Thanks again for any possible thoughts on these random points!
1. One of the broader definitions of the geographical Wirral Peninsula (e.g. mentioned on Wikipedia) is that it's technically an island partly bounded by the River Dee and the Shropshire Union Canal. If this is the case, then is part of the peninsula Welsh?
For example, Shotwick Lake, Garden City, Deeside industrial estate, Hawarden Bridge station, RAF Sealand etc.. would all count as part of the geographical Wirral Peninsula under this definition (they are all north of the Dee), but all are in Flintshire. I think this anomaly may exist because the River Dee was rerouted via the 18th century canal, yet the English-Welsh border was never changed.
2. Does anyone know why Birkenhead was chosen for the 1917 Eisteddfodd? This seems an unlikely thing to happen nowadays. Despite the fact that Wirral has a large proportion of Welsh descent, it seems from a modern perspective unusual that a place in England was chosen.
It's certainly an interesting part of Birkenhead History
, but I've just always wondered how it came about. (I also noticed the CROESO sign on Birkenhead market in recent times, as it apparently attracts quite a few Welsh speakers)
3. We know that Birkenhead in Welsh is called "Penbedw" which means essentially the same thing in both languages. Do other towns/villages on the Wirral also have Welsh names?
More M53 stuff:
4. The M531 became part of the main M53 because the original M53 route into Wales, south of J5 was scrapped. Does anyone know why it was scrapped as it seems like it would have been very useful. I'm guessing it was cost, but it seems to me that linking Merseyside with North Wales directly with a motorway would've been economically beneficial. Also, in lieu of the above, the M53 now eventually becomes the A55, south Chester bypass. I do wonder why this motorway-like road remains the A55 and does not become a motorway standard extension of the M53, simply renamed to the M53?
By the way I haven't driven a car for ten years (which is probably why I don't know the answer), but I'm just interested in transport.
5. The "stub bridge" that existed near J5 of the M53 (due to the above cancelled extension) extended onto a field near Hooton.
I think there is just a field there now with no stub as it was demolised a few years back. According to maps like Google Earth, that part of the field where the stub used to be is in Merseyside, but the rest of the same field is in Cheshire. Is there any logical reason why a farmer's field in Cheshire would have a rectangular section of Merseyside encroaching into it? Obviously caused by the mortoway construction project, but I don't know why the border has to trace around the edge of the structure. (This is a silly one I know, but I find it interesting in a bizarre way!)
6. Was it true that a barrage across to the Point of Ayr was proposed, or a tunnel under the Dee in the original full M53 plans?
7. When I was younger, I heard that many years ago (perhaps the 50s or 60s, but I'm not sure), a well-known American celebrity/movie star was killed in a car crash on Hoylake Road, Bidston en route to a golf match at the Royal Liverpool golf course. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, who was it?
8. I also heard that the rail bridge on the Bidston-Wrexham line was originally lower height where it crosses over Woodchurch Road (perhaps before the road was lowered?) As a result, an open-top bus carrying boy scouts to an event in Arrowe Park mistakenly went under the bridge and some of them were fatally injured. I've never managed to verify this story, is there any shred of truth in it?
9. Did anyone here ever travel on direct rail services from Birkenhead Woodside to London Paddington (or vice-versa)? If so, how long did the journey take, and how frequent were the trains? I'm just interested personally in the validity of the "use Liverpool instead" Beeching-axe arguments.
10. Before buses were deregulated on 20th October 1986, from the Wirral I could only ever get a bus to Woodside, never to Liverpool. I always had to get the train or ferry to reach Liverpool. Does anyone know why this restriction existed? I often rely on cross-river buses nowadays to save lots of time. This to me always seemed a bit of an incovenience.
Grateful for any insights on any of the above. Cheers, Paul