Update 15 May 2014

You can read emails from Ex Pats in page 3 of these Moreton Pages, maybe find someone who is either looking for you, or someone you know.........I am looking for any images you may have of the Moreton Youth Club 69-71 or images of Moreton from the 1960s.  

Reply to Diane Gaskill from David Rushton.  Diane, I'm very interested in swapping and sharing info on the Smiths. Please could you email me on satchelkid - at - talktalk.net (replace the -at- with @ to email him).

(See also Moreton Youth Club)     Leasowe  Lighthouse


Now Three Pages 

The name Moreton comes from the Anglo-Saxon More - meaning a Lake and Ton - meaning Town. It was originally known as Moreton-cum-Lingham and was bounded by Great Meols to the West with Bidston and Wallasey to the South and East. Before the embankment was constructed, it was 3000 acres of tidal lagoon between one and two metres below sea level with most of the remainder little more than one metre above.  Lingham means Heather Island and is derived from the Norse words Lyng - meaning heather and Holm - meaning island. Leasowe - from the Anglo-Saxon Leasowes - means Meadow Pasture. Would you believe that Wikipedia, that fountain of knowledge, has Moreton as part of Eastham!!

The Moreton I Knew

I was born in Hull, Yorkshire and, at a very early age, moved to Liscard Wallasey, to Monks Road I believe. From there we moved into what was then the new post war estate of Leasowe (71 Twickenham Drive). It was in a three storey block of flats, (71 being in the middle) opposite my favourite haunt then, the sweet shop! Brian Lloyd emailed me in August 2006 to tell me that these shops were: Greengrocer; Grocer; Sweet Shop and Chemist. The grocers was called McCulloghs. These few shops are now residences. I remembered a sweet shop and a grocer but not sure what the other one (or two) were. I attended Birket Primary School from the age of 5. I had a red three wheeler trike. I was riding it along a new road, Franklyn Road, I think which was behind the flats. A young lad called Les Appleton threw a brick from the window of one of the partially built houses, it hit me full in the face, blood everywhere. My mum told me I was carried home by a workman; with a very apologetic Leslie in tow. I grew up and got to know Les again, in Moreton, as a teenager. But he died young, very sad.


Hoylake Road & Super Garage (2008)


1. Site of Sydies, Reed Lane. 2. Leasowe station 3. Reeds Lane Cadbury (all 2008)

The date is around the mid 50s and I moved into Hoylake Road, a new council house, from 71 Twickenham Drive, Leasowe and began attending Sacred Heart Primary School, off Hoylake Road, but the gate was at the end of the Avondale Avenue cul de sac behind our house. I remember little of this period at the school but do recall standing in the "great hall" for assembly. I think it was also a gym, crude but there. I also have recollections of standing in the playground behind which was a large open area, grassed, with large trees.

At the end of Fender Lane, as you approached from Bidston was a large roundabout. There was a dip on the left which caused some vehicle to severely tilt as they went across, especially if driving too fast. I recall running out on hearing the smashing of glass (It always signalled a pop lorry!). We got whatever we could carry if we quickly swept up the glass before the coppers came! On the left of this roundabout lay Catton's Farm, a dairy farm. I always recall it as "muddy". Opposite this, on the other side of the roundabout, were three small stone cottages. To my mind they looked positively prehistoric. They soon vanished when Moreton Secondary Modern was built on the land behind in the late 50s. The Catton farm buildings still remain, in 2008, but a pale reflection. The land now built upon. My new home, newly built was opposite the Super Garage (2010 - demolished) which sold Shell petrol and had a fascinating workshop through a central passageway. Fender Lane was then a tiny country lane leading past the three stone cottages on the roundabout, past the "figure of 8" ponds on the left, over the River Fender and on, over the railway bridge into Bidston Village then to Bidston Hill. Now it is a dual carriageway riddled with traffic lights and new estates. But in my youth, in the early 60s, it was a road to Utopia. I would spend many an hour, day and weeks roaming the vast (it was for me then!) landscape which separated Moreton from Bidston. Spend hours sitting on the ponds watching the dragonflies zipping in amongst the reeds, the odd brown rat, fish jumping, birds singing and, on occasion, some local lads fishing. When man landed on the moon in July 1969, I went there with a good mate Lenny Wright (From Fairmead Road) in the early hours, got sunburnt by 10 am.


Hoylake Road. My home was down far end left.
Red roof on right was the Super Garage in the 1960s. 2011 Now demolished


This cottage and others stood on the corner of Fender Lane and Redds Lane. you can just see Sydie's in the background. The powers that be demolished these around 1956 to build a school that was so far back they could have left these lovely building there. I can just remember these buildings. They were directly opposite Caton's farm. In these days and into the 60s, Fender Lane was a narrow road going directly to Bidston, now its a busy dual carriageway with a housing estate on the side of the farm. I recall these fields always water logged, so hope the homes are not sinking, yet.


These two images are of Armchair Cottage. It was demolished in the mid 40s

My former home at 14 Hoylake Road stands on this site
Going back to the roundabout and continuing along Hoylake Road, we pass the Super Garage. Later, they built a Jet garage right next to it in the late 60s (back handers flew or what!!) We pass a group of shops, still there in 2008, contained a chippy and the last one being Alderney Dairy. Solid wood floors, old wooden counter, lovely! I would be sent here for our milk. Sacred Heart School could be seen through the railings opposite. (see below) Next we come to Danger Lane on the right, which led into, on the left, Fairmead Road. We then past Gates Garage and Moreton Engineering and another group of shops, also containing a chippy, I seem to recall some sort of clothing or wool shop, and the last was a hardware store. After a hedged field we arrive at Chapelhill Road and the corner shop. On the opposite side, all the way to the Cross, was housing. Each had a low 1 foot high concrete wall, with a gap for the path. I would try to reach the Cross without having to stand on the pavements, along the wall. I was too small however, to jump the gap!!

Reeds Lane

 (From my sister) = Sacred Heart school when I was there had a prefab next to school building at the back near the grass area.  I remember 5th year pupils secondary level there.  They then moved to Thomas Beckets when it was brand new.  I also know the school was brand new because of the strict "Keep two tiles from the walls at all times with bags and no shoes in the Gym"  It was always adhered to as they looked after it. Jan)If you turned tight, down Reeds Lane, you travelled towards Leasowe Station with its big heavy wooden gates, operated from a signal box on the right hand side of the road. First you would pass Avondale Avenue, with Sydie's sweet shop on the right hand corner, waste land on the left. Next was Daneswell Drive, which led past the rear side of Sacred Heart. Then Saxon Road, via a pathway and round the left hand bend to Kingsmead Road and the station. After the station, on the left, was Leasowe Tennis Club, a popular 60s haunt, with Radio Caroline disco's etc. Opposite sprang up a new factory, Squibbs, which made pharmaceuticals. And round to the imposing Leasowe Hotel public house. You could then see the back of Cadbury's, more on that later, in my Wallasey page. The river Birket signalled that we were now approaching Leasowe.


Sacred Heart Primary & Junior

And now we arrived at yet another garage, on the left (I think it was Gulf but it used to be called the Atlantic Garage). Then there was an old cottage set back off the road; this was the fourth in about 1 mile of road! Passed the dentist on the corner of Orchard Road, a right chamber of horrors!! we then pass the Presbyterian Chapel and come to garage number 5 on this stretch - Poston's! I can recall petrol price for 4 gallons the equivalent today of 90p. Now it is well over £1.30 for a poxy litre! At the cross, on the left, past Sandbrook Lane was the new Sacred Heart Church. Opposite was/is The Plough! (see below) And then a small arcade under which nestled Les Turner's cigarette shop. Next to which was a shoe repairer, followed by Lloyd's Bank, which was next to Midland Bank. On the other side of the Cross roundabout, I recall the Army & Navy Stores who sold jeans for £1 and pumps for approx 5 shillings. Trainers were unheard of then but baseball boots existed.

Secred Heart (left) I got this info from the present Head in February: When I was in Infants Miss Cassidy was the Head, Junior was Mr Carolyn. Mr Conroy took over till 1975 and then it was Mr Brown (Juniors) then the present Head, Mr Freeman.


I think this was the old cottage on Hoylake Road, but could be wrong.
Feb 2012 - Wetherspoons think this was on their present site, up the hill near Mortimers


Plough - Demolition - 2010 to make way for a Tesco - now done and shop built (2012)

Moreton Cross is the junction of Upton Road, from Upton, Pasture Road, from Moreton Shore, and Hoylake Road ran right across, to Hoylake & West Kirby. The large roundabout in the centre was sort of kidney shaped, still there in 2008, and so is its clock. Heading off up Hoylake Road once more, we pass the main shopping area, with the Coach & Horses pub on the right. Passing Boots on the left, and the bowling green on the right on the corner of Barnston Lane we go up hill slightly to Barclays Bank on the left and Mortimers Toy Shop on the right - oh what an Aladdin's cave of items I could only dream of. (see email below -Sep 09). My father never seemed to have any money! It was not until much later I found it went mostly on drink!! My mum had some sort of "allowance" - how she coped I will never know? More shops and then Woolworths before Hoylake Road headed towards the Grange Pub and then out of Moreton onto the Meols Stretch. There are images of The Cross through the years further on.

From Ray Mortimer: Sept 09: I thought you would be interested to know that In 1921 my father opened his first shop in Moreton, he carried on the business until his death in 1958.Then my mother, my wife and myself took over the business until 1973 when we sold the business to Keithley's of Heswall. My mother died in 1979.


July 2003 Moreton Cross


Upton Road looking back towards the Cross

Back at the Cross, if you turned right (in the image above), you were heading for Upton. More shops on the left and right. Chadwick Street, a L shaped street, held the Post Office and Cop Shop before emptying out, by Boots, onto Hoylake Road. Passing Christ Church, mainly homes occupied this road, all the way out of Moreton. Moreton Football Club was along here, reached by a driveway between homes. I believe MFC now play down Sandbrook Lane.

The opposite way took you into Pasture Road, past the old "flea pit", the cinema where I got in for 9d on a Saturday morning, then passing the Royal British Legion Cub and past the old Moreton Youth Club and Library, the "pink building" on the right, past the old and new libraries, (the newest being near the Cross) excellent chip shops, Morton Arms pub (never did find out why it was spelt different), opposite Pasture Crescent and over the railway bridge, passing Cadbury's factory on the right and the brick works on the left and towards Moreton Shore. The Apollo Dance Hall (still there in 2007) stands on the left hand side as you near the shore, next to the bus stops where the 22 would pull up from Birkenhead and the 77, also from Birkenhead Woodside, but via Prenton and Woodchurch.

Right: Pasture Road


The "world famous" Apollo Club (well, it's world famous in Moreton anyway!)
Image taken 1 April 2007

Here there were the shanty town style stalls and the cafe's. On the right hand side of Pasture Road, as it sweeps round to the right to become Leasowe Road, were the seasonal visitors, in my teens, of the Wallis' Fun Fair. The main attraction being the Speedway. It was built just like a Waltzer but had fixed wooden motorbikes instead, and it went round at one heck of a speed sometimes! I actually fell off once, very luckily not breaking anything! We were the bravado's who, instead of sitting normally on the bikes, would "ride the bars" - sitting or standing against the safety bars, leaning heavily inwards against the centrifugal force generated by the circular speeds. Idiots! That's how I see it nowadays, but then - sheer bravado. Wallis' home base was Towyn, North Wales, just past Rhyl. The Apollo dance club sat on Pasture Road - and still does (2009).

Life was hard in the shanty town. See Jim Schultz's account on page 2 in the emails - May 2010.

The massive seawall beckoned.  A few short steps to the rim and there lay the Irish Sea. Superb descriptions of the area can be found in Kenneth Burnley's books on the Wirral. Here lies yet another childhood memory. That of cockles! My father would, on occasion, bring me down and I would help him dig up cockles from the wide flat sand beds at low tide. There were others too there attending to the same harvest. In those days, I do not know if they were safe to eat even then. I do know my dad would cook them for a long time. Locally there were pipes, going out to sea, which carried effluence from the town, semi treated I believe, according to Ken Burnley's books. Nevertheless, I appear to have suffered no long term effects!

Progressing along the seawall in the direction of Leasowe I distinctly recall an old black and white cottage, nestling beneath the wall on the landward side. This was directly opposite the Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, now also a thing of the past. Its now "luxury apartments" and housing. Leasowe Castle, (mentioned in detail on a Wallasey page of mine) was now becoming the dominant landside feature as I carry on walking towards another Utopian haven of my youth, the Leasowe Sand Hills. The sand was soft, warmed by the sun. It was built up in huge drifts, protected by large areas of high tufted grassy banks. Here my dominant memory of the Sand Hills is as a teenager, listening, in the mid 60s, to Radio Caroline North on our plastic "trannies" (transistor radios). Groups of us would go down on bright blue summers days. This particular day, I was lying in the sand next to Gina Johnson. Now Gina was the most beautiful girl in Moreton (she actually lived in Royden Road, Overchurch) and was "unattached" at the time of this. We chatted most of the afternoon and I got up the nerve to ask her out, to which she agreed!! I left early to get changed and meet her at her house, misfortune intervened, she slashed her foot on some glass, and we never did date! In Aug 2005 there was a television programme on about the UK coastline, "Coast", inch by inch, mile by mile. When the presenter got to North Wales he skipped the Wirral in its entirety and went on past Liverpool. Well, my friend, you missed a hell of a lot out. Parkgate, Hilbre, Thurstaston, the long long sea wall, a masterpiece of civil engineering.


Moreton Common & Leasowe Castle to rear. These two images were taken by me back in the 1960s, to the right, off camera, was the Children's Hospital. To the left, the Sea Wall.

Past the Hospital we reached the junction of Reeds Lane and Leasowe Road where, if you turn right, leads up to Birket Avenue, the river Birket passing underneath a few yards further on, then we pass the rear entrance to Cadbury's and on to the Leasowe hotel, a pub on the right hand side. Rounding a bend we can see Leasowe Station in the background as you pass the Leasowe Tennis Club and Social Club. The club was really a large shed but it was "cosy". Over the railway lines and past Saxon road, Kingsmead Road, Daneswell Drive to the corner shop, Sydies on Avondale Avenue, a cul de sac leading to Sacred Heart School. The roundabout, now lights, was next and back onto Hoylake Road by my house.

But, back to Moreton Shore, if we walked onwards in the direction of Meols, the landward scenery turns distinctly bleaker and more "wild" as I pass the Leasowe Lighthouse, at that time derelict, and the occasional farm building and cottages. The lighthouse has now been restored and can be visited. I can just recall the remains of the shanty town which sprang up in the early 20th Century here, the wooden chalet type "hovels" which have mostly long since gone. I recall also seeing the submerged forest in my younger days, but sadly, at that time, meant little to me. There was a petrified forest here, showing above the sands, I can remember seeing it, but it has vanished now. More on this below.

Lighthouse on its own page

 

Moreton in 1611, also visible is Budeston (Bidston) Hill, Great Meoles, Saughall Massey, Upton & Overchurch. Birkenhead did not exist at this time.
Mockbeggar sandbanks, just off the top, is known as Black Rocks.


Moreton from Bidston Hill, Stavordale Flats, The Cross and Christ Church etc Sept 2009


Images of Moreton Cross

These previous three images were from www.historyofwallasey.co.uk
a site well worth visiting regularly


Moreton Cross in 1933, 1935 and 1937
The sign on the Roundabout in image 3 tells us that the road to
Upton & Chester is to the right. The hidden sign behind the pedestrian tells
us thats the way to Birkenhead. There is a sign on the opposiute side pointing to Hoylake.The street light is still there today but has been modernised a few times. These images will have been taken from a window above the shops which can be seen as today in the images below this text.

1. Moreton Cross looking from the vicinity of The Plough, towards Christ Church. 1920s?


1. The same shot, from the approximately the same angle today (18th Feb 2008)


2. On Pasture Road looking towards The Cross. note Picture House on left


2. Same shot, slightly lower angle, Picture House long long gone (about 48 years ago now)


Looking in the opposite direction, down Pasture Road. A note said 1950s, its not, this is early 1960s.


And, the same shot in February 2008


Moreton Cross late 1940s

 


1959


1950s

 


1971


1971


Moreton Cross 2000

The Cross from Sacred Heart Church

Plough Inn Moreton, date unknown . Image from Jack Wollam (NZ). That white building to the rear is the Coach & Horses


Moreton Cross approx 1904. Image: Tracy Martin

 


Moreton Cross undated. Note: those cows have no rear light working!!! Oh what would Flash Harry have to say? Les Turners arcade is there
as is the Coach & Horses, both old and new Image: Jack Woollam.

Cole's Bus Service was the first motorised bus service in Moreton. Initially running between Moreton Shore and Moreton Station, the service was extended from the station to Moreton Cross when Birkenhead Municipal Transport started their service to Moreton Cross in 1920. The Crosville service started in 1925 with Wallasey joining, in 1928. Cole's service last ran in 1926.

Although Moreton has been occupied since Roman times, the first road into Moreton was not built until 1841, from Meols, the railway followed in 1865. The railway shelter on the Liverpool bound side was used by Moreton FC as a changing room.

On 1st Agust 1928, Moreton became part of the Borough of Wallasey.

The Moreton Church of England School was built for a cost of £745 and was opened on 21st February 1861. The bricks used to build it were hand-made from a marl pit on the stretch of road between Moreton and Great Meols (The Meols Stretch). The school was pulled down in 1975.

 

 


Moreton Village

Moreton Cross - Station Road became Pasture Road


Feb 2012


March 18th 2010


The Cross, around 1914. From Upton Road, looking at what is now Pasture Road, to the left and right is now Hoylake Road. It was then Birkenhead Road and Pasture Road
was Station Road. Centre was a sweet shop, where you went down some steps into the shop, in wet weather it flooded. I think the bookmakers William Hill now on this site.

Here are then & now images, the latter From Feb 29th 2012

 

Pasture Avenue, the junction of Pasture Avenue and Danger Lane with the turn to Lombard Road in the background. This map shows where I believe the image is taken from (X) and the direction of the camera is towards the right of the map.  January 2011: I have had an email from Peter Bromilow (right) who confirmed that this IS the Coronation Day  and not VE Day as originally told to me.

My name is Peter Bromilow. I was born in Moreton in 1963 on the terrace in Garden Lane opposite the loos you had to go up some steps  and there was 7 x 2 up 2 down houses in a row with the gardens in the front. My family lived in 5 of the house and we were all born at home, the picture of Pasture Crescent at the Queens coronation is correct as the lady on the left in the front holding the baby girl is my aunty Beattie holding my cousin Susan their name was Povy my aunty was from pasture avenue no 93 and their name was Middleton, my mum was the youngest of 10. My mum and dad still live in Moreton behind the library and I pass through every day going to work in Hoylake I know what you mean about how it has lost its charm from when we were kids I notice this a lot as me and my cousins,  aunty and uncles still live around Moreton.

Feb 2012: Email from Janet Smith nee Sadler, daughter of Alice. She believes that the lady marked as Tom Bolton's mum is in fact Janet's mum. Lived at No 72.

Feb 2010: Tom Bolton sent me an email, there is a lady in the image which will almost certainly be his mum, as far as he can recollect. He tells me: Although I am Tom Bolton in those days as a kiddy I was Adrian (my first name) Bolton I lived in a bungalow 73 Pasture Avenue with my brother and sister (twins) Vince and Rose.  I went to Sacred Heart which in those days was not a Primary but (I think a secondary modern) a school were you started at 5 and left at 15.  Mr Carolan was head teacher. (I remember that name, Primary head?) Or was he juniors before Conroy? Sacred Heart was never a Sec Modern, so Tom is mistaken there. Unless it replaced Tommy Buckets after I had left Moreton.)  Bev my partner and I now run Wirral Swallows and Amazons Adventure Group taking disadvantaged and children with disabilities on exciting adventure of a lifetime holidays.  This year we are taking groups from schools.  We started our charity in 2003 and have had the good fortune to already have helped nearly 3000 children to have exciting outdoor adventure holidays.  As kids we had the freedom to make our own adventures, climbing trees in the woods, jumping the Birket our own games but nowadays its not safe for children to go out unaccompanied, its a shame really, so we give them opportunities to enjoy safely doing scary exciting activities.. so its nice to put something back in to help others. Tom copied the image and marked his mum.


Pasture Crescent - Queen's Coronation (maybe) (Pete Dodd)


The Grange area and the Floods

Moreton was, when I lived there, a relatively small place where nearly everyone knew everyone else. Policeman like "Flash Harry" would lurk rather than patrol his beat and woe betide you if he caught you "messing about" - a clip across the back of the head was the order of the day. Nobody complained, unlike nowadays, it meant you deserved it! I have had recourse to revisit Moreton a few times and am dismayed to see such a nice little place has degenerated into a haven of shops selling those £2.99 hand painted ornaments, sun tan parlours and fast food joints. The atmosphere has completely vanished that I knew, to be replaced by modern, hustle and bustle, no parking spaces, like many towns the length and breadth of the country. Moreton was once described as "unremarkable - Moreton in the Mud etc". In the late 50s and 60s it did actually develop character and charm, but sadly it did not last. I suppose its called progress. Nothing stands still, does it?

I stood there, on Moreton Cross, where Les Turner's tobacconist used to be under the little arcade, next to the Plough, and watched the world go by, just as I used to do in the 60s, sitting on the stone wall alongside Oakenholt Road which led to the Clinic. The wall has gone now, (2012) its a supermarket. Nobody was paying any attention to each other, young mothers with overloaded prams screeching at the mongrel struggling alongside. Cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth, trying to gossip on her mobile phone. The child with jam stained bib about its neck. The teated bottle of Ribena nestling on the canopy. The teenager runs out into the traffic, of which there is vast amounts for such a relatively small area. He is heedless of the swerving motorbike and accompanying horns. Progress? No, surely not.

Ken Burnley in his book "Portrait of Wirral" mentions a book I had read years ago, from the library. "The Rise & Progress of Wallasey", and mentions the optimistic tone of this 100 year old book, as it is now. I used to call it the Rise & Fall of Wallasey! Sorry, but progress in Moreton and Wallasey died around the same time the socialist incumbents took residence in the Town Hall and a long time tradition of Tory Members of Parliament were eventually ousted to be replaced by a socialist feminist. (Who, in 2008, married her "partner"; also female.) Yes, I am biased and not afraid to admit it. I have purchased a copy of The Rise & Progress of Wallasey (reprint 1974).

Also the advent of container shipping killed off what was left of dockland trade on the Wirral. I worked in many jobs up to when I joined HM Forces as a soldier. One of these was a trainee miller with Spillers at Pauls Mill on the docks. It was then a car park for the Warship Museum which was closed down as it has fell to the developer who are now building "luxury" flats (2007). Next will come the "marina" I suppose, then it will be fenced off so Mr Joe Public cannot wander the docks as he used to. Luxury flats bring in more revenue to the Council than Historic Museums.

As a youngster and then a young man in Wallasey I had high hopes of a good life, house, nice wife and trips with the kids to Bidston or the coast. I am not too sorry these dreams did not materialise. The latter dreams anyway. I did get the good wife, kids and house but not the rest on Merseyside! Strangely enough, although I am not being too kind to Moreton, it was still the place where I was "dragged up" as I like to phrase it. I do often manage to haul myself back up to the beautiful Wirral. In Feb 2004 I spent a beautiful, freezing, couple of hours walking Bidston Hill, subject of its own page in here. What follows now is by no means the definitive version, there is much hidden, much forgotten and much unsaid. But here is some local history. I have provided as much as I have found to date.

The name Moreton means village on the lake. It was one of the 4 towns making up the parish of Bidston, the others being Bidston, Claughton and Saughall (The Hall of the Willows). It was bounded by Great Meols to the West with Bidston and Wallasey to the South and East. Before the embankment was constructed, it was 3000 acres of tidal lagoon between one and two metres below sea level with most of the remainder little more than one metre above. The geology was that of blown sand in drifts covering the land, and salt marshes going around reaching Wallasey Pool, below Bidston. Lingham means Heather Island and is derived from the Norse words Lyng,  meaning heather, and Holm,  meaning island. Leasowe - from the Anglo-Saxon Leasowes - means Meadow Pastures. The higher area of Bidston and Wallasey Village were built upon the sandstone hills, rising to 180 feet above the surrounding area. Moreton was, quite literally, the village in the marsh. There was no sea wall at all, no protection from the sea, and land went much further out to sea than it does now. Evidence of this lies in the long gone petrified forest which I shall include later.

Early Days

Moreton, Lingham and Great Meols have been occupied since before Roman times. Moreton became part of the Parish of Bidston and was the wealthiest and most productive part of the area run for the Birkenhead Priory. It formed part of the Manor of Eastham in Norman times. Earl Hugh being the Lord. Holding part of his Manor is a man by the name of Hamon de Mascy, whose descendants became Lords of Bidston. During the medieval period of the Manor's history, Moreton was the most productive of the 4 towns. Moreton even paid for its own chaplain! In 1170, Birkenhead Priory was founded and a goodly portion of the tithes of Moreton were given in support of this endowment. The records of Pope Nicholas IV record the money earned from 6 curacates of land, which included Moreton.

Around 1180 -1190 Hamon de Mascy gave Moreton to his brother John, it being formerly held by Matthew of Moreton. In 1293 Hugh del Brom (Bromborough maybe?)  gave William, son of Alan de Moreton rights to cultivate 3 acres of wasteland in Moreton. In 1307, Henry son of William of Moreton, prosecuted Robert, son of Henry de Salghale (Saughall) and others for trespassing on land in Moreton and for cutting his grass in Sargham Massey. In 1341, there was a murder, at least a recorded one. Simon, son of Roger del Brom, killed William, son of Henry de Moreton, in Moreton, and fled. He escaped justice but three of his accomplices were fined for aiding him! The entire village was fined in 1359 for failing to be fully represented at the Judges Eyre Court in Wirral.

In 1397, the Manor of Bidston was sold by John Lestrange to Sir John Stanley, an ancestor of the Earl of Derby.

In 1402, the Hundred Jury (Wirral was also know as the Hundred) was specially called together to hear a letter patent issued by the Prince of Wales in which Henry le Brwyn, of Moreton, Roger del Brom and others had driven cattle from north Wales into the Hundred of Wirral. The law they were alleged to have broken was probably designed to secure a supply of meat for the Kings Armies in North Wales. The defendants were taken to Chester Castle for judgement. The result is unknown.

In 1438, on November 30th, an inquest was held at Bidston on Robert Benet, killed at Salgham by William Anyon by striking him on the head with a mall. This jury, which included a Thomas Benet of Moreton, and Henry Benet of Salghall, returned a verdict of felony. Anyon, who had fled, was declared an outlaw.

The Earl of Derby's accounts for the years 1521 - 1522 show Moreton having paid:

Rent of free tenants for Military Service                     5d
Rent of free tenants at will                                 114  6d
Rent of one house with dovecott & butt                 6  8d
Rent of one tenement with 1 butt acquired
By the lord from John Whitmore to hold by
the Lord immediately after the death of
George Whitmore (note: the said George is dead)  8  0d

In 1397 the Manor of Bidston was bought by William Steele, a lawyer of some note, who also held the positions of Recorder of London, Chief Baron of the Exchequer and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

In 1536 Birkenhead Priory suffered along with most of the country's religious establishments in Henry VIII's suppression. In 1544 its lands in Moreton were leased to Edward Plankney but on the expiry of this lease the lands were sold to Richard Barnard and Robert Taylor. Also, following the suppression, the Nuns of Chester had land owned by themselves in Saughall given to the new Bishop of Chester and then, soon after, was surrendered to the Crown. Land that belonged to the Priory in Saughall was also siezed, both sets of land being sold to Sir Robert Dudley, of the Privy council, and to William Glascour.

In 1545 the earliest record of Moreton's population with 21 families living there (12 in Saughall Massie). By 1663 the figures remained the same.

In 1561, Thomas de Smythe Saughall Massie and William Rathbone de Murton are registered as keepers of Ale houses.

In 1653 the Manor of Bidston was bought by a William Steele, lawyer of some note, who also held the positions of Recorder of London, Chief Baron of the Exchequer and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The estate again changed hands in 1662, this time it was sold to Lord Kingston of Rockingham Co Roscommon. In 1665 he undertook a highly detailed survey of his Manor. The survey contained lists of the tenants of the four townships and maps showing the houses and roads, each field bore a name and that of its tenant. The survey of Moreton shows the main street passing through the village, now known as Pasture road. A back lane running parallel, was Chapel Lane, now Barnston Lane. The geographical orientation of the main street is SW to NW. The east side of the main road, that which favoured Wallasey, had tenants Henry Robinson, William Bennett, Richard Lenaker and James Bird. The west side, favouring north Wales, had two homes of the Urmston family, Thomas Watt, William Hancock, John Rathbone. Many paths crossed between the houses. A chapel stood on the western side of the village green (the location of which is not mentioned) with a maypole to the north. Nearby was the Tithe Barn and Pound. The town bull was kept in a field on the edge of the village bordering Saughall Massie. Other prominent names in Moreton were William Dod(d). John Anderton, John Gowen, Ellen Graviner, Richard Pemberton, Thomas Urmston and john Upshon. A piece of land, outside the village boundary,was given to the village constable. Saughall Massie, in the same survey contained names Edward Wainwright, Mary Smith, John & Henry Bennett.

In 1680 Sir Robert Vyner became the Lord, and Vyners have been there right up to the 20th Century. (2012) The Hall is now privately owned by 'whoever'??

A Mill stood on what is now the corner of Acton Lane and Saughall Road. Little is known of the Mill. In 1598 it was sold to John & Henry Bennett. In 1719 owned by the Vyner's and occupied by Esther Martin at a rent of £6 per year. In 1762, Thomas Kirk, paying the same rent. (Inflation was obviously not a problem back then!). It stood until approx 1870, the last miller said to be a Richard Hale. The Mill actually collapsed, parts of which were taken to Bidston Hall, turning part of a steam mill for another 20 years. The names of Dod(d) and Benet (Bennett) are still prominent in modern times. I had a Philomena Bennett in my class at school in Moreton. The Dodds are a well know local building company, their yard is still at the top of Bermuda Road. I think it moved sides thats all! Joseph Kitchinghman who lived near Mother Redcaps in Wallasey, described Moreton's Mill as:

"The old mill at Saughall Massie stood about a mile from the village. It was a most remarkable wooden structure, with strong oak beams and gaunt, primitive sails, standing alone on a rough base of stone, with a large wheel to turn the wooden mill round on the ground. The mill stood entirely by itself a little way from the edge of the moss. Secret meetings of various kinds, political and otherwise, were held in the old mill, which was away from civilization. It was supposed to be haunted, and there were ravens in it."

Daniel Wilson lived at Old Hall Farm, Barnston Lane (was previously called Chapel Lane) in 1719. His home was licensed to conduct religious meetings. He was the son of Robert Wilson of Bidston Hall. Towards the end of the reign of Charles II, a troop of horse searched the Hall for arms as well as in other local places. At this time Daniel is described as "of Lingham". They took away 122 guns, pistol etc. Daniel married Mary Ensdale, and on 18th August 1689, they baptised Robert, their son. He shares the same birthday as me, but not the year!! His grandson, Thomas, was probably the next tenant of Barnston Lane following Daniel's death in 1737. Thomas' sister, Catherine Gardener was the next owner of Old Hall Farm, the Wilson connection being severed.


Barnston Lane May 2008

The Old Carrs forms part of Saughall Massie and western Moreton. The word Carr means Marsh. Carr Lane is now an area of extensive new housing put up in the property boom years of the 1980's and 90's. Before this is was but fields, and the Brickworks. The part of Moreton known as Sandbrook is now Sandbrook Lane which runs from the Cross (By Sacred Heart Church) to Manor road in Upton, this also follows the SW-NW alignment of the main road, Upton Road. Local area names here, in 1665, include The Banakers, Neeve Wimbrick, Gosty Pellitan Hey, Barcroft Hey, Werrethey and Cherrie-Tree Hey.

The encroachment of the sea was a constant threat to those living on the low lying lands of Moreton. Thomas Wilson's will of 1775 records that "the closes of land called The good Ovens and Two Pastures Gates by sold by my executors. But, if the Two Pastures Gates cannot be sold by reason of the encroachment of the sea, a close called the Marled Heaps was to be sold"

In 1781 rural recreation included Bull Baiting in Moreton. Cock Fighting was not uncommon, especially around Easter and Whitsun.

In 1841 a turnpike was opened which afforded a much needed route between Birkenhead and West Kirby, passing through Moreton, Meols, Hoylake & West Kirby.

Although it was allowed to become run down during the early 1800's, the introduction of the Wirral Railway Line in 1866 brought day-trippers from Liverpool and further afield.  By 1900 Moreton was again thriving and was even being recommended by doctors as a place for a holiday or a place to live because its fresh air and clean sea was seen as beneficial for conditions such as rheumatism. Moreton's association with health attracted the attention of Margaret Bevan who chose Leasowe as the place to build the Liverpool Open-Air Hospital for children with tuberculosis - later to become the Leasowe Children's Hospital when the National Health Service came into operation in 1948. Now demolished and is an estate of the "trendy" luxury apartments.


Ellen Usher, Sub Postmistress Moreton

WW2

Moreton's involvement in WW2 was minimal. There was a large kitchen set up, or Central Cooking Depot, in October 1941, possibly where Cadbury was until its closure, certainly in Pasture Road, for feeding displaced and homeless but it was, thankfully, never used. Few homes were damaged or destroyed in Wallasey by German bombers. It was used to provide school meals however.


Leasowe Pillbox
(I look at this and then at the German fortifications in France - one shell would have demolished this!)

Recollections of a World War 2 Schoolboy

Bill Boyle (email Nov & Dec 2011) tells me his WW2 recollections: During ww2 there was two American army camps based in Moreton one was on Fellowship Field on Pasture Road they were African-American soldiers whilst on Moreton Common the white American soldiers were based, both camps were under canvas. Some of the boys from my school Upton Road went on messages such as fish and chips from Swords the local chip-shop they were given small packets of biscuits or condoms by the soldiers for going for fish and chips for them. When I asked about the condoms, Bill replied," I thought it would raise eyebrows they were eleven or twelve I was one of them, the boys took the condoms to school and blew them up like balloons a young teacher Miss Ruddock confiscated them from the boys and stuffed them in the pockets of her floral smock they were all dangling out of her pockets as she blithely tripped along the school corridor.  However, when I went to try my luck all I received was a mouldy packet of biscuits.  The camp we went to was the African-Americans on Pasture Road of course all the soldiers were confined to camp so we went for fish and chips for them."

During WW2 my family and I lived on the Birkett Avenue estate at Leasowe during summer months we practically lived on the beach at Leasowe Bay when the tide was in two German POWs frequently came to swim in front of Leasowe Castle I have no idea where they came from only that they came along the promenade from the direction of Hoylake or West Kirby.  During the schools summer holidays I travelled by Ribble Bus from Skelhorn Street in Liverpool on my own to stay with my Auntie and Uncle in Melling, Lancashire and was put to work on Swifts Farm I worked alongside Italian POWs who came to the farm in a Crawfords Biscuit van they were quite happy and I tried to join in with them when they sang their Neopolitan arias.  However, another group of Italian POWs (probably Fascists - mk) came one day and they were lazy and coarse and just sat around smoking. 

Leasowe Children's Hospital in WW2, another memory from Bill Boyle:  During ww2 when I was a boy if I went down Ditton Lane at the back of Leasowe Hospital which was then a TB hospital I could see the patients lying in their beds on balconies open to the elements apparently the sea air was a cure for TB* the patients were on those balconies summer and winter.  One day in the 1940s my mother and father went off for the day somewhere leaving me in charge of my little sister Dorothy and baby brother Sam I took them down the lane opposite Leasowe Hospital past the tiny cottage and up to the promenade.  The tide was in so we sat on one the embankment slipways with our butties and bottle of water I lifted Sam out of his pram and he was happy crawling about until he cut his wrist on broken glass I had to wrap his arm in towels as the blood was spurting out so much.  I put him and Dorothy in the pram and started for home whilst going past Leasowe Hospital two young women who worked there were coming out of the hospital.  They looked at the pram which was full of blood, one of said where are you going I replied home they said quick take him into the hospital and to cut a long story short the doctors kept Sam in for blood tranfusions and he was there for the night .  Only for those young women he would surely have died. (Note: *If TB didn't kill them pneumonia bloody well did! - mk).

The vicar of Christ Church Mr Wormald came to my school Upton road and asked for boys to join the church choir during ww2 so I joined along with several other boys however most of the boys dropped out so there was only me and my friend John Daniels from Birkett Avenue left.  In those days the church organ was worked by bellows and had to be pumped by using a long wooden lever attached to the bellows. Sometimes the man who pumped the bellows did not turn up so a couple of us choir boys had to do it one Sunday me and John Daniels were told to do that job but during the sermons etc we both dozed off.   Mr Riley the organist would stamp his foot on the floor to wake us up to start pumping the bellows again.

Some times at the weekend after a bombing raid by The Luftwaffe during the night, the following morning I would go to Harrison Drive to collect the shrapnel from the German bombs which landed on the green dips at Harrison Drive and the bomb craters would still be smoking  and by the end of the war I had a shed full of bags of shrapnel.  However, mother kindly gave the lot to a rag and boneman. (Just think, what would they have been worth on eBay, mothers do not think, do they? - mk).

A Fun Fair in my day there was one at the junction of Pasture Road and Leasowe road I was a pupil at East Way school when some of the boys from the school broke into the shooting gallery at the fairground and stole air rifles for their punishment they were sent to the Capenhurst Remand home were they remained until the end of the war.

Population

Moreton's population has grown from 165 in 1665 to the present-day (2000) figure of around 24,500. It was 210 in 1801 and 597 in 1901. There was a big jump between 1911 and 1921 when it went from 898 to 2,531. On 1st August 1928, Wallasey extended it's boundaries to include Moreton and by 1941 the population had grown to 5,000 -- expanding to over 7,700 in 1951. In 2004 Moreton barely resembles its own past, being  built upon at an alarming rate, almost now touching Meols in the west, Greasby to its southwest and Upton, where there is now no discernable boundary. The population is probably treble what it was in the 1960s. The green belt between Bidston and Moreton is disappearing also as the housing creeps along Fender Lane towards the River Fender.

Population growth in Moreton: 1821: 273    1831: 247    1841: 330    1851: 350    1861: 361    1871: 455    1891: 464    1901: 597    1911: 898 and 1921: 4029

The massive rise in 1921 was due to the acute housing shortage after World War 1. It must have been quite a jolt to those who had been living there all these generations. The above figures do not include Saughall Massie which did not see rises of any significance. Also responsible for the growth was the appearance of the shanty town on Pasture Road and Moreton Shore, along with caravans. There were 2000 of these temporary dwellings. Sanitation was not high on the Council list of priorities, nor a water supply. In 1928, under an Act of Parliament, Wallasey absorbed Moreton, and in 1933 Upton and Saughall Massie. Following the 1928 Act, roads, sanitation and sewage were greatly improved. Dec 2012: I have since been told that, in 2004, Moreton became something of an independent town alienated from Wallasey but retaining the MP ( a waste of space she is). Leasowe is also alientated from the Borough.

Transport

The first road into Moreton was built from Great Meols in 1841 but it was not until 24 years later in 1865 that Moreton railway station was built on the Wirral Railway Line. It was opened on June 18th 1866, initially as a single-track line. In it's early days, the shelter on the Liverpool side of the line was used by the Moreton Football Club as a changing room. Leasowe station was built in 1895 when the Wirral Line was being converted to a double-track line. The line was electrified in the mid 1930's but, amazingly, a footbridge over the track was not added until 1947. Cole's Bus Service was the first motorised bus service in Moreton. Initially running between Moreton Shore and Moreton Station, the service was extended from the station to Moreton Cross when Birkenhead Municipal Transport started their service to Moreton Cross in 1920. The Crosville service started in 1925 with Wallasey joining, in 1928. Cole's service last ran in 1926.

There was in the olden days only one main route through the village. This is now known as Pasture Road but was formerly Station Road. The other main avenue for traffic, the Turnpike Road, was not built until 1841. This crossed the township in a westerly direction running from Bidston to Saughall Massie. It was known by a variety of names:

Fender Lane (after one of the two streams which drain the marsh), Birkenhead Road, Hoylake Road, Main Road and Village Road. With the incorporation of the parish of Moreton in the Wallasey Borough it was decided to alter any Moreton street names which might be confused with similar street names in Wallasey. The Council also decided that where more than one name was used for a Moreton street they would resolve all difficulties by deciding once and for all by which name it would be known. In the case of the Turnpike Road the Council decided that it would henceforth be known and described as Fender Lane from the Bidston boundary to Reeds Lane, and Hoylake Road from Reeds Lane to the Saughall Massie boundary. Barnston Lane (running parallel to Pasture Road) was originally called Chapel Lane, and the small chapel after which the lane was called, stood there for many years. A lane opening off Pasture Road was originally known as either Townmeadow Lane or Mary Anne’s Lane after the owner of a cottage in the lane. In order to prevent confusion the Council decided that the first 210 yards from Pasture Road should be called Marylands Lane and the remainder Townmeadow Lane. Similarly the road which was known as either Lingham Lane or Lighthouse Lane is now known as Lingham Lane.


Churches

Christ Church in Moreton was built in 1863 at a cost (which included a school) of 8,000 UK Pounds. It was built on land donated by Mr. Tom Webster of Overchurch Hill, Upton. Mr. William Inman the Shipping Magnate of Upton manor donated the money for the buildings. Roman Catholics had no church in Moreton until 1921. Masses were conducted in an old cafe on Moreton Shore. Moreton's first Roman Catholic Church was built in 1923 at a cost of 1,200 UK Pounds. The money was raised by public subscription. The Church was pulled down in 1955 and replaced with the one which exists today.

Moreton Chapel

Moreton Chapel was a large rectangular building with a south door. It had a belfry over the western gable and a cross over the east gable. In 1550, it was listed as having 1 chalice and 1 bell. In 1554 the probable incumbent was Rev William Bymson. In 1571 it was Rev William Edmundson. In September of 1592 George Pemberton of Moreton was brought before the Court at Chester for "sitting on the cross at Service time and would not go in at the Warden's request.". An entry in a church volume records that "Moreton, a chapel in Bidston Parish. Demolished 30 years ago .... as certified by the minister of Bidston 1719. 1742 records that "Moreton Chapel in

Public Houses and other Notable Buildings

Dating from the seventeenth century, the oldest of the three main public houses in Moreton was the Plough Inn and the Druids Arms. In the early 1930's it became known simply as the Plough Inn. (2011: Now a supermarket!). The Farmers Arms dates from the late 1700's and even in the early 1900's, parts were still being used as a farm. The youngest public house, the Coach and Horses dates from the early 1800's. The original building was knocked down and replaced in 1928. The Moreton Church of England School was built for a cost of 745 UK Pounds and was opened on 21st February 1861. The bricks used to build it were hand-made from a marl pit on the stretch of road between Moreton and Great Meols (The Meols Stretch). The school was pulled down in 1975.  Leasowe Lighthouse was built in 1763 with 660,000 hand-made bricks and is the oldest lighthouse in England. Originally two were built - the second was a quarter of a mile out to sea but was washed away during a storm in 1769. It was replaced by one on Bidston Hill in 1771, not the present one. Vessels would line up the two lights and would then be able to enter the Rock Channel or the Hoyle Lake for safe anchorage. It was last used on 15th July 1908.

Petrified or Submerged Forest

Known locally as the Meols stocks, it consisted as a collection of tree stumps, fallen trunks and roots embedded in turf bog. There was also once a similar forest on the other side of the bay in Seaforth. In a poem, dated 1636, the forest is mentioned:

"And in summe places, where ye sea does bate,
Downe from ye shoure, tis wonder to relate,
How many thousands of theis trees now stand,
Black broken on their roots, which once dried land,
Did cover, when turf Neptune yields to showe,
He did not always to their borders flowe"

 

In 1828 a visitor to the Wirral wrote:

"This beach at about half tide level, presents a curious and highly interesting spectacle of the remains of a submerged forest. The numerous roots of trees which have not yet been washed away by the sea, or carried off by the neighbouring inhabitants for firewood, are in a very decayed state. The trees seem to have been cut off about 2 feet from the ground after the usual practice in felling timber; and the roots are seen ramifying from their respective stumps in all directions and dipping towards the clay sub soil"

The trees were at their largest towards the river Dee, and smallest at Leasowe. They were mainly Oak and Fir, also present were Alder, Elm and Beech. They gave the appearance of actually being planted and were of great size. The library of Leasowe Castle was constructed from these timbers and locals made good use. In the forest itself discoveries were made in the 19th Century of artifacts dating back to Pre-Roman days and up to 1700. Mostly small in size they included gold, silver, pewter, lead, bronze, iron, wood, glass, flint and amber. In many kinds of ornaments and jewellery. also found were arrows, knives, keys and spoons as well as nails. In a book called Ancient Meols by Hume, published in 1863, these finds are catalogued. In the early 1970s there was no trace of this forest, the sea finally winning the argument, washing away the remainder with the tides. This process was quite possibly accelerated by the introduction of the massive sea wall, which caused the tide to turn upon itself, increasing the flow around the stumps. It was from this very embankment that I last saw these trees in the 60s. There was not all that much to see by this time, just a few straggled stumps. To think that after all these centuries, I may have been one of the last to overlook this spectacle. On a bas relief in Leasowe Castle is the words "From Birkinheven unto Hilbree, a squirrel may jump from tree to tree"


Moreton Youth Club Location


Centred on Moreton Cross


The house I grew up in on Hoylake Road, the site of Armchair cottage

 


Which also contains lots of emails I have received since opening these pages

Thanks to Ken Clark for a lot of the old images

My thanks also to all the members of the Wallasey Group and The Birkenhead Group on Facebook for their images, help and expertise. Beautiful people all.

Reference sites

www.20thcenturyimages.co.uk

http://www.liverpoolwebcam.com/

http://www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk/

http://www.new-brighton.f2s.com/

http://www.wirral360.com/ Virtual Wirral

http://www.wirralswallowsandamazons.bravehost.com/

http://www.hypnosis-therapies.co.uk/

http://www.freewaycer.com/

http://www.vwlowen.co.uk/  

http://lch.arena-housing.com/content/1054/history-of-the-leasowe-man.aspx

 

Feb 09: Had an email from Catharine Chalton who tells me that Home Instead Care have taken over 19 Barnston Lane but that some commercial work
undertaken in the past prevents the wonderful building from being listed.

  Click to email me