- Woodside, Merseyside
infobox UK place
region= North West England
static_image_caption= "Royal Iris of the Mersey" departing Woodside Ferry in 2006 Woodside is a small riverside locality in
Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, Merseyside, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Headacross the River Mersey.
The monks of
Birkenhead Prioryhad been granted a charter establishing ferryrights to Liverpool, which was confirmed by Edward III in about 1330.cite news|title=Mersey Ferries - Volume 1|first=TB|last=Maund|publisher=Transport Publishing Co. Ltd.|date=1991] These rights reverted to the Crown in 1536,citeweb|url=http://www.mersey-gateway.org/yesterdays/server.php?show=ConNarrative.31&chapterId=154|title=Ferries across the Mersey|work=merseygateway.org|accessdate=1 November|accessyear=2007] upon the Dissolution of the Monasteriesby Henry VIII.
There followed a period of private ownership by local landowners of the numerous ferry services on the Wirral bank of the River Mersey, including at Woodside. By the 18th century, an increase in
stage coachtraffic from Chesterspurred the growth of the transportation of passengers and goods across the river. With the rapid development of Birkenhead from the 1820s, facilities at Woodside would eventually need expanding. By 1842, the ferry service had been taken over by the Birkenhead Commissioners.A stone pier with two slipwaysand a small lighthouseat the pier head were constructed.citeweb|url=http://www.bri2e.co.uk/places/woodside/intro.htm|title=Woodside Memories: Introduction|work=Brian Tuohy|accessdate=1 November|accessyear=2007] There followed another period of major rebuilding, which included land reclamationup to the end of the pier. Construction of a floating landing stage in 1861 allowed for combined usage by the ferries and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. Improvements were made to the ferry's fleet at Woodside in 1890, with the replacement of paddle steamersfor twin screw steamers.
A dedicated luggage boat service, which ferried goods and vehicles across the river, had begun by 1879. The opening of the Birkenhead to Liverpool
Queensway road tunnelon 18 July 1934hastened the demise of Woodside's luggage boats, the service ending on 21 July 1941.
29 August 1860, Europe's first tramway was established, running from Woodside to Birkenhead Park. The idea of flamboyant American George Francis Train, the tramway was initially horse drawn. Electrified in 1901, tram services were discontinued in Birkenhead on 17 July 1937.cite news|title=Birkenhead - An Illustrated History|first=Ralph T|last=Brocklebank|publisher=Breedon Books|date=2003] [citeweb|url=http://www.wirral.gov.uk/LGCL/100009/200070/1017/content_0000522.html|title=Birkenhead Tramway|work=Metropolitan Borough of Wirral|accessdate=15 September|accesyear=2007] A preserved Edwardian eratram is on display in the Woodside Ferry booking hall.
Originally built by the
Great Western Railwayin the 1870s, Birkenhead Woodside railway stationwas a mainline terminus, with services direct to London Paddington. The station closed on 5 November 1967and was demolished within a couple of years.
Woodside is one of two Wirral terminals for the
Mersey Ferryto the Pier Head in Liverpool. This terminal underwent a program of extensive refurbishment in 1985. When reopened on 13 March 1986, the restoration of the historic booking hall had been completed and the large, dilapidated Victorian landing stage replaced with the current facility.
With the closure of Woodside railway station in 1967, and the construction of the new Birkenhead Bus Station in the late 1990s, the importance of Woodside as a major transport hub has declined. Although, numerous local bus services still use the terminus and seasonal tram services are occasionally run between the site and nearby
Wirral Transport Museum.
Historic buildings and structures
Mersey Ferries Booking Hall
A wooden construction on brick foundations, the 1864 booking hall is a
listed building. It remained virtually unaltered until it was extensively refurbished from 1985 in the existing style, with many of the original timbers being replaced. The formerly adjoining terminal building behind, of a similar construction, was demolished and replaced, due to poor condition. The passenger bridge and landing stage, which featured in the 1981 film " Chariots of Fire", [citeweb|url=http://www.wheredidtheyfilmthat.co.uk/film.php?film_id=60|title=Chariots of Fire|work=Where Did They Film That?|accessdate=2 July|accessyear=2007] were also replaced at the same time.
The building houses a cafeteria, shop, tourist information centre, transport memorabilia and a bookings office for the Mersey Ferries.
Built in about 1834 to replace an earlier establishment of the same name, Woodside Hotel was a busy coaching house and originally had stabling for 100 horses.cite news|title=Birkenhead... Of Yesteryear|first=Carol E|last=Bidston|publisher=Metropolitan Borough of Wirral|date=1985] Until the land reclamation works of the mid 19th century, the hotel was situated on the riverbank.
The hotel was extended in 1963 with a new lounge 'Gough's Landing', named after a 19th century licensee.cite news|title=Yesterday's Wirral (No.2)|first=Ian & Marilyn|last=Boumphrey|date=1981]
The historic building was extensively damaged in two fires on
4 Juneand 13 August 2008, having been unoccupied for some time. [citeweb|url=http://www.wirralnews.co.uk/wirral-news/local-wirral-news/bromborough-bebington-news/2008/08/20/second-fire-rips-through-birkenhead-s-woodside-hotel-80491-21565223/ |title=Second fire rips through Birkenhead’s Woodside Hotel|work=Wirral News|accessdate=8 September|accessyear=2008]
hore Road Pumping Station
Located opposite the Woodside Hotel, the
Shore Road Pumping Stationis now part of Wirral Museum. Built in the 1870s, the 'Giant Grasshopper' engine is a working example of a large steam pump, which was used to clear water from the Mersey Railway Tunnel. [citeweb|url=http://www.wirral.gov.uk/LGCL/100009/200070/1017/content_0000525.html|title=Shore Road Pumping Station|work=Metropolitan Borough of Wirral|accessdate=15 September|accessyear=2007]
replicaof the Birkenhead built, pioneering submarine"Resurgam", was put on display in 1997 at Woodside. It is positioned near to the ferry terminal, on part of the site of the former floating roadway that once connected to the ferry landing stage. [citeweb|url=http://www.irishseashipping.co.uk/archives/news/1997/MS0397.html|title=Mersey Shipping News|work=Irish Sea Shipping|date=16 March 1997|accessdate=12 October|accessyear=2007]
27 June 2007, the Merseytraveltransit authority announced that it had acquired the German U-Boat"U-534" to display at the Woodside Ferry Terminal. [citeweb|url=http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/tm_method=full&objectid=19361329&siteid=50061-name_page.html|title=Woodside Ferry to be new home for rescued U-boat|work= Liverpool Daily Post|date=July 2007|accessdate=25 September|accessyear=2007] The submarine was part of the collection of the Warship Preservation Trustat Birkenhead Docks, which closed on 5 February 2006. For technical reasons and to facilitate economical transportation to its new site, the vessel was cut into four sections. It will be displayed in this form to allow visitors better access and visibility. [citeweb|url=http://www.merseyferries.co.uk/u534/index.aspx|title=About U-534|work=Mersey Ferries|accessdate=9 June|accessyear=2008] Beginning on 10 March 2008, the sections were transported by floating craneover a number of days. The modified attraction and visitor centre is expected to open at the end of September 2008. [citeweb|url=http://www.merseyferries.co.uk/u534/news.aspx|title=U-534 Latest News|work=Mersey Ferries|accessdate=9 June|accessyear=2008]
* [http://www.merseyferries.co.uk Official Mersey Ferries website]
* [http://www.mersey-gateway.org/yesterdays/server.php?show=ConNarrative.31&chapterId=154 Brief history of Woodside ferry service]
* [http://www.wirraltransportmuseum.org Wirral Transport Museum website]
* [http://www.bri2e.co.uk/places/woodside/index.htm Woodside Ferry 1980s Redevelopment gallery & article]
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