The full story to the lead up and the aftermath of the Battle of the Brickworks, Egremont in 1877 can be read in this months update at http://www.historyofwallasey.co.uk
(including how Wallasey celebrated the coronation of George VI in 1937).Right Of Way Dispute At Egremont
8th December 1877
A brick making company, whose workers are situated between the Egremont Ferry and the manor slip, having stopped the footway adjoining the sea wall, the Wallasey Local Board have apparently determined on vindicating the public rights, and on Thursday night, between six and seven o’clock, the obstruction was removed by them. Yesterday morning the brickmaking company re-erected the barrier, which was again pulled down yesterday afternoon on the authority of the local board. It is stated that on both occasions the services of the Wallasey fire brigade were called into requisition, and, having laid the hose along the wall, with a full pressure of water on, they were prepared, if necessary, to meet with a plentiful supply of cold water any attempt interfere with the performance of their duty. We understand that no resistance was made. The attempted obstruction has excited considerably feeling in the locality, and great satisfaction is expressed at the prompt and vigorous action of the authorities.Storming A Barricade At Egremont
10th December 1877
The stupid and dangerous course adopted by the brickmaking company of Egremont in opposing by force the determination of the authorities to keep open the roadway abutting the sea wall north of the ferry resulted in a great popular demonstration on Saturday, accompanied by scenes which raised the liveliest apprehensions of a formidable riot.
On Thursday and Friday last the company erected barricades across the roadway, and these, as previously reported, were removed by the authorities. During Friday night, however, the company constructed two formidable barricades, protected by trenches filled with water, and made other preparations which unmistakeably indicated that active resistance would be made to any attack upon them. The likelihood of a “row” caused an immense gathering of people in the neighbourhood early in the afternoon, and the number received large accessions as the fire brigade – in brass helmets and carrying their usual implements – mustered in the vicinity of the ferry between two and three o’clock. At this time Inspector Hindley and a body of fine stalwart policemen; while among the crowd were officials and several members of the local board.
Some formal requests to remove the barrier having been made to the brickmakers and refused, the storming party of firemen gallantly rushed to their task, and vigorously assailed the first barricade with axes and levers. What with the trench and the state of the outworks, inches deep in a claysy puddle – their task was no easy or pleasant one, and it was soon rendered much more difficult and unpleasant by hissing jets of steam from pipes connected with the boilers in the brickworks, which were brought to play upon them. The firemen’s response was cold water from the hose in sufficient quantity and force to speedily confound the enemy’s politics; and though enveloped in steam they could be seen now and then plying axe and lever with the utmost vigour, despite numberless unfriendly attentions from the brickmen behind the palisadings. While this excellent public service was being done, some persons inside the works thought it a good joke to utilise the bricks which lay plentifully about them, and a shower of these dangerous missiles were directed against the attacking party. Amongst these were many person who, unfortunately, did not wear helmets, and they speedily betook themselves to a safe distance. At this critical juncture the police interfered with admirable promptness, and having “spotted” three or four of the men inside the works in the act of throwing the bricks, rushed in upon them and made them prisoners. This action, together with the intimation that such of the directors or shareholders who were egging the workmen on would, if they persisted, be dealt with in the same manner, as inciting to a breach of the peace, at once out a stop to the brick-throwing; and the upshot was the complete and speedy demolition of the barricades, amidst great cheering. The appearance of many of the besiegers and defenders, covered with clay from head to foot, was a sight not to be forgotten. Our reporter hears that the workmen arrested were taken to the lockup, and subsequently bailed out. Of course the affair caused intense excitement, and the brick throwing incident aroused loud cries of indignation, which might have easily resulted in serious damage of property, if not to limb, for there were hundreds of sturdy fellows who were ready, if necessary, to storm the works as well as the barricades, and give the instigators of the obstruction a thorough ducking.
All through Saturday night and yesterday a force was kept ready for immediate action should another endeavour be made to stop the road.