of birdlife estuaries with sites of special scientific interest and high technology manufacturing. It is a haven of rural peace and tranquillity that draws people to visit from all over the UK to enjoy the huge range of wonderful attractions, as well as offering some of the finest residential areas in Britain. In many ways Wirral is closely tied to nearby Chester and perhaps even more so to Liverpool, that great maritime city getting ready to be the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and basking in the glory of newly acquired UNESCO World Heritage status for its own magnificent waterfront. Yet, although sometimes perhaps over-shadowed by its boisterous neighbours, Wirral has an independent and positive attitude forged from a steely resolve to be proud of a long history taking in connections to both the Roman Empire and the Vikings. It always comes as a pleasant surprise when I am travelling around my constituency in south Wirral to discover more fascinating facts and to find places of interest that I hadn’t come across before. For me, Wirral is a constant source of pleasure, wonder and delight. I am pleased that I have made my home here and am especially proud to represent a large part of it as a member of parliament. I hope that others will enjoy the images in this book as much as I enjoy the real thing.

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Peter Macready, Chair of Wirral Waterfront

WHILE LIVERPOOL has been celebrating its Capital of Culture and World Heritage triumphs, a less heralded, but equally important, revolution has been underway on the left bank of the Mersey. Led by the Wirral Waterfront initiative, Wirral’s own river frontage is undergoing massive change through ambitious regeneration projects stretching from New Brighton to Eastham. Wirral’s coastline is steeped in history, from its humble rural beginnings, with no major urban development, even following the foundation of Birkenhead’s Benedictine Priory in 1150. It is incredible to think that in 1801 Wirral’s population was a mere 10,744. Like many British towns and cities, this was changed forever by the rapid industrial growth of the mid-19th century. During this time, William Laird started the construction of the City of the Future, and Wirral achieved many firsts. These included the world’s original public park, the earliest tramway system in Europe, the first successful underwater tunnel in the world and the tallest tower in Britain. The decline of much of Wirral’s traditional industrial base towards the end of the 20th century has created many challenges for those of us charged with regenerating its economy. But, at the same time, Wirral’s rich architectural and industrial legacy has also provided a major foundation for an ongoing and strengthening renaissance. Much remains of our abundant heritage, and part of the remit of the Wirral Waterfront initiative is to promote this to a wide audience. The exceptional images in this book will help us do just that. They will also provide a lasting legacy and reminder of the things we

all hold most dear about this unique and beautiful peninsula.

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The Sparkling Jewels of Wirral’s Waterfronts wild, rocky mountains of north Wales, it is then washed by the turbulent expanse of the Irish Sea, where Hilbre island and other nuggets of scattered outcrops have such ecological importance; and then it juts almost impertinently, even recklessly, into the fast flowing estuary of the river Mersey before sweeping around the inlet and heading upstream. This remarkably appealing slab of land in the north west of England boasts seemingly endless miles of sandy beaches, lovely countryside, woods and heaths that merge almost seamlessly with expansive – and frequently sumptuous – residential areas that are likened to the Home Counties; or border enchanting villages, a handful of towns and a raft of bustling business parks and industrial sites. Wirral can also lay claim to an intriguing folklore that stretches back to the days of the mighty, allconquering Roman Empire and to the Vikings, whose adventurous spark encouraged a far roaming spirit and who could recognise a welcoming coastline when they saw one. These Bluebeards and Bloodaxes were pretty nifty at exploiting opportunities, the pillaging and so on notwithstanding, and their bequest to our age is the long list of Viking inspired place names such as Caldy – meaning cold islands – or Thingwall – meaning assembly field – amongst many others. Latter day industrial and commercial entrepreneurs, too, have found Wirral a convenient and suitable spot, as the likes of Lord Leverhulme have testified, and we can reflect on the once mighty Cammell Laird shipyard and the contemporary revival of the Birkenhead docklands areas at Twelve Quays by the Port of Liverpool, which is now a part of the Peel Holdings transport and property group, and Norse Merchant Ferries who ply their trade between Ireland and Britain.

any of the world’s greatest and iconic cities were settled on waterfronts that are truly awe-inspiring: such grand and exotic locations as Bilbao, Cape Town, Santiago, Singapore or Vancouver. Indeed, we need merely to glance across the river Mersey at the magnificent vista of Liverpool’s memorable Pierhead, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, to grasp the emotional and romantic impact of seaborne rivers and coastal regions. Yet, paradoxically, the only truly panoramic view of that spectacular waterfront is from the Wirral banks of the Mersey. In so many ways Wirral is closely tied to nearby Chester, with its own ancient history linked to the Romans; or to Manchester where the Industrial Revolution became the catalyst for commercial boom and social change: and perhaps even more so to Liverpool, whose fortunes have regularly waxed and waned, and now wax again in the early part of this 21st century; that great maritime city gearing up to wear proudly the mantle of European Capital of Culture in 2008 and basking in a new found prosperity linked to a positive attitude to the challenges of a new era. But, although often in the shadows of these clearly more high profile neighbours, Wirral has an individuality and diversity that bestows on it a certain level of enlightenment emboldened by a feisty spirit. It has a clearly focused perspective of its own identity, perhaps forged by an environment of outstanding beauty surrounded by water on three sides: a geographical distinction and advantage that transforms it into a truly dazzling triad of waterfronts. Those very differing coastal and marine references are surely the key to Wirral’s idiosyncratic moods and personality. Flanked by the monochrome reaches of the wide mouth of the river Dee, that springs from the

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nomically important oil jetties and terminals towards Ellesmere Port and Stanlow. The images meander over and around Fort Perch Lighthouse – once a warning beacon for ships entering the dangerous Mersey Estuary – along a coastal route that takes in the Edwardian treasure of Egremont Promenade to the elegantly fading Victorian seaside town of New Brighton, once rivalling its southern namesake as a holiday destination, and now gradually shaping up to face this new century. Sweeping around the majestic shoreline it takes in Hoylake, home to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club which has hosted the internationally acclaimed Open Championship on its links course, an event that has attracted generations of players and spectators. In fact, Wirral has no less than 14 golf courses and three driving ranges, but it is the Royal Liverpool that is the diamond in the cluster. It has hosted ‘The Open’ 10 times and the Amateur Championship a record 18 times, while the Walker Cup, the Curtis Cup, the European Open and the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship have all been contested on this prestigious and challenging course. And, of course, we couldn’t ignore the exclusive resort of West Kirby, which is cloaked in a gentility that mirrors an earlier, less frenetic, age.

Wirral displays that special sense of awareness that similarly underpins the characteristics of other waterfront conurbations worldwide: its energy and vitality draws people to live, work and visit. However, this book makes no claims to be a concise reference work or a definitive photographic record of Wirral’s delights and glories: more, it is a celebration of its outer boundaries as defined by water. Our visual foray begins, appropriately enough, at Parkgate on the Dee which was once a Roman port of some significance, and that coast and the peninsula in general a Viking haven as explored by Wallaseyborn historian Stephen Harding, a professor at Nottingham University, whose informative book Viking Mersey: Scandinavian Wirral, West Lancashire and Chester was published in 2004, the 1100th anniversary of the first landing of the Vikings in Wirral. In the pages of Wirral Waterfront you can find dramatic reflections of the Wirral banks of the busy river Mersey, through Seacombe and Birkenhead – where the Mersey ferries made globally famous by singer Gerry Marsden, himself a Wirral resident, still plough the waves conveying commuters and tourists alike – and opposite, where huge ocean-going container ships berth in the Port of Liverpool; then switches to the upper stretches of the river to the eco-

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tures became essential to the local economy. Today it is stimulated and influenced by the Wirral Investment Network, a partnership of 50 of the peninsula’s most powerful private and public sector organisations. Its honorary vice president is Ben Chapman, MP for Wirral South and a former head of the government’s Department of Trade and Industry’s North West of England office. He believes that the partnership has

Its popular marine lake and promenade allow strollers and sailors alike to soak in sweeping vistas of the north Wales coast and the distant, misty shadows of the Snowdonia mountain range or the outline of Anglesey. The contrasts in such a relatively confined geographical area are startling, with beautiful countryside and top tourist attractions combining with an industrial and commercial infrastructure that might surprise the occasional visitor; particularly in Ellesmere Port. It is the biggest town in the eastern part of the peninsula, incorporated in the county of Cheshire and with a political frontier that takes in Neston stretching from the Dee across to the Mersey and dissected by the M53 motorway corridor. The town of Ellesmere Port began to grow properly around the middle of the 19th century when commerce flourished thanks to the success of the Shropshire Union Canal, opened in 1795, and then later augmented by the Manchester Ship Canal, opened by Queen Victoria in 1894: a canal system that was once a key artery to the inland waterways uniting other parts of the UK, and which today still handles eight million tonnes a year carried by some 3,000 ships. In the west of the borough can be found the peaceful rural villages of Willaston, Ness and Burton and, of course, Parkgate which was a hugely popular bathing resort in the 18th century, although these days the tide rarely reaches the promenade and the waters of the Dee are merely far-off sparkles of light soundtracked by the shrieks and screeches of seagulls, terns and other birds – the wildlife acknowledged as another of Wirral’s charms. Harking back to the work ethic of the Victorians – and frequently their patrician approach to employees – it was Lever Brothers and Cammell Laird that were the instigators of Wirral’s industrial background, and their port and river-related ven-

played a key role in initiating and supporting a wide range of projects that have brought increased prosperity to Wirral. Its ‘Making A Difference’ awards were sponsored by Unilever, one of the organisation’s founding members more than a dozen years ago.

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There is much about Wirral that might astound those unaware of its legacy. Designed by Joseph Paxton, Birkenhead Park was the first publicly funded park in Britain and is currently Grade 1 listed on the English Heritage Register of Historic Public Parks. Perhaps its real claim to fame, though, is that it was the inspiration for New York’s Central Park and London’s Victoria Park. For those keen to learn more about the historical background then look no further than the best-selling series of books by local publisher, Ian Boumphrey, who for 25 years has been collecting and recording tales and pictures from Wirral’s past; his tally now stands at 47 books with one of his latest Wirral On The Home Front 1939–1945 putting the focus on those turmoil-filled years of the Second World War. Wirral is also home to a fair portion of Britain’s fabled ‘tea industry’ with the famous Typhoo brand now located at Moreton while the futuristic Spaceport visitor centre – that cost £8.6 million – close to the Seacombe ferry terminal is already winning an international reputation. From within its portals it is possible to blast off on an unrivalled ‘virtual’ journey through space: spinning out from Earth to the farthest reaches of the known universe gasping at wormholes, black holes, supernovae and spiral galaxies. While mentioning Wirral’s connections with the USA it is worth noting that it is only the second official American Civil War heritage site outside of America, as recognised by the White House sponsored Civil War Preservation Trust. The other place is Cherbourg. And the Confederate warship CSS Alabama – a ship that became infamous for its role as a blockade buster against Union navy forces – was built in No 4 Dry Dock at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead: many Liverpool and Wirral merchants were supporters of the Confederacy, despite the


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a high level gathering that urged the North West of England region as a whole to take advantage of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture crown in 2008. Held at the Thornton Hall Hotel complex, it was attended by Tourism Minister, Richard Caborn, and Loyd Grossman, OBE, chairman of the board of Culture Northwest – the Cultural Consortium for the North West of England – and chairman of National Museums Liverpool. Other distinguished speakers included Jason Harborrow, chief operating officer of the Liverpool Culture Company; James Berresford, director of tourism for the Northwest Regional Development Agency; Martin King, director of tourism for the Mersey Partnership and Jim Wilkie, Wirral Borough Council’s deputy chief executive and director of planning and economic development. It is impossible to list all of Wirral’s wonderful attractions and this book can only provide you with a cursory glimpse of what is on offer, and largely from a waterfront view, although we have now and then dipped into the hinterland to show other marvellous aspects of an area that is quite rightly regarded as the ‘jewel in the crown of England’s North West’. Wirral Waterfront is one of a critically acclaimed and growing international series of books published by cities500 that puts the spotlight on the world’s city and regional waterfronts. We hope it will reflect the diverse social and geographical conditions that have made the unusual peninsula of Wirral the lively and varied place it is today: it is a tribute to a vibrant and yet dignified corner of Britain that rarely sounds its own trumpet.

official British government stance of the time. And the last formal surrender of the American Civil War (1861–1865) took place aboard the CSS Shenandoah just off Tranmere, some six months after hostilities ended. Wirral is also an integral part of the exciting Mersey Waterfront Regional Park that takes in more than 70 miles of the area’s extensive coastline that incorporates the river Mersey, its estuary and parts of the rivers Dee and Ribble. An ‘Action Plan’ was drawn up by the Mersey Partnership on behalf of the six local authorities that have responsibility for the region. It encompasses major urban and industrial regeneration projects around the Mersey Estuary that from a Wirral perspective takes in tourism honeypots like West Kirby, New Brighton and large swathes of the Wirral coast, and the Wirral waterfront per se, which has a demographic and economic importance all its own. That is being tackled by a regeneration initiative chaired by Peter Macready – who has contributed one of the forewords for this book – which will span an area from New Brighton to Eastham. He believes that the future success of what is tagged the Wirral Waterfront Strategic Investment Area is all about getting the right balance that will not only benefit the business and tourism ventures but the local communities who live close to the waterfront in all its guises. As managing director of the Bromboroughbased McTay Engineering firm, part of the Mowlem Group of Companies, Peter Macready is very much aware of the needs of both. He explains that the idea is to change the face of the waterfront to make it a better place for the people of Wirral as well as enticing visitors and investors. The concept was also the driving force behind a Wirral-based tourism conference – Both Sides of 2008 – that was the brain-child of Ben Chapman,

Lew Baxter

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Parkgate to Thurstaston

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Photograph shows a storm moving in across the river Dee from the coast of Wales, heralding dramatic weather fronts that are regularly influenced by the mountain range of Snowdonia, quite often splitting Wirral in two. Here it is sweeping in from West Kirby to Parkgate. The photograph was taken on Boxing Day. Two minutes later the promenade at Parkgate was lashed by torrential rain but still visitors flocked to this attractive location which was once an important maritime hub for the Roman Empire in Britain. It is famous for ice-cream, shrimps and the broad expanse of scenic views.


Above: looking over towards Shotton on Deeside from the reed-strewn coast of Wirral with a channel marker in the foreground. Right: the silt-laden shore near Parkgate where sailors still tackle the sea on a high tide; some boats sadly have long been abandoned while others are in regular use.

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Above: the view towards the North Hoyle Bank wind farm off the coast of Prestatyn Above: the in view North Wales. towards the Right: NorthanHoyle aerialBank view wind of thefarm mudflats off the and coast marshes of that are a in Prestatyn feature north Wales. of this part Right: of the an aerial Wirralview coastline. of the mudflats and marshes that are a feature of this part of the Wirral coastline. Over page: a sweeping Over of view page: a rape a sweeping field in Pensby view ofthat a rape looks field inland. in Pensby that looks inland.

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Sunset reflecting on the Dee viewed from Thurstaston in Wirral Country Park.


Above: St Bartholomew’s church in Thurstaston and, right, the striking red sandstone that is characteristic of the area. Over page: an aerial view of the church and the surrounding countryside.

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An evocative early evening view across the Dee to the Welsh mountains and the Irish Sea from Thurstaston.


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West Kirby to Hilbre Island

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West Kirby marine lake, looking across to the promenade from the walkway that acts as a boundary to the lake but which is flooded at high tide.


Above and Above andright: right: fun fun and and frolics frolics onon thethe water water at at West West Kirby, Kirbywhich whichregularly regularly hosts several international boating events and is a magnet for weekend weekenedsailors sailors and and surfboard surfboard fans.fans. Previous Previous page: page: an aerial an aerial view of view theofbeached the beached boats boats of theof the West West Kirby Kirby Sailing Sailing Club. Club.

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Horse riding on a winter’s morning on the beach near Red Rocks on the north west tip of Wirral with Hilbre Island as a backdrop. The day was so cold that ice was forming on the edges of the incoming tide that rolls in fast and furious – dangerous for those not aware of its power.


An aerial view of Hilbre Island at low tide. It is a popular destination for walkers and ornithologists as the area is an internationally recognised bird sanctuary. But there are warning signs posted at regular intervals as the incoming tide can be treacherous and can catch the unwary off guard.


Above: golfers strolling the course at the Royal Liverpool in Hoylake. Right: the sweeping vista of the Welsh mountains taken from Red Rocks. In the distance walkers can be seen between Little Eye and Middle Eye, the other small outcrops on the way to Hilbre. Over page: The Royal Liverpool golf course enjoying what looks like its very own Red Arrows aerobatic display from the fabled Royal Air Force team. In fact, they were supporting the Royal Ntional Lifeboat Institution during a fund raising day at Hoylake.

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Previous page: golfers contemplating their shots late afternoon at the Royal Liverpool course in Hoylake. Above and right: golfing is big business in Wirral.

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The North Shore

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Previous page: a panoramic view of Hoylake and Meols. Above and right: stranded boats litter the beach at Meols.

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Previous page: windsurfing on the incoming tide. Previous Above: time page: for aerial a relaxing viewbreak of Wirral’s in North north Wirral coast. Country Above Park. and right: time for a relaxing Right andbreak over page: in North aerialWirral views Country taking inPark. Wallasey and Leasowe golf courses.

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New Brighton

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A view of New Brighton promenade from the broad expanse of sand around the sweep of the bay into the Mersey. Over page: a view of ships sailing into the Port of Liverpool taken from New Brighton promenade.


The lighthouse at New Brighton, once a beacon of warning for ships entering the Mersey Estuary and now often used as a venue for celebrations and even weddings.

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Above: the lighthouse at New Brighton again, and right a photograph of the inside of a giant kite taken during the International Kite Festival and Wirral Show; two events that are highlights of the summer season in Wirral’s attractions calendar.

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Pages 90 to 103: various views of the beach and activities around New Brighton and its promenade, including a shot of the famous QE2 arriving in the Mersey for a visit. From these vantage points magnificent panoramas of the Liverpool waterfront dominate the locale.

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New Brighton to Twelve Quays

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Right: one of the famous Mersey ferries arriving at the terminal at Seacombe which now houses the fabulous Spaceport that is wowing visitors from all over the UK and worldwide. Once the river Mersey was too toxic for fish to thrive, but after a major clean-up fishermen can now be seen lining its banks every day to fill their nets.

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Above: Seacombe Promenade and right: Wallasey Town Hall, but actually shot from the Liverpool side of the river Mersey. The promenade stretches from New Brighton along the former Edwardian splendour of Egremont Promenade to Seacombe.

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Above: the ferry terminal at Seacombe and right: a fabulous view of the famous Liver Building ‘across the water’ taken from outside the Egremont Ferry public house which has been a popular watering hole for Wirral residents and visitors alike for generations; and has even been known to echo to the songs of Paul McCartney who has enjoyed the fine vistas and bonhomie.

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Previous page: the bustling site of the Twelve Quays maritime development in Birkenhead, which is home base for Norse Merchant Ferries and their routes to Ireland, and operated by the Mersey Docks company, now owned by Peel Holdings who also control the Manchester Ship Canal and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.


Aerial shots of the docks complex in Birkenhead and Bidston, with a view of the Door Store, above, and, over page, the QE2 manoeuvring in the river Mersey adjacent to Twelve Quays.

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Above: a view of Bidston Hill from the docksides and, right and over page, views from Bidston Hill looking back to the docks and Liverpool.

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The concrete ribbon of the M53 motorway that bisects the peninsula: it is Wirral’s essential road artery linking to other parts of the North West via the Mersey Tunnels, and south through to Chester, Wales and connecting to the main UK motorway network.


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Birkenhead

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Above and right: views of Liverpool taken from various spots in Birkenhead.

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Above and right: views of Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, which is internationally acknowledged for its elegant Georgian and Victorian houses and renowned for the magnificent Town Hall that dominates the square.

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Above: a further view of Hamilton Square in Birkenhead and, right, the imposing Town Hall clock.

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Above, right and over page: Birkenhead Park, which was designed by Joseph Paxton in 1847. It was built on former swampland and used as the model for New York’s Central Park and London’s Victoria Park.

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Birkenhead to Stanlow

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Above: an aerial view of Birkenhead Priory overlooking a graving dock in the old Cammell Laird shipyard. Right: the Tranmere Oil Terminal.

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Previous page: a view from Cammell Laird looking back to the ferry terminal at Woodside in Birkenhead. Right: the old Cammell Laird shipyard.

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Above: a view of the Tranmere Oil Terminal taken from Woodside and right: a tanker unloading at the terminal.

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Previous page: a seaborne view of Rock Ferry, once the home to ships’ captains and mariners. Above and right: the imposing war memorial in Port Sunlight. Over page: the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight village.

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Above and right: atmospheric views of the Lever Causeway at dawn.

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Previous page, above and right: views of the regenerated canal system in Ellesmere Port, taking in the Boat Museum and the sumptuous Holiday Inn which enjoys fabulous views of the waterways.

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Previous page, above and right: the lock entrance for the Manchester Ship Canal at Eastham: it is a popular tourist destination and yet is still a working area serving the canal.

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Previous page and here: views of the Manchester Ship Canal looking towards Stanlow taken at different times; one showing the glistening, shimmering lights of the oil refineries at night – a complete contrast to the laid back, genteel images of Parkgate, where we began our journey.


Liverpool (UNESCO) – World Heritage City When UNESCO conferred World Heritage status on the UK maritime city of Liverpool in the summer of 2004, cities500 rushed to publish a special photo essay book to celebrate the event, all within 48 hours of the announcement made in the Chinese city of Suzhou. It was a remarkable achievement that was supported by Liverpool City Council, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and a raft of other prestigious organisations.

The Friendship Arch – A Celebration of Shanghai & Liverpool Shanghai is one of the most dynamic cities in Asia as our lavish photo-essay book shows; and Liverpool, its sister city, one of the great cities of the world. This wonderfully illustrated, bilingual (English and Chinese) book tells the story – with fabulous photographs and insightful essays – behind the construction of the awe-inspiring Shanghai Arch in Liverpool, rated as one of the most fascinating architectural and tourism icons in Britain.

Waterfront – World Heritage City The British maritime city of Liverpool is currently European Capital of Culture in waiting for 2008. Its majestic waterfront is arguably its most evocative scenic site, while its iconic and equally famous Liver Birds are almost a legend to seafarers, travellers and millions of emigrants to ‘new worlds’ across the globe. This finely detailed photographic essay book is devoted to that glorious river frontage, capturing all the changing moods and shapes that make it easily and instantly recognisable anywhere in the world. Urban Reflections This is an exciting internationally focused book that puts the focus on the world’s changing urban landscapes in the 21st century. World renowned photographers Elliott Landy from New York, Douglas Kirkland from Los Angeles and Carl De Keyzer from Magnum are featured with nearly 50 photo-journalists from across Europe, Africa and the Middle East in this landmark cities500 publishing project that is a collaboration with the internationally acclaimed Hewlett-Packard. For further details of our book list and future projects visit the website: www.cities500.com

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Wirral Waterfront  

Wirral Waterfront: The jewel in the crown of England's North West. Wirral is a fascinating and unique place and its people are renowned for...

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