Bidston Hill


Bidston Hill

Bidston Hill is convert|100|acre|km2 of heathland and woodland that contains historic buildings and ancient rock carvings. It is on the Wirral Peninsula at the edge of the town of Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. With a peak of convert|231|ft|m, Bidston Hill is one of the highest points on the Wirral.citeweb|url=http://www.wirral.gov.uk/LGCL/100006/200073/670/content_0001101.html|title=Bidston Hill|work=Metropolitan Borough of Wirral|accessdate=12 August|accessyear=2007] citeweb|url=http://www.mikekemble.com/mside/wirral.html|work=Kemble, Mike|title=The Wirral Hundred/The Wirral Peninsula|accessdate=12 August|accessyear=2007] The land was bought by Lord Vyner around 1900 for use by the public.

Buildings

Bidston Windmill replaced a wooden mill that was destroyed by fire in 1793, and was used to grind wheat until 1875. However it is believed that there has been a windmill on this site since 1596. After falling into disuse it was bought and restored in the 1890s. It is open on the first Sunday each month between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m..

Bidston Observatory was built in 1866 using local sandstone excavated from the site. One of its functions was to determine the exact time. Up to 18 July 1969, at exactly 1:00 p.m. each day, the One O'Clock Gun overlooking the River Mersey near Morpeth Dock, Birkenhead, would be fired electrically from the Observatory.citeweb|url=http://www.pol.ac.uk/home/history/gun.html |title=The Time Ball and the One O'clock Gun|work=Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory|accessdate=12 August|accessyear=2007] In 1929 the work of the observatory was merged with the University of Liverpool Tidal Institute. The Natural Environment Research Council relocated the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory to the University of Liverpool campus in 2003. [citeweb|url=http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=178450&sectioncode=26 |title=Bid to move ocean lab faces rough passage|work=Times Higher Education|date=1 August 2003|accessdate=10 September|accessyear=2008]

There has been a lighthouse on the hill since 1771. The present lighthouse was built in 1873 but has not been used since 1913. Together with the Leasowe Lighthouse, it enabled the ships to avoid the sandbanks in the channel to Liverpool.citeweb|url=http://www.pol.ac.uk/home/history/lighthouse.html |title=Bidston Lighthouse|work=Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory|accessdate=12 August|accessyear=2007]

Rock carvings

There is a four and a half foot long carving of a "Sun Goddess", carved into the flat rock north-east of the Observatory - it is supposed to face the direction of the rising sun on Midsummer's Day and was thought to have been carved by the Norse-Irish around 1000 A.D. Another ancient carving of a horse can be found on the bare rock north of the Observatory, just before the path turns down to Bidston Village.

Bidston Court

Robert William Hudson built a house called 'Bidston Court' on Vyner Road South near Bidston Hill in 1891. Germany's Crown Prince Wilhelm was so impressed with the house that in 1913 he built a similar house, the Cecilienhof in Potsdam. The house was sold in 1921 to Sir Ernest Royden and in 1928 was moved to its present site in Frankby, brick by brick, finally being completed in 1931. It was renamed 'Hillbark'. The original site of the house was given to Birkenhead Corporation. [citeweb|url=http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/218605 |title=Bidston Court|work=Geograph|accessdate=11 March|accessyear=2007]

Bidston Tunnels

During World War Two, an air raid shelter was constructed at Bidston Hill. Today the tunnels are concealed for public safety. [citeweb|url=http://wirralhistory.co.uk/ |title=Bidston Hill Underground Tunnels|work=wirralhistory.co.uk|accessdate=9 September|accessyear=2008]

The Friends of Bidston Hill

A pressure group dedicated to ensuring that the Hill remains an unspoilt nature reserve for all to enjoy. More information about the group and its work, along with a wealth of information about the Hill, its history and its flora and fauna, can be found at the Friends of Bidston Hill website.

ee also

* Bidston

References

External links

* [http://www.friendsofbidstonhill.com/ Friends of Bidston Hill]
* [http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/m0bnn/album27.html Bidston Hill Lighthouse]


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