WALRUS 80

Mayor & Mayoress of Wirral

Pat & Elaine Hackett with Sir David Attenborough,

 

Mayor & Mayoress of Wirral –
Cllr Pat Hackett & Mrs Elaine Hackett – 2016 – 2017

It has been an eventful year to date and a thoroughly enjoyable one since we were appointed last May. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have met so many great organisations and individuals all doing amazing things. We thank you all for your hospitality and warm welcome.

Pat & Elaine Hackett with the new Star Wars Darth Vader actor Spencer Wilding.

We have seen the best of the Wirral in so many ways, whether it’s the excellent work of pupils in our schools helping and supporting asylum seekers, befriending an elderly person, helping them with their shopping or transforming their garden. We also see this exemplified through the Wirral Civic Award scheme for younger people which was launched in 1981 following a visit to the borough by the Duke of Edinburgh and the great work of Brenda Thompson.

We have seen young people from the National Citizen Service (NCS) helping to improve the quality of life for those Pat & Elaine Hackett with the new with complex needs or giving a plot of land a makeover to bring it back into community use. We have witnessed the role of our churches connecting up with the surrounding area and working with partners, making the church the hub of community activity, with lunch clubs, OAP and befriending services, street pastors, homeless shelters and asylum support. We
have visited and witnessed the amazing work of the Wirral’s Multi Cultural Organisation helping and supporting our ethnic communities. Our armed forces cadets giving young people the skills and knowledge to use in later life. It has been wonderful to see the great work of the Rotary and Lions clubs raising money for worthy causes and those less fortunate in society. The community spirit and learning opportunities for young people and their families belonging to the scout and guides clubs across the borough, and so many more that we have attended since last May and during our time as deputies.

We have attended fetes, opened businesses, took part in tug of war competitions both inside the council chamber and at a summer fete in Mayer Park in Bebington acting as the anchor and hurting my back in the process. We have had the privilege of meeting the Queen and Prince Philip in person, and at the other end of the scale meeting volunteers at the Charles Thompson Mission in Birkenhead carrying out great work on behalf of the homeless. We met a lady aged 105 years of age who was truly amazing, and we have visited the neonatal unit at Arrowe Park to witness the unbelievable work of our doctors and nurses. We met the great Sir David Attenborough as he launched the keel for the new Artic Explorer ship named after him at a ceremony in Cammell Lairds.

One of our regular duties is the Citizenship Ceremonies that welcome people from all over the world to our borough as new British Citizens each month, and is held at Birkenhead Town Hall. This is a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all concerned.

It never ceases to amaze the Mayoress and I as we travel across Wirral, it is truly inspirational to see organisations and individuals bringing communities together. Somebody once said there is no sense of community without caring and Wirral certainly proves to us that we have it in abundance.

Our two charities this year are the Wallasey Sea Cadets and the Wirral Narrowboat Trust, and we have a general fund for those charities with a low profile that struggle to raise funds.

Gravestock Trophy

TS Astute, Wallasey sea cadets has continued to progress higher and higher within the
sea cadets. After recently been given the prestigious honour of the Freedom of the
borough by the Metropolitan of Wirral borough council. We then had the honour to
parade alongside our affiliated ship HMS Astute and her ships company. The unit then
agreed just fourteen months ago to open a junior cadet section and as such it has
become the newest section in the Northwest area.

Now in their short running they’ve been enormously successful, both securing the
nomination for their district (Merseyside West), which has finally lead to the awarding
of the Gravestock award as the best junior section in the North west but also the honour
and privilege to be nominated for the national award “The Cleverly shield”. It is the first
time, in which the Gravestock trophy has been won by a unit in their first year of
operations which makes this award even more prestigious and graciously appreciated
by the unit.

PO J Williams (SCC) & PO M Kinealy (SCC) Wallasey’s junior cadet officers in charge
have said. “For us as such a young section to be placed amongst some of the best on a
national level so soon is such and honour and a privilege. We’ve strived to make this
section a success and with the backing and support from both Merseyside West District
and also the North West Area staff we’ve made that possible. We’ve now doubled the
number of parading cadets in a year and are already now working on plans for further
expansion, so we can continue to offer the same fantastic opportunities to the young
people of New Brighton and Wallasey for generations to come”.

Vale House Community Centre

Vale House Café is open daily 10:30 till 4:00 weekdays and 10:00 till 4:00 weekends until Easter. Then as usual we will be open to 5:00 every day.

As spring is springing we are producing lovely new daily specials as well as the ever popular breakfasts and snacks. We aim to source as much as we can locally in addition
to supporting Fare Share Wirral who distribute surplus food to charities and community groups.

Ian, our Director remarked, thre has been an amazing increase in popularity of our hot chocolate and scrumptious cakes over the winter months. Thanks to our wonderful
baker, Amanda at the Popperie.

Private party bookings are filling the diary and each one is individually discussed and arranged to suit your event. Call 0151 638 2666 for details.

Our Afternoon Teas remain ever so popular at £8.50 each, or two for £15.00. If you book in advance you can pre-order your favourite sandwich fillings and cake varieties
and pay a little more to have the table and chairs dressed for a more special occasion.

Our famous Lunch Club has been popular for many years, partly funded and monitored by the council annually. However, due to a change in their focus this facility
will be closing at the end of March. However, with effect from beginning of April we will be launching an independent new Lunch Club serving three course hot meals at
noon on Mondays and Fridays. Gloria will be managing this service and looks forward to welcoming current and new members for good food and friendship.

Other events will be advertised across social media. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ ValeHouseCafe

Vale Kids is our pre-school playgroup in their own well equipped room in Vale House. On fine mornings the children can be seen playing safely in the enclosed Bandstand
area of the park. Currently there are just one or two spaces available for children age 2- 4. Meeting weekdays, term time only 9:15-12:15, we charge £8.50 a session. Please
call Louise on 0151 639 1386 to reserve a place.

WN Mag has voted Vale Park’s Christmas display and The Black Pearl’s nativity the best Christmas display in Wallasey. Pirates Major and Sue created a mythical
Stagasaurus and helped the fairies decorate their dwellings while Frank and Bev created a magical nativity and driftwood santa. We were pleased to see so many visitor
to the park and boat even on cold, wet winter days. The fairy Gardner and pirates have great plans for 2017 and would like to thank you all for all your support.

Come play with the fairies in the fairy vale…

Come play with the fairies in the fairy vale…
Ride upon a Unicorn…
Get up to mischief with the naughty Trolls…
And maybe, just maybe, very soon you will be able to meet
the Gruffalo’s wife, hug and eat waffles with ‘donkey’ and
take a magical ride on his back to a fantasy world.
“Well now that we have seen each other, said the unicorn to
the fairy, if you believe in me I will believe in you”

New Brighton Primary school

MIND MATTERS: Our Head Boy and Head Girl presented the cheque for £525 to Wirral MIND.

Purple parade is a winner

RAISING awareness of mental health has been one of the most pleasing issues in 2016, and we got involved by celebrating World Mental Health Day with a purple parade
F.A.C.T’s Emma Pennington, who worked hard to organise the whole thing, said: “The whole school got involved and it was a fantastic day. We raised an amazing £525,
which was presented to Wirral MIND by our Head Boy and Head Girl. A huge thank you to everybody for purchasing awareness ribbons, donating money and promoting awareness for positive mental well being.”

If you would like to talk to anyone about any Mental Health issues, ring Wirral MIND on 0151 512 2200.

Do you remember the Waltons?

It is just over a year since we moved and we have been as busy as ever ! We have settled into our
new home brilliantly and we love everything about living here. It is amazing to be so close to the
river, Vale Park and to be a short walk from all the fantastic facilities in New Brighton. The whole
family love the area. My sister, Ali, loves it so much she recently moved from Neston to a house a
few minutes walk away from us ! Graham has spent the last few weeks decorating for her ! So much
for retirement !

I cannot believe the ‘girls’ are now thirty three years old ! They are all fit and healthy and always
passing through ! We did think that we were ‘alone at last’! but cannot remember when it was just a
meal for two ! Here is a bit of an update ;

Hannah is teaching in a local primary school and enjoying the challenges that brings. She has
bought and moved into a house not far away from us. Graham spent five weeks on and off
decorating there !

Luci and Kav have been in their house for two years now and still love it just as much as they did and
she is still enjoying her Cabin Crew job, mostly doing long haul. Best job in the world !
Ruth married Rob in May 2015 and on 12th May last year baby Olivia was born. She is adorable
and of course being spoilt by everyone, not least of all her older brother, Daniel and older sister,
Lauren.

Sarah and Kieran are wonderful parents and Jorgie is just gorgeous. She celebrated her second
Birthday on October 7th ! She is doing really well and getting slowly used to her time in Nursery
School.

Kate is very happy in her apartment, loving work at the University and loving life and having plenty
of holidays.

Jen is living in Leeds with Matt and they are now working together. They have very long days, early
starts and late finishes. They come to visit very often.

Graham and I are as busy as ever, although I have now been retired for just over two years, I still do
not seem to have any free time. We are very ‘hands on’ with the baby minding and loving it.
Graham is supposed to be retired as well but there always seems to be some family decorating to do.
Graham is still doing the after dinner speaking, my book ‘Six Little Miracles’ has been a success and
the feedback has been great, It is still available on Amazon, take a look at the reviews !

Jan Walton.February 2017.

Residents urged to back revamped Community Centre

New Brighton Community Centre Chair Hugh Lloyd is appealing for local residents to
back the Community Centre. He said, “The Community centre is an established venue
that has been used by the local community since 1981, generations of residents and
families have used the centre over the years for recreation, support and advice. It’s
always available for use by the general public for meeting, socialising, exercising and
learning. It is a charity, run by our voluntary committee of trustees, made up of local
residents, who give up their time freely to help the centre continue its support to the
local community”.

Hugh Lloyd continued by stating that; “if you are organising a meeting of some kind, or
an event, use the community centre and pay for it. That way you’re helping to keep it
going. You could also arrange a fundraiser to bring funds directly into the coffers of the
community centre”.

A makeover has taken place in the main activity room, which includes murals and
landscapes of New Brighton & Liverpool landmarks, painted by well known local
artist Fred Biddulph, with the paint sponsored by AJ Howell DIY of Rake Lane,
Wallasey. A new website has also been set up detailing all that’s best about the centre,
including an archive section stretching back to 1981, maybe you recognise yourself?

On the website you will also be able to help the centre by donating as little as £2

The Chair Hugh Lloyd said, “We are asking the residents of New Brighton to support
the trustee’s efforts to ensure we can keep providing and expanding on our current
activities. To donate go to the website; www.newbrightoncommunity.uk – and by
donating as little as £2 your contribution can make such a huge difference, to ensure that future
generations will be able to benefit from the facilities, services and activities available
in this marvellous building”.

Information:
New Brighton Community Centre
1a Hope Street
Wirral
CH45 2LN
Telephone: 01516302626
Email: newbrightononline@gmail.com
Charity Number: 508310
www.newbrightoncommunity.uk

The Restoration of St James’ Church – Phase 2

Now that the rebuilding of St James’ spire is finished (complete with gold medal award for being the nation’s best church conservation project of 2016!), we are moving
towards the start of Phase 2 of the church’s restoration programme. This won’t be as spectacular as the spire rebuild, but it will be equally as important.

The second phase will focus on eliminating the chronic damp problems which have been afflicting the building for many years. The roofs and guttering at the east end of
the church have been inadequate and the resulting dampness has caused the internal plasterwork to perish. St James’ is the home of some magnificent wall paintings,
created by the renowned Victorian artist Alfred Hemming, which are deteriorating because of the damp. Curing this will halt their deterioration and allow these
spectacular murals to be conserved. Whilst the scaffolding is in place for this work, repairs to some dangerous stonework in the tower will also be undertaken.

Another huge Lottery grant

The Heritage Lottery Fund have offered us a grant of £250,000 towards the cost of the work. We are extremely grateful for this generous grant, which is the same amount as the huge grant we received towards the spire restoration. Neither the spire rebuild nor this next restoration phase could have happened without them. However, the grant will cover only half the cost of the work, so the church will continue its programme of fundraising through social events, concerts and seeking sponsorship from local businesses.

The work is scheduled to start in July and finish early in 2018. When completed, the church will be water-tight, the walls will begin to dry out and we can turn our attention to conserving the magnificent wall paintings. Meanwhile, do come along and see the wonderful interior of St James’. It is open between 11 am and 1 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, and from noon to 2 pm on Sundays. You will also be able to visit the fascinating New Brighton Heritage Centre which is located in the church.

Richard Wilberforce

A Deluge of Dustbins

by Canon Roy Lawrence

Recently I attended a meeting at which a representative of the Council explained the
new dustbin policy. He was clearly very pleased with it. I have to say I did not share his
pleasure.

My mind goes back to the days when every house had a single metal dustbin and all the
rubbish went into it. Once a week a dustman came down the drive and collected the
bin from wherever we kept it. We thought a lot of our dustmen and regarded them with
a mixture of admiration for their muscles and gratitude for the service they gave us.
Lonnie Donegan’s song ‘My old man’s a dustman’ reflected all of this. And did you
know that one of Charles Dickens’ heroes was a dustman – Noddy Boffin in the novel
‘Our Mutual Friend’, which was subtitled ‘The Golden Dustman.’?

However times change, and the dustbin service changes with them. The old metal bins
were replaced with plastic wheelie bins. Householders were expected to push them
onto the pavement for collection and emptying. We were happy to do so.

Then dustbins started to multiply. The original green bins were joined by grey bins,
each for different types of rubbish, and each with a different collection day. Then a
brown bin was added for garden waste. In time we were told this would no longer be a
free service. Once again there were different days for different collections and these
days changed from time to time.

It was all rather confusing, and now to make it still more so two more bins are to be
added, an indoor one and an outdoor one. These will be for food waste, and once again
different bins will be emptied on different days and different weeks. It should increase
our recycled waste from 40% to 50%. Why am I not happy about it?

1) The system is already too complicated. In my own estate it is common to see the
wrong bin put out on the wrong day with all the complications this involves

2) The new system will involve not just extra dustbins but extra dustbin lorries, extra
staff and extra expense, just when we are told how hard up we are.

3) Nobody seems to be listening to us. Although the meeting I attended was billed as a
consultation, no one seemed to be listening to the many objections.

4) A recent survey shows that 15 other authorities have tried schemes like the one
proposed here, but abandoned them. Can we not learn from them?

There really does seem to be a good case for putting the whole scheme on
hold while we all allow ourselves some second thoughts.

Bring It Home

Here we are in March already! The Black Pearl has held on through (most of) another winter. There will be plenty of gatherings on the decks of the Black Pearl in the months ahead and fine old times will be had! By mid March 2017 the present incarnation of the Black Pearl will be 3 years old – not quite as old as the little girl who helped me to collect up spent firework cases from the beach awhile back – but over such number of years a sailing ship of the past might have circumnavigated the globe! Many would argue the
Black Pearl has been to the moon and back in the pirate dreams of her ever changing and crew.

We pirates have talked about having a sleepover on the Pearl – talked about it many a time now – maybe this year it will happen…? It could take a lot of good stories told to get us through that long night. Give us time to think again about those sailors of 500 years back – salt-caked, starving, soaked to the skin and waking up to another merciless day of toil and uncertainty. You may wonder where this is leading – as they surely did then. And I surely wonder right now!

There is an idea floating around in my head about the cargo that the Pearl might have garnered over these years at sea. Perhaps not much by comparison with John Masefield’s fabulous collection – no peacocks, no sandalwood, no emeralds, no amethysts – nor even any cheap tin trays – gold moidores? Ah! Now we might find one or two of those lying around!

But impressions! Impressions like those in the whistling sands of Cosy Cove – so wonderfully photographed by our amazing local photographers, images in giant bubbles spun from wand-wielding, wildly dressed, not-exactly-old reprobates! Paths forever crossing and crossing again. Bare feet slapping on a wooden deck. Impossible child-bellowed orders. Toys hide amongst the driftwood. Wind through your hair and sand in your ice cream.

Here’s a chest full of the care and kindnesses of friends and strangers. People say the most wonderful things – beautiful thoughts – freely given and openly expressed, kind words shining, maybe brighter than emeralds and amethysts, on the oft-times dull and stony path of everyday life. Hogsheads of memories shoulder to shoulder wait below decks for another landfall. Hopes and dreams. We will! Someday! And the things we could have done and maybe still can do. What a cargo to bring home!

Vale Park Band Festival 2017

SATURDAY CONCERTS

APRIL
15TH EASTER EGG HUNT
22ND
29TH ABOUT AUTISM FUNDRAISER

MAY
1st COMMUNITY SOUL
6th THE TALISMEN
13th JAM IN THE PARK
20th PSYCHIC TIGERS
27th NIGHT AND DAY
29th JOYTIME

JUNE
3rd THE TALISMEN
10th JAM IN THE PARK
17th PSYCHIC TIGERS
24th CHORAL PAVILION

JULY
1st THE TALISMEN
15th JAM IN THE PARK – NEW BRIGHTON PARADE
8th WAYFARERS CHORUS
22nd PSYCHIC TIGERS
29th TBA

AUGUST
5th THE TALISMEN
12th JAM IN THE PARK
19th PSYCHIC TIGERS
26th TBA

SEPTEMBER
2nd THE TALISMEN
9th CHARLOTTEFEST
16th PSYCHIC TIGERS
5th THE TALISMEN
7th MY GENERATION ROCK
12th PIFFLE BROTHERS
18th BLUES IN THE PARK

SUNDAY CONCERTS

APRIL
16th APRIL EASTER SUNDAY
23rd APRIL
30th APRIL ROYAL BUCKLEY TOWN BAND
7th MAY ELLENBROOK AND BOOTHSTOWN BAND
21st MAY MOLD TOWN BAND
28th MAY WIRRAL SYMPHONIC WIND BAND

JUNE
4th JUNE PRAISE IN THE PARK
11th JUNE FOLK IN THE PARK
18th JUNE ELLESMERE PORT CONCERT BAND
25TH JUNE ST HELENS CONCERT BAND

JULY
2ND JULY SWING ERA BAND
9TH JULY HESWALL CONCERT ORCHESTRA
16TH JULY NORTHERN RHYTHM
23RD JULY ALLERTON BRASS
30TH JULY

AUGUST
6TH AUGUST WEAVER VALLEY ACCORDION BAND
13TH AUGUST GREENALLS BAND
20TH AUGUST SWING ERA BAND
27TH AUGUST NORTHERN RHYTHM

SEPTEMBER
3RD SEPTEMBER
10TH SEPTEMBER FORMBY BAND

Ask Us Wirral

Key information

A new service providing Information and Advice is being launched in April 2017.
It will provide Information and Advice to 32,000 Wirral residents each year.
The new service will be delivered in partnership by Citizens Advice Wirral, Age UK Wirral,
Wirral Change and Wirral MENCAP.

An easy to access, integrated service across Wirral

Feedback about Advice and Information in Wirral, suggested that residents want one easy
place to get advice.
Ask Us Wirral will be that one place that can be accessed through the website, by email,phone, in community settings or at one of the Communication Hubs in Birkenhead Wallasey. The website for the new service will be www.askuswirral.org.uk and the single
phone number will be 0300 3300 111.

The service will be open from 9am until 5pm (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), 9am
until 7pm (Wednesdays) and 10am until 1pm (Saturdays).

We are carrying out a training sessions for frontline staff to ensure they can support clients
to access the new service. These include all One Stop Shop Staff, all DWP job coaches, and lunch and learn session for all community organisations.
A stakeholder briefing event is being organised, and is likely to be on the 24th March.

What will the service deliver?

The service will provide information in a variety of different formats – on the web, via email,
by phone and face to face to support people to resolve their practical issues.
Advice appointments will be available for the most vulnerable residents or for
complex issues in over 20 locations across all 4 constituency areas. These locations include
GP surgeries, Arrowe Park Hospital, Meadowcroft in Bromborough and some of the One
Stop Shops. There will be specialist advisors covering a range of issues including welfare,
debt, housing and later life issues. A dedicated worker to access harder to reach clients
from BME communities will be based in Wirral Change. There will be support for clients who
are attending a tribunal in relation to their case and some home visiting appointments for
clients.

There will be an early intervention and prevention element to the service, to support Wirral
residents to deal with issues before the escalate such as budgeting advice, advice about
keeping warm in Winter, choosing the cheapest energy supplier etc

The service replaces Citizens Advice Wirral’s General Advice and PCAAL services and Age UK
Wirral’s Advice 4 All services.

Produced by Carol Johnson-Eyre, Citizens Advice Wirral and Jamie Anderson, Age UK Wirral.
Contact details –
carol.johnson-eyre@citizensadvicewirral.org.uk
jamie.anderson@ageukwirral.org.uk

Mermaid Trail

New Brighton Coastal Community TeamMermaid Trail designers announced … but winning designs remain under wraps until statues are revealed

THE results are in – we have the winning designs for Wirral’s new Mermaid Trail!

The Trail will be placed at strategic locations in New Brighton, inspired by and
celebrating the resort’s history, heritage, and its links with the mythical ‘Black Rock
Mermaid’, who was said to have appeared to a local sailor in New Brighton in the 18th
century.

In an open competition, schools and arts-based groups from across Wirral were
invited to submit their ideas for decorating the six identical new Mermaid sculptures,
which will be installed this May in New Brighton as part of a colourful new tourist trail.
The design for the sculpture is the work of Wallasey artist Barry Canning Eaton,who
will also decorate one of the statues.

The others will be decorated by:

  • The Mosslands School, Wallasey
  • Wirral Hospitals’ School, Claughton
  • St George’s Primary School, Wallasey
  • St Mary’s Catholic College, Wallasey
  • Ebb & Flow (pictured), a community interest company which works with communities, including New Brighton.

Cllr Tony Jones, Wirral Council’s Pledge Champion for building a vibrant tourism
economy and Chair of New Brighton Coastal Community Team (NBCCT), said:
“Given the amount of interest, it will be difficult keeping these fantastic designs a
secret before the grand unveiling in May, but we want to launch the Mermaid Trail
with a splash – excuse the pun!

“The winning designs are distinctive and stunning, and people will love to see them
as they walk around the town. Everyone will have their favourite. “I would like to thank
everyone who took part, not just the winners, but those who submitted their designs.
A lot of thought and imagination has gone in, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts.”
The five successful designs will each be credited with a plaque on their statue and
the designers and sculptor will be guests of honour when the trail is officially
launched.

The Mermaid Trail project is the result of a successful bid for funding by New Brighton
Coastal Community Team to the Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund, a grant
scheme set up by DONG Energy to benefit voluntary groups and organisations
located near to the coastline where it is carrying out the extension to the offshore
wind farm.

It is anticipated that the sculptures will be installed ready for visitors in May 2017.
Further information about New Brighton Coastal Community Team can be found at
www.wirral.gov.uk/newbrighton
and its work can be followed on Twitter @wallaseyteam.

The New Brighton Lighthouse Part 1

by Barry Humphreys

Even before Liverpool’s first dock was built in 1715 the amount of vessels on the Mersey was
such that there was a need for something to denote the hazard of the Black Rock which snaked
out into the river from what we now call New Brighton. So in 1683 the Liverpool Corporation
paid for a tall post and beacon – a simple affair referred to as a “perch” – just an open brazier fixed
to the top of a stout wooden pole and attached to the Black Rock itself. By day in clear weather
the “perch” was visible to incoming and departing ships, and at night time a beacon burnt in the
metal basket at its apex. The Rock Channel – the safest point of entry to the Mersey at that time had been marked.
But the perch-beacon was often lost. Firstly it was no match for the worst of the winter storms and
secondly, there was also a suspicion on the part of theLiverpool Corporation that sometimes
Wallasey’s notorious 18th and early 19th Century ship wreckers were to blame. At one point the
Corporation were so convinced of this that they offered a 20 guinea reward for information that
would lead to the arrest of anyone who had tampered with the Perch.

By the early 1820’s the arrangement was no longer sufficient to meet the needs of modern
requirements. The Trustees of the Liverpool Docks demanded a solidly built permanent
lighthouse. There then followed three years of arguing over who would pay for it, with the
Council reluctant to spend money on it if it could be avoided. But in the end – possibly spurred on
by the Dock Trustee’s reminding the Council that firstly in February 1821 the pilot boat “Liver”
had crashed into the perch and demolished it and that secondly when it was washed away once
again in March 1824 it wasn’t replaced for nine months, the Liverpool Council finally agreed (in
March 1826) to spend the money.

An early idea was for a combined Mersey Battery and Lighthouse at Black Rock, but the final
decision was for a stand-alone lighthouse based on the plans drawn up by John Foster, Liverpool
Corporation’s surveyor. Foster’s design was a copy of the Eddystone Lighthouse, built in 1759.
The military garrison – the Battery – to defend the mouth of the Mersey from attack was already
under construction when the building of the lighthouse began. Strange really, because it has
always been said that had the Fort Perch Rock guns ever been needed for an all out
bombardment of incoming enemy ships, then the first casualty would have been the Black Rock
Lighthouse itself…. standing as it was in the immediate line of fire of the guns of Fort Perch Rock.
Arrangements at Black Rock now proceeded in earnest. The Dock Committee allowed the use of
buildings and land at the recently completed Prince’s Dock for the preparation of the stone.
From there it would be transported by flat bottomed sailing barges. Most of the stone – costing
1/6d per cubic foot – came from Fleetwood and Williams in Anglesey. John Tomkinson – a North
Western stone mason – would be the main contractor for the masonry work. Gladstone and
Foster were the ironworkers and Foster and Stewart were the joiners – the Fosters in both these
firms being brothers of the corporation surveyor John Foster – he who had drawn up the design
plans and was also responsible for awarding contracts!. Then numerous smaller local
companies were recruited to provide coal, nails, timber, tools and also on site labour.

On June 8th 1827 the foundation stone was laid by the Mayor of Liverpool Thomas Littledale.
Surrounded by a small gathering of Liverpool dignitaries, local landowners, some soldiers and
labourers from the under-construction Battery and also a handful of intrigued people from the
surrounding area, Mayor Littledale used a silver trowel that had been made especially for the
occasion. Under that foundation stone a complete set of coins of the realm were left – their total
value being £3 19s 1 3/4d. As the work began, so the new lighthouse was referred to as either
Rock Light, the Black Rock Light, the Perch Rock Light and even the Rock Perch Light. It wasn’t
until the 1870’s that it was more consistently referred to as the Perch Rock Lighthouse and even
later still that the name New Brighton Lighthouse attached itself.

The work was hard and slow… and was further impeded by the onset of winter – in the first year
building work was suspended in October to await the better spring weather. But finally by June
1829 the stonework was complete and the stonemasons received bonuses for their “attention
and good conduct”. The fitting out of the interior now began as masons, carpenters and
metalworkers set about tasks inside. And it was built to be an immovable object. As William
Williams Mortimer’s 1847 History Of The Wirral tells us:-

“At New Brighton on a ledge of rocks which project into the sea, is an admirable Lighthouse which rises 90 feet. It is built with remarkably hard stone. Every stone is dovetailed to the next; each course of masonry united to the previous by iron braces; and the whole compacted together by liquid cement of puzzalano from Italy. The masonry is solid to 35 feet, when a spiral staircase leads to the chamber of the keepers, and the lanterns”.

Later in 1829 £3884 12s 9d worth of machinery, glass and oil for the light arrived from a
specialist company in London. It was transported to Black Rock by the North West’s Pickford
and Company freighting agents – a company established in the early 17th Century and today one
of the oldest companies still operating in the United Kingdom.

On 1st March 1830 the lighthouse shone for the first time – the repeated sequence was two white
flashes then one red. Sixty three feet above the level of the rock, the range of its light was between
13 and 15 miles. Two keepers were employed. One would begin work at sunset and stay until
midnight; the other would be on site until sunrise. Their work was detailed in the 1830 “Rules for
the Keepers Of Black Rock Lighthouse”. Which noted:-

1. Keepers salaries to be £85 per annum

2. Keepers will ensure that the mirrors are polished with only the fine cloths, polishing powder and leather skins provided.

3. Shutters to the windows of the building will be kept closed at night so that no confusing lights will shine out.

4. No visitors will be allowed on the lighthouse premises.

5. In foggy weather day or night the bell will be rung every five minutes.

6. Cotton wicks of the light will be trimmed so that they are level at the top.

7. The revolving machinery of the light will be kept fully wound.

8. At sunrise the lamps will be extinguished, lenses and reflectors cleaned, oil reservoirs refilled and the light made ready again for the evening.

9. A weather and observation journal will be kept.

10. Cleaning, stores and clerical duties will be undertaken during the day.

They were men that would be kept busy…..

The Liverpool Dock Committee now had responsibility for the Lighthouse, and paid the
Corporation a token one sovereign a year. The first two keepers were John Williams and Thomas
Appleton and it was quickly apparent that it was more than a two person job. The Lighthouse at
Black Rock had 22 lamps – twice the number at Bidston – and the work of maintaining these was
always harder than that of a “typical” lighthouse. So a third keeper – William Flockhart – was
appointed in June 1830.

But it was monotonous work and temptation was close at hand. During the building of the Fort
and Lighthouse a community of cottages and roughly built houses had sprung up to the south of
what we now know as Victoria Road. And it fast became a drinking den and a place of ill-repute –
referred to as “Hell Town” or more commonly “The Devil’s Nest”. It was to there that Deputy
Lighthouse Keeper John Williams was immediately drawn….. with the result that he was
dismissed from his duties in November for drunkenness and neglect. More trouble was to
follow……

Barry Humphreys presents local talks and walks and can be contacted via Facebook or on
07450243674

Easter at St Andrew’s

St Andrew’s United Church, Rowson Street

Palm Sunday, 9th April
10.45 a.m. Morning Service – Rev Peter Beaman
4.00 pm Afternoon Service – Rev Lorraine Aizlewood-Threlfall

Wednesday, 11th April
11 a.m. Worship for Holy Week – Rev Lorraine Aizlewood-Threlfall

Thursday, 12th April
7 p.m. Maundy Thursday Agape Service
held jointly with St James and Emmanuel Churches (at St James)

Friday, 13th April
11.15 a.m. Service for Good Friday – Rev Lorraine Aizlewood-Threlfall

Sunday, 15th April
10.45 a.m. Easter Communion Service – Rev. Peter Beaman.
Everyone is most welcome at all of these services.

Thinking the unthinkable?

Carl Leckey. MBE. CF. FRSA.

New Brighton when I was a kid and teenager was a magic place to visit.

We enjoyed the open air fairground and the indoor fair. The famous bathing pool. The
remaining part of the famous tower which included the fantastic ball room, plus the wrestling
matches. The marine lake activities with boat hire and trips. The pier and ferries were a major
loss. Gradually we lost them all as cheap flights to Spain with guaranteed sunshine and cheap
booze became available. New Brighton deteriorated and like many other seaside resorts it
became a ghost town. But a miracle occurred when things changed in the last few years thanks
to a controversial decision by the council to approve development and a grant from the EEC.
Volunteer groups proud of their resort were established consisting of the New Brighteners
keeping the resort clean and tidy. The Momentary Art Project encouraging local art and craft
to be viewed in empty shop units. The Brighten New Brighton project encourages local artists
and schools to create colourful murals on buildings. The Wirral Older Peoples Parliament are
administrating the installation of multi coloured promenade benches created from recycled
material. The Black Pearl artist’s creation and the pirates bring visitors young and old from near
and far. The wonder in the kid’s eyes as they visit and enjoy the magic of Fairy Glen located in
Vale Park. Friends of Vale Park do magnificent work on our behalf. The Coastal Community
consisting of representatives from the council, volunteer groups and businesses encouraging
and developing a number of diverse projects to enhance the visitors and residents experience.
Although we have great public transport serving New Brighton unfortunately most of the
visitors that we have encouraged arrive mainly by car to be welcomed with free parking a
service Wallasey is proud to offer. However the increasing numbers have created a problem.
New Brighton particularly in summer is being overwhelmed by vehicles without enough
parking spaces to cater for visitors. The council’s response is to install parking meters. Will this
solve the problem? In my opinion most definitely no! Free parking is one of the many
attractions on offer to our guests. Now is time to think the unthinkable. Do we now need to
deter even more visitors or sacrifice one of the greens, one of the jewels in the New Brighton
crown to cater for the visitors in cars New Brighton encourages and welcomes? Opinions are
welcome.