During the week of the 5th December we took trips, the first to Christchurch and then the second to the Wirral Deen Centre later that week. Our volunteers Nick and Shelagh attended too.
At Christ Church we sat around and had a great chat with everyone, we maybe got a little derailed at some points and we also discussed something that has come up a lot through the project of what it means to be working class - which throughout has presented a number of definitions. But we still managed to uncover a few great stories and met some really interesting local people.
We also headed over to the Wirral Deen Centre to introduce the project to the community there, there was a lots going on in the space as they had recently finished prayer, had a covid vaccination clinic in and the BBC and Granada report in filming the day. So there really was a lot going on, but we had a chance to introduce the project to a number of people and got a few people to share some of their memories and stories with us. Many of the people we spoke to had only recently come to the area and it was great to hear about some of their more recent memories, most of this came up in conversation and we didn’t have a chance to document. But will be continuing our relationship with the space to feed in stories.
We want to thank both the Wirral Deen and Christ Church for inviting us in to talk to their community. We hope to be able to continue to work with these community hubs in the future.
Here is a snapshot from some of the memories contributed during these sessions:
Your name: Sue Berry
Location of memory: All over Wirral
Date/ Era of memory: from 1956 and stories evidence etc from late 1800s - originally my family came from Ireland - Potato famine late 1800’s
Your story or History: I am going to share more stories and submit:
Training ship merchant navy, in the mersey. My uncle living and working in the Work HouseFamily members living in and around Birkenhead. Main memory is Dad on the borstal ship - the Indefatagalbe (and the Conway) at 13 yrs old then on to the merchant navy in the mid 1950’s/.
Your name: Sarah
Location of memory: Birkenhead
Date/Era or memory: 1990s
Your story or history: Birkenhead technical college, i attended birkenhead technical collage 20 years ago. It is no longer here now and has been turned into flats. Both of my parents were from Birkenhead and grew up here in the 1950s. My mum attended Christ Church primary school in the 50s and my son currently attends now.
Ahead of our visit to the Stork Hotel on the 1st, Kath got in touch with the team there to share their memory and story of the Stork Hotel!
“I lived at number 39 until 1962. My Grandad Fred Corry nana and their boys Fred and Stan lived at the Stork as Grandad was the licensee from 1912 - 1936. I hope you can use these pictures too. When Grandad died 1936 my nan, Lucy and her son Stan had to vacate and they lodged across the road at number 24 the Millers Home. My Dad was serving in India at the time.
Nan Lucy was killed when a bomb dropped on the Ritz 1940.
Dad came home from India with no home and lived at number 39 where my Mum and her family lived and he married my mum in 1941.
I wish I could be there to hear all the stories.
Many years later and my cousin’s daughter - Corry married Miller. They didn’t know the connection!!
She works next door in Horden House!!”
On the 1st of December Andy and Ryan headed to a Pub of National Historic Significance, The Stork Hotel on Price Street near Hamilton Square to host a history night. It was a brilliant night that saw people from the local community come and speak about their history and memories of Birkenhead.
Our group took turns to speak in an informal social where took a recording of the conversation to refer back to.
Stories from the evening spanned night life, work, Shafts youth club, fish and chip shops, antiques. One of the group also brought along an old police log book and some della robbia.
Here is a snapshot of some of the memories contributed to our ever growing map:
Name: Bev Wilkinson
Location of memory: Grange Road
Date/ Era of memory: 1963
Your story or history: Working in British Home Stores next to Woolworths and Marks and Spencer. At time Grange Road used to be the main road with cars up and down. Very busy with many sailors coming from the docks to buy xmas presents of gloves, socks etc by the hundred for all the relatives back home. Going for lunch in the Garrick Snug at the side of Co-op (now TK MAXX). Three doors down was Burton Shop which had a club upstairs with bands like the Mersey Beat. (Craftsman Club).
“Name: Frank McLaughlin
Location of memory: The Stork
Date/ Era of memory: Tonight (01.12.22)
Your story or history: Fantastic night made a lot of new friends and can’t wait for the next time. Got loads of stories of our little town to tell.”
Name: Emma Harris
Location of memory: Birkenhead Central Roundabout
Date/ Era of memory: 2003-05
Your story or history: Goth Subculture, alternative kids. Teenagers would hang out every Sunday from 10AM to 5PM having fun, eating, drinking, playing music and causing trouble.
Name: Jen Pugh
Location of memory: Birkenhead Docks (Seacombe, water st clinic, field rd clinic and liscard clinic).
Date/ Era of memory: 1989 - early 90s
Your story or history: Health Visitor in this area, many of the single Mums named babies after the name of the “ship” the Dad came off. Often Russian, named children, exotic and unusual names.
Name: Jen Pugh
Location of memory: Tranmere/ Cammell Laird
Date/ Era of memory: 1920’s - 40’s
Your story or history: My Great Great Grandad was a ‘Foreman Ganger’ in Cammell-Lairds. The dock yard fell on hard times unsure of the exact dates, he moved all his family to South Wales Valley’s to help build reservoirs. These were Ponsticill Reservoirs in Wales.
Name: Steve Lane
Location of memory: Wallasey
Date/ Era of memory: 1980’s - 2010’s
Your story or history: School teacher in Wallasey for 30 years originally from Liverpool. Came to teach Maths at local boys school in Wallasey. Know that area very well, Been involved in sport, used to play football at the oldershaw in wallasey - so part of the community for 30 years and now happily retired.
We are still processing 3 hours of dialogue we recorded too, so watch this space in the new year for more stories from our night at the Stork.
The land lady Michelle deserves big thanks too. For not only hosting us but putting on food for everyone. Its a brilliant place with so much to offer. We can’t wait to go back again soon.