A Local History eBook of the Wirral Peninsula
I have had an interest in Local History since being at Withensfield Secondary School (Manor Road) in Wallasey, and can remember my history teacher, Mr W Brahma, telling my class about Mother Redcap and how she mislead the Customs and Excise men, about the local smugglers and their ill-gotten gains. I also remember going on a school trip around Leasowe and Moreton, seeing the quarries in the Lingham Lane area that supplied Barker and Jones Limited with the clay to make their bricks. This trip and the subsequent class discussions sewed the seeds of my interest in Local History. Ever since then, I have always tried to discover information about the area where we live as well as buying the latest books on the subject.
Whilst still at school I was interested in cine photography (the predecessor of today’s video photography) and when my cinematographic skills were sufficiently developed, I made a short documentary film entitled “Briquette”. This was the story of a brick from when the clay was scraped out of the quarry by bucket excavators and taken to the brickworks by narrow gauge railway to when the finished article was loaded onto pallets to be delivered to their destination. The locations were the ones that I visited on the school trip mentioned previously and the Barker and Jones brickyard that once stood were Hayes Drive off Leasowe Road is today. Unfortunately, the film, as well as the quarries is no longer in existence but the commentary is included in Chapter Six… Lingham Lane, Leasowe, which documents a trip along Wallasey’s last country lane.
In more recent times, when I started making Audio/Visual Presentations, one of my first subjects was to document the boundaries of Wallasey. This presentation was entitled "Wealas Eye" which eventually grew into another presentation which shares it’s title with that of this book… “Wyre Heal”, and documents the boundaries of the Wirral Peninsula. Going to an evening Christmas Carol Concert at Birkenhead Priory stimulated me into visiting the Priory during daylight with my camera and I subsequently, made a presentation about it. I have since added more presentations to my portfolio, namely "Wind of Change" documenting Wallasey and Birkenhead Docks, "Seasons in Central Park" illustrating Wallasey’s Central Park and "Hilbre - The Cheshire Islands". The commentary for these presentations formed the basis of the text for the relevant chapters of this eBook.
We are very fortunate to live on the Wirral Peninsula. It has such a diversity within it’s boundaries, from the industrial shores of the Mersey to the rural locations found on the Dee. There is also a diversity to be found in it’s history. No single book can lay claim to being the definitive Local History book about this area and “Wyre Heal” does not claim to be definitive. I have concentrated on the geographical and “solid” history of certain areas and have purposely refrained from the social aspects of the subject, as there are other publications that deal with these aspects in great detail.
By it's very nature, history is an on-going subject… as today’s happenings are tomorrow’s history. Local History has a special fascination as it concerns happenings and places that have had a direct effect on our day-to-day lives as well as the geography of where we live and work. It is ever changing, and bearing this in mind, I wonder what happenings or developments in our immediate surroundings will come next? Rest assured I, and people like me will be there with our notebooks and cameras to document these developments and to satisfy the curiosity of future generations interested in local history.
I will apologize in advance for any mistakes or inaccuracies that have may have crept into the text, maps or photographs within this eBook.
Cyril J Wood
e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
First of all I would like to thank my wife Ange for encouraging me in yet another project, Mr Brahma... the teacher who introduced me to Local History at Secondary School and sewed the seed for what has become a life-long interest. Noël Smith (a long-standing friend of the Wood Family) for writing "Almost and Island" and "Sandstone and Mortar", Ian and Marilyn Boumphrey for producing their wonderful series of pictorial local history books "Yesterday's Wirral" which have always been an inspiration to me, Mary Ward, Joy Hockey and Wallasey Historical Society for their additional encouragement. Over the years as well as taking photographs of the Wirral I have also collected many photographs of the Wirral, most of which are unaccredited. I would like to thank and acknowledge the work of those anonymous photographers for capturing the various locations for prosperity.
Sunset at West Kirby
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Updated - 24-09-09