- New Ferry
New Ferry shown within Merseyside
Population 5,300 (2001 Census) OS grid reference Metropolitan borough Metropolitan Borough of Wirral Metropolitan county Merseyside Region North West Country England Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town WIRRAL Postcode district CH62 Dialling code 0151 Police Merseyside Fire Merseyside Ambulance North West EU Parliament North West England UK Parliament Wirral South List of places: UK • England • Merseyside
New Ferry is a small town located on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Situated to the east of Bebington, it is part of the Bromborough Ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and in the parliamentary constituency of Wirral South. The 2001 Census measured the town's population at 5,300.
As with the neighbouring settlement of Rock Ferry to the north, a ferry service gave its name to the locality, with the first recorded mention of New Ferry in 1774. Additionally, on 4 April 1865, a "South End" service was established between New Ferry and a dock basin in the southern dock system of Liverpool, although this appeared to be relatively short-lived. From 1879, services to Liverpool Pier Head were usually augmented with Rock Ferry. The ferry service was forced to close after a ship collided with New Ferry Pier in thick fog, in the early hours of 30 January 1922. Due to declining passenger numbers, improved local land-based public transport and a close proximity to the Rock Ferry service, it never reopened. The lease on the Ferry Rights officially expired on 22 September 1927, although no service had operated at New Ferry for over five years as a result of the collision.
New Ferry was part of the Lower Bebington township, which became the Bebington-cum-Bromborough civil parish in 1922. Between 1894 and 1974 these parishes were administered as part of Bebington urban district.
On 1 April 1974, local government reorganisation in England and Wales resulted in most of Wirral, including New Ferry, transfer from the county of Cheshire to Merseyside. Following this the World's first Trailway system was introduced; getting people from the area to Liverpool at lightning fast speeds.
New Ferry is situated on the A41, the main road between Birkenhead and London prior to the introduction of motorways, and immediately adjacent to the village of Port Sunlight. At the centre of the town is the Toll Bar area, a name originating from when New Chester Road used to be a toll road. The re-routing of the A41 road onto the New Ferry By-pass, the first part from Bolton Road to Thorburn Road built in 1960, and extended from Thorburn Road to the Tranmere roundabout in 1976, has resulted in a decline in through-traffic in the town centre.
The community led organisation, New Ferry Regeneration Action Group (NFRAG), has been actively seeking funding for a variety of projects since its inception in 1999. As well as successfully campaigning to get CCTV cameras around the shopping centre; the main car parks resurfaced; environmental improvements within Winstanley Road and Salisbury Drive; new pavings, railings and lighting in New Chester Road; and starting up the successful Wirral Farmers' Market in the Village Hall, the group has more recently carried out improvements to the Shorefields Nature Park where further improvements are also imminent. The group is also very active in discussions with waste operator Biffa and the Forestry Commission regarding turning the nearby former tip site at Bromborough Dock into a new park.
New Ferry has a small shopping precinct often referred to as "The Ferry". The area consists of the chain stores Cooperative and Iceland. The collapse of the Woolworths chain in 2008 saw the closure of its New Ferry branch, which reopened in September 2009 as a Herons frozen food shop.
Numerous smaller retailers include: the Discount Carpet Centre, a 20 year old family business; Buckleys newsagents, which has been in business under the same owner since the early 1980s. For a small shopping centre it is unusual in having four butcher's shops: the oldest (the oldest on Wirral) is the much respected Edge's, with the same family trading in New Ferry since it opened in the 1850s. The centre also contains a number of other specialist shops offering sportswear, cake decoration, fishing tackle and combat clothing (Asian Combat).
The Wirral Farmers' Market, held in New Ferry's Village Hall (between Longfellow Drive & Grove Street) on the second Saturday of the month, has been voted Britain's Best Farmers' Market at the prestigious BBC Food & Farming Awards also received a UK National Regeneration Award from BURA for its work investing in the local community. The market is entirely volunteer run, its profits being used to fund local community groups and good causes.
Public houses and clubs
The area is home to several pubs including Shillings Bar, Alice's Place, The John Masefield, The Farmers Arms, The Cleveland Arms and the Wirral Hotel.
The John Masefield, a pub named in honour of a former poet laureate, who was briefly stationed on a training ship on the Mersey near New Ferry. Part of the JD Wetherspoon chain, the company received complaints due to the unfortunate resemblance of the Masefield portrait on the pub sign to Adolf Hitler. As a result, it has received the nickname of "The Bünker" or "Adolf's". The company had said it would consider renaming the pub, but this has not happened to date.
The Farmers Arms public house was involved in controversy during 2009. Shut down by local authorities after an incident, it briefly reopened before closing again in a £65,000 redevelopment scheme to convert this pub into a family restaurant and improve facilities. During a local committee meeting the issue of access past the pub was brought up. Due to the smoking ban, people are forced to smoke outside. However the pedestrian footpath is fairly narrow along that stretch and is often difficult to get past when a large group of people are there. With the redevelopment grant, they look to increase access, with the option of creating a back entrance being discussed.
New Ferry also has a number of Private Members Clubs: The Royal British Legion at Hesketh Hall on Boundary Road, The Ex Civil Defence Club in School Lane and The Bebington Liberal Club on Bebington Road.
One of New Ferry's links with its historic past as a tourist resort between the 1860s and 1920s was the Great Eastern Pub. The building dated from 1862 when Liverpool day-trippers began crossing the River Mersey by ferry to New Ferry Pier when it became known as "The Great Eastern Picnic Hotel". By coincidence, in 1888, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous ship the SS Great Eastern was broken up on the nearby shoreline, and many artefacts from the ship were auctioned off as it was being dismantled. The pub's owner bought a number of these including the ship's bar to install into the building, wood panelling for the walls, the ship's wheel and a beautiful stained glass window. Unfortunately, these were all removed by the last owners of the building in the mid 2000s, whilst the pub closed down in 2007. In November 2009 the site was sold to a housing developer, Worksharp Ecohomes Ltd of Southport, who, in February 2010, submitted a planning application to Wirral Borough Council to demolish the building, described as being "in a state of serious disrepair" and replace it with ten two-storey semi-detached houses. On 5 March 2010, the security screens were ripped off the doors and windows, the contents of the pub removed and the building left unsecured. Many members of the community had been concerned that the motive behind this was to accelerate the pub's derelict state and ensure its future demolition. This process began in June 2010, ahead of a site meeting by Wirral Council’s planning committee and despite an online petition by New Ferry Regeneration Action Group to save the building. Over 400 people had signed the petition demanding that it be saved from the bulldozer and instead converted to housing. Worksharp EcoHomes obtained planning permission to replace the building with ten semi-detached homes, but conditions attached to that permission mean they must provide a permanent memorial to explain the significance of the area and its connection with the SS Great Eastern. By February 2011 no plan for the memorial has been seen by the community, no work has therefore started on the houses, and the site is currently an eyesore of weeds, brick rubble mounds, and ugly steel fencing.
Primary Schools in the New Ferry area include Grove Street Primary School, Church Drive School, Port Sunlight and St Johns RC Primary. The former site of New Ferry market has been turned into a Learning Centre, offering opportunities for young people and adults to further their qualifications.
Parks and open spaces
Facilities at New Ferry Park include a play area for children (refurbished and extended in January 2010) and football pitches, which are often used during local amateur Sunday league matches.
New Ferry Butterfly Park
Out of a thin piece of land adjoining Bebington railway station and along the railway towards Birkenhead, local volunteers have, since 1993, created a wildlife haven, New Ferry Butterfly Park. Occupying an area of almost 5 hectares, the Park is designated as an Area of Special Biological Interest. Open to visitors on Summer Sundays, local volunteers provide tours and help to manage the site throughout the year.
In December 2009 it was announced that the site's owners, Brock plc, want to sell the land - it is believed for development, even though the site is zoned as open space by the local authority. Brock have refused to sell the site to Cheshire Wildlife Trust or to Wirral Borough Council. As a result of the 3,600 named petition by local residents and concerned persons across Europe, in January 2010 the Council agreed to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on Brock to force them to sell the land to them so that this much loved ecological resource can be saved for future generations.
During 2010 artist in residence Carol Ramsay has created an art trail within the Butterfly Park that will be open to the public 12-4pm every Sunday during the summer months. The trail contains work by four artists and Carol will also be holding art workshops.
The Olympic Taekwondo Centre is based in Bebington Youth Club, Cornwell Close. In 2008 the coach won Wirral Sports Council 'Coach of the Year' and the club took the Junior -73 kg male British National Champion title for the second year running.
- ^ a b Wirral 2001 Census: New Ferry, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, http://www.wirral.gov.uk/factsandfigures/census2001/oneward2recset.asp?ref=TS26, retrieved 18 May 2007
- ^ Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd, p. 59, ISBN 0-86317-166-4
- ^ Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd, pp. 60–61, ISBN 0-86317-166-4
- ^ Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd, pp. 70–71, ISBN 0-86317-166-4
- ^ Cheshire Parishes: Lower Bebington (including New Ferry), GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/chs/lowerbebington.html, retrieved 18 May 2007
- ^ Row brews over 'Hitler' pub sign, BBC News, 8 November 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/7085177.stm, retrieved 21 December 2007
- ^ The Great Eastern pub in Wirral is demolished, Wirral News, 30 June 2010, http://www.wirralnews.co.uk/wirral-news/local-wirral-news/bromborough-bebington-news/tm_headline=the-great-eastern-pub-in-wirral-is-demolished%26method=full%26objectid=26749084%26siteid=80491-name_page.html, retrieved 1 July 2010
- ^ New Ferry Butterfly Park, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, http://www.cheshirewildlifetrust.co.uk/res_new_ferry.htm, retrieved 19 April 2010
- ^ New Ferry Butterfly Park, a Valuable Nature Reserve, threatened with Closure, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, http://www.cheshirewildlifetrust.co.uk/news_new_ferry_threatened.htm, retrieved 19 April 2010
- ^ New Ferry Butterfly Park, New Ferry Online, http://newferryonline.org.uk/, retrieved 19 April 2010
- Bebington District Explorer Scouts
- Bebington Sea Cadets
- NewFerryOnline - The Community Website for New Ferry
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