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24 September 2014

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Voices: Turning words into action
birkenhead children

Birkenhead North Audio History

Making a permanent record of life down the years for the local community... are you in this picture.. do you have a story to tell?

Playtime at the Dock Cottages

"International singer Charlie Landsborough and Brookie actress Suzanne Collins share their memories of living in "The North End."
BBC Community Producer for Wirral - Estelle Condliff
On Wednesday the 23rd of October 1844, the foundation stone was laid for the Birkenhead docks system. The occasion heralded a future for the area we now know as the North End of Birkenhead. It was such an important day for the town that a general holiday was declared.

Three years later, the area's most famous landmark, St James' Church was built, closely followed by a school of the same name, which for over a century would educate local children.
The North End of Birkenhead has given us famous names like Wirral Railway FC's star player Dixie Dean, golfing brothers Bill and Norman Sutton, the boxer Wally Thom and of course our own "Professional" Lewis Collins.

What about the shops and the people who owned them? Halliwells the Butcher in Laird Street, Mrs. Chamberlain 's chippy in Stanley Road, later to become Packer Francis's, and the smell of fresh bread from Wilkinson's Bakery.

Do you remember the world famous Tapestry Works which was founded by the Lee family in the late 19th century. Mr. Lee's Magic Lantern Show was every Thursday at half past five. It had children from the local area clamouring to get in, many would be disappointed.

Perhaps you witnessed one of the many Saturday night altercations in The Blood Tub, the local hostelry - where bare fisted men, stripped to their waist fought it out and when their last punch was thrown and their energies spent, shook hands and headed for the bar.

audio The project explained

audio Rob McIntosh is Wirral Young Citizen of the Year


We've been inundated with photographs from years gone by. You can see what life was like in the past including school days, coronation parties, social life, landmarks and so on. If you have any 'photos you'd like to see up on the website, you can take your them to the Gautby Road Play & Community Centre. Don't worry if they're in a bit of a state, Andy and Wendy will restore them back to their original condition. We'll glady add them to our photo gallery.

To see the gallery click here

We've compiled an oral history with the help of the people who lived and worked there. There are stories from the war, the wash house, school days and favourite teachers. Also, memories of the boating lake, coronation parties, days spent caddying at the West Cheshire Golf Club, day trips to Bidston Hill and the Rhododendron Gardens, or the Rods as they were known, there's much more including interviews with international singer/songwriter Charlie Landsborough and former Brookside actress Suzanne Collins.

Andria Crabtree - contributor to "Tales from the North End" a radio series which will be available in the Autumn.

A CD compilation, produced by Estelle Condliff - BBC Community Producer for Wirral - is available from Wirral Libraries. There are 4 CD's (£6.99 + £1.50 p&p), or a single MP3 version (£3.99 + 75p p&p).

A donation of £1 will be is made to local North End charities from every set sold.

For more information contact the Reference Library in Borough Road, Birkenhead, personal callers welcome. Ring 00 44 (151) 652 6107. Email

This CD is not available from Radio Merseyside's reception.







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