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#495122 - 31st Mar 2011 10:30pm two questions to fellow historians!
oldbirkonian1 Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 6th Mar 2011
Posts: 30
Loc: Birkenhead
1. my recollections of Birkenhead remind me it was often called the 1 eyed city does anyone have any explanations or references to this?
2. does anyone remember Olivera's cafe? I think I remember my dad taking me there for ice cream I think?

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#495127 - 31st Mar 2011 10:41pm Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
PaulWirral
Unregistered


I read somehere that Birkenhead was called the one-eyed city because only one clock face there can be seen from Liverpool.

Another explanation was the Dock rivetters often had accidents and would lose an eye.

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#495135 - 31st Mar 2011 10:52pm Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: ]
ronnie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 13th Jan 2009
Posts: 113
Loc: wirral
found this explanation on an other forum - Birkenhead trams stopped running in 1937, the overhead wires were taken down and the supports were converted into lamp standards. These supports were only on one side of the road. It was not long before the thousands of Liverpool shipworkers and dockers who travelled along the A41 to Cammell Lairds and Cleveland Street for the Docks from Woodside and Hamilton Square coined the phrase "One Eyed City" for having street lamps only on one side of the highway


Edited by ronnie (31st Mar 2011 10:53pm)

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#495147 - 31st Mar 2011 11:09pm Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
Happy Birthday MissGuided Offline

Awesome
Wiki Guardian

Registered: 18th Jul 2008
Posts: 9995
Loc: Back of the wardrobe
I think I prefer the clock-face/industrial accident explanation raftl
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#495170 - 31st Mar 2011 11:26pm Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
Geekus Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 26th Sep 2010
Posts: 1195
Loc: Wiki Wirral
Think its purely a Liverpudlian expression. Possibly to do with Birkenhead only having the one main inlet for shipping, unlike Liverpool. think

The answer will be in one of those 'Lern Yerself Scouse' books, if anyone's got one they can check?

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#495243 - 1st Apr 2011 12:29am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
littlestan Offline
Member

Registered: 16th Mar 2009
Posts: 91
Loc: birkenhead
This is NOT a purely Liverpudlian expression . It was certainly in use long BEFORE 1937.
The renowned Irish patriot , Pearce Beasley, was born in Everton but grew up and went to
school in Egremont,Wallasey. He moved back to the Lancashire side of the river as soon as he
started work . He learned Irish Gaelic and denounced his English birthright. He referred
sneeringly to the "one-eyed English on the Cheshire side of the Mersey. This is in the early
1900s so the expression was in use then-and probably is even older than that when applied
to The English as viewed by the Irish !! Beasley became a prolific writer and fought for Irish
independence . He was present at the signing of the Treaty in 1922 which created The Free
State. A huge collection of his written work is now held in the Museum of The Working Class
in Salford and other papers in the National Library of Ireland,Dublin BUT FORGOTTEN IN WIRRAL !


Edited by littlestan (1st Apr 2011 12:32am)
Edit Reason: checking spelling

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#495255 - 1st Apr 2011 2:52am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
yewgarth Online   content
Forum Addict

Registered: 2nd Nov 2008
Posts: 1781
Loc: new ferry
Another(and well known)theory was in the first world war a German Sub sailed up the Mersey and was spotted from Liverpool but not from Birkenhead. It meant that the people of Birkenhead only watched the river with one eye.

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#495260 - 1st Apr 2011 5:28am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
petethebike Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 13th Mar 2011
Posts: 106
Loc: avon dassett
The version I heard many years ago is that if anything was stolen
and potetial witnesses were questioned, they said that they never saw anything.This lead to the suggestion that they turned a "blind eye" to criminal activities, hence one-eyed city. This especially applied to the docks.
Anyone remember the Black cat cafe on Lime Kiln Lane Wallasey,
much used by dockers.

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#495262 - 1st Apr 2011 6:47am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
uptoncx Offline
Veteran

Registered: 24th May 2008
Posts: 683
Loc: Wirral
Originally Posted By: oldbirkonian1
2. does anyone remember Olivera's cafe? I think I remember my dad taking me there for ice cream I think?


Do you mean Olivieri's, opposite Hamilton Square station? There is a picture here.

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#495264 - 1st Apr 2011 7:24am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
Tatey Online   Reading
Forum Addict

Registered: 14th Apr 2009
Posts: 1412
Loc: New Brighton
Used to go there for lunch sometimes when I was on day release at Birkenhead Tech. Coll.

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#495290 - 1st Apr 2011 8:18am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: littlestan]
Geekus Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 26th Sep 2010
Posts: 1195
Loc: Wiki Wirral
Very interesting thoughts on the 'one eyed city', littlestan. Like I always say, you learn something new on Wiki everyday.

Still think I've seen an alternative explanation in the 'Lern Yerself Scouse' books, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those books are right. If your theory is correct, it must have more to do with the poor treatment of the Irish in Victorian Cheshire. I wonder if the Cheshire authorities turned a blind eye to the sufferings of the Irish? think

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#495294 - 1st Apr 2011 8:51am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
SpecialK Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 23rd Aug 2009
Posts: 117
Loc: Lincolnshire
Could it not just be that there is one letter 'i' in the name & it finishes with 'head'?

Hence - "the one i'd city"

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#495297 - 1st Apr 2011 9:20am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
yoller Online   content
Smartchild

Registered: 7th Dec 2008
Posts: 453
Loc: Cheshire
There's an excellent book by Roderick Mackay called The One-Eyed City, a memoir of his time as a policeman in post-war Birkenhead.
Liverpool, he says, was 'the Big City over the river.'
He adds: 'Birkenhead was a riverside melting pot then, ramshackle at one end and rural at the other. Slickers sometimes called it the One-Eyed City - maybe to match the disdainful glances it got from across the river.'

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#495304 - 1st Apr 2011 9:36am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
davew3 Offline
Forum Guide

Registered: 16th Jun 2009
Posts: 1024
Loc: Wirral
I worked in Liverpool and when Birkenhead was mentioned I always ended getting , "oh your a woolyback from the one eyed city",so my reply was "it's better than being a scouse git from wheel trim town" for some reason it didn't go down too well.

Oliveri's I remember well used to go for a cuppa and a sarny when I visited Bert's Ault's emporium of electronic surplus a few door's down.


Edited by davew3 (1st Apr 2011 9:39am)

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#495315 - 1st Apr 2011 10:02am Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1]
PaulWirral
Unregistered


Whenever I mention to Scousers that I am from the Wirral they react by putting their fingers to their nose as though there was a bad odour! I guess that may stem from the smell from Port Sunlight....

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