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#314994 - 3rd May 2009 12:40am The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate
uptoncx Offline
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Registered: 24th May 2008
Posts: 683
Loc: Wirral

The Boat House in 1928

The present Boat House was built as a tearoom in 1926, it was built in the shape of a boat, with a terrace at the front forming the prow.


Aerial view of the Boat House with the outbuildings of the Pengwern Arms in the background

The Boat House was built on the site of an old inn which had been there since at least 1664. The old inn had several names over the years. In the 1850s it was known as the Boat House, but in its later years it was called the Pengwern Arms.

A ferry service operated from the inn to Bagilt and Flint from about 1740, a steamer, the Ancient Britain was introduced in 1817 and this operated until 1864. The owner of the inn also ran a Stage Coach service to Rock Ferry pier, so passengers could travel from Wales to Liverpool, using the two ferries and the stage coach.


A storm lashes the Boat House

Itís hard to imagine now, but the old inn was very exposed and suffered greatly from the ravages of the sea in stormy weather. Following a storm in 1885, the inn was severely damaged and had to be demolished, although some of the outbuildings remained. The outbuildings were finally demolished to make room for a car park for the new Boat House.

[IMG:center}http://www.wikiwirral.co.uk/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/download/Number/47758/filename/boathouse04.jpg[/IMG]
The Boat House from the lane to the swimming pool

At the end of the lane running past the Boat House was Parkgate swimming pool. The pool was built by Mr A G Grenfell, headmaster of Mostyn House School in 1923. The open-air pool was built as a facility for the school, but it was also open to the paying public.


Parkgate swimming pool in the 1930s

The pool was very successful, however with the silting of the River Dee, the water supply for the pool disappeared. The cost of pumping the water into the pool increased as the water level fell. The baths were closed in 1942 due to the war, and the cost of running them.

In 1947 the baths re-opened thanks to the efforts of some of the local people, however the cost of piping and pumping the water was too much and the venture was not successful. The swimming pool closed again in 1950, this time for good.


Parkgate swimming pool

The baths lay abandoned for many years. I remember walking past then in the late 1950s (I was very young at the time) the pool was half full of green slimy water, and the diving boards had collapsed into the pool.

Eventually the site was cleared, the pool filled in and it became a car park for the Wirral country park.


The popularity of the swimming pool can be judged from this picture of the car park in the 1930s
Ė ironically, the swimming pool is now a car park



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#315002 - 3rd May 2009 1:17am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: uptoncx]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9875
Loc: Birkenhead
Quality find Upton, never seen piccy of baths open even though I've walked on them many times.
_________________________
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates

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#315019 - 3rd May 2009 10:02am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: diggingdeeper]
buddy Online   content
Forum Veteran

Registered: 18th Sep 2008
Posts: 5015
Loc: South Wirral
Thanks for the post Upton - really interesting and I was not aware of the pool

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#315020 - 3rd May 2009 10:12am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: buddy]
Pinzgauer
Unregistered


Thanks upton. Another great post. What would you give today for just one of those cars in the car park ??

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#315021 - 3rd May 2009 10:31am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: ]
bert1 Offline

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Registered: 27th Nov 2008
Posts: 7864
Loc: tranmere
A small part from A peramulation of the Hundred of Wirral 1909.
The Boathouse Inn


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boathouse.jpg

boathouse 2.jpg


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#315026 - 3rd May 2009 11:20am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: bert1]
greasby_lad Offline
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Registered: 17th Jan 2009
Posts: 146
Loc: Wirral
The old Pub was long known as the Beerhouse, so it may not have had a spirits licence.
In 1681, Yarranton referred to it as the Brew House on the map which accompanied his proposal to divert the Dee along the Welsh shore (which became the New Cut).
On his map I have added a North pointer.


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Yarranton.jpg

Description: Yarranton



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#315028 - 3rd May 2009 11:35am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: greasby_lad]
uptoncx Offline
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Registered: 24th May 2008
Posts: 683
Loc: Wirral

Originally Posted By: greasby_lad
The old Pub was long known as the Beerhouse, so it may not have had a spirits licence.


In Bagshaw's 1850 Directory of Cheshire, the Boat House is described as an Inn, the victualler being Thomas Jones, and in Morris's 1874 Directory of Cheshire the Pengwern Arms is listed as an Inn, the victualler now being William Johnson.

I confess to not having researched this prior to 1850, but I feel that an establishment providing ferry and coach passage to travellers is unlikely to have been a Beerhouse.

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#315038 - 3rd May 2009 12:30pm Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: uptoncx]
greasby_lad Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 17th Jan 2009
Posts: 146
Loc: Wirral
Collins map of 1689 has it as 'Beerhouse'. Eyes map of 1740 shows it but without a name.
Uptoncx - in Bagshaw's 1850 directory was it already named 'Boat House'? I agree with you, I think an Inn would be likely to have had a spirits licence. I wonder how far back Licence Records go?


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Description: Collins 1689

Eyes 1740.jpg

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#315044 - 3rd May 2009 1:31pm Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: greasby_lad]
greasby_lad Offline
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Registered: 17th Jan 2009
Posts: 146
Loc: Wirral
I've answered my own question - the 1845 Tithe Map shows the premises as 'Boat House' on the map (but, strangely, it is shown as 'Cottage, Lawn, etc' on the Tithe Apportionments according to the Cheshire Tithe Map website).
Also attached, a circa 1875 map showing the premises as the 'Pengwern Arms'.


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Boat House 1845 Tithe.jpg

Description: Tithe 1845

Pengwern Arms c1875.jpg

Description: map c1875



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#315086 - 3rd May 2009 6:51pm Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: greasby_lad]
Historybook Offline
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Registered: 20th Dec 2008
Posts: 190
Loc: Wrexham
This is a great thread, and as with the Neston mines thread i have dragged something from the back of my mind about a story my late father told me about the time a digger fell into the pool at the old baths when they where filling it in.
He was called in to remove the digger using a crane he owned at the time.
By a bit of good look i still have my dad's old job book from this time (amazed i found it !) and it records the following - 21st January 1965, pulling out Wetherall mechanical shovel from the old parkgate bathing pool, work done for the Neston U.D.C.

Hope this bit of info is of interest.

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#315092 - 3rd May 2009 7:21pm Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: Historybook]
BigBadStuey Offline
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Registered: 5th Apr 2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leasowe, Wirral
Originally Posted By: Historybook

By a bit of good look i still have my dad's old job book from this time (amazed i found it !) and it records the following - 21st January 1965, pulling out Wetherall mechanical shovel from the old parkgate bathing pool, work done for the Neston U.D.C.

My -18th birthday! Never ever knew about the baths there, cheers smile

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#317478 - 9th May 2009 8:50am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: BigBadStuey]
greasby_lad Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 17th Jan 2009
Posts: 146
Loc: Wirral
Some time ago I took a photocopy of a page from a library book, unfortunately I failed to make a note of the title. Here's the information from that page -

<< There was an inn on the site of the Boat House called simply the Beer House as early as 1664. It became known as the Ferry House or Boat House when a daily ferry service used to sail from this point to Flint. Two women were drowned in 1799 after a ferry boat overturned when foolishly trying to race: "The Flint and Parkgate boats have been used to carry too much sail in trying to out-sail each other, to the great danger and terror of the passengers." In 1813 Richard Ayton travelled on the ferry boat and was uncomfortable. "We took our passage together with a crowd of other passengers, being packed and crammed into our places with as little regard for our ease in such a state of stowage as though we had been dead cargo."
A coach used to meet the boats to take passengers to the Mersey ferries or, after 1840, to Hooton station. In 1864 Thomas Johnson, the landlord of the inn, was drowned with his brother Joseph when they were trying to land from the ferry boat in a heavy swell. The inn, known latterly as the Pengwern Arms, was pulled down about 1885 after being damaged by storms. The site lay empty until a cafe was built here in 1926... The building was enlarged to form a restaurant in 1977. >>

I have been told that the drowned brothers are buried in a joint grave at St Mary's and St Helen's church in Neston.

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#317500 - 9th May 2009 10:23am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: greasby_lad]
uptoncx Offline
Veteran

Registered: 24th May 2008
Posts: 683
Loc: Wirral
Originally Posted By: greasby_lad
... In 1864 Thomas Johnson, the landlord of the inn, was drowned with his brother Joseph when they were trying to land from the ferry boat in a heavy swell.


A report of the accident from the Liverpool Mercury, Monday May 23rd 1864:
Originally Posted By: Liverppol Mercury 23-5-1864

At twelvo o'clook on Friday night last a distressing boat accident occurred at Parkgate, which has cast a complete gloom all over the district and thrown several highly respectable families into mourning.

It appears that at ten o'clock on Friday morn≠ing a party of five took an excursion into Wales, crossing the river Dee from Parkgate to Bagillt, in Flintsbire. The party consisted of Mr. Thomas Johnson, proprietor of the Pengwern Arms Hotel, or Boathouse, at Parkgate; his brother, Mr. Joseph Johnson, a landing-waiter, belonging to her Majesty's customs at Liverpool, Mr. J. F. Crossman, secretary to the Liverpool Licensed Victuallers' Association; and Mr. J. H. Holland and Mr. Frederick Holland (brothers), of Chester, who had been staying at Parkgate during the last fortnight making a survey of the channels of the Dee.

Their intention was, if possible, to return with the same tide. The weather was, however, so calm that upwards of an hour and a half was occupied in crossing; and finding that they could not return by that tide the party landed at Bagillt and walked to Holywell, where they spent the day. At ten o'clock the company left Bagillt in the boat on their return to Parkgate. It was then moonlight, with a steady breeze, and a pleasant voyage was anticipated. The boat made a rapid passage, but on arriving within a short distance of the Cheshire side it was found that the jetty was covered with the tide, which was just beginning to ebb, and the wind having freshened considerably a heavy swell rendered it imprudent to attempt to get alongside the river wall. The boat accordingly lay-to for about an hour, awaiting the receding of the tide. It was then determined to endeavour to effect a landing in a small boat or punt which lay at anchor a short distance from the shore, and which it was thought would be more manageable. One of the gentlemen, it is said, called out that the punt would not carry them all with safety; but this intimation of danger seems to have been disregarded, and five persons including Richard Evans, the boatman, got on board. Mr Thomas Johnson, who was a stout heavy man, was the last to leave the larger vessel, and no sooner had he placed his feet on the side of the punt than the little craft capsized, and the whole party were precipitated into the water.

Thomas Johnson, a young man about 20 years of age, eldest son of Mr Thomas Johnson, was standing on the esplanade waiting the arrival of his father and his friends, and witnessed the melancholy accident, but, in consequence of the strong current that was running, could render little or no assistance to the unfortunate persons who were struggling for their lives in the water. Mr J H Holland, who had remained in the large boat, being a good swimmer, immediately stripped and jumped into the water and swam to the assistance of one of his unfortunate companions. He was unable to reach him, however, and after several ineffectual attempts he made for the shore, which he succeeded in reaching in a very exhausted state. Mr Frederick Holland also managed with difficulty to reach the shore. Mr Crossman, although not a swimmer, struck out in the best way he could, and fortunately gained the land in safety; he afterwards received very kind attention from the landlady of the Union Hotel, and a gentleman who happened to be staying at the house. Richard Evans was taken out of the water in an exhausted state. Mr Thomas Johnson was likewise got ashore alive, and was removed to the cottage of Evans (that being the nearest house), but he was so much exhausted that he never rallied, and death ensued before the arrival of a medical man. Mr Joseph Johnson was carried down with the current and was drowned. His body was found on the shore near Heswall - fully a mile from where the disaster occurred - at five o'clock in the morning, and removed to the Pengwern Arms Hotel, where it was placed in the same apartment with the corpse of his brother. The boatman, Evans, was so much exhausted that he was not considered out of danger until late on Saturday.

Mr Thomas Johnson was about 50 years of age, and was highly respected at Parkgate and in the hundred of Wirral generally. Besides being the owner and landlord of the Pengwern Arms Hotel, he was proprietor of the omnibuses plying between Parkgate, Hooton and Birkenhead Ferry. He has left a widow and eight children. His brother, Mr Joseph Johnson, as has already been stated was a landing waiter belonging to the Liverpool customs, and resided in Crown street. He has left a widow and four children.


Edited by uptoncx (9th May 2009 10:27am)

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#317508 - 9th May 2009 10:36am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: uptoncx]
diggingdeeper Offline

Wiki Guardian

Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9875
Loc: Birkenhead
Fantastic investigations guys 10/10
_________________________
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates

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#415245 - 16th Jun 2010 12:19am Re: The Boat House and Swimming Pool at Parkgate [Re: diggingdeeper]
LATEBOY Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 5th Feb 2010
Posts: 17
Loc: Moreton
My partnerís Great Great Grandfather was Thomas Johnson the owner of the Pengwern Arms Inn . He was as stated buried at the parish church in Neston but not with his brother Joseph but with his son Benjamin and a grandson

The Johnson family were to be connected with many of the pubs in Parkgate and Great Neston, Thomas was born in Thornton Hough were his father was the licensee of the Seven Stars.

Another member of the family was to lose his life by drowning when the New York steamer The City of Brussels, sunk after collision in Liverpool Bay with the Kirby Hall. The City of Brussels was a ship of the Inman Line owned by William Inman of Upton Manor and the benefactor of Christ Church in Moreton

&#65532;


Edited by LATEBOY (16th Jun 2010 12:28am)

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