A contemporary view of the major redevelopment of Seacombe Ferry in 1875. I'm sure someone out there's got some pictures to go with it (PaulWirral??)
FROM THE WALLASEY PARISH MAGAZINE, JULY 1875
THE NEW SEACOMBE FERRY.
We have the pleasure to inform our readers that all difficulties with the government departments are overcome; the necessary consents have been obtained, and the work of constructing the new ferry at Seacombe is to be proceeded with at once. The arrangements with the landowners whose interests would be affected by the alterations in the approach roads have also been completed, and the whole scheme is therefore fairly afloat. The importance of this work cannot be overrated; Seacombe ferry is the key and highroad into the parish, and the parish will expect that with so many similar works around them the Local Board will profit to the fullest extent by the experience of their neighbours, and render the new ferry the most complete and convenient one on the Mersey. We make no doubt but that this will be so, and we propose to describe the general design so that the parishioners may be able to judge of it for themselves.
The first step to be taken is the construction of a river wall in a line from Seacombe point to the shipbuilding yards, and the reclamation and filling up of the foreshore at the back of it to the end of Dock road. A part of this space, next the shipyards, is to be taken by the Dock Board; the middle part is to be devoted to the station and approach road to the ferry, and the northernmost portions will be given over to the landlords whose property it fronts. Each will pay their proportion of the cost of the wall and the filling up.
The next step is the placing of a floating landing stage in deep water, or at a distance of about 230 feet from the front of that part of the wall which bounds the Local Board's plot. This landing stage will be of similar construction to the others in the port, and does not need further description than that it is to be some 350 feet long and 70 feet broad, or about three fourths of the length and nearly the breadth of the old George's stage, an ample space for the accommodation of coming generations of parishioners. The access to the landing stage will be by means of two bridges and a high level pier. The northern bridge is to be the passenger approach, while the southern bridge and the high level pier, midway between them, will be used, as may be most convenient, for cargo and cattle. At the shore end of the passenger bridge the passenger station will be constructed. It is to contain the turnstiles, and the necessary waiting and retiring rooms, parcel and other offices, for the conduct of the passenger traffic. A projecting roof in front will afford a dry set down from vehicles, the bridge will be covered over similarly to that at Woodside, and a roof will also cover the passenger end of the landing stage; so that an absolutely dry roadway will be provided right up to the ferry boat. So much for the passenger accommodation, which appears to us to promise more convenience than at present exist elsewhere on the river.
We now come to the arrangements for the goods traffic. As already stated the south bridge will be used for this traffic, and it will be very convenient for about four or five hours at high water time; but at other times its inclination will prevent its use for all but light goods and cattle. A means of carrying on a continuous traffic had therefore to be devised, and the Local Board purpose to construct the high level pier to satisfy this requirement. The pier will be constructed level with Dock road, and will run nearly as far into the river as the landing stage. At the end of it and within the piers which will support it, two hydraulic lifts are to be placed; their platforms will be a continuation of the pier roadway when fully up, and they will be raised or lowered to the level of the deck of the landing stage with goods, cattle, or wheeled traffic upon them, when it is desired to make a communication with the ferry boats. In the same way if a loaded cart, for example, comes off the ferry boat, one of the lift platforms is brought down to the level of the landing stage, the cart and horse are driven on to it, and both are then raised to the pier overhead, when the cart will be driven off and the platform is ready for a return load to the boat. The power which is to move these lifts will be able to raise a load of 25 tons at one operation; the Board believe they can in time arrange for the conveyance of loaded railway wagons across the river, thus forming a junction between the dock lines of railway on both sides of the Mersey, and they will provide sufficient power in the hydraulic lifts for raising the heaviest railway wagons with their loads from the landing stage to the pier and vice versa. For this purpose also the dock rails' are to be continued on to the pier and landing stage, with turntables, hydraulic capstans, and other appliances suitable for working such a traffic. At first the railway line will only be used for conveying coal wagons to the ferry steamers for their supply, but it is confidently expected that this traffic will develop by the provision of a similar means of discharge on the Liverpool side; and the wagons would then be carried by suitable ferry boats from one side of the river to the other.
Covering the ground between the passenger station and the cargo bridge, a goods station is to be erected with stores, offices, weighing machines and other matters necessary for the large traffic which will, no doubt, develop itself in time..
Having got our passengers or our goods on terra firma we proceed to show how they are to get into the parish or to the docks, as their destination may happen to be. The passenger bridge will be directly in line with Church Road, which is to be carried down to the river; and if our readers will now imagine the hotel and the houses up to this line to be all cleared away, and their sites formed into an open PLACE extending right up to the parish slip on the south, and to the new line of the river wall in front, they will have before them the magnificent approach, some 200 feet wide, which the new ferry will possess. Church Road will thus be made the main line of communication with the parish, and it is to be widened to 60 feet. Victoria Road will also be made 60 feet wide from Demean Street, and will be lowered gradually from that point, so as to meet the Dock Road on the level; thus abolishing the objectionable hill which now interferes with traffic round the hotel corner. By arrangement with the landowners the high ground upon which the bowling green now stands is to be levelled for building, from Victoria Road down to the new ferry, and upon the site so formed, the future business part of Seacombe will no doubt arise in consequence of its proximity to the ferry. We hope it may be worthy of so fine a situation.
In conclusion we congratulate the parishioners upon the Local Board's adoption of so grand a scheme. We hope it may be carried out in its entirety, and we feel sure that every penny so spent will bring in a large return.