We took part in Saving Ron’s Place event at the end of September to speak with the public about their memories of Birkenhead. This was a brilliant event to help support and save Ron’s Place in Oxton. On the day we spoke to local people about what memories they had of Birkenhead with the market playing a key part in peoples recent and family memory.
First job out of school-worked for a lighting retailer on wirral. Traveled everyday from crosby (1 hour).
Used to go to the market and get a toy car with my nan. Then we’d go on the ferry.
I lived in liverpool from the above dates. I remember coming over to Birkenhead market with my mother to buy …….., fabrics dresses etc. Probably came over on the ferry.
Eating walm sugar doughnuts by the beach.
Making sandcastles and going ‘fishing’ in the rock pools
The first time i paddled barfoot in the sea
Grange road, Birkenhead
The co-op department store (now tk-max) was one of my regular haunts. There was also (surprise, surprise) a vinyl records section here as well, plus a model railway section where I would ogle at and long to have in my ownership some extra bits for my hornby hst train set. It was expensive even back then about £4-£5 for some accessories. I would often visit the co-op each time I was in Birkenhead to see what new model trains accessories were in stock. The store was always busy then. It seemed like a totally different era then.
Birkenhead industrial estate: (by adams and russell)
My grandad had a depot for selling meat here. Apparently the person running it did a bad job and they had to close.
Market street. Birkenhead
I was 9 years old at the time, Birkenhead market burning down in 1974. Really upset about this cos me and my younger sister + me mum used to always do our shopping there. A record shop called Phoenix Records, used to always get my ex jukebox singles for 30 pence. I remember being distraught that the shop had moved + the only place left was selling singles at 60p (double what i could afford). Market street was also buzzing at the time with another record shop (ROX) catering to my vinyl obsession even at that young age!!!
My great auntie pat lived in bidston and i would ride my bike through the wirral to visit her. She loved family history and called my grandma and “pioneer’ because she was one of the first people to get access to “the pill” meaning they were able to limit the number of children they had, she helped other people get it before she died aged 52. Pat died during the pandemic- she had a stroke at home and i wasn’t able to see her in hospital. She was moved to a nursing home just near her old flat - i want to see her and talked to her about our plans to go back to central library to look for more family secrets. I now have her “ban the bomb” ring on my thumb.
A rad moman her ashes are scattered with my nans.
Birkenhead: st werburgh’s square, grange precinct.
1980-81 (post xmas)
Being a teen who was obsessed with music, i got heavily into the Ska `Revival 2-tone ‘scene’ of the 1979-1980. For me it was more important than punk a couple of year earlier. I was a glam rock fan in the early 1970’s, a soul/funk obsessive in the mid 1970s, but then the 2-tone/ska/mod/skindhead fashions of the period 1979-1980 really made me want to be a part of a new youth subculture! I was especially smitten with the style/fashions of this 2 tone era. I wa always envious of the schoolkids at my school who had the “clobber’ which (PTO) i longed to have! Crombies, two tone suits, Sta-prest trousers + above all doc martens boots/shoes. My abiding memory of Birkenhead shopping centre was finally managing to get myself my first pair of doc martens in early 1981- fro the famous army + navy stores in st werbergh;s square (this is now an empty shop unit opposite the Pound bakery!) There were TWO branches of the FA+N stores (the other was on grand road, which is now funnily enough ANOTHER branch of pound bakery today !!) In birkenhead. Needless to say i was really thrilled to get my first pair of Dr Martens shoes from the army store. They only cost £12.99 a pair back then (think of how much they cost now!!!)- and this sent me on my way to looking like a ‘proper’ Ska/2-toen kid. It incredible to think that this was already 42 years ago and how some memories like this never leave you!! They were happy day when i was a teen.
I was a girl guide and we invited a group of ‘poorer’ children to a picnic to bidston hill. We took enough food for 2 people to share.
Sometime in 2019 I decided to turn up at Birkenhead market because i had heard of Convenience Gallery. I fell in love with Andy and Ryan and had a solo show at the market soon after, Ryan moved in with me and my husband for a year and now we are family. Birkenhead gave me friends, love and family.