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#835833 - 8th Nov 2013 8:35pm Dissertation Help
MissM Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 7th Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Loc: from Wirral. Now live in Leami...
I'm currently in the 3rd year of BA Cultural Studies degree at Wirral Metropolitan College (degree awarded by Liverpool Hope). For my dissertation I'm going to be looking at the social History of New Brighton. Would anyone be willing to share their experiences of the resort? I'm the most interested in it's peak years (1950s-70s). Thanks in advance smile

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#836039 - 9th Nov 2013 8:11pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
ianbx1 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 1st Aug 2009
Posts: 194
Loc: Woodchurch
spent my childhood summers at teh Tower grounds if you want to hear about it PM me
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#836709 - 12th Nov 2013 10:21pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
fish5133 Online   content
Forum Master

Registered: 22nd Mar 2010
Posts: 2999
Loc: Heswallish
Arrived on The Wirral in 1966, at the age of 7, as my fathers job transferred up here from London(Lamson Paragon, Corporation Rd Birkenhead). We would pop down to New Brighton to spend a day on the sands at Harrison Drive. My first recollections were having to be "rescued" from a sandbank as the tide crept in behind us. It might only have been 2ft deep but when your only 3 and half foot thats quite scary especially with "mersey" goldfish and other sanitary delights floating past. Along with other children we would chop up, with our seaside spades, the large jellyfish that were stranded on the shoreline--as big as car tyres some of them. Our parents werent too happy as we marched up the beach to present them with a bucket full of dissected jelly and tentacles. The amusements and rides at the Tower Grounds were still there and I can remember putting a penny (or was it sixpence?) in "The Haunted House" and watched as doors opened and skeletal hands appeared along with other gory things. Not sure if i was scared at 7.What did scare me though was the Ghost Train at the indoor fair or rather the attendant who would put his hand on your shoulder in the dark. We used to love watching the fresh donuts and candy floss being made here. Crazy golf was a firm favourite where the new Floral Pavilion has been extended. If you can get your hands on an old film called The Magnet you will see parts of New Brighton that have changed over the years. As teenagers we would catch a train from Upton to New Brighton and spend half a day trying to work out the sequence on some of the machines in the Arcade or trying to nudge overhanging pennies off Penny Falls. Tried the Chelsea Reach once but not my scene so courting was sometimes a meal at the long gone Berni Inn followed by an Irish Coffee. An annual fishing festival was held along Harrison Drive and large sums of money could be won with just catching a single fish. The open views out to see still make it a pleasant place to go for a walk and grab a coffee.

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#836719 - 13th Nov 2013 12:21am Re: Dissertation Help [Re: fish5133]
YinYang Offline
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Registered: 26th Jul 2013
Posts: 696
Loc: Hell Knows
Originally Posted By: fish5133
...quite scary especially with "mersey" goldfish and other sanitary delights floating past


Mersey Trouts we called them, probably on account of their colour. The Mersey really stank back then. It was an open sewer. Wonder how many anglers ever actually ate their catch? Can't have been many.

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#836728 - 13th Nov 2013 7:29am Re: Dissertation Help [Re: YinYang]
billy_anorak59 Offline

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Registered: 4th Feb 2009
Posts: 199
Loc: Cambridgeshire
Not wanting to labour the subject, but I always thought that Mersey trouts and Mersey goldfish were two seperate things - the goldfish being more 'for the weekend, sir'; Probably due to their more 'translucent' appearence...
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#836773 - 13th Nov 2013 11:50am Re: Dissertation Help [Re: billy_anorak59]
YinYang Offline
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Registered: 26th Jul 2013
Posts: 696
Loc: Hell Knows
Originally Posted By: billy_anorak59
- the goldfish being more 'for the weekend, sir'; Probably due to their more 'translucent' appearence...


Probably so. But, I would have been far too young then to know what such things were. We only ever called the brown ones trouts and the rubber ones were "Tonkeys". Local legend has it that the only fish you could find in the river back then was a Mersey Trout. grin

Apart from the beach and the amusements, there must be a whole side to the social History of the area that has yet to be written. When New Brighton was at its peak it had several theatres and far more guesthouses than it does now. There must be many old timers out there who ran guesthouses or were involved in the theatre in some capacity and who have anecdotes of the performers and theatre goers of yesteryear.

Also, because the area was mainly a day-trip destination, there must be a lot of History connected with the various coach companies. We hear a lot about the role of the ferries in bringing day-trippers over from Liverpool but not so much about coach parties coming in from further afield and just how popular it was.


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#836788 - 13th Nov 2013 12:48pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
mikeeb Offline

Wise One

Registered: 8th Oct 2013
Posts: 795
Loc: birkenhead
I used to walk out a mile or so at harrison drive with my dad in the late 70's to set up fishnets when the tide was out
The tide would come back in and catch a lot of fish which would be sold on (before the ban on fishing in the mersey due to trouts and goldfish) grin
It was very dangerous and should never have be done alone as I got stuck in the sand a few times

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#836943 - 13th Nov 2013 8:39pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
yoller Online   content
Smartchild

Registered: 7th Dec 2008
Posts: 466
Loc: Cheshire
For us kids in the late 1950s, New Brighton was quite simply Heaven on Earth. We dreamed about it all year, but only got to go there once or twice during the school summer holidays. However, it was always worth the wait.

We lived right in the heart of Birkenhead, near the Tunnel, and rarely left our little enclave of a few streets and back entries. So getting to New Brighton on the bus was an adventure in itself, a journey to a far-off wonderland.

In those days, parents didn't have the slightest qualms about kids going off for the day on their own. We'd usually be in a group of friends, brothers, sisters and cousins, average age about ten.

I can't remember which bus we got - the number 10? - but instead of taking a blue Birkenhead Corporation bus, you could sometimes get on a lovely big yellow Wallasey Corporation one. That was a novelty in itself.

We always tried to get the front seat upstairs so we could catch our first glimpse of the sparkling Mersey as we swept down Rowson Street and turned into the roadside bus terminus at the back of the indoor fair. (I know the river was virtually an open sewer in those days, but it still sparkled when viewed from afar, especially through the eyes of excited kids).

We'd pour off the bus straight into the indoor fair and gaze goggle-eyed at all the rides, slot machines, arcades and stalls selling sweets, toffee apples, candy floss, bars of rock and other such unattainable delights.

Then it was spend, spend, spend - although we rarely had more than a shilling or two to our name. Favourite rides were the dodgem cars and the spaceships and I think they usually cost about sixpence a go. The massive hobby horse carousel was the centrepiece of the indoor fair ( is it still there?) and it was a fantastic sight. But we hard knocks considered it a bit 'cissy' and never went on it.

There was any number of slot machines and they soon devoured the pennies clutched in our sweaty little palms. I can't ever remember anyone actually winning anything and walking away with a stash of cash. Especially frustrating were those miniature cranes which just failed to grab a prize for you. Were all those machines fixed? Perish the thought.

From the indoor fair, you walked along the prom to the outside fair in the Tower grounds. En route, you passed the Floral Pavilion, which always looked much too posh for scruffs like us. Then you'd go past the pier and the ferry terminal, where thousands of visitors would be disgorged from the boats.

If the indoor fair was good, the outdoor fair was brilliant. It was set on a slope leading up to the huge Tower ballroom and restaurant building, which was served by a cable car. As you walked in, the helter-skelter and miniature railway were on your left. Up ahead were rows of arcades, booths and galleries, leading to the Wall of Death. But every kid had saved enough money to head for our favourite ride - the ghost train.

Today, it'd probably be tame stuff to the computer games generation. But back then, the ghost train was really scary as it set off, clattering through the tunnel doors into the darkness. All sorts of spooks, ghouls and skeletons jumped out to terrify you.

But what really used to scare me was when spiders started crawling through your hair. You could actually feel them scuttling across your head in the pitch blackness. I was mightily relieved when my more worldly mate revealed that the spiders were in fact just lengths of string hanging from the ceiling.

Once our money was gone, inevitably including our bus fares back home, we'd mooch around a bit and end up on the shore near Fort Perch Rock. There wasn't a lot of sand around there in those days - it was more rock pools. You could catch a few crabs and little fish in them if you had a net.

As has been mentioned, the shoreline wasn't the most salubrious of places, thanks to the huge pipes which pumped raw sewage into the river. If you were playing on the sand, you had to be very careful about picking up any smooth brown stones. More often than not, they weren't stones, as you soon realised to your disgust.

Eventually, it was time to go. Being bus fare-less, we'd have to trek along the prom through Egremont to Seacombe and then cut across the docks to Birkenhead, a journey of about five miles. When we got home, we'd be knackered and starving - but already dreaming of our next day out in New Brighton.

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#836980 - 13th Nov 2013 10:21pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: yoller]
YinYang Offline
Veteran

Registered: 26th Jul 2013
Posts: 696
Loc: Hell Knows
Ah, happy days indeed.

As I remember, some of those slot machines were more predictable than others. I particularly liked the horse race machine, and the car racing. You had to bet on the colour of the horse (or car) you thought would be first past the post.

Harry Wragg was always your best bet on the horse racing and seemed to win almost every other race. As for the cars, well that one tended to alternate between the red and blue.

I'm now a multi-millionaire having made my fortune as a John McCririck impersonator and racing pundit for Bet365.

Thank you New Brighton. I owe it all to you. wink


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#836993 - 13th Nov 2013 10:57pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: yoller]
snowshoes Online   content

Wise One

Registered: 16th Aug 2010
Posts: 788
Loc: ottawa canada ( formerly new b...
Nice read yoller, you just relived my childhood.

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#837079 - 14th Nov 2013 5:39pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: YinYang]
mikeeb Offline

Wise One

Registered: 8th Oct 2013
Posts: 795
Loc: birkenhead
What a cracker yoller, cheers
Originally Posted By: YinYang

I'm now a multi-millionaire having made my fortune as a John McCririck impersonator and racing pundit for Bet365.

Thank you New Brighton. I owe it all to you. wink


I have heard some good stuff about New Brighton but that is just the best grin

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#837373 - 15th Nov 2013 11:22pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: mikeeb]
Helles Offline
Wise One

Registered: 28th May 2010
Posts: 887
Loc: Wirral
You set the scene so well Yoller. It would have been the number ten bus btw. On the other hand there were those of us lucky enough to live there. In my case virtually next door to the Tower grounds. In later years most of us worked in some capacity in the fairgrounds or on the shore handing out deckchairs or working paddle boats etc.

I mean no offence when I say we looked at you as a bit soft. We knew you couldn't beat the machines in the arcades but there were ways of beating them which were not quite legal. Fiddling was part and parcel of my youth and to be honest, you had to do that because you were paid so little for very long hours.

Things that stick out in my mind are the packed ferry boats and people streaming up the ferry pier. Mums and kids would either head for the shore or fairground and dads the nearest Pub. I can also remember as quite a small boy having great difficulty crossing the road from the pier to the other side of the road simply because of the amount of people.

Cafes on Victoria road offering fish chips and peas with bread and butter (probably marge) and a pot of tea 2/6. Which is twelve and a half pence to you young ones but to be fair wages were very low and that was probably a sizeable chunk for a lot of people!

Shops and stalls offering New Brighton novelties and how I wish I had some of them now because they are worth quite a bit. Rock, Eulah creams with its machine in the window, burgers with well cooked onions that made you drool. There were two kinds of chippys, those that catered for trippers and those the locals used. The trippers got anything going but the locals got the good stuff. Nothing changes! It was the same with the pubs. Locals tended to avoid those in the main areas, not because they especially charged more but the beer left a lot to be desired in some. Avoid the mild!!!

One thing that both locals and trippers enjoyed on an equal basis was the baths. A shilling or so and you could spend all day there. My only regret was never having enough cash to buy all those goodies in the shops around it.

I'm rambling now but New Brighton in those days was exciting and anyone who said they were bored would have been looked at as a little bit mad.

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#837403 - 16th Nov 2013 10:08am Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
Sneezy Offline
Veteran

Registered: 24th Jan 2010
Posts: 704
Loc: Moreton (Missing New Brighton)
Loving reading all these memories, and Thank You Yoller for a wonderful flash back. I was never brought to New Brighton very often even though my Nan lived on Tollemache Street, because my Dad didn't get on with her. When my parents then split up when I was 5, I was brought to stay with my Nan while they tried to sort things out. I remember this being the best year of my life at the time. My Nan was a local so everyone seemed to know her when we went out, she used to take me down Victoria Road and I felt like a celebrity with everyone asking who I was. She'd take me to the cafe for dinner then to one of the arcades with bingo and we'd sit and play for hours on the little screens with the numbers and sliding covers it was so exciting waiting for your numbers to come out and then to be able to pick a prize off the back wall, I nearly always picked a good prize like a box of chocolates because I never got sweets or anything like that at home. Me and my Nan would then go back to her house and get snuggled up in bed with our chocolates....It was like heaven for me. My Nan and Mum used to work in the tower ballroom and they met quite a few celebrities there, even made cups of tea for The Beatles. tease
When my Dad came over to see me, he'd take me down to the beach and I have only one very treasured photo of me sitting on his knee on a deck chair and I remember the beach being so full we had to squeeze into a small space between all the families there. I was devastated when I had to move back to Birkenhead, mainly because I didn't see my Nan again after that as my Dad got to have us kids and she was my Mum's Mum frown
Now many many many years later I'm back living in my beloved New Brighton, under just as sad circumstances, but loving EVERY single minute of it !! yipee

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#837573 - 16th Nov 2013 8:57pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
mikeeb Offline

Wise One

Registered: 8th Oct 2013
Posts: 795
Loc: birkenhead
Enjoying this thread very much, some great stories
thumbsup

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#837850 - 17th Nov 2013 10:06pm Re: Dissertation Help [Re: MissM]
MissM Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 7th Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Loc: from Wirral. Now live in Leami...
Sorry for the late reply been visiting my boyfriend the past few days. Some get memories here, thanks to you all for your stories smile

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