You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ten things the Wirral has loved, lost and would quite like to see back

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 12/06/2021 Lisa Rand

People living in the Wirral are spoilt for choice, with beautiful beaches along miles of coastline, country parks, nature reserves and historic towns dotted throughout the borough.

Yet over the years there are also many Wirral treasures which have been loved and lost, and which some residents might quite like to see back.

We take a look at some of the buildings, facilities and events Wirral has done away with over the years which, if they were to return, could make the 'paradise peninsular' just that bit more of a special place for tourist, visitors and locals alike.

The Wirral Show

Running for 33 years, the Wirral Show, held at New Brighton was an integral part of the childhood of many people growing up in the borough.

The huge two-day event in New Brighton was axed when organisers the Rotary Club of Wallasey and the Wallasey Lions Club pulled out.

It was one of the UK's biggest free-to-enter summer attractions that drew crowds of thousands from all over Merseyside and beyond.

The show was crammed full of rides, stalls and entertainments along the picturesque coastline overlooking the mouth of the River Mersey.

Sadly in 2009, after 33 years, the Wirral Show was cancelled forever after organisers the Rotary Club of Wallasey and the Wallasey Lions Club pulled out.

The event is still remembered fondly by many, with people saying a return of the Wirral show could be a jewel in the crown of the Wirral seaside resorts recent resurgence.

Woodside Railway Station

Birkenhead Woodside Railway Station was a grandiose building, constructed in 1878, which was known as the station built the 'wrong way round.'

A cavernous station, on the Birkenhead side of the River Mersey, it was built as a replacement for Monks Ferry station, which had proved increasingly inadequate, and provided direct rail services from London to Birkenhead, in a prime location for ferries on to Liverpool

Great Western Railway services direct to London Paddington station ended in 1967 and left the Liverpool Lime Street - London Euston service the only direct rail route between the two cities.

With two semi cylindrical roofs covering much of the platforms, the large tracks and central roadway left room for five short platforms, and for most of the stations life, rear entrance was used as the booking hall, while the main entrance was mainly for parcel deliveries, leading to its reputation as being the 'wrong way round.'

SAVE Britain's Heritage described it as "a station of truly baronial proportions and being worthy of any London terminus." Hard to disagree.

New Brighton Tower

The tower at New Brighton was taller than Blackpool's and visible for miles around.

Built around the turn of the 20th century and neglected during World War One, the owners, unable to afford the renovation, fully dismantled the tower by 1921, with the metal from the once proud structure being sold for scrap.

The base remained for some time and was a poplar leisure attraction during New Brighton's heyday, with a ballroom, boating lake, funfair, gardens and sports ground forming part of the site

a close up of a tower: New Brighton's tower © Tark Archive New Brighton's tower

The sports ground was used variously as football pitch, athletics track and even as a motorcycle speedway track, although not at the same time..

The Tower Ballroom itself was a hugely popular live events venue, with many musical performances and dances taking place, including at least 27 separate performances by the Beatles during the early 1960s, making it their most played at UK venue, with the exception of Mathew Street's Cavern Club.

The ballroom's demise came about after a fire in 1969..

Video: Roads Liverpool Drivers Hate The Most (Liverpool Echo)


New Brighton Lido

No list of lost Wirral wonders would be complete without mention of the great New Brighton baths, which used to bring thousands of visitors to the Wirral resort each year.

Since their demolition, after a 1990 storm which wreaked havoc on the seaside town, locals and visitors alike have felt a pool shaped gap in the resort's offering.

a airplane that is flying in the sky: The diving board at New Brighton open air baths © No Agency The diving board at New Brighton open air baths

The New Brighton swimming pool was the largest open air outdoor pool, not just in England but in Europe. On warm days, it was packed with punters.

Despite numerous attempts over the years, New Brighton has never managed to bring back its much loved lido

Hooton Hall

The lost mansion of Hooton Hall was one of the finest houses in the north west, possibly even the country.

Although relatively small in size, its distinctive columns, expansive orangery and large park made it an impressive estate, which could have been a popular visitor attraction had it survived to this day.

Liscard Hall, Wallasey

Situated in Liscard's Central park, the historic mansion of Liscard Hall was demolished after a blaze took hold at the site in July 2008.

Safety fears meant it was earmarked for demolition, despite hopes of saving the Grade-II listed building, after Wirral council said the damage had been so extensive it couldn't be saved.

This historic mansion in Central Park was demolished because of safety fears after being reduced to a pile of rubble in a blaze in July 2008. There were hopes it could be saved but Wirral council said the Grade II- listed building was so badly damaged it had to be torn down.

The mansion had been built in 1835 for Sir John Tobin, who was a one-time Lord Mayor of Liverpool. The mansion had been put on the market by Wirral council just a year before the fire gutted the building.

Birkenhead Market

The original Birkenhead market was 129 years old when it was engulfed in flames in 1969.

In 1974, another fire took hold of the market, at the site of what became the Land Registry building in Birkenhead, a blaze which took 14 engines to bring under control, leaving only the shell of the building.

Traders lost thousands of pounds worth of stock and the market later moved to Claughton Road.

a group of people walking in front of a store: An old photo of Birkenhead market © UGC TMY An old photo of Birkenhead market

Birkenhead Grand Ritz Cinema

The Grand Ritz Cinema was an ornate building at the heart of Birkenhead which had been opened in 1937.

It was damaged by German bombers during the Second World War just three years later, shortly after a public event at the building.

The bomb, which dropped through its roof, killed 10 people and led to more than 100 casualties.

Extensive repairs were later carried out and the building reopened after the war.

In the 1990s it was turned, as was the fate of many former cinemas, into a bingo hall, later being knocked down and becoming an open-air car park.

Wirral's Street Tramway

Wirral was home to Europe’s first street trams, which were horse-drawn and ran from Woodside Ferry to Birkenhead Park.

The concept soon spread to towns and cities across England and into Europe.

According to newspaper reports, the first tram was a single decker. Eventually there were two double deckers and two single deckers.

The depot and stables were at Palm Grove in Oxton, and on August 14, 1901 electric trams commenced – but from a new depot in Laird Street which is now Arriva's Wirral bus depot.

On July 12, 1919 the first Birkenhead Corporation motorbuses began running, and buses gradually replaced trams until the end of the tram operation in July 1937.

Mother Redcap's

One of Wallasey’s oldest landmarks, Mother Redcap’s was known as a tavern, a private residence and a nightclub. The half-timbered building on Egremont Promenade loomed large in local folklore, with tales of buried treasure, secret tunnels and smugglers.

But in a pattern that’s become depressingly familiar over the years, the building fell into ruin, with vandalism and neglect leaving almost every window smashed, along with doors ripped down and the roof falling in.

It was demolished in October 1974, with a nursing home built on the site.


More from Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon