The Wirral is such an interesting place, bursting with history and stories to tell. Here are some little known facts about the Wirral.
Historians have classified the Wirral Peninsula as the ‘Birthplace of England’, after the bloody Battle of Brunanburh – present day Bromborough – in the year 937 it brought together the might of England’s combined armed forces for the very first time in order to fight against the fearsome armies of both Norway and Scotland.
The peninsula’s Leasowe Lighthouse which was built in 1793 is the oldest surviving brick built lighthouse in the UK. The lighthouse was also the first in the country to have a female lighthouse keeper, when Mrs Mary Elisabeth Williams began her service as lighthouse keeper in 1908.
The Wirral’s only recognised holiday resort, New Brighton is home to the UK’s longest promenade, at 3.5 kilometres long. During the resorts heyday in the 19th century is was noted as being one of the most elegant seaside resorts of the Regency period.
Despite its small size, when compared to a large city like London; the Wirral has no less than 1,900 listed buildings, 215 churches, 50 towns and villages, 25 conservation areas, 10 lighthouses, 5 nature reserves, 2 watermills, one castle and one fort (plus many more).
The Hilbre Islands are an archipelago consisting of three islands at the mouth of the River Dee, the border between England and Wales. Hilbre Island is the largest of the group is approximately 11.6 acres in area – it has some houses which are privately owned, making it the smallest inhabited island in the UK.
The Mersey Ferries were the very first boats in the world to be fitted with fog radar navigation systems in 1947. Prior to this, ferry captains had to rely on fog bells to give them an audible target to aim for.
The infamous Central Park in New York was based on the design of Birkenhead Park – opened in 1847 it was then visited by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1850 who took his inspiration back to the USA where it was used for the creation of the famous landmark Central Park is known as today.
Despite being only 60 square miles in size, the Wirral is home to five nature reserves including; Hilbre Island Nature Reserve and Thurstaston Nature Reserve.
The indigenous people of the Wirral Peninsula were of Celtic descent, the Cornovii Tribe. They lived in the modern day counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Clwyd. The oldest known record of the tribe comes from Roman philosopher Ptolomy in the second century AD.
The world’s first commercial hovercraft service began on the Wirral Peninsula during the summer of 1962. Passengers were ferried from the Wirral seaside town of Moreton to Rhyl in North Wales on a Vickers VA-3 hovercraft.