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Things don’t see on the Wirral anymore but many still remember

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The Wirral has been through many changes and is constantly evolving.

However life is dramatically different now to a few decades ago and even from a couple of years ago.

Whether it’s buildings that have been demolished or professions that don’t really exist in 2021, some things have been confined to history.

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We asked our Wirral ECHO readers what they remember that are sadly not around anymore.

People’s memories often went to fun days out and experiences such as the Wirral Show to swimming in the open air lidos.

Here are some things you don’t really see any more on the Wirral anymore.

Wirral Show



The Wirral Show in 2007
The Wirral Show in 2007

Running for 33 years, the Wirral Show, held at New Brighton was an integral part of the childhood of many people growing up in the borough.

The huge two-day event in New Brighton was axed when organisers the Rotary Club of Wallasey and the Wallasey Lions Club pulled out.

It was one of the UK’s biggest free-to-enter summer attractions that drew crowds of thousands from all over Merseyside and beyond.

The show was crammed full of rides, stalls and entertainments along the picturesque coastline overlooking the mouth of the River Mersey.

Sadly in 2009, after 33 years, the Wirral Show was cancelled forever after organisers the Rotary Club of Wallasey and the Wallasey Lions Club pulled out.

The event is still remembered fondly by many, with people saying a return of the Wirral show could be a jewel in the crown of the Wirral seaside resorts recent resurgence.

New Brighton Lido



The diving board at New Brighton open air baths
The diving board at New Brighton open air baths

No list of lost Wirral wonders would be complete without mention of the great New Brighton baths, which used to bring thousands of visitors to the Wirral resort each year.

Since their demolition, after a 1990 storm which wreaked havoc on the seaside town, locals and visitors alike have felt a pool shaped gap in the resort’s offering.

The New Brighton swimming pool was the largest open air outdoor pool, not just in England but in Europe. On warm days, it was packed with punters.

Despite numerous attempts over the years, New Brighton has never managed to bring back its much loved lido.

Dolphins at the Guinea Gap Baths



The Florida Dolphin Show came to Guinea Gap Baths, Wallasey in 1973.
The Florida Dolphin Show came to Guinea Gap Baths, Wallasey in 1973.

There was a time when dolphin shows would tour the UK bringing the marine animals to various locations.

One of those locations was in Wirral where the mammals were brought to Guinea Gap Swimming Baths in Seacombe, Wallasey to entertain crowds.

At the time it was seen as a fun event for all the family, in an article in the Liverpool ECHO from Thursday, January 23, 1975 the show was dubbed as “sheer unadulterated entertainment” and it was said that the dolphins, “like their audiences, never stop[ped] smiling”.

It was the pool of choice because in the 70s, it wasn’t a chlorine pool and used sea water instead.

With a week of packed-out shows at the pool- sometimes four in a day – it was said over 10,000 people will have seen the displays put on by the dolphins and their trainers.

Birkenhead Market



An early morning queue for bread at Birkenhead Market in 1965
An early morning queue for bread at Birkenhead Market in 1965

The original Birkenhead market was 129 years old when it was engulfed in flames in 1969.

In 1974, another fire took hold of the market, at the site of what became the Land Registry building in Birkenhead, a blaze which took 14 engines to bring under control, leaving only the shell of the building.

Traders lost thousands of pounds worth of stock and the market later moved to Claughton Road.

New Ferry Outdoor Baths

These baths were hugely popular with local children in the summer months and was known for its high diving board.

Sadly, there are no photos of this swimming pool exist in the ECHO archives, but its site by Shorefields is now a housing estate.

Port Sunlight Open Air Swimming Pool



Summer 1953 at Port Sunlight Open-Air Swimming Pool, where Levers soap-works office and factory staff are enjoying a lunchtime dip
Summer 1953 at Port Sunlight Open-Air Swimming Pool, where Levers soap-works office and factory staff are enjoying a lunchtime dip

Port Sunlight village once had its own open air swimming pool next to where the garden centre now is.

It was open to the public in the summer months and had dedicated sessions for employees from the Lever factory. The pool closed in the 1970s.

This photo from the summer of 1953 shows staff from Levers enjoying a dip.

Wirral’s Tramway



A replica of a Birkenhead Corporation Tramways Tram leaving Woodside Ferry, operated on the Heritage Tramway between Wirral Transport Museum and the Ferry Terminal. Birkenhead had the first tramway in Europe operating from 1901. (Pic: Andrew Teebay)
A replica of a Birkenhead Corporation Tramways Tram leaving Woodside Ferry, operated on the Heritage Tramway between Wirral Transport Museum and the Ferry Terminal. Birkenhead had the first tramway in Europe operating from 1901. (Pic: Andrew Teebay)

Wirral was home to Europe’s first street trams, which were horse-drawn and ran from Woodside Ferry to Birkenhead Park.

The concept soon spread to towns and cities across England and into Europe.

According to newspaper reports, the first tram was a single decker.

Eventually there were two double deckers and two single deckers.

The depot and stables were at Palm Grove in Oxton, and on August 14, 1901 electric trams commenced – but from a new depot in Laird Street which is now Arriva’s Wirral bus depot.

On July 12, 1919 the first Birkenhead Corporation motorbuses began running, and buses gradually replaced trams until the end of the tram operation in July 1937.

Other mentions included youth clubs, boats on Raby Mere and the kite festival.



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