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New Brighton

Up to the 19th century the area had a reputation for smuggling and wrecking, and secret underground cellars and tunnels are still rumoured to exist. It also had a strategic position at the entrance to the Mersey Estuary.
The Perch Rock battery was completed in 1829. It mounted 18 guns, mostly 32 pounders, with 3 6" guns installed in 1899. Originally cut off at high tide, coastal reclamation has since made it fully accessible.
In 1830, a Liverpool merchant, James Atherton, purchased much of the land at Rock Point, which enjoyed views out to sea and across the Mersey and had a good beach. His aim was to develop it as a desirable residential and watering place for the gentry, in a similar way to Brighton, one of the most elegant seaside resorts of that Regency period – hence "New Brighton". Substantial development began soon afterwards, and housing began to spread up the hillside overlooking the estuary - a former gunpowder magazine being closed down in 1851

Fort Perch Rock New Brighton 1906

Perch Rock c 1960s

To the people of Liverpool, New Brighton was the greatest seaside resort in the whole world, a magic kingdom and home to a thousand childhood memories we will never forget.
From the turn of the century, Liverpool residents flocked to their very own holiday destination It was a  playground of the North. It was a golden era of bustling sun-drenched beaches, donkey rides and bucket and spades – the irresistible aroma of fish and chips on the prom and the roar of the Figure of 8 rollercoaster.

Photographs of New Brighton Beach

The New Brighton tower, as a visitor attraction, had a short chequered existence. After six workmen were killed and another seriously injured during its construction, a young man jumped to his death from its balcony shortly after the tower's opening. The Tower sat in sumptious gardens with an enormous 2000 capacity ballroom at its base. Four lifts took the sightseers to the top of the structure at a cost of 6d offering views of as far as the Isle of Man, Manchester and Mount Snowdon. Unlike the Blackpool Tower it had a lavish gothic base, as it sat on top of a stately home. It remained popular until World War One, the nation stopped partying so much and the tower was shut-down temporarily. Sadly during the shut-down period the metalwork was neglected and it got rusty so with the war over in 1919 it failed to be suitable for public use.  The tower was eventually taken down between 1919 and 1921. The Tower Ballroom and the Theatre continued to operate for over 50 years with it’s Funfair and rides and attractions on the surrounding land, it  was open until until 1969.
Many famous acts visited the New Brighton venue including Little Richard  and The Beatles.

New Brighton Tower and the Tower Ballroom

The Fun Fair on the surrounding grounds

The Tower Ballroom remains standing after the removal of the Tower

Inside the beautiful Tower Ballroom

Bathing Pool

The open air Bathing Pool opened in 1934 and was built to competition standards. South-facing, its walls were designed to act as a sun-trap and avoid seaborne winds. From 1949 to 1989 it was also home of the "Miss New Brighton" contest.[It closed in 1990 following storm damage and demolished a short time later.

New Brighton outdoor pool

Crowds gather at the pool for a Miss New Brighton Competition

What remained of the pool in 1991

In 1969 children broke into the abandoned  Tower Ballroom building and started a fire.  This goes to show that this is not just a present day problem, but one that stems back generations.  The fire left the building so badly damaged that it was demolished under orders from Wirral Borough Council

 During the 70s the town started to lose its magic and could not compete with the arrival of cheap travel abroad. A housing estate now occupies the former site.

Take a nostalgic trip on the Royal Iris

This selection of images, however, is also a celebration of the contributions of the area's inhabitants to the achievements of the townships that make up this corner of Wirral; Moreton, Leasowe, Wallasey Village, Liscard, Egremont, Poulton and Seacombe. The people are shown at work and at play, in school and on the seashore, in the streets or attending special events. This book will appeal to all Wallasey residents old and young, whether they live in the area or, like the author, look back with nostalgia on it as a place where they used to live.

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