The name 'Leasowe' comes from
the Anglo-Saxon Leasowes or 'Meadow Pastures'. Its sand dunes are the
largest such system on the Wirral. Much of the area is at or below sea level and
is protected by the coastal embankment. The great housing shortage of World War
I brought many people to Moreton and Leasowe and makeshift homes were made from
old tramcars, huts and wooden bungalows. Many people suffered from bronchitis,
other lung problems and rheumatism. Houses built in the early 20th century were
often flooded and unsanitary, but after about 1926 new roads and drainage were
put in by the Borough Council, and much new housing was developed. Along the
embankment between Leasowe and Moreton are the remains of fortifications built
during the Second World War. Moreton, Lingham and Great Meols have been occupied
since before Roman times. Moreton became part of the Parish of
Bidston and was the wealthiest and most productive part of the area
run for the Birkenhead Priory. Although it was allowed to become run down during
the early 1800's, the introduction of the Wirral Railway Line in 1866 brought
day-trippers from Liverpool and further afield. By 1900 Moreton was again
thriving and was even being recommended by doctors as a place for a holiday or a
place to live because its fresh air and clean sea was seen as beneficial for
conditions such as rheumatism. Moreton's association with health attracted the
attention of Margaret Bevan who chose Leasowe as the
place to build the Liverpool Open-Air Hospital for
children with tuberculosis - later to become the Leasowe Children's Hospital
when the National Health Service came into operation in 1948. (a sign of the
times: The buildings were later demolished and 'luxury apartments and houses'
were built on the site.)
I am not exactly sure where
Leasowe starts and Moreton ends. Moreton Shore on some maps is actually marked
Leasowe. But, for the purposes of this site, its Moreton. Leasowe station is
nearer my former home in Moreton than Leasowe but because Moreton also has a
station, Leasowe station is in Leasowe!! As is the Birket River, the sandhills,
Leasowe Castle etc. But Leasowe Lighthouse is in Moreton!
Roman Leasowe Man
In July 2005 the Museum of
Liverpool Life welcomed the return to the North West of a long-absent resident.
The oldest surviving skeleton from Merseyside, found on the Wirral shore in
1864, had finally returned to the region. As part of the Living with the Romans
exhibition, which ran from 23 July 2005 to 4 June 2006, the skeleton was
borrowed from the Natural History Museum in London as the centrepiece of a
display on our Romano-British ancestors. The skeleton was found by workmen
repairing the embankment at Leasowe on the north Wirral coast. They came across
the body laid out under a bed of peat. The owner of nearby Leasowe Castle, Sir
Edward Cust, donated the remains to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1864.
Eventually the skeleton found its way to the Natural History Museum in London
where it was recently rediscovered by Dr Silvia Gonzalez, a scientist from
Liverpool John Moores University. For over a century the skeleton was thought to
be prehistoric, perhaps as old as 4000 BC. However, radiocarbon dating has shown
that the skeleton is actually Roman in date. As such it is the only Roman
skeleton from Merseyside.
A 21st century reconstruction of the
skull. A reconstruction of the skull was
commissioned for the 'Living with the Romans' exhibition. The skull was first
scanned in three dimensions with a laser scanner by National Museums Liverpool's
Conservation Technologies team.
(I look at this and then at the German fortifications in France - one shell
would have demolished this!)
Birket Primary School
Birket Primary Staff 1956 - 1959
BirketPrimaryCountySchool. Years 1954-59 (A subjective view) - George Moor
Shortly after World War two ended, and well before ration
books became extinct, there occurred amongst the populous what is nowadays
termed a baby boom. Leasowe and its environs did not escape this development
and it was soon realised that existing schools serving the catchment (Leasowe
Primary, Lingham Lane, Barnston Lane to name a few) would be unable to cope with
this increase in little ones. And so it came to pass that after performing
their times tables the council decided to site a new school on Twickenham Drive.
And they named it after the nearby river. Birket County Primary school opened
for business in 1954 after taking over the building used by Leasowe Primary
school. Initial intake was drawn from local pupils and prospective second years
of other schools - principally Lingham Lane in Moreton. So no more catching the
number 4 double decker from Castleway North. Most five year olds had
accomplished this daily adventure quite alone after initial chaperoning by their
elders became a bore. Some even made life more interesting by boarding the 4a
that plied quite a different route and didnt pass the school. Sadly, one small
girl was lost to an accident along the way.
Now, thankfully, it was just a case of walking or running the
distance from and to home, traversing waste ground that was turning from sandy,
stoned soil into a succession of estates, each named after a famous British
explorer. On a personal level, good friends Brian Alexander and Malcolm Blauel
from Lingham Lane, who lived in Moreton were no longer seen in class.
Ted Hughes was Birket Primary Schools first Headmaster. Head
of the intake years was a Mrs. Hollyhead. Hughes was a forthright, caring
individual who believed in bringing the children on, but was frequently
misunderstood. Blessed with a nervous tick, a hangover from almost becoming a
statistic whilst serving his country in WW2, he would sometimes shout or thrash
out when talking and scare the pants off kids and parents alike. Hughes was an
accomplished musician and played the piano well. He composed several pieces some
of which he allowed the school choir to dutifully massacre.
The infant school was smaller than Lingham Lane and so was
the playground, a place where crates full of small cool glass milk bottles
produced small cool white moustaches at playtime. Jammy dodgers were sold as
accompaniments.( I have this information on the good authority of Paul Child.)
Then there was the nearby Jungle Jim climbing frame. It was an achievement to
reach the top chimney shaped section where you could experience Twickenham Drive
and the rest of the world spread out before you from the dizzying height of just
over eight feet.
At playtime the girls divided into skipping
and chanting groups whilst the boys just ran around aimlessly chasing things.
That playground was real good fun. It didnt take long for young Mafioso to
start pushing their thumbs into it in Summer after discovering outdoor chair
sessions had left behind positional grid maps. This was also a smooth place
where young Stirling Moss and Fangio, seated dispassionately in their well oiled
Dinkys, often collided head on with sandals.
Nearby the new junior school was rising up
from the ground; concrete dust was everywhere and bit by bit the porta-cabin
style classrooms were giving way to more substantial structures of plaster,
putty, Walpamur and the never to be forgotten aroma of council trade gloss. The
teachers also used such materials to good effect as evidenced in this photo of
the School Nativity play, Christmas 55.
Readers and musicians Peter Earl, Janice
Hawkins, Dianne Caldwell, Shelagh Stephens, George Moor, Linda Fay, June Coan,
Paul Child, Vivienne Almond, John Murphy, Susan Blake,??, Anthony Clarke.
Angel. Gillian Watson. Mary. Karen Jensen,
Joseph. John Breeze.
Magi 1. ? Magi 2. Geoffrey McKee. Magi 3. ?
Some of the cast were from the year below.
If you look closely top right you will see that even at that time, in Bethlehem,
smoking was strictly prohibited.
By now class had settled in to a semblance of
a routine. I used to meet up with Dexter Arnold at the side entry at the top of
Murrayfield Drive. We would then run to school, do morning lessons, run home for
lunch and then back again on a full stomach to partake of afternoon lessons.
Dexter was the only boy who owned a pair of real American baseball boots - I
never asked from where he got them as they didn't seem to help him run any
faster. After lessons we would generally saunter home in groups that broke now
and again to look in on the progress of the new shops being built at the side of
the school. Was there going to be another sweet shop to rival the one near
Castleway? Yes, even a chippie.
This particular area was awash with construction bricks and stones and on the
odd occasion these were used to settle arguments by way of chucking
competitions. I still carry the image of a bloodied Baz Beaumont Jones
fearlessly standing his ground hurling back ten to the dozen he was receiving
from four others. Somehow they all made it into class the next day.
John Breeze also fell foul of the wastelands.
He slipped on the way to school and somehow managed to show all and sundry the
complete inner workings of a patella. This was for some of us our first
practical in anatomy. Whilst all the lads marvelled at the sight of a white bony
and bloodless knee cap the girls had already sensibly run off - and arranged
for an ambulance.
Shelagh Stephens also reminds me of something
most reading this will have surely forgotten. It was classmate John Breeze who
won the competition to design the Birket primary blazer badge. And here it is
showing the local River Birket flowing under a bridge.
Leasowe was a new post war community and we in part represented the first born
to these buildings after the apprentices and their charge hands had worked their
magic. The essence then was clearly on erecting semis quickly and economically
so that a restorative workforce in Merseyside could be accommodated. One
testament to this somewhat risky approach is that despite having sand as
foundations the houses in my road (Murrayfield) with their large gardens still
stand proud some 60 yrs later.
A new Church (St Chads, Castleway ) soon
followed (June 1955) and this was oft full to capacity at Sunday evensong where
Reverend Jeacock pronounced and helped to slip holy mortar between the family
bricks. I no longer see too many churches requiring those small wooden folding
chairs lined up behind the pews He was a solid man, elected by vox populi
despite others being favoured by those sat on higher ecumenical rungs. The rev
Jeacock's wife tended to the new generation by starting up the brownies, cubs,
girl guides and scouts. A Roman Catholic Church and school followed some years
later. I add that initial services in 1957 held for the nearby Leasowe estates
used the main hall of Birket Primary School.
Returning from this external social knitting to Birket Primary , here's a
picture of us all appropriately still in angelic mode -1956. (Thanks to Barbara
Tattum and Linda Fay for helping complete the majority of the girls names) We
were once again under the wing of Mrs. Evelyn Male who had helped us bond in the
very early days by giving up her weekends arranging bird watching and taddy
catching expeditions for a few kids at a time. The figure of eight, a large
issue pond was not far away from her home off Reeds avenue and this invitingly
contained sticklebacks, frogs, leeches and lost shoes. B row. Stewart Carson,
Dexter Arnold, Stuart Bradford, George Moor, Philip Williamson, John Breeze,
Paul Child, Brian Kelly, Michael Christenson, John Murphy.
3rd Row. Valerie Sutch, John Speed, Geoffrey
McKie, Raymond Craig, Anthony Clarke, John White, Stuart Bowden, Paul Ashbury,
David Birkett, Shelagh Stephens,
2nd Row. Susan Parry, Barbara Tattum, Marianne Harbour, Janice Hawkins, June
Robson, Vivian Almond, Pamela Boughey, June Coan, Lesley Ellis, Jane Boyer,
Susan Blake, Patty Webster, Dianne Caldwell.
Front row. Gillian Ledsham?, Linda May?, Edna Stapleton, Jane Darwin?, Yvonne
Paul?, Linda Fay holding sign, Susan Cuthbertson, Gillian Watson, Christine
Smith, Lesley Swift, Karen Jensen.
Catharine Yates (absent that day)
Where not fully sure of name - a ? Inserted.
Mrs. Male also had a box in class - something called an an- tho- logy box. In
this you could find short poems and inspirational adages. She was a bit of an
inspirational guru on the quiet...
Birket Primary were initially divided into four houses and, much like the system
used for thousands of years at Hogwarts, 'house points' could be earned. These
were generally verified through a visit made on their todd to Headmaster Ted
Hughes who would examine the work, twitch and then elevate it by stamping it
with no less than the Birket Primary School address stamp. Somehow, this one
approach lovingly sums up the ideology of the time.
carried the name of a famous maritime explorer, Raleigh, Frobisher, Drake and
Cook, perhaps confusing to those littluns hatted as Raleigh but living in
nearby Frobisher, Drake, Cook or Shackleton Roads. Each child had a house pin
and each house a caricature. This was positioned along a coloured horizontal
banner set on the back wall of the school hall where it represented the
cumulative house point total over the year. - A highly visual four lane race
that sometimes even moved between assemblies. Shelagh Stephens remembers well
another purpose for that back wall. Taped like Monday's washing were rows of
large A1 sized paper sheets, each carefully lettered with the words of a hymn. I
guess the purpose of this was to either to avoid allocating budget to the
purchase of hymn books or to surreptitiously test the eyesight of every littl'un
in the hall during assembly or music practice. I had quite forgotten why
it is I can always remember the words of carols at Christmas. The power of
Blossom took over the class in 1957. Ever keen on developing artistic skills,
once in control, she stretched us with an outdoor production of a bit of
Richard the third in which yours truly was to play the man himself. My parents
crafted the costume. An old sheet became the tunic, a cardboard box the shield
and helmet. There was even a cracking wooden sword, painted steel and completed
with a wound garden wire grip. Yes I would be famous at last. But the sun came
out in earnest that week and the hay fever and hives kicked in. Like the
Martians in the War of the Worlds I was denied my moment of triumph, laid low
by lifes minutiae. In this abridged write up I spare you the sight of this
50's warrior threatening a Kodak Brownie.
adds recollection and insight into Miss Blossom.
My first experience of
Vancouver was through my primary school, Birket Primary. My teacher in the
second year juniors, Miss Blossom, took an exchange with a teacher from
Vancouver, Mr Childs. She departed for a year teaching on the west coast of
Canada and Mr Childs arrived to teach us in our little backwater of Leasowe.
Fair exchange is no robbery so they say. Miss Blossom soon sent over a pack of
letters from her children in Canada and these were distributed out to us, our
first experience of having a pen friend. I cant say that my correspondence
was very successful but it was early days. When she returned after her
year abroad Miss Blossom brought with her some serious photographs of a train
journey through the Rockies. These were projected on to the classroom wall
and my enthusiasm for geography and travel was born. Mr Childs returned to
Vancouver with a more tangible souvenir, Miss Johnson, a fellow teacher at the
school who was to become Mrs Childs
The pre 11
plus year (1958) was hosted by a Mr. Williams. By this time we had adapted well
to the confusion of having different teachers for several subjects. Mr. Williams
taught Maths and Art and crafts. We were also joined by a new pupil nicknamed
Gazzer (Allen Victor Gaskell) who was allocated the adjacent pult to mine.
Gazzer was a gifted artist, creating drawings of war scenes that were always
accompanied by grunts, groans and explosive noises. He also drew with his nose
on the paper and this was good. Somehow we were also permitted to use razor
blade knives to carve Spitfires and Fords out of balsa blocks.
who had in previous years woven together baskets that, as term progressed, got
bigger and BIGGER now graduated to more delicate needlework items such as
Hussifs ( I understand this may also be called 'housewife' or sewing kit pouch).
I guess there may still be a few of these carefully stowed away out there,
suitably scented with lavender no doubt..
really understood Mr. Williams sense of humour. This surfaced in one of those
afternoon craft classes. Feeling hungry and not having a watch on my wrist I
went to the front desk and asked Sir the time. How long before I would be
running the mile home to raid the biscuit tin? But for some odd reason the whole
class was told to put down what they were doing and be quiet.
know what this boy has just asked me? Hes just asked me the time. exclaimed
Mr. Williams. Sure enough I had, but why did they need to know?
this unfathomable setback In true Kipperbang fashion I was subsequently
selected by Mr. Williams to receive the form prize for handicraft it was a
long bladed balsa knife. No, I am not going anywhere with this other than to
form a social statement. He was a good teach and I add that nowadays such a
prize would likely take the form of something that requires a lesser sense of
attended by those born three years later in 1951
Leasowe Sandhills (and below)
Bike Racing on Leasowe Sands
The following - 27June 2012
Footpath that led from Embankment to
Telegraph Lane and Leasowe (1 mile). Further along the path it has been
opened to cars. Not sure why the sign says Leasowe Bay, its Liverpool
Embankment looking towards Moreton,
Leasowe Castle & Lighthouse
Leasowe & Moreton Sands, looking towards
Zoom shot of oil rig out to sea off
Leasowe/Wallasey (its actually off Southport but visible from Leasowe)
Part of Wind Farm off Leasowe greatly
Twickenham Drive (Twicky Drive)
I was born in Hull, Yorkshire and,
at a very early age, moved to Wallasey, to Monks Road I believe. From
there we moved into what was then the new post war estate of Leasowe (71 Twickenham
Drive). It was in a three storey block of flats, (71 being
in the middle) opposite my favourite haunt then, the
sweet shop! (See below) Brian Lloyd emailed me in August 2006 to tell me that these
shops were: Greengrocer; Grocer; Sweet Shop and Chemist. The grocers was
called McCulloghs. These few shops are now residences. I remembered a sweet shop
and a grocer but not sure what the other one (or two) were. I attended Birket
Primary School from the age of 5. I had a red three wheeler trike. I was
riding it along a new road, Franklyn Road, I think which was behind the
flats. A young lad called Les Appleton threw a brick from the window of
one of the partially built houses, it hit me full in the face, blood
everywhere. My mum told me I was carried home by a workman; with a very
apologetic Leslie in tow. I grew up and got to know Les again, in Moreton, as a
teenager. But he died young, very sad.
I lived here in the early - mid 50s middle flat
right number 71.
Oyster Catcher Leasowe (where I learnt to play
darts (aged 16) there was me, Steve
Hollywood, Albie Thompson, George Lowden. I
still play League Darts even now.
I can remember playing darts one evening when the police came in on a 'raid'. I
actually had to ask a copper to move so I could get my pint off the bar!
- Leasowe Road
The Market Gardens, or part of, taken from the
flyover on Leasowe Road 4th Feb 2009. Image two shows the remains of the sand
hills at the rear.
Green Lane is between the gardens and the dunes running right to left.
Telegraph Lane leading to Green Lane bottom right.
Apart from the barrier, its pretty much as I recall it in the 1960s.
Horse Racing at Leasowe Shore
Horse Racing Stables
One of the most famous races in the Horse Racing
calendar is the Derby. But the origins of the race are to be found here at
Leasowe Castle. The first "Gentleman's Racecourse" was established here. The
actual year is unknown but must have been soon after 1593, when Leasowe Castle
was erected. William Webb, writing in 1662, refers to the fairlands or plains
upon the shores of the sea which for fitness for such a purpose allure the
gentlemen and others oft to appoint great matches and venture no small sums in
trying the swiftness of their horses.
In the autumn of 1682, the race meeting held here
had an illustrious visitor and jockey in the person of the ill-starred Duke of
Monmouth who, attended by many of his friends, was on a tour courting popularity
in this part of England. On Sunday 10th September he arrived in Wallasey. Next
day Monmouth went to Wallasey, and the day following he was joined there by the
Mayor with a troop of forty horsemen, and a large concourse of people from
Chester eager to see the running horses, and the Duke. The First Plate, value
£60, was won by the Duke riding his own horse. Monmouth offered to lay £1000 on
his horse, but no one would take him. Later, the Duke had two foot races with Mr
Cutts of Cambridge, the first stripped, the second in his boots, both of which
he won. The Duke, after the race, crossed over to Liverpool with his party. When
the news came to Chester that he had steered his own horse to victory at
Wallasey (though some hinted that it was by the contrivance of the gentlemen who
rode against him) the populace were immensely elated, bonfires were lighted, the
church bells rung, and nothing was heard in the streets but shouts of A
Monmouth! A Monmouth! The Mayors house was illuminated and the Duke and his
friends were entertained right royally.
In the Eaton Hall Account Books the following
1st September, 1696. Peter Pemberton, a bill of charges att Wallasey at Jugler's
September, 1696. Paid a bill of charges at Wallasey when Meale ran with ye Lord
Ross his white horse Davies.
11th September, 1682, Monday. On Monday mid-day he started for Wallasey to be
present at the races next day.
The course, according to a map which still exists, seems to have extended for
nearly five miles, running from the village out towards the Castle and back
again, finishing near the present Wallasey Station. As the races were run in
heats, and a win could only be obtained by the first horse leading throughout
the last 240 yards, it sometimes happened that the distance had to be traversed
two or even three times. Forty years later the popularity of Wallasey had so far
increased that it is said that the most considerable stake in the kingdom was
run for over this course. The names of the winners give some idea of the
importance of the event. We find among them the Duke of Devonshire winning in
1725. About this time Lord Molyneux transferred his training stud to Wallasey.
Lord Gower was a winner in 1723 and 1730, the Duke of Ancaster in 1728, and Sir
Richard Grosvenor in 1724, 2726 and 1727. Blundell of Crosby, under the date
February, 1727, records in his Diary (p. 223): Coz. Butler went to Wallosy Race
where Sir Richard Grosvenor's horse beat a Black Horse of My Lord Molyneuxes.
Was this a favourite that gave the name to the Black Horse Inn which on a carved
stone bears the initials and "D with W.M. beneath it then 1722" and was it
built to accommodate the gentlemen and others referred to by Webb?
About 1732 the more important events were discontinued, though for some years
afterwards a race was run at Newmarket called The Wallasey Stakes. But if the
great race was no longer run on the Leasowes, other events took place there
during the latter half of the eighteenth century, as is evident from some
inscriptions cut on the old door of the Racing Stable which stood in Wallasey
Village, on the site of Sandiways Road. When it was built is not known, but
probably between 1600 and 1642, possibly by William, sixth Earl of Derby. Soon
after the latest of the dates recorded on the old door, namely 5 April 1785,
Earl Grosvenor sold the stables and the adjoining land to one John Zewill, whose
ownership was commemorated by the initials M and IZ beneath then the date 1787
cut in stone over one of the doorways. Here he and his wife are said to have
lived for many years. The place afterwards came into the possession of someone
of the name of Wotherspoon, who sold it to Mr Barton, who inhabited part of the
house and intended, it is said, to repair the whole of it, but did not owing to
the expense it would involve. At that time it was known as Sandfield Hall
popularly called the Kings House. After Mr Bartons death in 1851 it was
allowed to fall into decay until demolished in 1895. The old oak was utilised in
building some of the houses on the site, but the old door above referred to was
presented to the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, and afterwards
housed in the Liverpool Museum, only to be destroyed during the war by bombing.
It was given by Mr Madders, one of the owners of the property, in 1892. It was
an iron-studded oak door, showing marks of four horseshoes. In the centre of
each of the marks the following inscriptions were cut into the wood:
Black Slave won 200 guins at Walazey 1778
Ingram Esqr. Tripod won 50 at Conway 176 - Ingram
Esqr. Lady Day won 200 gs. at Preston 1767.
Smiling Molly won 5 Walazey 1770 - 50 at Preston
Upon each mark, until within a few years of 1893,
a small, beautifully-made racing horseshoe was nailed. All that is left in
Wallasey to remind us of its bygone glories as a racing centre is the Black
Horse Inn. The racing stables have passed away, and even Jockey Lane has been
rechristened Sandcliffe Road. Williamsons Liverpool Advertiser for August 1792
mentions that some horse races were to be run at Seacombe on August 20, 21 and
22. Three prizes were offered of £10 each, the second a subscription purse by
five gentlemen of £10 each, and the third a sweepstake by ten
gentlemen of £5 each. All horses to be entered at the house of Mr Smith,
Seacombe (Lord of the Manor of Poulton maybe ?).
(Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital)
I rather fancy that the images of shipping is
false as the mockbeggar sandbanks stopped any shipping from doing what there
were doing! Artistic licence?
The Leasowe Sanatorium For Crippled Children and
Hospital for Tuberculosis, to give its full and original name, later became
known as the Liverpool Open-Air Hospital, Leasowe, and finally Leasowe
To tell the story of the hospital, one name
above all stands out and that is Margaret Beavan (born 1877, died 1931). She
was the driving force, admired by all, she was known affectionately as the
'Little Mother of Liverpool', also not quite as complimentary - the 'Mighty
Atom' and 'Clever Beggar'. Even at school, she did not like to lose and though
only small, she entered all sports with great determination. She later became
Head Girl and even at this early age she was endeavouring to help the poor in
some way. Her first effort was to cajole the other girls in joining her in
giving a Christmas tree to the poor of the dockland. She eventually went on to
Liverpool University. Whilst there, she joined the Kyrle Society, who were
philanthropists, who gave money out of their own pockets to help the poor.
Upon leaving University, she rented a small room in the middle of the slums,
as an office. During this time she came to the notice of a Mr A V Paton (he
was later knighted), who was a remarkable man who devoted all of his time to
helping children and the West Kirby Convalescent Home for Children (the first
of its kind in the country).
With his guidance, they started in 1891 the Invalid Children's Aid. It was
built around a London model founded a few years earlier. It was mannered by
volunteers who tried to help sick children to go to the country for
convalescent. It was haphazard and disorganised affair. They literally picked
children up off the streets. It was starting to get beyond the means of the
Kyrle Society, so they had to look for help somewhere else, and in due course,
they joined with the Crippled Childrens' Workshops that was doing well. This
led to a name changing and a new start. So in January 1908, the Invalid
Children's Association was founded. The name was to change again when in 1919
it became the Liverpool Child Welfare Association. Margaret Beavan was its
chief from its inception in 1907 until her death in 1931. The Association's
work covered a large area, although it started in Liverpool, its work
stretched from Runcorn to Ellsemere Port to Bootle and Birkenhead, and the
surrounding areas. By the 1970s, all its work had been taken over by the
National Health Service and the Department of Health and Social Security. The
Association still exists but only as a legal entity. It still owns its
premises in Copperas Hill which was rented to the Women's Royal Volunteers
Service, but is now closed.
Margaret Beavan became the
first woman Lord Mayor of Liverpool in 1927/28. She also officiated at the
break-through of the first Mersey Tunnel (the Queensway) in 1931. She caught a
cold and developed pneumonia and died. She was also a Magistrate and spent all
her life as a volunteer worker.
The first mention of a Sanatorium for T.B children occurred on the 16th
December, 1911. At a Committee Meeting, after communication with the Medical
Officer of Health and the Education Committee, it appeared that they were to
receive a grant of up to 3/5th's of the capital cost. The next meeting held on
23rd January, 1912, Sir G. Newman of the Whithall Board of Education,
indicated that as far as he could see from the plans submitted, the Sanatorium
would get approval from the Board; and as regards to capital expenditure, it
would be prepared to make a grant of £70-£90 per bed and 50% of maintenance
costs for all children sent by the Municipal. By this time, a site had been
found in Leasowe. The Board of Education sent a number of staff down the next
day to inspect the site.
At another meeting on the
13th February, 1913, it was confirmed that the site was acceptable. The deeds
were drawn up and the Association was incorporated. Everything was set in
motion - an appeal was sent to over 5,000 in Liverpool with regard to the
Leasowe Sanatorium; a parliamentary list of donations had already reached
£6,731; there were four sums of £1,000 by George Holt, Miss Holt of Holt
Shipping Lines, Mr H Harrison of The Harrison Shipping Lines and Mr A V Paton
in memory of his wife. Further donations from the Brocklebank family were
received also many others soon swelled the coffers.
The next step was to
purchase the land and this happened on the 17th April, 1913. The land was
owned by the Webster family and farmed by the Beed family.
Under the heading
'Transaction with regard to Leasowe': it was reported that the contract had
already been signed, the estate had been purchased - part of the money having
been paid on signing, the balance to be completed when the Association's
possession of the said property on 1st September, 1913 - the price being
3,600, 17th April, 1913. They also tried to purchase the land opposite on the
shore side but the landowner, Mr. Sparks, wanted more then the Association
The Association agreed to
renew the tenancy of these fields with Mr. Beed for three months, at the same
rental he had paid before, namely £10 per annum. By the 14th August, 1913, the
Committee asked for tenders from building firms, the winning bid came from
Messrs Brown & Backhouse since theirs was the lowest tender.
An Executive Committee
meeting was held the next day - 14th August, 1913, The Secretary reported that
the tender by Messrs Brown & Backhouse had formally been accepted, namely
500 for Blocks A and B hospital buildings, and £3,230 for Block C - in total
5,730. Messrs Brown & Backhouse had already commenced work on the 11th
August, 1913. The work was completed on time and the first children were taken
into Faith Block on 7th July, 1914. The Commemorative Stone was laid on 21st
July, 1914. The total cost of the building the hospital was £180,000.
The first years running cost
in 1947 (before the National Health Service took over) was £47,844 2s.0d.
There was no effective cure for tuberculosis until the 1940s when a Ukraine
scientist, Selman Waksman, working in the USA, discovered the drug
Streptomycin. It was an antibiotic and stopped the tubercle bacillus from
multiplying. Slowly Leasowe Hospital changed from being principally a
children's T.B hospital to one for dealing with burns and skin grafts, and
then arthritis until its closure in 1979. It was bought by the Wirral
Christian Centre in 1981 and was used later as a Retirement Home and Handicap
Centre. The buildings were later demolished and luxury apartments and houses
were built on the site.
Wirral - A Pictorial History by Frank Biddle and Alan Fellowes
From Mal: As a small
child living in Twicky we had the swings right behind us and beyond that and the
football pitches a sandy area where we would go and dig huge tunnels, not
thinking at the time of the danger involved. We sometimes went to the shore at
the weekends which was like going on holiday. We never had a car so we walked
there which didnt do us any harm. We would take jam buttys and if we were
lucky a bottle of pop.
Barbara Wilkinson April
brought up in Leasowe, (the posh part) and spent long days at the shore,
having the usual feast of Jam butties and if lucky a bottle of Tizer from
Stannies, the post office come sweet shop at Reeds Lane by Cadburys
Leasowe entrance. What Stanny never knew we took the same bottles back
two or three times, till he hit on the idea of tearing the labels. Tommy
Edwards, had the grocers next door and over the road the good old Coop,
where the change whizzed around in the old cash dispenser system. Always
having to give in the divi number which was learnt before your name ours
was 30319 and the joy of going the coop in Liscard to get the said divi
knowing you were in for a new vest or pyjamas. I could go on forever, but
does anyone remember the old Tide Keepers Cottage, must have been
demolished in the 60s, it was opposite Leasowe Hospital at the bottom of
the breakwater. My brother said every time he saw it he was going to live
there one day, so he would be on site for his Lay Line fishing activities.
(Yes, I can recall the cottage, was still
there in the 70s).
Billy Boyle: During ww2 when I was a boy if I went
down Ditton Lane at the back of Leasowe Hospital which was then a TB hospital I
could see the patients lying in their beds on balconies open to the elements
apparently the sea air was a cure for TB the patients were on those balconies
summer and winter. One day in the 1940s my mother and father went off for the
day somewhere leaving me in charge of my little sister Dorothy and baby brother
Sam I took them down the lane opposite Leasowe Hospital past the tiny cottage
and up to the promenade. The tide was in so we sat on one the embankment
slipways with our butties and bottle of water I lifted Sam out of his pram and
he was happy crawling about until he cut his wrist on broken glass I had to wrap
his arm in towels as the blood was spurting out so much. I put him and
Dorothy in the pram and started for home whilst going past Leasowe Hospital two
young women who worked there were coming out of the hospital. They looked at
the pram which was full of blood, one of said where are you going I replied home
they said quick take him into the hospital and to cut a long story short the
doctors kept Sam in for blood tranfusions and he was there for the night . Only
for those young women he would surely have died.
Ken Morris. July 2012: Just seen your
wirralhistory.net, fantastic stuff, thanks for putting this up. My
name is Ken Morris, I went to Birket junior and primary from 1957 until
1964, I then went to Wallasey Grammar until 1969. I lived with my parents
at 93 Twickenham Drive (Middle Flat) from about 1955/6 until 1964 when we
moved to a house in Murrayfield Drive, I still live there today. Do you
remember David Johnstone who lived in one of the top flats, his Dad was
always fixing up Jaguar E Types ? David became headmaster at the school on
Leasowe Road. My mate was Phil Leather who used to live in the 1st house
after the flats at the Castleway end. It's great to recall those
times, how things have changed. Best regards
Ken Morris. Ken: I left Leasowe when aged
5-6, (mid 50s). I do not remember anyone there.
March 2014: My name is Janet Uchida. (maiden name Janet Houston) I have
been living in Japan for 35 years and used to live in Twickenham Drive as
a child. (I am now 59 years old) I am desperately searching for my friend,
Norma Hughes. We were born next door to each other but lost touch when I
came to live here. I have tried searching for her on Facebook,
unfortunately I haven't been able to find her. I was wondering if anyone
on your website may know of her or her whereabouts.
December 2015: Hello, anyone remember me? from Christine (Wilson)
Winstanley. Castleway North. I have her email address.
Incidently, Leasowe Castle and
Leasowe Lighthouse should really be named Leasowes Castle and Leasowes
Lighthouse, as they were built on the Leasowes and well before Leasowe
actually existed in any form or area.
Thanks to Ken Clark from facebook/wallasey memories for a lot of the old images