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two questions to fellow historians! #495122
31st Mar 2011 9:30pm
31st Mar 2011 9:30pm
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Birkenhead
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oldbirkonian1 Offline OP
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oldbirkonian1  Offline OP
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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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Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495127
31st Mar 2011 9:41pm
31st Mar 2011 9:41pm

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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.


Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: ] #495135
31st Mar 2011 9:52pm
31st Mar 2011 9:52pm
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ronnie Offline
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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

Last edited by ronnie; 31st Mar 2011 9:53pm.
Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495147
31st Mar 2011 10:09pm
31st Mar 2011 10:09pm
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Back of the wardrobe
MissGuided Offline

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Back of the wardrobe
I think I prefer the clock-face/industrial accident explanation raftl



Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495170
31st Mar 2011 10:26pm
31st Mar 2011 10:26pm
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Geekus Offline
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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?

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495243
31st Mar 2011 11:29pm
31st Mar 2011 11:29pm
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birkenhead
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littlestan Offline
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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 !

Last edited by littlestan; 31st Mar 2011 11:32pm. Reason: checking spelling
Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495255
1st Apr 2011 1:52am
1st Apr 2011 1:52am
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new ferry
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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.




Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495260
1st Apr 2011 4:28am
1st Apr 2011 4:28am
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avon dassett
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petethebike Offline
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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.

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495262
1st Apr 2011 5:47am
1st Apr 2011 5:47am
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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.

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495264
1st Apr 2011 6:24am
1st Apr 2011 6:24am
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New Brighton
Tatey Offline
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Used to go there for lunch sometimes when I was on day release at Birkenhead Tech. Coll.

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: littlestan] #495290
1st Apr 2011 7:18am
1st Apr 2011 7:18am
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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

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495294
1st Apr 2011 7:51am
1st Apr 2011 7:51am
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Lincolnshire
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SpecialK Offline
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Could it not just be that there is one letter 'i' in the name & it finishes with 'head'?

Hence - "the one i'd city"

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495297
1st Apr 2011 8:20am
1st Apr 2011 8:20am
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Cheshire
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yoller Online content
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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.'

Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495304
1st Apr 2011 8:36am
1st Apr 2011 8:36am
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davew3 Offline
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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.

Last edited by davew3; 1st Apr 2011 8:39am.
Re: two questions to fellow historians! [Re: oldbirkonian1] #495315
1st Apr 2011 9:02am
1st Apr 2011 9:02am

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PaulWirral
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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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