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Merseyside - DID YOU KNOW?



Aintree taking its name from a Saxon word meaning lone tree is an ancient town still bearing the trunk of this tree.

It is of course better known as the location for the Grand National which has been run each spring since 1839.

Legendary triple winner of this race, Red Rum is buried next to the winning post at the Aintree Race Course. Red Rum, trained by Ginger McCain, is the only horse to have won the Grand National three times in 1973 1974 and 1977. This popular horse now has a commemorative statue outside of the race course.



This suburban town is close to many top Merseyside attractions which include the Safari Park at Knowsley, which opened in 1971.

Also nearby are Walton Hall Gardens and Norton Priory Museum and Gardens, also land of knights', otherwise known as Camelot Theme Park.



This small once industrial town used to serve the nearby docks on the river as well as the many factories in that area during the Industrial Revolution.

It is also here that you will find Port Sunlight, a real-life garden village built and designed by William Lever (Lord Leverhulme) in the late 19th century to housing workers at his nearby soap factory. This firm is better known today as the multi-national pharmaceuticals giant Unilever. Lord Leverhulme also founded the Lady Lever Art Gallery as a tribute to his late wife, which houses art and furniture together with one of Britain's biggest collections of Wedgewood china.


Billinge is a village within the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens in Merseyside. It is located by road approximately 5.5 miles (8.9km) southwest of Wigan and 3.7 miles (5.9km) northeast of St Helens.

It was originally a farming community which is nowadays mostly residential. It sits upon the slopes of a prominent hill which is known locally as the lump. This hill rises almost 600 feet above sea level. On a clear day it is possible to see 16 counties from the top, including the Welsh Hills and Scotland.



Birkenhead sits on the Wirral peninsula facing Liverpool over the Mersey. It is associated with the famous song Ferry across the Mersey. It consisted mostly of farms until a steam ferry service linked it to Liverpool in 1820 which provided an opportunity for the area to turn its hand to ship building. The original ferry service was started in 12 th Century by Benedictine monks at the Birchen Head Priory.

Some of Britain's biggest ships including the Ark Royal Aircraft Carrier and two nuclear submarines were built there.

Birkenhead was also the site of Britain's first publicly funded park in 1834 and was the birthplace of Europe's first horse-drawn street-tram system.



Bootle is another Town which has long been associated with ship building. Many of its houses were originally built for dockers in the 1930's.

During the Second World War, because of its significance as a centre for ship building, Bootle was extensively bombed by the Luftwaffe and only ten per cent of properties in the town were left unscathed,

Bootle is bordered by Britain's longest canal, the Leeds-Liverpool (the longest canal in the Country).



The small mostly rural community of Brimstage is located at the very centre of the Wirral, amongst the suburbs of nearby Liverpool.

Its most striking feature is Brimstage Hall, thought to have been constructed some time between the 12 th and 14 th Centuries. To this day it still retains many of its original medieval features. The first known occupants of the hall were Sir Hugh Hulse and his wife, who in 1398 were granted the right to construct a chapel on the site. It was a home to the aristocracy for centuries to come.

Nowadays the hall has been converted and houses shops and businesses in its main courtyard. It is an important local landmark.



The village of Bromborough sits in the Wirral on the south side of the river Mersey.

The village is mostly made up of pre-war residential developments. To the north is a more industrialised area which includes one of the region's first workers' villages built by a local candle-making company. Bromborough has its own small dock which connects it to the surrounding towns and industries.



Crosby is a town made up of four districts; Great and Little Crosby, Seaforth and Waterloo. It is situated in the Merseyside borough of Sefton.

The town's famous Carnegie Library is located here. This was constructed using funds donated by Scottish born American steel mogul Andrew Carnegie.

Crosby boasts several miles of wide-open beaches as well as a marina and a number of parks.

In more recent times Crosby was the political stomping ground of ex-MP Shirley Williams who was a labour MP for the town during the 60's and 70's. She served as education minister under Harold Wilson. She defected from the labour party in 1981 to form the SDP and later was leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.



Formby is situated in the Sefton borough of Merseyside. The town's name is derived from the Norse name for Village of Forni which was a common name in Scandinavia at the time. Many local place names come from similar sources, with the Viking invaders landing at various places along the North-West coast after the falling of the Roman empire.

Formby is adjacent to the pine forests and sand dunes of a National Trust reserve which is home to most of the country's red squirrels, a species all but wiped out by its grey counterpart. As such it is an area of special scientific interest. The area is also known for its population of Natterjack toads, whose chorus is referred to locally as the "Bootle Organ".



Situated on the Wirra peninsula, Merseyside, Greasby was the first settled community in the Merseyside area.

Artefacts such as stone tools found near Greasby date back to the Mesolithic era (around 7000 BC). Over the centuries the town has been occupied by Celts, Vikings, Saxons and the Romans. Roman weapons, jewellery and coins have been found on the site, and the routes of the original Roman roads are still being used today.

When the Norman Conquest arrived in 1066 the town was given to Nigel de Burcey by William the Conqueror, however less than 30 years later it was handed over to the Church who held onto it until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th century.



Halewood is situated in the Merseyside borough of Knowsley. The name was derived from the Hale manor which adjoins it. Timber production was key to the town's growth. When the main Liverpool to Manchester railway line was opened it passed directly through Halewood. Because of this the town became a busy goods junction which was used in both world wars for the transportation of troops and supplies.

Nowadays it's extensive parkland is a haven for bird-watchers. Halewood is perhaps best known for the giant Ford production plant that provides much of its employment, although more recently the factory actually manufactures Jaguar models rather than Fords with their takeover of Jaguar in the 90's and production of their own cars being moved to the Far-East.



The industrial town of Haydock is famous for its racecourse being one of the premier attractions in the northwest, together with the award winning World of Glass heritage museum at nearby St Helens.

Haydock was formerly one of the United Kingdom's richest coal mining areas, having up to thirteen collieries working at one time. The last colliery closed in 1971 bringing an end to coal mining in this area.



Heswall is located on the Wirral peninsula. This pretty town lies on the banks of the River Dee. It has plenty of open space and with its four parks and three conservation areas is a haven for nature. Birdwatchers are often to be seen looking for sandpipers and the like on the banks of the river Dee.

Heswall was the birthplace of famous England cricket hero Ian Botham and also the former music presenter, the late John Peel.



This seaside town lies to the west of Liverpool, overlooking where the River Dee meets the sea. A former fishing town during the Victorian era, nowadays it is made up primarily of residential areas for the retired.

There is a sailing club in the area and a still-operational lifeboat station. Perhaps the most well-known landmark is however the famous Royal Liverpool Golf Club which over the years has hosted many major golf tournaments including the Walker Cup (the women's Ryder Cup). The Open Championship has also been played.

John Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, lived here and Hoylake is where the couple's son Julian grew up.



Huyton lies to the east of Liverpool between the M62 and M57 motorways. This town is made up mainly of residential and shopping areas. It also has its own Air Force Squadron.

Film Actor Rex Harrison, who starred in such classics as Dr Doolittle, Cleopatra and My Fair Lady was born in Huyton. Comedian Freddie Starr and ex premiership football manager Peter Reid also grew up here.

Ex-Prime Minister, Harold Wilson was the member of parliament for Huyton at the peak of his political career in the 60's and 70's.



Located in the borough of Knowsley in Merseyside, Kirkby was originally referred to as Cherchebi in its formative years around the time of the Norman Conquest.

The town's origins date back to the 11 th Century and was mentioned in the Domesday book.

One of its churches dates back to the Norman times and a watchtower from this period is still to be seen.

Kirkby was a target for German bombers during World War 2 as it was a site for ordinance manufacture. The town was substantially redeveloped after the war due to the widespread damage.



Knowsley is located to the east side of Liverpool. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was known as Chenulveslei which means Glade of the Wolves.

It is dominated by historic Knowsley Hall which has been held by the Stanley family since 1385. Sir John Stanley became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and later Treasurer of the Royal Household during the reign of Richard II. His grandson was summoned to Westminster in his role as Lord Stanley. The second Lord Stanley provided what proved to be decisive support to Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. In reward for this he was made First Earl of Derby. The 12th Earl of Derby founded both the Derby and Oaks horse-races ("Oaks" being the name of his country residence). The Derby has been run at nearby Epsom race-course to this day.

Knowsley has had a few famous visitors across the centuries. Shakespeare is said to have performed in a production at one of Knowsley's theatres. Henry VII visited Knowsley in 1495; writer Edward Lear wrote "The Owl and the Pussycat" while residing with the Stanleys' at Knowsley Hall.

In more recent years Bill Clinton, ex-President of the United States, has stayed at the hall, and twice Prime Minister Harold Wilson was also a one-time resident of the area.



The town of Litherland lies between Hatton Hill and the Mersey. This town, formerly a Viking settlement started to thrive when the area was linked by newly constructed canals to Liverpool, Wigan and later Leeds early in the Industrial Revolution.

John Gladstone, son of then Chancellor of the Exchequer and subsequently Prime Minister William Gladstone, resided in the town during the early 1800's. He was heavily influential in the construction of several of Litherland's landmarks, such as St Thomas' church and Seaforth House.

Litherland Town Hall was the venue of some of the Beatles early gigs before their meteoric rise to fame.



Liverpool is one of Britain's most renowned Cities with its vast docks, shopping areas and museums, together with a bustling night life.

Liverpool gave birth to a new kind of celebrity tourism being the home of the Beatles. You can see the birthplaces, schools and clubs which gave the fab Four, John, Paul, George and Ringo their first showbiz breaks.

It was during the Industrial revolution that this one-time fishing port was transferred into the hub of the British empire as canals and railways brought with them prosperity, trade and a sudden explosion of immigrants.

At one time it was the centre of the Empire's slave trade, acting as a channel for the importation of human cargos from places such as Africa.

St Patrick first set sail on his momentous voyage to convert the Irish to Christianity from here.
Liverpool was also the site of the country's first genuine ferry service. The famous ferry across the Mersey' dates back to the 12th century

Amongst its numerous museums you will find the four-floor Merseyside Maritime Museum and the HM Customs and Excise Museum together with the Tate Gallery.

With some 1,500 listed buildings, the city's best-known landmarks include the Royal Liver building, which has Britain's biggest clock, and two modern cathedrals. Liverpool Cathedral is Britain's largest Anglican Cathedral and boasts panoramic views from its 331ft tower.



Moreton is a village on the Wirral peninsula. It is a quiet seaside spot which is popular with pensioners and the retired. The village boasts several historic buildings including the dramatic 16 th Century castle at Leasowe which was built by the Fifth Earl of Derby, who was at the time second in line to the throne. He constructed it primarily as a vantage point from which to watch horse-racing down on the sands. Another local landmark is the Leasowe lighthouse. This was operational until the early 20 th Century and has since been converted to a base for the Wirral Park Rangers.

Moreton is also home to the famous Burton biscuit factory where Cadbury's produce many of their wares. This has been a great source of employment to Moreton's residents over the last four decades.


New Brighton

New Brighton is a seaside town that is situated on the Wirral coast of the Mersey. It can be reached by ferry from Liverpool and the evidence of a maritime past can be found in local docklands.

In the past it was influenced by the industrial growth of the region, with locals finding employment at the nearby Bootle docks and shipyards right up until recent years. The area still shows evidence of a naval past, a prime example of which is the Perch Rock Battery which looks out over the river and dockyards in the vicinity. Built in the 1820's, the Battery served as a point of protection over the industries of the surrounding area and is a focal point to this day, although nowadays it is a museum.

New Brighton was once home to a Blackpool-style tower which was built at the end of the 19th century. This however was a short lived project and the tower was dismantled less than 20 years later.



The town of Newton-Le-Willows dates back to at least 55BC when ancient Celts created a burial mound at Castle Hill.

It was here that local MP William Husisson died after being hit by George Stephenson's Rocket at the opening of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway in 1830, an event marked by a memorial near Newton's Bull's Head Hotel. The politician had tried to cross the tracks to speak to another dignitary, the Duke of Wellington.



Ormskirk lay beneath the waters of a lake until it was drained in 18 th Century and turned into farmland. Most of the drainage was carried out by the Scarisbrick family who lived at Scarisbrick Hall.

The ruins of 13 th Century Burscough Priory can be found two miles beyond the town. The Priory's bells have for centuries been held in the tower of the Church of St Peter and St Paul.

Rufford Hall, a half-timbered medieval mansion contains a fascinating folk museum.



Prescot is in the borough of Knowsley and lies to the north east of Liverpool. It was famous for its clock making history during the 17 th Century which is remembered at the local clock museum.

On the outskirts of the town you will find Lord Derby's estate with its manor house and safari park.

Prescot has seen a variety of visitors and residents over the years. Naval Hero Lord Nelson is said to have frequented the town to visit his mistress. Oliver Cromwell was also said to have once visited.



Rainford lies to the north of St Helens and is linked by road to Liverpool and other industrial areas, therefore it is popular as a commuter town for both Manchester and Merseyside.

During the Industrial Revolution Rainford was a centre for ceramic-ware as well as sand extraction from the local sand mine. This sand was destined for the glass industry of St Helens. The town was linked to nearby locations with one of the first operational tramways in the country.

George Wright's Brewery is located in Rainford. This brewery which is owned and run by award winning brewer Keith Wright has provided much employment in Rainford.



Southport is located in the borough of Sefton near to the mouth of the Mersey and is considered an affluent and comfortable place to retire.

The town came into its own in the late 18 th century when an innkeeper built the first bathing house upon the sands and started a tourist boom and when a railway from Liverpool was built in the early 19 th century houses were built which started to shape the town.

Southport not only boasts one of Britain's widest beaches but it also contains the countries second longest pier, which was refurbished at an approximate cost of £7 million, together with new pavilion.

Described as the Paris of the North, Southport hosts a number of international events which range from the famous Southport Flower Show to an air show and annual jazz festival. It is the home to several world class golf courses, including Royal Birkdale and is one of the country's leading conference centres.

Some famous people linked to Southport include singer Marc Almond from Soft Cell and actress Miranda Richardson, who played Queenie in TV's Blackadder III.


St. Helens

The borough of St Helens has a long history of settlement, the earliest known reference to which came in a document from the 16th century where the chapel of St Helens is mentioned.

The town's name was derived from the dedication of a local church to St Helena, the mother of Constantine. During the Middle Ages it was believed she found the cross on which Christ had been crucified

As St Helens grew during the Industrial when England's first true canal, the Sankey Brook Navigation, was built here in the mid-18th century to take coal to Liverpool. It was at nearby Rainhill that Stephenson's rocket was put through its paces in a series of trials in 1829.

St Helens is best known for the manufacture of glass and its wonderful World of Glass Museum has in recent years become a top visitor attraction. It traces the history of glass and offers glass-blowing demonstrations together with multi-media shows and exhibitions.

Nowadays St Helens is a busy borough containing many listed buildings, museums and galleries.


Thornton Hough

Thornton Hough is a small town located in the borough of Sefton, near to the A565 just north of Crosby.

The town is dominated by the 13 th century, gothic designed All Saints Church, whose chapel has a spire of almost 120 feet.



This small town lies on the south west coast of the Wirral peninsula and looks out over the River Dee towards Lancashire.

Attracting boat enthusiasts, it is home to the Dee Sailing Club which holds many regattas and competitions along the river estuary.

The area is a haven for birdwatchers, walkers and riders, lying at one end of the Wirral Way footpath. It is also close to the Wirral Country Park.

Thurstaston Hall dates back to the late 11 th century.



The town of Wallasey overlooks the mouth of the Mersey on the Wirral peninsula and links to the city of Liverpool via the Kingsway Tunnel. The town incorporates a number of smaller places including Seacombe and New Brighton.

Wallasey had close naval links due to its proximity to the shipyards of Bootle and Birkenhead and was to be used as a tower of guard for shipping entering the Mersey estuary.

Liscard and Perchrock Forts, built in the early 18 th century along with the New Brighton Lighthouse were used by army and navy personnel right up until the 50's. Fort Perchrock is now a museum and contains amongst a vast array of displays, Beatles and Elvis Presley Memorabilia.


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