Visit Birkenhead and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Birkenhead, Merseyside. Birkenhead Priory existed before there was any town of Birkenhead as such. It was founded in the mid-12th century when land was granted to a Benedictine order, the Black Monks, who may have come from Chester. They favoured this secluded spot near the head of the Wirral peninsula where their priory was screened by forests on the landward side. There was a ferry-boat point nearby over which the monks later gained rights, granted by a charter from Edward III. The remains of the priory were acquired by Birkenhead Corporation in 1896. The Wirral area was less troubled by the strife of the post-Dissolution period than places further inland, and even up to the 19th century, Birkenhead remained a quiet hamlet. St Mary's was built from 1819 to 1821 as the parish church, in Victorian Gothic style on a cruciform plan. In 1817 the steam ferry began to operate and this encouraged people from the north side of the Mersey to settle in Birkenhead. From 1824 William Laird began to buy land, and established a boiler works and then ship-building yards. The first docks opened in 1847, and from then on the two major industries of ship-building and docks were the decisive influences in the steady growth of the town. Its links with the north side of the Mersey were further improved by the opening of the Mersey rail tunnel in 1886, and the Mersey Tunnel in 1934 for road traffic.
In 1826 Hamilton Square was laid out by Gillespie Graham like an Edinburgh square, with the support of William Laird. Originally residential, it is now mainly business premises, and has a public garden. The handsome town hall was built in 1887. Several sites have been used for the Central Library, and the present building was opened in 1934. The large entrance portico is in a dignified Classical style, decorated with marble: grey travertine with a black inlay for the floors, door architraves and wall pilasters and golden travertine marble for the columns. The imposing Williamson Art Gallery was specially designed for its purpose and opened in 1928. English watercolours are a special feature, and there are many English oils of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and some of the 20th century. The Knowles Boney Collection of Liverpool porcelain may be the largest of its kind in the country. Other ceramics include Japanese, Persian, early Viennese, Venetian, Dresden and French pottery, and examples of Crown Derby and Staffordshire work.
Arrowe Park, which the corporation acquired in 1927, contains 425 acres of fine woodland and a bird sanctuary. There is also a golf course and various playing fields. Arrowe Hall is an 1835 building in Elizabethan style.
Men associated with the town include Lord Birkenhead, better known there as F. F. Smith, who was born at 8 Pilgrim Street; J. L. Garvin of the Observer who was born at 117 Anne Street; and Wilfred Owen, the poet, who was born at Oswestry, went to Birkenhead in 1900 and died in France a week before the 1918 armistice. At the Y.M.C.A. hall in Whetstone Lane is a tablet that commemorates the inauguration of the Boy Scout movement in Grange Road Hall by Baden-Powell in 1908. Nathaniel Hawthorne lived at Rock Ferry and became American consul at Liverpool in 1853.
Bidston Hill on the North West is the oldest of the town's open spaces, and the old windmill is a well-known landmark. There is a direction indicator for the extensive views from the top of the hill. Liverpool University has an observatory and Tidal Institute on the hill, which provides meteorological information and makes tidal predictions for some 160 ports throughout the world. Bidston Old Hall, which became a farm-house, is believed to have been rebuilt in 1620 by William, 6th Earl of Derby, and looks down on Leasowe Castle (Wallasey), another residence of the Stanleys, the Earls of Derby.
Adjacent cities/towns/villages: Aigburth, Aintree, Bebington, Bidston, Blundellsands, Bootle, Bromborough, Caldy, Childer Thornton, Childwall, Crosby, Deysbrook, Dingle, Fazakerley, Frankby, Garston, Greasby, Heswall, Higher Bebington, Hoylake, Kirkby, Knowsley, Litherland, Little Sutton, Liverpool, Lower Bebington, Melling, Moreton, Mossley Hill, New Brighton, New Ferry, Port Sunlight, Prenton, Roby, Rock Ferry, Seacombe, Seaforth, Seaforth Island, Thurstaston, Toxteth, Upton, Wallasey, Walton, Wavertree, West Derby, West Kirby, Wirral, Woodchurch, Woolton
Have you decided to visit Birkenhead or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Birkenhead bed and breakfast (a Birkenhead B&B or Birkenhead b and b)
- a Birkenhead guesthouse
- a Birkenhead hotel (or motel)
- a Birkenhead self-catering establishment, or
- other Birkenhead accommodation