Culture & Heritage
Visitors to Wirral have a wide range of cultural activities:
There are also a range of events hosted by Wirral History & Heritage Association throughout the year.
History of the Wirral
At the end of the twelfth Century, Birchen Head Priory stood on a lonely headland of birch trees, facing open countryside and surrounded by the Mersey. It was from here that the Benedictine Monks who operated the first Mersey ferry in 1330 were granted a passage to Liverpool by a charter from Edward III. Today Birkenhead Priory stands in the heart of Birkenhead, sympathetically restored to preserve its medieval mystery, bearing witness to Wirral's 800 year heritage of industrial, cultural and social development.
The original ferry service, now famous throughout the world, put Wirral on the map as part of the King's highway, yet for centuries the peninsula remained a cluster of smallholdings and hamlets. It wasn't until the 1820s that steam-powered boats improved communication and opened up Wirral's Mersey coast for industrialisation.
Industrialisation and the importance of Wirral's docks brought a raft of new-fangled inventions: you can see the impact of industrialisation and ship building on Wirral's Mersey waterfront. Follow the heritage trail through Birkenhead's docks; this was the first town in the country to have a street tram, and the 'giant grasshopper' at Shore Road Pumping Station, which pumped water from the Mersey Railway tunnel - the world's first under-water railway (currently closed while transfer of ownership takes place).
Another important development was the building in 1888 of the now famous industrial village of Port Sunlight, designed to house employees at the original firm of Lever Brothers, now part of the Unilever group. The village, which turned Lord Leverhulme's philanthropic dream into reality provides workers with all they need; employment, housing and entertainment and formed the basis of the "Lifestyle Wirral" ethic.
Whatever your interest - there are plenty of gems in Wirral's heritage to keep you entertained during your visit.
For information on Wirral's Viking History please find the link above.