Historic Merseyside Guide
by Ben Johnson
Think of Merseyside and you think of Liverpool and The Beatles! There is much more to this area than just the Beatles, although of course you can take one of the guided tours or visit The Beatles Story at Albert Dock, under the gaze of the famous Liver Birds atop the Liver Building. Albert Dock is a destination in itself: the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in Britain, it features cafes, bars, restaurants, offices and museums including the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Across the river on The Wirrral you will find Port Sunlight Museum and Garden Village. This model village was purpose-built in the late 19th century by soap magnate William Lever to house the workers at his soap factory Lever Brothers, later to become the global giant Unilever.
Another historic attraction is Speke Hall near John Lennon Airport, a lovely half-timbered Tudor manor dating from 1490, set on the banks of the River Mersey. Now owned by the National Trust, Speke Hall is an oasis in the city, surrounded as it is by beautiful gardens and woodland.
A visit to the beach with a difference awaits at Crosby Beach, now the permanent home to Antony Gormley’s artwork, ‘Another Place’. This installation of statues on the beach is perhaps best viewed as the sun sets over the shore.
The Mersey Ferries, immortalised in the song and film, ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’, used to run between Pier Head and the seaside resort of New Brighton in Wallasey, with its sandy beaches, donkeys and amusements. The ferries ceased running in 1971 as the popularity of the resort declined. Situated at the mouth of the estuary, Fort Perch Rock was an early 19th century coastal defence battery built to defend the Port of Liverpool, now open as museum.