Birkenhead – a pleasant surprise

Usually, when I come to Birkenhead, I’m passing through on my way to Liverpool. But a couple of weeks ago I got some kind of “sightseeing tour” of Birkenhead (there were engineering works on the trainline to Liverpool and we had to use a replacement bus service) and I thought, maybe I should give it a shot. So one sunny Sunday I grabbed my backpack and my camera and got off the train at Birkenhead for the first time.

I started at Hamilton Square as it is quite central.

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Detail of a monument dedicated to Queen Victoria

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Top of the monument. The sun wasn’t in my favour so the I couldn’t get nice pics of the town hall and the cenotaph

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Loving these streetlamps.

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Proper British

Next stop was Birkenhead Park. The park was designed by Joseph Paxton and opened on 5 April 1847. It is generally acknowledged as the first publicly funded civic park in Britain. American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted visited the park in 1850 and it is widely accepted that he incorporated many of the features he observed into his design for New York’s Central Park.

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The grand entrance gate to the park

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A lot of effort and work went into it.

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The Boathouse alongside the lake

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Floor inside the Boathouse

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The Swiss Bridge, a 23-foot pedestrian span of stringer construction built in 1847

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Sculpture outside the visitor center.

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The Boathouse again – this time from the other side of the lake

After a lovely time in the park I headed back into the town center.

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Birkenhead Higher Elementary School

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Like in the good old days. Separate entrances for boys and girls.

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Where the boys entrance is at the front, the girls entrance is hidden to the side of the building

Next stop: Birkenhead Priory. It is the oldest standing building on Merseyside and was founded about 1150 by Hamon de Masci, 3rd Baron of Dunham Massey for the Benedictine Order.

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You can climb up the tower and are rewarded with a beautiful view of the Liverpool skyline. And it’s totally free!

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Old and new are very close together here. A shipyard is just on the other side of a wall.

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Inside the chapter house is a chapel dedicated to the training ship HMS Conway.

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There are some very nice buildings in Birkenhead

Lucky for me there was the Wirral Bus and Tram Show on that day. There were various old buses and trams driving around town.

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You can have a ride on them as well

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They don’t make them as nice any more.

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I had never seen one like this before.

As I was wandering around I came across some interesting structures and buildings.

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Egerton Bridge is a working example of a bascule bridge and was built between 1928 and 1931, replacing an earlier swing bridge.

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I am actually quite small but this just made me feel tiny.

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Would love to see it working

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It’s difficult to capture the scale of it actually

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Birkenhead Docks: Central hydraulic tower

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Completed in 1863, it provided hydraulic power to open gates and bridges in the docks

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The design of the building was based on the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza Della Signoria, Florence, Italy.

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Tower Road Bridge. One of the three road bridges that cross the Great Float.

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Former Pier Hotel

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This was once an outpost of Birkenhead Brewery Co. Ltd. Fortunately it retains its beautiful exterior tiling.

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The building seems to have been vacant for quite a while

And if you’re not bored by now…

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Kind of scary

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In need of attention

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Pattern – just couldn’t resist

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Hungry?

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Geometric

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Could almost be a back alley in New York. Almost…

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2 thoughts on “Birkenhead – a pleasant surprise

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Door | design and dragons

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