Birkenhead
Overview
 
Birkenhead is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral is a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in North West England. It has a population of 311,200, and encompasses of the northern part of the Wirral Peninsula. Major settlements include Birkenhead, Wallasey, Bebington, Heswall, Hoylake and West Kirby. The city of...

 in Merseyside
Merseyside
Merseyside is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 1,365,900. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary, and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool...

, England. It is on the Wirral Peninsula
Wirral Peninsula
Wirral or the Wirral is a peninsula in North West England. It is bounded by three bodies of water: to the west by the River Dee, forming a boundary with Wales, to the east by the River Mersey and to the north by the Irish Sea. Both terms "Wirral" and "the Wirral" are used locally , although the...

, along the west bank of the River Mersey
River Mersey
The River Mersey is a river in North West England. It is around long, stretching from Stockport, Greater Manchester, and ending at Liverpool Bay, Merseyside. For centuries, it formed part of the ancient county divide between Lancashire and Cheshire....

, opposite the city of Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

. At the 2001 Census
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, the town had a population of 83,729.
Historically
Historic counties of England
The historic counties of England are subdivisions of England established for administration by the Normans and in most cases based on earlier Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and shires...

 part of Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

, Birkenhead is perhaps best known as a centre for ship building, as a seaport and its related industries.
The name Birkenhead is possibly from the Old English bircen meaning birch tree, of which many once grew on the headland which jutted into the river at Woodside
Woodside, Merseyside
Woodside is a small riverside locality in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Head across the River Mersey.-History:...

, however some believe the name to have grown from the River Birket which empties into the docklands.

The earliest records state that the Mersey ferry
Mersey Ferry
The Mersey Ferry is a ferry service operating on the River Mersey in north west England, between Liverpool and the Wirral Peninsula. Ferries have been used on this route since at least the 12th century, and continue to be popular for both local people and visitors.The current fleet consists of...

 began operating from Birkenhead in 1150 when Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monks under the leadership of Hamon de Mascy built a priory
Birkenhead Priory
Birkenhead Priory is in Priory Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. It is the oldest standing building on Merseyside. The remains of the priory are a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument...

 there.
Distanced from the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 in Liverpool by the physical barrier of the River Mersey, Birkenhead retained its agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 status until the advent of the steam ferry service in 1820.

Shipbuilding started in 1829.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Birkenhead is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral is a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in North West England. It has a population of 311,200, and encompasses of the northern part of the Wirral Peninsula. Major settlements include Birkenhead, Wallasey, Bebington, Heswall, Hoylake and West Kirby. The city of...

 in Merseyside
Merseyside
Merseyside is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 1,365,900. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary, and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool...

, England. It is on the Wirral Peninsula
Wirral Peninsula
Wirral or the Wirral is a peninsula in North West England. It is bounded by three bodies of water: to the west by the River Dee, forming a boundary with Wales, to the east by the River Mersey and to the north by the Irish Sea. Both terms "Wirral" and "the Wirral" are used locally , although the...

, along the west bank of the River Mersey
River Mersey
The River Mersey is a river in North West England. It is around long, stretching from Stockport, Greater Manchester, and ending at Liverpool Bay, Merseyside. For centuries, it formed part of the ancient county divide between Lancashire and Cheshire....

, opposite the city of Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

. At the 2001 Census
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, the town had a population of 83,729.
Historically
Historic counties of England
The historic counties of England are subdivisions of England established for administration by the Normans and in most cases based on earlier Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and shires...

 part of Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

, Birkenhead is perhaps best known as a centre for ship building, as a seaport and its related industries.

History

The name Birkenhead is possibly from the Old English bircen meaning birch tree, of which many once grew on the headland which jutted into the river at Woodside
Woodside, Merseyside
Woodside is a small riverside locality in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Head across the River Mersey.-History:...

, however some believe the name to have grown from the River Birket which empties into the docklands.

The earliest records state that the Mersey ferry
Mersey Ferry
The Mersey Ferry is a ferry service operating on the River Mersey in north west England, between Liverpool and the Wirral Peninsula. Ferries have been used on this route since at least the 12th century, and continue to be popular for both local people and visitors.The current fleet consists of...

 began operating from Birkenhead in 1150 when Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monks under the leadership of Hamon de Mascy built a priory
Birkenhead Priory
Birkenhead Priory is in Priory Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. It is the oldest standing building on Merseyside. The remains of the priory are a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument...

 there.
Distanced from the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 in Liverpool by the physical barrier of the River Mersey, Birkenhead retained its agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 status until the advent of the steam ferry service in 1820.

Shipbuilding started in 1829. An iron works was initially established by William Laird
William Laird (shipbuilder)
William Laird was a Scottish shipbuilder and developer who was responsible for what later became the Cammell Laird shipyard, and for starting the substantial development of its adjoining town, Birkenhead, on the Wirral in England....

 in 1824 and was joined by his son John Laird in 1828. The business eventually became Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, came about following the merger of Laird, Son & Co. of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century.- Founding of the business :The Company...

. Notable vessels built at Birkenhead include HMS Achilles
HMNZS Achilles (70)
HMNZS Achilles was a Leander class light cruiser which served with the Royal New Zealand Navy in World War II. She became famous for her part in the Battle of the River Plate, alongside HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter....

, HMS Affray, CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead, United Kingdom, in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never anchored in...

, HMS Ark Royal
HMS Ark Royal (91)
HMS Ark Royal was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that served during the Second World War.Designed in 1934 to fit the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird and Company, Ltd. at Birkenhead, England, and completed in November 1938. Her design...

, HMS Birkenhead
HMS Birkenhead (1845)
HMS Birkenhead, also referred to as HM Troopship Birkenhead or steam frigate Birkenhead, was one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy...

, HMS Caroline
HMS Caroline (1914)
HMS Caroline was a C-class light cruiser of the British Royal Navy. Caroline was launched and commissioned in 1914. At the time of her decommissioning in 2011 she was the second-oldest ship in Royal Navy service, after HMS Victory...

, Huáscar
Huáscar (ship)
Huáscar is a 19th century small armoured turret ship of a type similar to a monitor. She was built in Britain for Peru and played a significant role in the battle of Pacocha and the War of the Pacific against Chile before being captured and commissioned with the Chilean Navy. Today she is one of...

, RMS Mauretania
RMS Mauretania (1938)
RMS Mauretania was launched on 28 July 1938 at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead, England and was completed in May 1939. A successor to RMS Mauretania , the second Mauretania was the first ship built for the newly formed Cunard White Star company following the merger in April 1934 of the Cunard...

, the pioneer submarine Resurgam
Resurgam
Resurgam is the name given to two early Victorian submarines designed and built by Reverend George Garrett as a weapon to penetrate the chain netting placed around ship hulls to defend against attack by torpedo vessels....

, HMS Thetis
HMS Thetis (N25)
HMS Thetis was a Group 1 T-class submarine of the Royal Navy which served under two names. Under her first identity, HMS Thetis, she commenced sea trials on 4 March 1939. She sank during trials on 1 June 1939 with the loss of 99 lives...

 which sank on trials in Liverpool Bay, HMS Conqueror
HMS Conqueror (S48)
HMS Conqueror was a nuclear-powered fleet submarine that served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1990. She was built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead...

 and HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales (1939)
HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England...

.

In September 1932 thousands of unemployed people protested in a series of demonstrations organised by the local branch of the National Unemployed Workers Movement. After three days of rioting, police were brought in from elsewhere to help quell the rioters.

In addition to the ferries, the Mersey Railway
Mersey Railway
The Mersey Railway connected Liverpool and Birkenhead, England, via the Mersey Railway Tunnel under the River Mersey. Opened in 1886, it was the second oldest urban underground railway network in the world. The railway contained the first tunnel built under the River Mersey. It was constructed by...

 tunnel in 1886 and the Queensway road tunnel
Queensway Tunnel
The Queensway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey, in the north west of England, between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It is often called the Birkenhead Tunnel, to distinguish it from the Kingsway Tunnel, which serves Wallasey.-History:...

 in 1934 gave rapid access to Liverpool, so opened up the Wirral Peninsula for development, and prompted further growth of Birkenhead as an industrial centre. The town's population grew from 110 in 1801 to 110,912 one hundred years later and stood at 142,501 by 1951.

Governance

Formerly a township in Bidston Parish of the Wirral Hundred, Birkenhead was incorporated as a municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...

 in 1877, and became a county borough
County borough
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in...

 with the passing of the Local Government Act 1888
Local Government Act 1888
The Local Government Act 1888 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which established county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales...

. The borough included the parish of Birkenhead St. Mary and the townships of Bidston
Bidston
Bidston is a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively, it is also a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the County Borough of Birkenhead, within the geographical county of Cheshire...

, Claughton with Grange
Claughton, Merseyside
Claughton is a residential district in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It is close to the main shopping area of Birkenhead town centre, and Birkenhead Park is partly located within its boundaries. Administratively, Claughton is a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral...

, Oxton
Oxton, Merseyside
Oxton is a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively it is a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Originally a village in its own right, it became part of the Municipal Borough of Birkenhead upon its creation in 1877...

, Tranmere
Tranmere, Merseyside
Tranmere is a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively, it is also a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the County Borough of Birkenhead, within the geographical county of Cheshire...

 and part of Bebington
Bebington
Bebington is a small town and electoral ward within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, England. It lies south of Liverpool and west southwest of Manchester, along the River Mersey on the eastern side of the Wirral Peninsula...

, later known as Rock Ferry
Rock Ferry
Rock Ferry is an area of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively it is a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the county of Cheshire...

.
The townships of Landican
Landican
Landican is a hamlet on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It is situated on the outskirts of Birkenhead, near to Woodchurch and the M53 motorway. Landican consists of a small group of cottages and farm buildings. At the 2001 Census the community had a population of only 20.In 1085, Landican was...

, Prenton
Prenton
Prenton is a suburb of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, England and a 'post town' in the CH postcode area. Administratively, it is also a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the County Borough of Birkenhead, within...

 and Thingwall
Thingwall
Thingwall is a village on the Wirral Peninsula, England. The village is situated to the south west of Birkenhead and north east of Heswall. It is part of the Pensby & Thingwall Ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and is situated within the parliamentary constituency of Wirral West...

 were added in 1928, followed by Noctorum
Noctorum
Noctorum is a suburb of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, England, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. At the 2001 Census the population of Noctorum was 4,990 ....

, Upton
Upton, Merseyside
Upton is a village in the parish of Overchurch on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated close to Birkenhead. At the 2001 Census, the population was 15,731 , although as a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, encompassing a larger area, it was recorded as 16,200.-History:Upton was...

 and Woodchurch
Woodchurch
Woodchurch is an area of the Wirral Peninsula, in England, which is sometimes considered a suburb of Birkenhead. Administratively, Woodchurch is within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and the parliamentary constituency of Wirral West...

 in 1933.

Prior to 1 April 1974, Birkenhead and the rest of the Wirral Peninsula, was part of the county of Cheshire. The implementation of the Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974....

 caused Birkenhead to lose its county borough status. The town has since been administered as part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral is a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in North West England. It has a population of 311,200, and encompasses of the northern part of the Wirral Peninsula. Major settlements include Birkenhead, Wallasey, Bebington, Heswall, Hoylake and West Kirby. The city of...

, in the metropolitan county
Metropolitan county
The metropolitan counties are a type of county-level administrative division of England. There are six metropolitan counties, which each cover large urban areas, typically with populations of 1.2 to 2.8 million...

 of Merseyside. The current Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 is Frank Field
Frank Field (UK politician)
Frank Ernest Field DL is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead since 1979. From 1997 to 1998, he served as the Minister of Welfare Reform, before leaving the Government, following differences with Prime Minister Tony Blair...

.

Geography

The Birkenhead Urban Area, as defined by the Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.- Overview :...

, includes Birkenhead, Wallasey
Wallasey
Wallasey is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, England, on the mouth of the River Mersey, at the northeastern corner of the Wirral Peninsula...

, Bebington, Ellesmere Port, and the contiguous built-up areas which link those towns along the eastern side of the Wirral. In the 2001 Census
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, the area so defined had a total population of 319,675, making it the 18th largest conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

 in England and 22nd in the UK.

Economy

Birkenhead Market was first established on what is now the site of Birkenhead Town Hall
Birkenhead Town Hall
Birkenhead Town Hall is a town hall and former civic building in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. The building was the former administrative headquarters of the County Borough of Birkenhead, and more recently, council offices for the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Birkenhead Town Hall...

, between Chester Street and Hamilton Street, on 10 July 1835.
An increase in the town's population by 1841 led to the opening on 11 July 1845 of a much expanded market on a larger site nearby. Michael Marks, of Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer plc is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products...

, opened one of his first seven 'Penny Bazaar' stalls here during the 1880s.

During the 1970s, the commercial centre of the town was redeveloped around the principal shopping area of Grange Road. Following two fires at the expanded Birkenhead Market in 1969 and 1974, it was later moved to new premises adjoining the Grange Shopping Precinct development. Commercial expansion continued in the early 1990s when the Pyramids Shopping Centre was opened.

Shipbuilding and ship repair still features prominently in the local economy. Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, came about following the merger of Laird, Son & Co. of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century.- Founding of the business :The Company...

 entered receivership
Receivership
In law, receivership is the situation in which an institution or enterprise is being held by a receiver, a person "placed in the custodial responsibility for the property of others, including tangible and intangible assets and rights." The receivership remedy is an equitable remedy that emerged in...

 in 2001. The shipyard was sold and became 'Northwestern Ship repair & Shipbuilders', which grew into a successful business specialising in ship repair and conversion, including maintenance contracts for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...

. In September 2007 NS&S acquired the rights to use the Cammell Laird name. The company was renamed 'Cammell Laird Ship repair & Shipbuilders' on 17 November 2008, seeing the famous name return to Birkenhead after a seven-year hiatus.

As of February 2010, the town had an overall unemployment rate of 8.2% (males 12.4%, female 4.1%) as against a national average of 4.4%.

Landmarks

Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park is a public park in the centre of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It was designed by Joseph Paxton and opened on 5 April 1847...

 is acknowledged to be the first publicly funded park in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

.
The park was the forerunner of the Parks Movement and its influence was far reaching both in Britain and abroad – most notably on Olmsted's
Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, social critic, public administrator, and landscape designer. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, although many scholars have bestowed that title upon Andrew Jackson Downing...

 design for Central Park, New York.
Designed by Joseph Paxton
Joseph Paxton
Sir Joseph Paxton was an English gardener and architect, best known for designing The Crystal Palace.-Early life:...

 (later Sir Joseph Paxton) in 1843 and officially opened in 1847, it was an immediate social success. The park's main entrance, modelled on the Temple of Illysus in Athens, and its 'Roman Boathouse' are notable features. There are sandstone lodges at the three entrances, each with a different style of architecture, Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

, Norman
Norman architecture
About|Romanesque architecture, primarily English|other buildings in Normandy|Architecture of Normandy.File:Durham Cathedral. Nave by James Valentine c.1890.jpg|thumb|200px|The nave of Durham Cathedral demonstrates the characteristic round arched style, though use of shallow pointed arches above the...

 and Italianate
Italianate architecture
The Italianate style of architecture was a distinct 19th-century phase in the history of Classical architecture. In the Italianate style, the models and architectural vocabulary of 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture, which had served as inspiration for both Palladianism and...

. There are also two lakes and an ornate 'Swiss Bridge'.

William Laird, a Scot, and his son John, were influential in the design of the town. Parts were laid out in a grid-iron pattern like Edinburgh New Town
New Town, Edinburgh
The New Town is a central area of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is often considered to be a masterpiece of city planning, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

 with similar architecture. The chief architect was James Gillespie Graham
James Gillespie Graham
James Gillespie Graham was a Scottish architect, born in Dunblane. He is most notable for his work in the Scottish baronial style, as at Ayton Castle, and he worked in the Gothic Revival style, in which he was heavily influenced by the work of Augustus Pugin...

 from Edinburgh. This grid pattern was centred around Hamilton Square
Hamilton Square
Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, Wirral, England is a town square surrounded by Georgian terraces. No two sides of the square are identical. It was built beginning in 1826 and to the design of Edinburgh architect James Gillespie Graham...

 which was started in 1826 and, apart from Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

 in London, contains the most Grade I listed buildings in one place in England. including Birkenhead Town Hall
Birkenhead Town Hall
Birkenhead Town Hall is a town hall and former civic building in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. The building was the former administrative headquarters of the County Borough of Birkenhead, and more recently, council offices for the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Birkenhead Town Hall...

. A short distance from Hamilton Square are two other notable landmarks: the Queensway Tunnel Main Entrance
Queensway Tunnel
The Queensway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey, in the north west of England, between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It is often called the Birkenhead Tunnel, to distinguish it from the Kingsway Tunnel, which serves Wallasey.-History:...

 and the Woodside Ferry Terminal
Woodside, Merseyside
Woodside is a small riverside locality in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Head across the River Mersey.-History:...

. The film Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice....

had scenes shot at Woodside. These scenes were as a representation of Dover
Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

 in the 1920s.

Religious landmarks include Birkenhead Priory & St. Mary's Tower
Birkenhead Priory
Birkenhead Priory is in Priory Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. It is the oldest standing building on Merseyside. The remains of the priory are a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument...

, St. James' Church and St. Werburgh's Roman Catholic Church. Other notable landmarks include Bidston Windmill
Bidston Windmill
Bidston Windmill is situated on Bidston Hill, near Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England.It is believed that there has been a windmill on this site since 1596.The mill was ideally placed to catch the wind, but difficult to access by cart...

 on a ridge behind the town, Flaybrick Watertower and Flaybrick Memorial Gardens
Flaybrick Hill Cemetery
Flaybrick Hill Cemetery was a municipal cemetery situated in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It has been designated a conservation area by Wirral Borough Council, who own the site....

.

Trams

Birkenhead had the first street tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

way in Europe. Opened on 29 August 1860 the first line ran from Woodside
Woodside, Merseyside
Woodside is a small riverside locality in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Head across the River Mersey.-History:...

 (adjoining the terminal of the Mersey Ferry) to Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park is a public park in the centre of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It was designed by Joseph Paxton and opened on 5 April 1847...

. This early system was horse-drawn and was the brainchild of flamboyant American, George Francis Train
George Francis Train
George Francis Train was an entrepreneurial businessman who organized the clipper ship line that sailed around Cape Horn to San Francisco; he organized the Union Pacific Railroad and the Credit Mobilier in the United States, and a horse tramway company in England while there during the American...

.
A preserved tram was on display in the Woodside ferry terminal booking hall.

Two replica trams, imported from Hong Kong, have been brought into service as part of a heritage tramway between Woodside and Wirral Transport Museum
Wirral Transport Museum
Wirral Transport Museum is a museum situated 1 mile from the Mersey Ferry service at Woodside, Birkenhead, England.A vintage tram service links the museum and the ferry at certain times. Admission into the museum is free with a broad selection of vintage and classic vehicles, including trams,...

.

Buses

Horse-drawn bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

es began operating in Birkenhead in 1848, to be replaced with motor vehicles after the First World War.

Present-day services are run by operators including Arriva
Arriva North West
Arriva North West is a division of Arriva that operates bus services around North West England. It consists of two companies: Arriva North West Ltd and Arriva Merseyside Ltd....

, First Bus
First Chester & The Wirral
First Chester & Wirral is a division of bus operator First Manchester Ltd., running local bus services in and around Chester and the Wirral, north west England. The company is a subsidiary of FirstGroup plc, the largest bus operator in Britain....

 and Avon Buses
Avon Buses
Avon Buses is the third largest bus operating company on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Based in Prenton, Merseyside, the company has an all-single deck fleet of about 38 vehicles as of May 2011, most of them low-floor.-History:...

, and coordinated by Merseytravel
Merseytravel
Merseytravel Merseytravel Merseytravel (MPTE, or Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive, is the Passenger Transport Executive responsible for the coordination of public transport in the metropolitan county of Merseyside, England...

. Birkenhead bus station
Birkenhead bus station
Birkenhead Bus Station serves the town of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula in North West England.The bus station is situated in the town centre at the junction between Claughton Road and Conway Street. It is adjacent to The Grange Shopping Centre and Birkenhead Market.It has a total of eleven...

 opened in 1996.

National Express
National Express
National Express Coaches, more commonly known as National Express, is a brand and company, owned by the National Express Group, under which the majority of long distance bus and coach services in Great Britain are operated,...

 provides long-distance coach services to other UK cities, with direct routes including London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, Bangor
Bangor, Gwynedd
Bangor is a city in Gwynedd, north west Wales, and one of the smallest cities in Britain. It is a university city with a population of 13,725 at the 2001 census, not including around 10,000 students at Bangor University. Including nearby Menai Bridge on Anglesey, which does not however form part of...

 and Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

.

Railways

In 1886 Birkenhead and Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 were linked by an underground railway
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 system, which today is part of the Merseyrail
Merseyrail
Merseyrail is a train operating company and commuter rail network in the United Kingdom, centred on Liverpool, Merseyside. The network is predominantly electric with diesel trains running on the City Line. Two City Line branches are currently being electrified on the overhead wire AC system with...

 network.

The major underground station in Birkenhead is Hamilton Square
Hamilton Square railway station
Hamilton Square railway station is situated near Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, Wirral, England, on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network...

, the nearest station to the ferry terminal. Hamilton Square station is linked to the "Liverpool Loop" of the Wirral Line
Wirral Line
The Wirral Line is one of the two commuter railway lines operated by Merseyrail that are centred around Merseyside, England, the other being the Northern Line...

, which includes James Street, Moorfields
Moorfields railway station
Moorfields station is an underground railway station in Liverpool, England. It is situated on both the Northern and Wirral Lines of the Merseyrail network and is the only station on the network which has services to all other Merseyrail stations....

, Liverpool Lime Street
Liverpool Lime Street railway station
Liverpool Lime Street is a railway station serving the city centre of Liverpool, England. The station lies on a branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston, and on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network...

 and Liverpool Central
Liverpool Central railway station
Liverpool Central railway station is a railway station in Liverpool, England, and forms the central hub of the Merseyrail network, being on both the Northern Line and the Wirral Line. In the years 2008/09, Liverpool Central station was shown to be the busiest station in Liverpool, despite being...

 stations, all of which are underground. Other stations located in Birkenhead include Birkenhead Central
Birkenhead Central railway station
Birkenhead Central is a railway station serving the town of Birkenhead, Wirral, England. Situated on the south side of Birkenhead town centre, it lies on the Chester and Ellesmere Port branches of the Wirral Line, part of the Merseyrail network...

, Green Lane
Green Lane railway station
Green Lane railway station serves the town of Birkenhead, Wirral, England, located in the south of the town. It is situated on the Chester and Ellesmere Port branches of the Wirral Line, part of the Merseyrail network.- History :...

, Rock Ferry
Rock Ferry railway station
Rock Ferry railway station is situated in the Rock Ferry area of Birkenhead, Wirral, England. It lies south west of on the Chester and Ellesmere Port branches of the Wirral Line, part of the Merseyrail network...

, Conway Park
Conway Park railway station
Conway Park railway station is situated in the town centre of Birkenhead, Wirral, England. It lies on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network.- Description :...

, Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park railway station
Birkenhead Park railway station is situated in Birkenhead, Wirral, England. It lies on the Wirral Line 5 km west of Liverpool Lime Street on the Merseyrail network.- History :...

, Birkenhead North
Birkenhead North railway station
Birkenhead North railway station is situated in Birkenhead, Wirral, England. The station is situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, close to the junction of the New Brighton and West Kirby branches...

 and Bidston
Bidston railway station
Bidston railway station is a railway station in Bidston, Birkenhead, on the Wirral, England. It is situated at the junction of the West Kirby branch of the Wirral Line with the Borderlands Line from Wrexham Central .-History:The station was originally built by the Hoylake Railway in 1866 as an...

.

The Wirral Line from Birkenhead travels south to Chester
Chester
Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

 and Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port
Ellesmere Port is a large industrial town and port in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It is situated on the south border of the Wirral Peninsula on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, which in turn gives access to the River...

, north to New Brighton
New Brighton, Merseyside
New Brighton is a seaside resort forming part of the town of Wallasey, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in the metropolitan county of Merseyside, England. It is located at the northeastern tip of the Wirral Peninsula, within the historic county boundaries of Cheshire, and has sandy beaches...

 and westwards, across the Wirral Peninsula, to West Kirby
West Kirby
West Kirby is a town on the north-west corner of the coast of the Wirral Peninsula, England, at the mouth of the River Dee across from the Point of Ayr in North Wales. To the north-east of the town lies Hoylake, with the suburbs of Grange and Newton to the east, and the village of Caldy to the...

. The Borderlands Line
Borderlands Line
The Borderlands Line is the railway line between Wrexham, Wales, and Bidston, Wirral, England.Passenger train services are operated by Arriva Trains Wales between Wrexham Central and Bidston. Trains run every hour Monday to Saturday daytime, every two hours after 18:45 and on Sundays...

 leaves Bidston station, in the north of Birkenhead and travels through the rural centre of Wirral, ultimately leaving England near Shotton
Shotton, Flintshire
Shotton is a town in Flintshire, north Wales, lying on the River Dee. The name derives from the Old Norse words sjò and tùn . It is continuous with the towns of Connah's Quay and Queensferry in what is called Deeside...

 and terminating in Wrexham
Wrexham
Wrexham is a town in Wales. It is the administrative centre of the wider Wrexham County Borough, and the largest town in North Wales, located in the east of the region. It is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley close to the border with Cheshire, England...

, Wales.
View Merseyrail Network Map

From 1878, until its closure in 1967, Birkenhead Woodside railway station
Birkenhead Woodside railway station
Birkenhead Woodside was a railway station at Woodside, in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England.-Background:Birkenhead Woodside railway station was opened on 31 March 1878 to replace the increasingly inadequate passenger facilities provided at Birkenhead Monks Ferry station.It was built...

 was the town's mainline railway terminus. Originally located close to Woodside Ferry Terminal, the site has been redeveloped into flats, a bus depot and offices for HM Land Registry
HM Land Registry
Land Registry is a non-ministerial government department and executive agency of the Government of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1862 to register the ownership of land and property in England and Wales...

.

Roads

Junctions 1 and 3 of the M53 motorway
M53 motorway
The M53 is a motorway in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Cheshire on the Wirral Peninsula in England. It can also be referred to as the Mid Wirral Motorway...

 allow access to the national motorway network. The A41
A41 road
The A41 is a formerly-major trunk road in England that links London and Birkenhead, although it has now largely been superseded by motorways. It passes through or near various towns and cities including Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury, Solihull, Birmingham, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton,...

 trunk road
Trunk road
A trunk road, trunk highway, or strategic road is a major road—usually connecting two or more cities, ports, airports, and other things.—which is the recommended route for long-distance and freight traffic...

 connects Woodside with Marble Arch
Marble Arch
Marble Arch is a white Carrara marble monument that now stands on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road, almost directly opposite Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park in London, England...

 in London. Two road tunnels, the Queensway road tunnel
Queensway Tunnel
The Queensway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey, in the north west of England, between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It is often called the Birkenhead Tunnel, to distinguish it from the Kingsway Tunnel, which serves Wallasey.-History:...

 from Birkenhead, and the Kingsway road tunnel
Kingsway Tunnel
The Kingsway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey in Merseyside, northwest England, and runs between Liverpool and Wallasey. It is one and half miles long and is often called the Wallasey Tunnel to distinguish it from the older Queensway Tunnel which runs between Liverpool and...

 from Wallasey, run underneath the River Mersey and connect the town to Liverpool.

Maritime

Birkenhead's dock system
Great Float
The Great Float, is a body of water on the Wirral Peninsula, England formed from the natural tidal inlet, the Wallasey Pool. It is split into two large docks, East Float and West Float, both part of the Birkenhead Docks complex. The docks run approximately inland from the River Mersey, dividing...

 is part of the Port of Liverpool
Port of Liverpool
The Port of Liverpool is the name for the enclosed 7.5 mile dock system that runs from Brunswick Dock in Liverpool to Seaforth Dock, Seaforth, on the east side of the River Mersey and the Birkenhead Docks between Birkenhead and Wallasey on the west side of the river...

, operated by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company
Mersey Docks and Harbour Company
The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company , formerly the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board , owns and administers the dock facilities of the Port of Liverpool, on the River Mersey, England...

. The Twelve Quays
Twelve quays
The Twelve Quays ferry terminal is located on the River Mersey at Birkenhead, Wirral Peninsula, England. It is used for transporting passengers and freight between Merseyside and Belfast, Northern Ireland and Dublin, Republic of Ireland...

 ferry terminal allows a direct freight and passenger service to Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. The Mersey Ferry
Mersey Ferry
The Mersey Ferry is a ferry service operating on the River Mersey in north west England, between Liverpool and the Wirral Peninsula. Ferries have been used on this route since at least the 12th century, and continue to be popular for both local people and visitors.The current fleet consists of...

 at Woodside runs a passenger service to Liverpool, as well as chartered cruising.

During winter months, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company operates a service from Birkenhead to Douglas
Douglas, Isle of Man
right|thumb|250px|Douglas Promenade, which runs nearly the entire length of beachfront in Douglasright|thumb|250px|Sea terminal in DouglasDouglas is the capital and largest town of the Isle of Man, with a population of 26,218 people . It is located at the mouth of the River Douglas, and a sweeping...

 using the MS Ben-my-Chree
MS Ben-my-Chree
The MV Ben-my-Chree is a Ro-Pax vessel that is operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The vessel is the company's flagship.The ship is registered in Douglas, Isle of Man...

. Due to weather conditions, this service temporarily replaces the route that normally operates from the Liverpool landing stage using fast craft.

Airport

The nearest airport is Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport is an international airport serving the city of Liverpool and the North West of England. Formerly known as Speke Airport, RAF Speke, and Liverpool Airport the airport is located within the City of Liverpool adjacent to the estuary of the River Mersey some southeast...

 (formerly known as Speke Airport) located about 8 miles (13 km) from Birkenhead.

Schools

Birkenhead has a number of maintained schools, including Park High School and the only all boys Catholic Grammar School in the area St. Anselm's College.

Birkenhead also has two independently run schools. The oldest is Birkenhead School
Birkenhead School
Birkenhead School is an independent, selective, co-educational school located on the Wirral Peninsula in the northwest of England. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.-Overview:The school is subdivided into...

. It was exclusively a boys' school from its founding in 1860 until 2000, when its sixth form became co-educational. It became fully co-educational for pupils aged 3–18 in 2008. "Old Birkonians" (as former pupils are known) include the lawyer F. E. Smith (Lord Birkenhead), Andreas Whittam Smith
Andreas Whittam Smith
Andreas Whittam Smith CBE is an English financial journalist, who was one of the founders of The Independent newspaper which began publication in October 1986 with Whittam Smith as editor...

 (chairman of the British Board of Film Classification
British Board of Film Classification
The British Board of Film Classification , originally British Board of Film Censors, is a non-governmental organisation, funded by the film industry and responsible for the national classification of films within the United Kingdom...

 (BBFC) and founder of The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

newspaper), Andrew Irvine (mountaineer)
Andrew Irvine (mountaineer)
Andrew "Sandy" Comyn Irvine was an English mountaineer who took part in 1924 British Everest Expedition, the third British expedition to the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest....

, and Philip Toosey, hero at the Bridge on the River Kwai.

Birkenhead High School
Birkenhead High School
Birkenhead High School Academy is an all-ability state funded girls' Academy in Birkenhead, Wirral.-Admissions:It is a member of the Girls' Day School Trust, a national educational charity based in London. Its predecessor school was Birkenhead High School, which was an independent selective school...

 is an independent school for girls, founded in 1885 and catering for girls aged 2½–18. It is a member of the Girls' Day School Trust
Girls' Day School Trust
The Girls' Day School Trust is a group of 26 independent schools - 24 schools and two Academies - in England and Wales, catering for pupils aged 3 to 18. It is the largest group of independent schools in the UK, and educates 20,000 girls each year...

, but is now publicly funded. Its alumnae include the actress Patricia Routledge
Patricia Routledge
Katherine Patricia Routledge, CBE is an English character comedy actress and singer. She is best known for her role as character Hyacinth Bucket in the British television series Keeping Up Appearances and Hetty Wainthropp in the British television series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates...

. Birkenhead High School decided to become a state-funded Academy
Academy (England)
In the education system of England, an academy is a school that is directly funded by central government and independent of control by local government in England. An academy may receive additional support from personal or corporate sponsors, either financially or in kind...

 school in 2009, increasing the availability of its education. Like the change to co-education at Birkenhead School, this decision was largely driven by falling pupil numbers.

Colleges

Birkenhead's technical college in Woodside (previously in Borough Road), now called Wirral Metropolitan College
Wirral Metropolitan College
Wirral Metropolitan College is a Further Education College situated on the Wirral Peninsula, in the north west of England.- Overview :Wirral Met is the largest provider of post 16 learning on the Wirral and is divided into three main Campuses:...

, had a theatre named after one of its most famous former students and Birkonian (born 1936), Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
Glenda May Jackson, CBE is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate...

, the Oscar
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

-winning actress and Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

. The Borough Road campus and the Glenda Jackson Theatre were demolished in late 2005, to make way for flats, although Wirral Metropolitan College flourishes on other sites across the Wirral. The theatre secretly housed an emergency command centre for the region in its basement, accessible via the college. Politicians and officials would have retreated to this secure bunker
Bunker
A military bunker is a hardened shelter, often buried partly or fully underground, designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks...

 in the event of nuclear war to coordinate the recovery effort. By the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the bunker had been decommissioned and the surrounding complex of rooms was used by the college as a rehearsal space and recording studio.

Other colleges include the Birkenhead Sixth Form College
Birkenhead Sixth Form College
Birkenhead Sixth Form College is a Sixth form college located in the Claughton area of Birkenhead, in Merseyside, England.The college was established in 1988, and mostly accepts students graduating from secondary schools in Birkenhead, as well as from the larger Wirral area. Courses offered by the...

, located in the Claughton area of Birkenhead.

Healthcare

Birkenhead has one of the highest mortality rates amongst men over 65 in the UK. Birkenhead is served by Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the United Kingdom's thirty-two NHS Foundation Trusts. It provides healthcare for people in the Wirral Peninsula and surrounding areas in North West England....

 (through its Arrowe Park Hospital, St. Catherine's Hospital and Clatterbridge Hospital sites) and Wirral Primary Care Trust. Formerly, Birkenhead was served by Birkenhead General Hospital on Conway Street and St. James' Hospital in Claughton.

Arts

The Laird School of Art was the first public school of art outside London and was given to the town by John Laird. It opened on 27 September 1871. The Williamson Art Gallery was opened in 1928 and houses a fine collection of paintings, porcelain and pottery.

In 1856, Birkenhead Library was opened as the country's first public library in an unincorporated
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 borough.
The library was situated in Hamilton Street until 1909, when it moved to a new building in Albion Street, near Birkenhead Market. In the 1930s, this building (along with much of the surrounding area) was demolished to make way for the entrance to the Queensway Tunnel
Queensway Tunnel
The Queensway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey, in the north west of England, between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It is often called the Birkenhead Tunnel, to distinguish it from the Kingsway Tunnel, which serves Wallasey.-History:...

. The present library, Birkenhead Central Library
Birkenhead Central Library
Birkenhead Central Library is one of twenty-four libraries forming the Wirral Library Service in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. The library is located on Borough Road, Birkenhead.-History:...

, is situated on Borough Road and was opened by King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 in 1934.

Despite being in England, Birkenhead (known as Penbedw, in the Welsh language) hosted Wales' National Eisteddfod in 1917 as well as an unofficial National Eisteddfod event in 1879. As in Liverpool, migrants from Wales, especially north Wales, contributed greatly to the growth of the town and its cultural development in the 19th century. The first local Birkenhead Eisteddfod, a precursor of the national events, took place in 1864. The 1917 National Eisteddfod was notable for the award of the chair to the poet Ellis Humphrey Evans, known as Hedd Wyn
Hedd Wyn
Hedd Wyn was a Welsh language poet who was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I. He was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod...

. The winner was announced, and the crowd waited for the winner to accept congratulations before the chairing ceremony, but no winner appeared. It was then announced that Hedd Wyn had been killed the previous month on the battlefield in Belgium, and the bardic chair was draped in black. These events were portrayed in the Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 nominated film Hedd Wyn
Hedd Wyn (film)
Hedd Wyn is a 1992 Welsh anti-war biopic, written by Alan Llwyd and directed by Paul Turner.Based on the life of Ellis Humphrey Evans , killed in the First World War, the cinematography starkly contrasts the lyrical beauty of the poet's native Meirionnydd with the bombed-out horrors of Passchendaele...

, and were apparently intended as a protest against the war policies of Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

, who was present. There is a commemorative stone for the event in Birkenhead Park. The first meeting of the international Celtic Congress
Celtic Congress
The International Celtic Congress is a cultural organisation that seeks to promote the Celtic languages of the nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. It was formed out of previously existing bodies that had sought to advance the same goals such as the Celtic...

 also took place at the Birkenhead Eisteddfod.

The Argyle Theatre
Argyle Theatre
The Argyle Theatre was a theatre in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It was opened in December 1868, initially as the Argyle Music Hall....

 was a major theatre and music hall which opened in 1868 and became notable for the calibre of artistes who appeared there. Later in its life, it was also used as a cinema
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

. The theatre was destroyed by bombing in 1940.
The Little Theatre was established in 1958 from a converted former Presbyterian church, whilst more recently, the Pacific Road Arts Centre in Woodside opened in 1999.

Media

Birkenhead is served by local daily newspapers the Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
The Liverpool Echo is a newspaper published by Trinity Mirror in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is published Monday to Saturday, and is Liverpool's evening newspaper while its sister paper, the Liverpool Daily Post, is the morning paper...

and Liverpool Daily Post
Liverpool Daily Post
The Liverpool Daily Post is a newspaper published by Trinity Mirror in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is published Monday to Friday and is published in Merseyside, Cheshire, and North Wales editions, and is a morning paper...

. The free local weekly newspapers are the Wirral Globe and the Birkenhead News (part of the Wirral News group).

The local radio station Heart Wirral is based in offices at the Pacific Road Arts Centre. In addition, there are five other local radio stations that transmit to Birkenhead: BBC Radio Merseyside
BBC Radio Merseyside
BBC Radio Merseyside is the BBC Local Radio service for the English metropolitan county of Merseyside and north Cheshire. It was the third BBC local radio station to launch on 22 November 1967 initially serving the south west of historic Lancashire....

, Radio City 96.7
Radio City 96.7
Radio City 96.7 is a British Independent Local Radio station, based in Liverpool, that serves Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales...

, Magic 1548
Magic 1548
Magic 1548 is a local commercial radio station in the Liverpool area of England, on the frequency of 1548 AM. Magic is a sister station to Radio City and City Talk 105.9, with which it shares studios atop Radio City Tower in Liverpool city centre.-Coverage:...

, Juice 107.6
Juice FM
107.6 Juice FM is a British Independent Local Radio, set up in 1998 in Liverpool after the closing of alternative music station 107.6 Crash FM and its subsequent purchase by Forever Broadcasting. It launched with a format broadly in keeping with that of Crash, but with a greater amount of...

 and CityTalk
City Talk 105.9
City Talk 105.9 is a commercial radio station in Liverpool, England. The station was awarded a licence by Ofcom on 9 November 2006 and the station launched on 28 January 2008. City Talk is a sister station to the existing Bauer Radio-owned Radio City and Magic 1548, and the stations share studio...

.

Birkenhead is situated within the television regions of BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 North West and ITV's
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

.

Sport and leisure

As well as Birkenhead Park, other recreational open spaces in Birkenhead include Mersey Park and Victoria Park. Arrowe Park
Arrowe Park
Arrowe Park is an area of parkland, woodland and leisure facilities to the west of Birkenhead within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, England. The park comprises approximately of land.-History:...

 is a large area of parkland at the western edge of the town. In 1929, the 3rd World Scout Jamboree
3rd World Scout Jamboree
The 3rd World Scout Jamboree was held in 1929 at Arrowe Park in Upton, Merseyside, United Kingdom. As it was commemorating the 21st birthday of Scouting for Boys and the Scouting movement, it is also known as the Coming of Age Jamboree...

 was held there.

Birkenhead is the home of Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers Football Club are an English team based in Birkenhead, Wirral. The club currently compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system...

, a professional football team who play at Prenton Park
Prenton Park
Prenton Park is an association football stadium in Birkenhead, England. It is the home ground of Tranmere Rovers F.C. The club moved to the current Prenton Park in 1912. The ground has had several rebuilds, with the most recent occurring in 1995 in response to the requirement of the Taylor Report...

 near the Tranmere area of the town. They are in Football League One
Football League One
Football League One is the second-highest division of The Football League and third-highest division overall in the English football league system....

. Cammell Laird F.C.
Cammell Laird F.C.
Cammell Laird Football Club is an English Semi Professional football club based in Birkenhead, Merseyside. The club are currently members of the Northern Premier League Division One North, The 8th Tier of English Football, and play at the Kirklands Stadium....

 is the town's semi professional football club who play at Kirklands in Rock Ferry. They are in Northern Premier League Division One North
Northern Premier League Division One North
Division One North is one of the two second-tier divisions of the Northern Premier League. It is at tier 4 of the National League System, tier 8 of the English football league system...

. The town is also the home of several successful amateur football leagues, both 11-a side and six-a side.

The Birkenhead Park Football Club was founded in 1871, the same year as the Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
The Rugby Football Union was founded in 1871 as the governing body for the sport of rugby union, and performed as the international governing body prior to the formation of the International Rugby Board in 1886...

. The club originally played in the Lower Park but moved to their current home in the Upper Park in 1885.

Located in the town are the Birkenhead North End & Victoria Cycling Clubs. Olympic
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 riders from the clubs include Chris Boardman
Chris Boardman
Christopher "Chris" Boardman MBE is a former English racing cyclist who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and broke the world hour record three times, as well as winning three stages and wearing the yellow jersey on three separate occasions at the Tour de France...

, Mark Bell
Mark Bell (cyclist)
Mark Bell was an English professional cyclist from Birkenhead. He rode for Britain in the Olympic Games, won the national road championship as an amateur and then a professional and was the first foreigner to win the Étoile de Sud stage race in Belgium. He died at 49 after collapsing at his home...

, Steve Cummings
Steve Cummings
Stephen Philip Cummings is an English racing cyclist for UCI ProTour team .-Biography:Cummings won the team pursuit at the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles and at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. He also took bronze in the individual pursuit...

 and Rachel Heal
Rachel Heal
Rachel Heal is an English racing cyclist.She joined British Cycling's World Class Performance Plan in 2001 when she gave up her job to become a full-time cyclist. She turned professional and rode for the Belgian Farm Frites-Hartol team after obtaining a degree in chemical engineering from...

.

The first two Boy Scout
Scouting
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

 groups in the world were founded as the 1st and 2nd Birkenhead groups at the YMCA
YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

 on the same night in 1908. The 2nd Birkenhead Scout Group is still operating and therefore is the longest running scout group in the world.

Cultural references

Birkenhead is mentioned in the song "What She Said" on the album Meat Is Murder
Meat Is Murder
Meat Is Murder is the second studio album by the English alternative rock band The Smiths. It was released in February 1985 and became the band's sole number one album in the UK charts during the band's lifetime, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. It reached number 110 in the US...

by The Smiths
The Smiths
The Smiths were an English alternative rock band, formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the song writing partnership of Morrissey and Johnny Marr , the band also included Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce...

: What she read/All heady books/She'd sit and prophesise/(It took a tattooed boy from Birkenhead/To really really open her eyes).

The town is also referred to in the song "Everything Is Sorrow" on the Boo Radleys
The Boo Radleys
-Studio albums:-Compilation albums:-Extended plays:-Singles:-External links:* * * * * * by Laurent Orseau * *...

' C'mon Kids
C'mon Kids
C'mon Kids is the fifth album by The Boo Radleys, it was released in September 1996. The album is considered to be purposely difficult and uncommercial. The band were said to have wanted to distance themselves from the commercial image they had cultivated because of the unexpected successes of the...

album: I worked in Birkenhead for you/It brings me tears even now.

A fairly detailed description of the town is given in Paul O'Grady
Paul O'Grady
Paul James Michael O'Grady MBE is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio DJ. He is best known for presenting the daytime chat television series, The Paul O'Grady Show and, more recently, Paul O'Grady Live, as well as his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage, as...

's memoirs, At My Mother's Knee ... and Other Low Joints: The Autobiography.

Notable people

In the arts, Birkenhead has produced several actors and performers including Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
Glenda May Jackson, CBE is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate...

, Lewis Collins
Lewis Collins
Lewis Collins is an English actor best known for his tough-guy role as Bodie in The Professionals. He was educated at Bidston Primary and Grange School in Birkenhead. He started out as a ladies' hairdresser before playing drums and guitar in pop groups. He had a number of other jobs before...

, Megs Jenkins
Megs Jenkins
Muguette Mary "Megs" Jenkins was an English character actress who appeared in British films and television programmes.-Life and career:...

, Patricia Routledge
Patricia Routledge
Katherine Patricia Routledge, CBE is an English character comedy actress and singer. She is best known for her role as character Hyacinth Bucket in the British television series Keeping Up Appearances and Hetty Wainthropp in the British television series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates...

, Paul O'Grady
Paul O'Grady
Paul James Michael O'Grady MBE is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio DJ. He is best known for presenting the daytime chat television series, The Paul O'Grady Show and, more recently, Paul O'Grady Live, as well as his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage, as...

 (also known as Lily Savage) and soprano Valerie Masterson
Valerie Masterson
Margaret Valerie Masterson , is a retired English opera singer, a lecturer and Vice-President of British Youth Opera. After study in Italy, she began to sing opera in Europe...

. It has also produced poets and authors such as A. S. J. Tessimond
A. S. J. Tessimond
Arthur Seymour John Tessimond was an English poet.He went to Charterhouse School, but ran away at age 16...

, Adrian Henri
Adrian Henri
Adrian Henri was a British poet and painter best remembered as the founder of poetry-rock group The Liverpool Scene and as one of three poets in the best-selling anthology The Mersey Sound, along with Brian Patten and Roger McGough. The trio of Liverpool poets came to prominence in that city's...

 and Michael Z. Williamson
Michael Z. Williamson
Michael Z. Williamson is a science fiction and military fiction author. Born in Birkenhead, England, he and his family emigrated to Canada, then the United States in 1978. Williamson frequently utilizes the pen names "Mad Mike", and "Crazy Einar". He is retired from the United States...

. The World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 poet Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War...

, though born in Oswestry
Oswestry
Oswestry is a town and civil parish in Shropshire, England, close to the Welsh border. It is at the junction of the A5, A483, and A495 roads....

, lived in Birkenhead from the age of 4 and was educated at the Birkenhead Institute High School (now demolished).

The town has produced some notable artists such as Philip Wilson Steer
Philip Wilson Steer
Philip Wilson Steer OM was a British painter of landscape and occasional portraits and figure studies. He was a leading figure in the Impressionist movement in Britain.-Life and work:...

, Robert Talbot Kelly
Robert Talbot Kelly
Robert Talbot Kelly was an English orientalist landscape and genre painter, author and illustrator.Kelly was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, the son of Irish landscape artist Robert George Kelly. He left school in 1876 to take up work in a firm of cotton traders, but was also taught art by his...

, Bessie Bamber
Bessie Bamber
Bessie Bamber was a British artist from Birkenhead who was active between 1900 and 1910. It is not known if Bamber was her married name or maiden name....

, the workers at the Della Robbia Pottery
Della Robbia Pottery
The Della Robbia Pottery was a ceramic factory founded in 1894 in Birkenhead, England.-Founders:The business was started by Harold Steward Rathbone and Conrad Gustave d'Huc Dressler...

 and two cartoonists: Norman Thelwell
Norman Thelwell
Norman Thelwell was an English cartoonist well-known for his humorous illustrations of ponies and horses. Born in Birkenhead, as a promising young student from Liverpool College of Art, he soon became a contributor to the satirical magazine Punch in the 1950s, and earned many lasting devotees by...

 and Bill Tidy
Bill Tidy
William Edward "Bill" Tidy, MBE , is a British cartoonist, writer and television personality, known chiefly for his comic strips. Bill was awarded an MBE in 2000 for "Services to Journalism". He is noted for his charitable work, particularly for the Lord's Taverners, which he has supported for over...

. In music, Indie band Half Man Half Biscuit
Half Man Half Biscuit
Half Man Half Biscuit, often "HMHB", are an English rock band from Birkenhead, Merseyside, active since the mid-1980s, known for satirical, sardonic, and sometimes surreal songs. The group comprises Nigel Blackwell , Neil Crossley , Ken Hancock , and Carl Henry...

 hail from Birkenhead, as did boogie-rock band Engine
Engine (boogie-rock band)
Engine were a British boogie rock band formed in July 1979 in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, England.They had a three-piece line-up throughout their career, featuring Pete Wade on vocals and guitar, Roy Hughes on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Dave Cornes on drums.-1980s:In the early 1980s,...

, Paul Heaton
Paul Heaton
Paul David Heaton is an English singer-songwriter. He was a member of The Housemartins, who disbanded in 1988, and a member of The Beautiful South, who disbanded in 2007. He is currently pursuing a solo career....

, lead singer of the Housemartins and the Beautiful South, singer/songwriter Charlie Landsborough
Charlie Landsborough
Charlie Landsborough, is a British country and folk musician and singer-songwriter. He started singing professionally in the 1970s, and is now one of the UK's top country acts. He is also popular in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.-Life:Born in Wrexham, Wales, Landsborough was the youngest...

 and Desmond Briscoe
Desmond Briscoe
Harry Desmond Briscoe was an English composer, sound engineer and studio manager. He was the co-founder and original manager of the pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop....

 co-founder and original manager of the pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop
BBC Radiophonic Workshop
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, one of the sound effects units of the BBC, was created in 1958 to produce effects and new music for radio, and was closed in March 1998, although much of its traditional work had already been outsourced by 1995. It was based in the BBC's Maida Vale Studios in Delaware...

.

Birkenhead has also produced notable sportsmen such as Matt Dawson
Matt Dawson
Matthew James Sutherland "Daws" Dawson, MBE is a retired English rugby union player who played scrum half for Wasps and Northampton Saints. During his international career he toured with the British and Irish Lions three times and was part of England's 2003 Rugby World Cup winning side...

, the rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 player; 'Dixie' Dean (Everton FC), record-breaking footballer, who was born at 313 Laird Street; and several other footballers including Jason McAteer
Jason McAteer
Jason Wynne McAteer is a retired Irish footballer, who represented the Republic of Ireland at international level. He announced his retirement from professional football on 12 June 2007,...

 and David Thompson
David Thompson (footballer)
David Anthony Thompson is a former English football player who played as a midfielder.During his career Thompson played for Liverpool, Coventry City, Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth and Bolton Wanderers...

. In the field of science and engineering Birkenhead claims Sir Thomas Brassey
Thomas Brassey
Thomas Brassey was an English civil engineering contractor and manufacturer of building materials who was responsible for building much of the world's railways in the 19th century. By 1847, he had built about one-third of the railways in Britain, and by time of his death in 1870 he had built one...

, Victorian civil engineer.

There are several musicians linked to the area. Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

 moved to Birkenhead in 1971 with his mother who was from Liverpool. Although Elvis' father was himself from Birkenhead. Elvis lived there briefly and formed his first band, a folk duo named Rusty. Tony Friel
Tony Friel
Tony Friel is a bass guitarist known for his role in different New Wave bands.He attended Heys Boys Secondary School, where met Martin Bramah and got, along him, Art O Level. He and Bramah shared many interests. In mid-1970s, they were introduced, by their friend Barbara Smith, to her brother Mark E...

 (bassist from The Fall and The Passage
The Passage (band)
The Passage were a post-punk band from Manchester, UK who appeared on several record labels including Cherry Red Records, and their own label Night & Day, a subsidiary label to Virgin Records.-Biography:...

), synthpop musician David Hughes
David Hughes (musician)
David Alan Hughes is an English keyboardist who played in different New Wave bands, and later became successful making music for films.-New Wave years:...

 (of Dalek I Love You
Dalek I Love You
Dalek I Love You may refer to:* Dalek I Love You, a synthpop group* Dalek I Love You , the group's self-titled album* Dalek I Love You , an audio play broadcast on BBC Radio...

, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are a synthpop group whose founding members are originally from the Wirral Peninsula, England...

 and Godot
Godot (band)
Godot was a synthpop band formed in England, in November 1980, by Merseyside musicians Dave Hughes on instruments, and Keith Hartley on vocals and instruments.Hughes and Hartley had relations with also synthpop band Dalek I Love You...

) and Malcolm Holmes
Malcolm Holmes
Malcolm Holmes is a British drummer. He is best known for being the drummer with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, with whom he had a #3 UK hit with "Souvenir" and a #4 US/#48 UK hit with "If You Leave."-Biography:...

 (drummer with pop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are a synthpop group whose founding members are originally from the Wirral Peninsula, England...

) were born there. David Balfe
David Balfe
David Balfe is most notable for playing keyboards with The Teardrop Explodes, founding the Zoo and Food record labels, signing Blur and for being the subject of their number one hit - "Country House".-Biography:...

 (music manager, and member of Dalek I Love You, Big in Japan, The Teardrop Explodes
The Teardrop Explodes
The Teardrop Explodes were an English post-punk/neo-psychedelic band formed in Liverpool in 1978. Best known for their Top Ten UK single "Reward" the group originated as a key band in the emerging Liverpool post-punk scene of the late 1970s, the group also launched the career of group frontman...

) attended primary and secondary school there.

Dave Nicholas
Dave Nicholas
Dave Nicholas is currently the UK's only resident cinema organist and at 20 years is the longest serving organist at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.-Career:...

 the UK's last resident cinema organist and the longest serving organist at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall was born and spent his early years living in Birkenhead

Andreas Whittam Smith
Andreas Whittam Smith
Andreas Whittam Smith CBE is an English financial journalist, who was one of the founders of The Independent newspaper which began publication in October 1986 with Whittam Smith as editor...

, founder editor of The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

, grew up in Birkenhead, where his father was an Anglican clergyman.

Colin Evans
Colin Evans
Colin Evans is widely recognized as the world's leading Commercial Diplomat. -Early life:Born in 1964 into a working class family. He grew up in Birkenhead and swam and played rugby for his High School. He completed GCE Advanced Level education and a Gold Pass in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award...

, a renowned Trade Diplomat grew up in Birkenhead.

Daniel Poole
Daniel Poole
Daniel Poole DCM & Bar was a seaman and soldier of the Australian Army. On 15 April 1917, during the battle of Lagnicourt, Poole collected a party of men and led them forward under heavy fire, killing nine enemy and capturing fifteen prisoners...

, a recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Medal
Distinguished Conduct Medal
The Distinguished Conduct Medal was an extremely high level award for bravery. It was a second level military decoration awarded to other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries.The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

International relations

Twin towns

Birkenhead is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

, as a part of Wirral
Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral is a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in North West England. It has a population of 311,200, and encompasses of the northern part of the Wirral Peninsula. Major settlements include Birkenhead, Wallasey, Bebington, Heswall, Hoylake and West Kirby. The city of...

, with: Gennevilliers
Gennevilliers
Gennevilliers is a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.-History:On 9 April 1929, one-fifth of the territory of Gennevilliers was detached and became the commune of Villeneuve-la-Garenne.-Transport:...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Lorient
Lorient
Lorient, or L'Orient, is a commune and a seaport in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.-History:At the beginning of the 17th century, merchants who were trading with India had established warehouses in Port-Louis...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  Latina, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


Sister cities

Birkenhead also has a Sister City Agreement with: Midland
Midland, Texas
Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County. As of 2010, the population of Midland was 111,147. It is the principal city of the Midland, Texas...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


Future

The major redevelopment project under consideration is Peel Holdings' 'Wirral Waters
Wirral Waters
Wirral Waters is a large scale £4.5bn development that has been proposed by the company Peel Holdings for Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England...

'. This would allow for a £4.5 billion of investment in the regeneration of the dockland area. This equates with an investment of over £14,000 for each of the 320,000 residents of the Wirral. At the East Float
Great Float
The Great Float, is a body of water on the Wirral Peninsula, England formed from the natural tidal inlet, the Wallasey Pool. It is split into two large docks, East Float and West Float, both part of the Birkenhead Docks complex. The docks run approximately inland from the River Mersey, dividing...

 and Vittoria Dock
Vittoria Dock
Vittoria Dock is a dock in Birkenhead, Wirral Peninsula, England. It was built between 1905 and 1909 within the Great Float.-The name 'Vittoria':The dock is named after the Battle of Vittoria, fought on 21 June 1813 and was designed by A.G.Lyster....

, the development would include several 50-storey skyscrapers, 5000000 square feet (464,515.2 m²) of new office space and 11000000 square feet (1,021,933.4 m²) for new residential flats. A retail and leisure quarter at the former Bidston Dock
Bidston Dock
Bidston Dock, was a dock at Birkenhead, Wirral Peninsula, England. It was situated to the west of the Great Float, between Bidston and Poulton.-History:...

site would encompass another 571000 square feet (53,047.6 m²) of space. The whole project would create more than 27,000 permanent new jobs, aside from the employment required for construction and other peripheral employment. The development would be expected to take up to thirty years.
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