WALRUS 81

Re-launch Issue!

New Brighton is now an exciting place to live and why visit because of its splendid location and the varied activities that take place here. But we all know that, so why am I repeating it in print? Because most of the projects, the planning, the energy and the freely given time is due to a handful of dedicated volunteers and council staff. President Kennedy at his inaugural address summed it up perfectly, and with a few modifications it applies equally well to our local residents. “Ask not what New Brighton can do for you, ask what you can do for New Brighton.”

Rusty Keane
Editor
rusty@newbrightonwalrus.org.uk

Welcome to the first issue of the revamped Walrus. We took time in the summer to work on a fresh new format for the magazine, which will keep our community informed of local news and developments happening around Wallasey and New Brighton. This issue includes council plans and considerations for the development along the promenade, and the re-awakening of New Brighton as a resort after decades of decline. We will put a strong focus on informing readers in every issue of the progress made in maintaining the area’s regeneration. East Park Communications are looking forward to being part of the Walrus team, which is still headed by Rusty Keane, who is recovering from her recent illness. We look forward to a great future together.
Simon Castell
East Park Communications

Wirral Council unveils ambitious plans for growth

Demesne Street – artists impression only, created by Atelier 2 Architects

Wirral Council announced earlier this year it is creating Wirral Growth Company, a joint venture partnership to drive regeneration and economic growth across the borough.

 

The competition to find a private sector partner is underway, but we asked Phil Davies, Council leader what this could mean for New Brighton.

“As Wirral residents know – we are fortunate to live in one of the country’s great locations. Wirral is one of the UK’s largest urban boroughs, close to Liverpool, Chester and Manchester, but with an unrivalled mix of beaches, rolling countryside, independent towns
and villages and popular leisure and visitor attractions.” said Phil Davies.

“Wirral Growth Company will look to leverage the more than 1900 assets the Council controls, matched with private sector investment and expertise, to bring new developments, businesses and jobs to Wirral.

“The Council has launched a competition to find the best private sector partner, and hopes to have concluded this search by early 2018.

“We are asking potential investment partners to give us their ideas for regeneration and how they would suggest we use the assets the Council owns to drive growth, create new jobs and improve the economic fortunes of Wirral.

“For a town like New Brighton, we want to see a continuation of the great work that has occurred since the Marine Point redevelopment, adding to the visitor attractions in the town but also strengthening the amenities and facilities available to local residents too.” Said Cllr Davies.

Tower Grounds – artists impression only,created by Atelier 2 Architects

As part of the process to launch Wirral Growth Company, urban planners were asked to propose ideas – including an eye-catching design for a new tower in New Brighton. We asked if the return of New Brighton tower was in the Council’s thoughts.

“The documents used at the launch of the Wirral Growth Company have really caught the imagination of not only local residents and businesses but also many of the nation’s development and investment firms.” Said Cllr Davies.

“We asked a question about New Brighton – “How do we drive the next phase of regeneration in New Brighton to make the most of its unique character and heritage? and wondered, “What kind of new housing, attractions and architecture do we need to bring to new life and energy to the town?”

“The image of a tower in New Brighton has certainly caught the imagination, and whether that is something that comes to pass we will have to wait and see, but it has definitely started a conversation around the town. I have heard other calls for the return of the Pier and ferry service and the open air baths. There are lots of ideas out there.

“Today, tourists and visitors contribute more than £400million to the Wirral economy. We want to increase that further and have exciting plans for a new Golf Resort in Hoylake, new leisure and cultural attractions on the Wirral and of course the continued growth of New Brighton as a 21st century seaside attraction.

“We see £1billion of development opportunities across the Wirral – around half of which is in Birkenhead town centre where we expect to see plans come forward to improve Hamilton Square, rejuvenate the market and shopping districts and create a destination in its own right in Woodside on the Mersey waterfront.” said Cllr Davies.

Clearly, these are exciting time for Wirral. But there have been plans for the regeneration of the borough before, and sadly, too often, little has materialised. What is different this time?

“You are right, these are exciting times.” Said Cllr Davies “That is why we are creating the Wirral Growth Company – we recognise we need a new vehicle to deliver all the ideas and aspirations we have.

“In the past, Councils have sold assets to developers. This generated a quick capital windfall but little in the way of long term revenue streams. By creating a joint venture with a development partner, Wirral gets to share the risks and rewards of these developments,
generating much needed sustainable income so the Council can re-invest those funds in our communities and essential services.”

“The Council retains control over the assets and by virtue of being a 50/50 joint partnership also has a share in the decision making about what gets built and when. Development through the Wirral Growth Company will happen at pace, there will be no sitting on the assets or
“land-banking” as can happen with other developers and investors.

“It’s also important to see this in light of the challenges the borough faces – ongoing cuts to our budget, rising demand for services especially for an ageing population – we have to unlock the potential of the whole borough, it is a chance to re-imagine and remake Wirral.”
said Cllr Davies.

Read more about Wirral Growth Company at

www.wirralwellmade.com

Love Liscard initiative is Here

Above: Councillors Thomas Usher, Bernie Mooney and Janette Williamson join Love Liscard Town Hosts, Paula Basnett of Wirral Chamber and Paul Griffiths (McDonald’s) at the Love Liscard Launch

Planter along Liscard Way sponsored by McDonald’s

Love Liscard, a partnership between Wirral Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and Wirral Council has been successfully launched. This initiative will deliver a cleaner and safer Liscard and encourage and support businesses and residents.

Representatives of Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Wirral Council, businesses and the newly formed Love Liscard Town Hosts held an event at the Cherry Tree Retail Centre in August to raise awareness of the initiative. Business owners and members of the public were encouraged to share their experiences of Liscard and offer opinions on ways to improve the town. Town Hosts, Arfon Williams and Ian Davies have begun to engage with local businesses, together with welcoming and directing visitors and acting as a direct link between businesses and service providers. A number of businesses have already contributed to the initiative and improvements to the town have begun. With the aim of bringing some colour to the shopping area and making the town a more attractive and pleasant place to visit, Lauries The Jewellers on Seaview Road, McDonald’s on Liscard Way and P. R. Jewellery on Liscard Village have all sponsored Planters that are placed along Liscard Way and have been filled with colourf

Love Liscard Town Hosts Ian and Arfon

ul plants and flowers.

A steering group comprised of prominent business leaders and community members will soon be announced. The role of this group will be to meet at regular intervals, provide input based on their direct experience of the town and the issues faced and influence future strategic decisions.

The Love Liscard initiative will encourage community groups to hold events that will shine a light on Liscard and promote the town as a great place to visit, shop and work. They will work to actively promote events to ensure their successful delivery and attendance through the Wirral Chamber’s digital and social media channels.

Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce said “We are delighted with the positive response that we have so far received for the Love Liscard initiative. It is clear that councillors, business owners and the residents are passionate about the town and have provided us with lots of feedback and ideas that we will be able to develop.”

She added, “The Town Hosts have already become a visible fixture in the town centre and will continue to engage with all interested parties in moving forward.”

Local business owner shows support for ‘Love Liscard’

Councillor Bernie Mooney said, “Local councillors, Wirral Council and Wirral Chamber have been working hard to create this initiative and to bring the Town Hosts to Liscard. Ian and Arfon, as our Town Hosts, will support the traders and build up their confidence, whilst also helping to attract new visitors to the town. The economic heart of our home town is the centre of Liscard and it is vital that we succeed. We will be working with all of the traders to build up a real sense of community so people will feel like Liscard is a hub for retail and business growth.”

A survey has been sent to all businesses in the area to ensure that all voices are heard. Completed surveys can simply be handed into the town hosts.

If you would like any further information on Love Liscard the please call us on 0151 650 6940 or email info@wirralchamber.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

The Gorse – Swimming hard to stay afloat

Whoopee! Expect wild celebrations next year when The Gorse Millennium Green celebrates its 20th anniversary as a community asset! And with independent professional visitors to The Gorse earlier this year positively raving about it – “one of the hidden gems of New Brighton and a potential gold-mine, if properly developed” – all should be rosy in the garden? But is it?

As a public asset, The Gorse needs public funds to survive. When it was first purchased, local “Friends of The Gorse” would promise a small annual subscription towards its maintenance but in these hard times families have other priorities. The Gorse seems to have been largely forgotten and these subscriptions have almost dried up – so although The Gorse is eternally grateful to those few who still make contributions, these have not kept pace with the cost of maintenance. This means that the purely voluntary trustees who run The Gorse Charity now find themselves increasingly providing the labour and the finance just to keep the project alive.

Also, a distinction has to be made between the costs of simple maintenance and development development is far more expensive. For this The Gorse has always had to rely upon benevolent grants. Such a grant was successfully secured in 2014 and led to substantial site improvements. However, the public euphoria of the post-improvement opening day in early 2015 has now been replaced by despondency amongst the trustees – for no further grants have been received.

All this means that it’s becoming increasingly hard to maintain The Gorse, let alone develop it. The Charity is currently battling with various issues which include the access gate (off its hinges), paths (which need constant de-weeding), dog fouling, concerns over boundary walls and the need to eradicate invasive plant species and sycamores – all at great cost. Thanks must go to our main volunteers, Keith Billingham and Fred Fairclough, who have put in place new peripheral planters and an “insect hotel,” but despite even their best efforts The Gorse is slowly slipping into disrepair.

The Gorse has also had to cope with the serious illness of its Charity Chairperson, Rusty Keane, to whom we all wish a speedy and complete recovery. Her illness causes us to reflect that most of the existing Trustees are now well beyond retirement age. New blood, new ideas and new trustees may be required!

The great hopes of further major improvements to The Gorse of 2015 have stalled. Maintenance funds are urgently required whilst the trustees busy themselves making further bids for grants.

It’s your Gorse! It requires around £750 annually to maintain it if it is to survive. It will require around £10000 if it is to be further developed. It would be nice to think that The Gorse will still be there as a public asset when its 20th anniversary is due and that there will be finance available for the celebrations. Could you help? Do you have any ideas for an anniversary party or for what you would like The Gorse to become? If you’re interested there will be a public meeting about this soon. Please bring your ideas to that! So watch this space for more Gorse news next month!

Latest flood defence technology delivered to residents

New Brighton lashed by waves in 2015

  • Council secures one off funding for latest flood technology
  • Hydrosacks are lightweight and easily stored
  • Will be delivered to residents most at risk of flooding

Flooding and coastal erosion can have devastating impacts on our local communities with more than 5.5 million or one in six homes in England are at risk of flooding.

Wirral Council, alongside United Utilities and the Environment Agency, have been looking into a series of solutions to help reduce the impact of flooding when an area is hit with heavy rainfall.

With one-off funding from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, the Council has bought a stock of the latest technology in flood defences called Hydrosacks, which will be distributed to residents that have reported flooding at their property in the past.

The Hydrosacks are light and portable and can be stored away easily until they are needed. They inflate upon contact with water to form a temporary barrier in doorways.

Cllr Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “Hydrosacks are a really useful way of reducing flood damage to your property, but the onus is still on residents to ensure that you are prepared for a flooding event in the future.

“If you live in a flood risk area, make sure that you sign up for flood alerts to ensure that you can react to a flood as quickly as possible. Completing a flood plan will also help you to be prepared and reduce flood damage to your property and your community. Don’t wait until it happens; you may not have time.”

The Environment Agency publishes online flood maps for areas near a water source. To find out if you are at risk of flooding or would like to sign up for flood warnings visit www.gov.uk/flood Alternatively, call Floodline for advice on 0345 988 1188.

If you would like to learn more about how you can ensure you are prepared for a flooding event in the future visit the Wirral Council website at www.wirral.gov.uk/communities-and-neighbourhoods/emergencies/flooding

The Black Pearl & Fairy vale

Continuing our pirate and fairy tale… (Photo: Norman Ord)

The Pearl and fairy vale have had a busy summer with lots of visitors from far and wide which has brought much needed income to New Brighton and Vale Park Cafe. We have developed a close friendship with the folk of the cafe and continue to work together to provide a special place to create lasting memories for all who visit.

Much needed restoration work will now commence on both sites in preparation for the winter months which heralds some exciting news… We will be illuminating the Pearl and the fairy vale mid October in preparation for the World urban parks congress visit. Wirral council have made monies available to help with costs and pirates are busy thinking of new creations to enhance our magical spaces… Including poetry in the park and new cannons for the Pearl etc.

Once in place the illuminations and driftwood additions will stay in place as long as time and tide permit.

The nights may be drawing in sunny days a drifting memory but wrap up warm come visit the fairies or sit on the deck of the Pearl hoping for clear star studded skies…. Let your imagination take flight…

Sea Sick Sue

New Brighton Tower FC

Tower FC in their heyday, circa 1897.

New Brighton Tower F.C. was a short-lived English football club based in New Brighton, Merseyside. Established in 1896, the club spent three seasons in the Football League before folding in 1901. They played at the 80,000-capacity Tower Athletic Ground in New Brighton.

Like Liverpool, Chelsea and Thames, New Brighton Tower were formed to play at an already-built stadium. The owners of the New Brighton Tower, a seaside attraction built to rival the Blackpool Tower, decided there was a need to provide winter entertainment, and had built a stadium adjacent to the tower. The football club was formed in 1896 to provide the entertainment, and joined the Lancashire League at the start of the 1897–98 season. After finishing as champions in their first season, the club applied for election to the Football League. Although they were initially rejected, the league later decided to expand Division Two by four clubs and New Brighton Tower were accepted.

The club signed a number of new players, including some who had played international football, and was reasonably successful, finishing 5th (out of 18) in its first season, and 4th in their third season. However, with the club poorly supported (averaging gates of around 1,000), the cost of maintaining a professional football club became too high for the Tower’s owners, and the club was disbanded in the summer of 1901, and replaced in the League by Doncaster Rovers. In 1921, a new club was formed, New Brighton, who would also play in the Football League from 1923 until 1951, though initially they played at Sandheys Park until that was destroyed in World War II.

The tower was taken down during World War I, and the rest of the complex destroyed by fire in the late 1960s. The Team’s nickname was the Towerites and their home kit in their first season was White Shirts, Blue Shorts. This however changed for the following season to salmon pink shirts with a black trim and white shorts.

 

Wallasey Village Xmas Fair

The annual Wallasey Village Christmas Fair is taking place on Saturday 2nd December from 3-7 and will be a fabulous event with stalls, food, entertainment with Sing Me Merseyside Choral Pavilion, bands, dancers, miniature ponies and much more. The Mayor will be switching on the lights and Father Xmas will be arriving at his grotto on his sleigh after a drive through the village. Anyone wishing to book a stall should email christmasnightbookings@gmail.com

New Brighton Community Centre

What’s On

New Brighton One Stop Shop

Open Monday to Friday from 11am till 3pm. This is a great service that provides invaluable help for local people right on their doorstep. It also includes a free phone facility and private rooms with a loop system for those that are hard of hearing. It provides assistance on all the Wirral Borough Council services including the Pension Service, Age Concern & the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Lunch Club

Great meals, great company, great prices, why don’t you come and visit us. The Club is open to everybody, and all you have to do is drop in, no booking is required. It’s particularly great for elderly people & families on low incomes. It is a great way for people to get to know each other and make friends in a very friendly environment. It also provides days out to places of interest; the lunch is served Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12.30pm and a 3 course meal is only £4.50 with a mug of tea or coffee. You can come in from 12 noon and make yourself comfortable with a read of the free newspapers.

Credit Union

This offers people community loans which are a vital means of support in the present economic situation and are a very important helping hand for those people seeking work and on low incomes, particularly those struggling to survive financially. It meets every Tuesday 10am to 11am.

Wirral Pathfinders

Mental Health/Self Help Support Group – This group was established in 1992 to support people, their family and carers, for whom depression, anxiety and mental health problems are part of everyday life. It has gone on to help hundreds learn to manage their problems, building up their self-esteem and confidence, helping them to remove their feelings of isolation. The club meets every Thursday – 7pm – 9pm and a very warm welcome awaits all those that come along.

Computer Suite

This is a service that offers local residents free internet and email addresses. It’s a valuable resource where residents looking for work can get help putting together their CVs, job applications, advice on free travel and searching for jobs. They can also enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and seek the assistance of the ICT Facilitator should they have any problems or need further advice. Residents can also scan documents, use the photocopier or fax.

Police Surgery is held every Monday morning 10-12pm for residents experiencing problems with anti social behaviour and other associated problems.

Computer Class the clubs aims to help people with all aspects of computing including smart phones and tablets, every Monday 7pm till 10pm.

Art Classes

Every Monday 1pm till 3pm. Accent on enjoyment rather than talent. Tuition at all levels, all materials provided. Phone Iris for more details on: 638 8472.

Past Life Regression

Every month for details contact Martin Briercliffe on: themindcoach.eu

An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation

Everyone welcome – no experience necessary, suggested donation £3 per session – Every Friday morning – 11.30 – 12.30. 1a Hope Street Wirral CH45 2LN Charity No: 508310 Email: newbrightononline@gmail.com www.newbrightoncommunity.uk

Local History Talks Winter 2017

New Brighton Heritage Centre
Local History Talks – 2017
Wallasey Central Library
Earlston Road

2.30pm Admission £2 Raffle £1

October
3rd Wallasey Then and Now
17th Wirral Wanderings

November
7th Wallasey Then and Now
21st Wirral Wanderings

December
5th Wallasey Then and Now
19th Wirral Wanderings

 

New Brighton Townswomen’s Guild

In the first quarter of the 20th century women had been fighting for the right to vote. The suffragists believed in reasoned argument and worked within the law to bring about change. It was from those ladies that the idea of T.G. was born.

In 1929 Eva Hubbach and Margaret Corbett Ashby suggested getting women together, in urban areas, to learn about citizenship and how to use the vote for which they had fought so hard and, thus, the first guilds were formed. From the first guild in London to the present day we now have more than 700 guilds and in excess of 25,000 members throughout the U.K.

From lessons on citizenship their aims were broadened to working to improve education for women and, lately, forums where women may meet, exchange ideas, develop new skills, challenge important issues, support each other, make new friends and just enjoy themselves.

In 2007 T.G. became incorporated. It is also a registered charity and we have a royal patron, the Princess Royal.

As a national trustee and regional development officer my remit is to start new guilds and assist existing guilds were required.

Last November I invited local ladies to afternoon tea in New Brighton to see if they would be interested in having a guild in their area.

After receiving support for the idea the new guild was formed. From that original small group we have now made slow, steady progress and now we have grown to a group of 20 ladies.

We have enjoyed interesting talks, flower arranging and cookery demonstrations, pamper sessions, quizzes and games. Most of all we have fun and enjoy ourselves with good conversation over tea and cake. Strangers have now become good friends.

Why not come and join us and make new friends too.

We meet in the New Brighton Community Centre, Hope Street on the second Thursday each month from 2p.m. to 4p.m.

For more information on the New Brighton Townswomen’s Guild and other guilds throughout Wirral, ring Barbara on 522.0223.

FLORAL FANTASY at New Brighton Townswomen’s Guild, Ladies demonstrating
their flower arranging skills.

Barbara Cobain, Chairman New Brighton Townswomen’s Guild recieving a silver
salver from the National Chairman Jenny Rideout in recognition of her success in
starting up a new Guild in New Brighton. July, 2017

Ann Meldrum Secretary, New Brighton Townswomen’s Guild

Barbara with her New Brighton Townswomen

 

Is Plastic The Problem?

Well of course the instant, totally rational answer is, ‘yes, it’s a terrible problem’, which, of course, is a perfectly logical reaction to what we see in the media: TV, newspapers, social media, the web etc.

But is it the real problem? After all, plastic is an amazing material. It pervades every aspect of our lives in a vast array of different forms. It is light, transparent, waterproof, malleable, rigid, colourful, high durability, resistant to chemicals, easy to manufacture, water resistant. No wonder it’s so popular! Just think of the amount of plastic that you use on a weekly basis: bottles, bags, food wrappings, storage containers, garden chairs, toys, buckets, drinking containers, furniture foam, pipes, garden houses, etc, etc. What would we do without it?

But surely, you ask, you only have to look at our streets, beaches, almost any public space, woodlands, hills, even high mountain paths to find discarded plastic waste. However, is that the fault of plastic? No, of course it isn’t. Where, therefore, does the blame really lie?

I would venture an obvious one to begin with…

The plastic rubbish that surrounds us, and fills our oceans, is our fault because of what we do with the it once we’ve finished using it. Every day on the beach and its locality we find discarded plastic of a huge variety: bottles, food wrapping, bags, toys, balloons, fishing line, crabbing buckets etc., and that’s despite there being rubbish bins located just metres away. Even if we want to dispose of it carefully, and ensure it is recycled, depending where we live, we can’t recycle all the plastic we need to dispose of. Many councils, for whatever reasons, have poor facilities for recycling. For instance, the only plastic products our very own council can recycle are plastic bottles!

Secondly I would suggest that the other area of blame lies full and squarely with the manufacturers of plastic, many of whom are large, powerful, enormously wealthy and politically connected. They developed plastics of an enormous variety with absolutely no thought as to what would happen to it, other than dumping it in landfills, once its useful life was over, and some plastic products’ life-spans end 10 minutes after we purchase them (food packaging and plastic cups for instance). Their neglect and lack of forethought has now come back to haunt us and poison our environment, from the tops of mountains to the depths of the oceans.

So, our titular question, ‘Is Plastic The Problem?’, is simple answered, ‘No’.

We are the problem, and the problem is getting worse and is only going to be solved by us. So, rather than bleating about the problem, let’s get down to finding solutions, locally, nationally and internationally! And it starts with me, and it starts with you!

Dave Peddie

The New Brighteners

Food consultation comments made public ahead of final decision

  • Public opinion will help council make decision on food waste
  • Affordability and effectiveness also big considerations
  • Council’s commitment to improving recycling rates remains solid

Feedback from Wirral residents about proposals to introduce a new weekly food waste collection service have been published, as the Council gears up to make a decision on how best to improve recycling rates in the borough.

Last year the council began investigating bringing in a new food waste collection service, which would see every resident receive a new, small bin to store food waste – which would then be collected every week.

The move was proposed in an effort to increase recycling rates in the borough to 50% of all household waste. As part of this change, the proposal would see the existing bins either reduced in size OR collected every three weeks.

New council environment lead, Cllr Phillip Brightmore, says the public feedback has been invaluable as he pulls together plans to improve recycling.

He said: “The consultation last year led to an extensive public debate on recycling. I think that’s incredibly positive – the more people talk about recycling, the more it is on their minds and that can only help as we work hard to protect our local environment.

“For me, it is absolutely clear – any changes to how we collect waste and encourage recycling have to meet three key conditions: they must be affordable, they must lead to massively improved recycling levels and, crucially, they must be acceptable to our residents.

“That’s why I have taken the decision to publish all of the feedback we’ve received now, in advance of any decisions being taken, so people can see what their fellow residents are saying, we can consider all of the different opinions and continue this debate.

“I absolutely understand how important this service is to our residents and I pledge to take every view into account as we continue our review, develop our proposal and make our decision.”

The consultation findings have been posted on the council website, www.wirral.gov.uk/food

A decision on the food waste collection service will be made in the coming months, and is part of a wider regional review of waste collection. While that review continues, Wirral is launching a new plan to help residents recycle more. The plan will start in the coming weeks, and will involve:

  • Workshops and events throughout Wirral, demonstrating new ideas for how household items can be recycled, repaired or reused.
  • A new communications campaign, making sure every resident has the information they need on what they can recycle and how to do it.
  • Visiting schools, youth centres and community organisation to talk about recycling and giving residents face to face advice and support
  • Making sure every resident has the right bins in decent condition to help them recycle as much as they can

The New Brighton Lighthouse Part 2

(Continued from last issue)

With John Williams departure from the lighthouse William Flockhart found himself promoted to second keeper, but resigned shortly afterwards. Similarly to Williams, Luke Johnson – the new third keeper – found the temptation of the Devil’s Nest too much to resist. His job was lost to him for negligence in September 1832. His replacement Mathew Curwen – was reprimanded two weeks afterwards and then suspended for a week for neglect. He was suspended again in November and resigned in December. It was a troublesome time in the running of the venture.

A year then passed by without anything untoward being recorded, until Lieutenant Henry Mangles Denham, the Marine Surveyor for Liverpool, visiting on a routine inspection, found that the first and second keepers had decided to discontinue their recording of the Tide Register – part of the task of maintaining their weather journal. They both received reprimands and were reminded of the rules and regulations in the strongest possible terms.

In July 1834 John Christopherson and John Wallace – at that time the 2nd and 3rd keepers, were called before the Dock Committee Board following the light being found to be unlit during the night. Their lack of explanation resulted in dismissal for Wallace and a reprimand for Christopherson. Surprisingly the vacancy that then existed was filled by the return of Mathew Curwen.

In June 1837 the then second keeper Hugh Williams lost his post for using “intemperate and violent language…”. In 1840 another of Lieutenant Denham’s routine visits found all the keepers absent. Curwen – by this time principal keeper – was given a warning. But Denham quickly visited again and once more found the place deserted and the light out. This time Mathew Curwen was fined £5. Then in 1841 the third keeper was dismissed for negligence, quickly followed in August by Curwen himself for his ongoing infringements and irregularities in his approach to the job over a considerable period of time. The final straw which led to Curwen’s dismissal was the discovery of him in a clearly intoxicated state whilst on duty.

But to be fair, the life of a 19th Century lighthouse keeper could indeed be both boring and harsh. The upkeep of the lamps in particular was hard work, and in the cold winters it was often the case that the lamp windows had to be continually scraped free of frost inside and out. Most of the supplies that were shipped in from the Seacombe coal yards at high tide – the sperm whale oil for the lamps, the coal, food, fresh water and anything else needed day to day for the building – then had to be raised from sea level to the door above. Supplies had to be carried up the vertical ladder in back packs or hauled in on ropes and pullies – either way was exhausting. Somewhere in the region of 6000 gallons of sperm whale oil was used each year and had to be manhandled into the lighthouse. The domestic conditions were cramped and far from ideal, something which was testified to further by the fact that it was only in 1841 – eleven years after the lighthouse had been in operation that the Docks Committee purchased new bedding, blankets and bedcovers for the lighthouse keepers.

By the mid 19th Century for the growing numbers who were visiting the town swings and donkey rides were available on the beach close to the lighthouse. Visitors could also enter Fort Perch Rock and the lighthouse keepers saw an opportunity in charging “a small gratuity” for visits to their own premises. In the early 1890’s a local entertainer applied to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board (who now ran the lighthouse) for permission to dive from the doorway into the River – and it may have been this that made them realise there was already a commercial operation at the lighthouse, so a strongly worded reminder was issued that under no circumstances were visitors allowed into the lighthouse and certainly not paying customers!

Throughout the 19th Century fortnightly inspections to the lighthouse were made and it was generally found that whilst the equipment was kept acceptably, the overall cleanliness of the building left much to be desired. It was consistently felt that the keepers didn’t do enough day to day maintenance and tidying. But it’s always those bad things, the problems of any situation that ring loudest and clearest… the poor housekeeping, the keepers wayward behaviour… There were positives to be found too though. In 1870 finally – an overall favourable report praised keepers John Hannah and William Jones for their clean and tidy approach and commended them for the painting of the building from top to bottom. To help them, in 1875 mains water was finally provided to the lighthouse via the fort.

John Thompson Francis was another success story. He was appointed to the lighthouse in 1875 and worked there for 27 years, becoming Principal Keeper. In that time he never found himself in any trouble and he diligently performed the tasks that were required of him. He died in 1902 and at his funeral at Rake Lane Cemetery in Liscard the respect in which he was held was demonstrated by a large congregation of friends, family and local dignitaries including the then Liverpool Marine Surveyor Captain Bellam.

Much drama and tragedy has been seen from the vantage point of the Lighthouse. One of the strangest scenes was on August 19th 1921, when the Isle Of Man boat The King Orry – sailing into Liverpool on a foggy summer afternoon – ran aground and just missed the Black Rock. The tide was on its way out and the ship settled. Many of the 1300 passengers marvelled at the near-miss they had just had with the Lighthouse which was only 50 feet away. The Royal Daffodil ferry and two tenders were unable to get close enough to take passengers off. Finally, at 6.00pm the Wallasey Fire Brigade arrived and watched by hundreds on the beach, with assistance from the keepers at the lighthouse they used their ladders to precariously remove 1000 passengers. The other 300 chose not to make the hazardous climb to the beach and they were still on board when the ship floated free just after 11.00pm, still watched by a now cheering huge crowd.

Following ninety four years of service the Lighthouse became unmanned on 8th December 1924. Then in the early 1970’s it was decided that it was no longer needed and the last light shone on 1st October 1973. The building became Liverpool Corporation’s responsibility again and they offered it for sale. It was bought for £100 by local architect and then owner of Fort Perch Rock Norman Kingham. Mains electricity was added and some refurbishment made to the inside. There was a later plan to turn it into holiday accommodation newly weds perhaps – £50 per day with champagne and flowers part of the deal !. But despite the offer of a kitchen galley with cooker and refrigerator, first floor bathroom and shower… living room and bedroom on the next two floors.. even the temptation of a colour TV, it proved a less than popular honeymoon venue. Possibly the access which was – and is – by way of retrieving a ladder to reach the fifteen iron rungs to the door… was enough to deter most newly married couples.

Since 1830 alterations to its appearance have only ever been minor. And in the early 21st Century Mr. Kingham – by then in his 80’s -made renovations that saw it removed from the English Heritage “buildings at risk” register. In 2005 the Liverpool Echo reported an English Heritage statement which said:

“The New Brighton Lighthouse is one of the most elegant and important features of the Wirral coastline. Such buildings are few and far between”.

The New Brighton lighthouse is a local treasure and has a unique place in Britain’s national seafaring heritage. It was re-lit in 2016 and now has lights powered by solar panels. Perhaps there will be some move in the future to further the plans of those who think the building should be made readily accessible to the general public. In doing so it could finally be allowed to fully take its rightful place as a local historic attraction.

Barry Humphreys

The Dome of Home

Catching a vintage bus to the Dome of Home!

A local volunteer puts on the style – 1940s style that is!

Good publicity from Sean Styles on Radio Merseyside helped visitors step into WWII to enjoy the new Audio Tour at Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena’s Church. Wirral’s Mayor, Ann McLachlan and her grandchildren were among the 400 new visitors. A vintage bus from Wirral Transport Museum added fun and local volunteers, dressed in 1940s costumes, provided refreshments, making three September Saturdays memorable in New Brighton.

The Audio Tour is set during the war, at the time when the church earned its nickname. It consists of 13 short scenarios, written by local people based on truth, dramatized and performed by adults and local drama students from St Mary’s College, Wallasey Village. The Audio Tour is part of Delivery of our third Heritage Lottery Funded Project to halt water penetrating the two, beautiful side chapels. We hear Fr Mullins, the energetic priest who built this basilica-like landmark in 1933, helping local people as they struggle with the difficulties of WWII bombing, conscription, rationing and The Battle of the Atlantic.

Canon Montjean, rector of the Shrine Church said, “We were delighted with the enthusiastic feedback for this year’s Heritage Open Days. Our next step is to produce supporting teaching material for an Education Pack so that local Primary Schools can enjoy it too.” Group and school visits can be arranged by emailing contactus@domeofhome.org or phoning 07743 235047.

As the contractors repair the roofs, brickwork and concrete apace, community life at the church is flourishing. Canon Montjean added, “We now have three priests at SSPPP, helped by a growing volunteer army. New people are always welcome to join our new and existing groups this year or come along to daily or Sunday Mass and Adoration.”

Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena’s Forthcoming Events

Embroidery and sewing group meeting one Saturday afternoon a month (07767 752671)

Dome Tots for pre-schoolers and carers on a Thursday morning at 10-11.30am, starting soon (07596 930850)

Fatima Family Days with activities for children on first Saturdays of the month.

Youth Group meeting one Saturday a month contact newbrighton@icrsp.org

Domus Christiani for married couples contact chn.montjean@icrsp.org

Gregorian Chant (practise twice a month on Sundays at 12.15pm) and Polyphonic Choir (practise Tuesday at 7pm)

Sat 20th Jan 2018 WWII Concert with special guests and hotpot supper at Hollins Hey Hotel in Aid of The Dome of Home Restoration Fund.

Wirral Bookfest

Wirral Bookfest at a glance

Tue 3rd Oct 2pm
Elizabeth Gates Heswall Library

Wed 4th Oct 2.30pm
Stephen May Seacombe Library

Thu 5th Oct 6pm
Ramsey Campbell Birkenhead Library

Mon 9th Oct 2pm
Maureen Lee Bebington Library

Wed 11th Oct 2pm
Diane Hinds Moreton Library

Mon 16th Oct 2.30pm
David Hewitt Rock Ferry Library

Mon 16th Oct 6pm
Andy Sawyer Wallasey Central Library

Thur 19th Oct 6pm
Angela Brabin Wallasey Central Library

Mon 23rd Oct 2pm
Kate Ellis West Kirby Library

Thur 26th Oct 2pm
Shirley Jones Bromborough Library

Fri 27th Oct 2pm
Dean Johnson Wallasey Village Library

Mon 30th Oct 6pm
Howard White & Ian Sloan West Kirby Library

All events FREE. Refreshments usually provided – donations appreciated. Booking (Advance booking is essential to secure your place)

Phone 0151 639 2334 OR 07785 502 018
email elainewilson@wirral.gov.uk

Cabinet approves further rate relief for local businesses

The team at Parity Medical

• Cabinet approves allocation of funding to local businesses
• More than 600 companies will benefit from rate relief
• Pubs will also get a boost from additional support

Wirral businesses which have been adversely affected by this year’s Business Rates Revaluation may qualify for financial assistance to help provide relief against the impact of the changes.

Wirral Council’s Cabinet today approved a recommendation to amend its existing policy to provide Discretionary Rate Relief to local businesses to reflect the availability of additional funding provided by central government and pass this financial support on to those that need it most.

The Government is providing additional support in three distinct areas – supporting small business, support for public houses and an extension to the discretionary fund. Now that Wirral Council has full details of these schemes – and the software to process them – it is seeking to agree an amended National Non-Domestic Rates Discretionary Relief Policy in order to allow local businesses who qualify to access this new support.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Cabinet member for Finance and Income Generation, said the council is determined to see these new forms of rate relief passed on those businesses that need it most.

“A priority in the Wirral Plan is for Wirral to be a place where employers want to invest and businesses are able to thrive,” Cllr Williamson said.

“Encouraging small businesses to develop and grow is at the heart of this and as business rates represent a significant cost to them, we are keen to ensure small businesses in particular can access rate relief.

“The council already operates a discretionary rate relief policy, which was approved for 2017/18. With the detail behind the government’s proposals for three other schemes now announced, the council policy is being amended in order to provide support for more than 600 businesses and 100 public houses in Wirral this year. Better still, these discounts will be awarded without businesses needing to complete an application form.

“This is a real demonstration that Wirral is a welcoming and supportive place to do business, with a local authority that will give them the best possible chance to succeed.”

As part of the extended Discretionary Fund, the government is investing £300 million over the next four years to support businesses which face a significant increase in their business rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation. Wirral’s allocation is £912,000 over four years – £532,000 in the first year, reducing over subsequent years when the fund expires.

In Wirral, the proposal is to provide local small to medium sized businesses with relief if their business rates were projected to rise by more than 5% and their new rateable value is less than £200,000 as a result of the revaluation. It is forecast that more than 600 local businesses will benefit.

Under the ‘support for small business’ relief scheme, around 30 Wirral small businesses will qualify to have their business rates increase capped at £600 per year, while as part of the ‘support for public houses’ initiative, which is for one year only, around 100 Wirral pubs and similar venues will receive business rate relief of up to £1,000 provided they have an rateable value of less than £100,000.

Janette Williamson with Russell Taylor Group boss Peter Russell.

The help has been praised within the local business community. Peter Russell, the Chairman of recruitment firm Russell Taylor Group, which is based in Bromborough, mentors young local entrepreneurs and he said support such as this is a lifeline to fledgling businesses.

Peter said: “Getting help and support with overheads such as this can make or break a small business that has recently started up. It is really good news that companies which are facing a big increase in their business rates will qualify for this financial relief – it will cushion the blow while they continue to grow.”

And Steve Wood, Director of Birkenhead-based Parity Medical, added: “Our company is growing, but the award of partial rates relief after the national revaluation is still very welcome as it allows us to reinvest in infrastructure and continue to increase our workforce, further supporting the local economy.”

Cllr Williamson emphasised that rates relief will be particularly beneficial to a sector of the local economy which is going through an especially difficult period.

She said: “This support will provide a much-needed boost for businesses and to public houses in Wirral in particular. Pubs all over the country have been struggling of late with an average of 27 closing per week. Hopefully this rate relief will provide a bit of a buffer in difficult times.”

 

Chris Salmon poetry competition

Entries invited for 2018

This year’s theme is ‘memories’

Entries invited for annual Christopher Salmon poetry competition, Winners to attend awards ceremony hosted by local poet John Hughes

The Christopher Salmon foundation and Wirral Libraries are once again pleased to announce that the Christopher Salmon poetry extravaganza will be returning for 2018 following the event’s huge success last year. The competition will be launched this month as part of Wirral Libraries’ poetry week.

The annual poetry competition, now in its 8th year, began as a tribute to former Caldy Grammar School student Christopher Salmon who tragically lost his life to a rare streptococcal infection in February 2009, aged just 15.

The theme for this year’s competition is ‘’memories’’ and is open to Wirral residents of all ages. Both winners and runners up in each age category will be awarded cash prizes and will be given the chance to attend a workshop with renowned local poet John Hughes. The prizes will be presented by Mr. Hughes at an awards evening for the winners and their families at Wallasey Town Hall.

The overall winner for the aged 18 or under category will also become Wirral’s Young Poet Laureate for the following 12 months; with all winning poems being published in an anthology which will be available for purchase.

Chris’s Parents Julie and Rich Salmon said “We are absolutely delighted that the competition has grown so much in popularity and now attracts entrants whose ages range from 4 – 94. It is wonderful to be able to do something positive and creative in Christopher’s memory which captures the imagination of so many talented people.

The Christopher Salmon Foundation was set up in 2009 and has so far raised almost £50,000 for charity in Christopher’s memory.

Full details of this year’s competition and official entry forms will be available from Wirral libraries and on the charity’s website, www.chrissalmon.org.uk. Completed forms should be returned to Diane Mitchell at Birkenhead Library by 19/01/2018.

 

News from St Andrews

St Andrew’s United Church, Rowson Street, New Brighton

Once again we held our annual Staycation Week during August when we had a week of fun and fellowship with a varied programme of talks, activities and outings. This year we had a “Magic carpet trip” to India, a visit to New Brighton Heritage Centre, a guided tour of Christchurch, Port Sunlight, a day out to Cedar Farm and Rufford Old Hall, and outings to Parkgate, Burton and Carr Farm. Look out for news of next year’s programme in the early summer edition of the Walrus.

The autumn months will be busy as always at St Andrew’s. Our Harvest Festival Service will be held on Sunday 17th September. The theme this year is “Water” and we shall be engaging with the project “Twinning our Toilets”.

On Saturday 23rd September there will be a Macmillan Coffee Morning starting at 10 am and we hope many people will be able to support this important cause. Light lunches will be served on the first Wednesday of each month, beginning on 4th October. Everyone is very welcome to come along, relax and enjoy a meal with friends old and new.

During October half term (23rd – 27th October) there will be a “Cops and Robbers” Holiday Club each morning from 9.45 – 12.15. There will be lots of games, activities, crafts and fun! All children of Primary School age are very welcome.

At our Community Centre on the corner of Rake Lane and Princess Road our Toddler Group has started a new term, meeting each Thursday 9.45 – 11.30 am. Also at our Community Centre St Andrew’s Coffee and Book Shop will shortly be opening each Tuesday 2.00 – 4.30 pm.

Looking further ahead, we shall be having a Christmas Tree Festival again this year. The church will be open (free admission) on Saturday 9th December 10.00 am – 4.00 pm and on Sunday 10th December 12.00 – 4.00 pm.

Also during December children from local primary schools will be coming to St Andrew’s for “Experience Christmas” when they will hear the story of the Nativity.

 

Events to look out for in the next few months:

Sunday 17th September 10.45 am
Harvest Festival Thanksgiving Service and Parade Service

October 23rd – 27th
Holiday Club for primary school aged children

Sunday 12th November 10.45 am
Remembrance Day Service and Parade Service.

Saturday 25th November 11.00 pm
Christmas Fayre

Thursday 7th December 7.30 pm
Oldershaw Singers Christmas Concert

Saturday 9th December 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Christmas Tree Festival

Sunday 10th December 12 noon – 4.00 pm
Christmas Tree Festival

Sunday 17th December 4.00 pm
Carols Round the Tree

 

All our regular activities have now started again after the summer break:

Wednesday Midweek Service, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Seniors 1st Wednesday of the month except January and August – monthly lunch club

Thursday Craft Group, Art Group, Youth Club, Indoor Bowls Club

Friday Knitting Group, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts

Second Saturday each month 10.30 – 12 noon Coffee Morning in the church

 

For more details, times and contacts information see the notice boards in Rowson Street and Egerton Street, or look on our website www.standrewsunitedchurch.co.uk

Everyone is welcome at all these services, events and activities.