Friday, 30 April 2010

Gayton cottage

A thatched cottage at Gayton in the 1930s - photo taken by Dad.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Burton - The Parish Church of St Nicholas – the interior

This church dates mainly from the early eighteenth century but prior to the rebuilding of the church in 1721 there had stood three previous churches on this site – the first stone one being erected in 1086. All that remains of this church are two Norman scalloped capitals that can be seen in the porch as you enter the church.

Also in the porch, built into the North wall is this early 13th century coffin lid whose carving is in remarkable condition considering the church went through some periods of utter neglect.

The window at the far end of the North aisle dates to around 1300.

At one time, when someone of social standing died a hatchment board would be set up over their doorway for a year after which it was put in the local church. This hatchment is that of Richard Congreve who died in 1857.

Although it looks older the East window is early 20th century and is the work of Charles Eamer Kempe whose trademark – a small wheatsheaf – can be seen in the bottom left corner. The window shows the crucifixion between St Nicholas and St George.

St Nicholas was the patron saint of mariners – a reminder of Burton’s former maritime glory before the Dee silted up and left it high and dry.

This window dates from 1926.

These communion rails are the oldest in the Wirral; their twisted and carved balusters are Jacobean from the end of the 17th century.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Heswall – The Green Hut

This was a holiday home on Heswall shore in an area known as The looms at the bottom of Banks Road – in a lane opposite what is now the car park. The Council tried to have these huts demolished in 1939 but the Ministry of health decided they were fit for use as holiday homes.  Which is how we came to use them.  These photos are from around 1947 but we also had a holiuday there in my lifetime.

We knew it as the Green Hut and pictured here are Mum, GB, Nana and Grandpa.

I’m not sure who the other boy is that is playing with GB or who appears on these other photos – including one with Dad, Mum, Aunty Maude and Grandpa.

In the foreground of this photo are Mum’s office colleague Joney and the unidentified boy.

Heswall shore

During the last few hundred years the River Dee has silted up and nowhere is this more obvious than along the stretch from Burton to Heswall. At one time boats would sail from Burton, Parkgate and Heswall – some going as far as Ireland, others simply fishing in the estuary.

Within my lifetime the ‘shore’ at Heswall has gone from being a shell strewn beach with a long sandy shelf out to the main channel of the Dee to a grassy marsh with just one deep channel that boats can navigate at the highest tides.

Strewn around the shore on the grass are lots of boats. some of these have been abandoned for good whilst others are in working order and presumably used when the tide is right.

Maison by Emma Jane - Heswall

GB's New Zealand blog has sometimes had little notices like the one below. This was outside the shop 'Maison by Emma Jane' in Heswall and is the first I can recall seeing around here. Perhaps we'll soon go the whole hog and start painting our buildings.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Arrowe Park - The Boy Scout Jamboree 1929

In July / August 1929 Dad, then aged 22, went to see the Boy Scouts Jamboree held at Arrowe Park on the Wirral, Cheshire.  Fifty thousand scouts, representing the youth of 43 nations camped on the park with overspill sites at Overchurch and Upton for an additional 10,000 British scouts.   It was the largest ever gathering of international youth to date.  Atrocious weather turned the ground in a quagmire but didn’t seem to dampen the spirits too much. Miles of railway sleepers and fencing had to be laid down as pathways.  It also didn’t stop Dad from taking photos.

Some of the Polish contingent

The Jamboree celebrated 21 years of the founding of the boy Scout movement by Lord Baden Powell.   The event took months of preparation - sending  out invitations, arranging transport, preparing the campsite which was one mile long and half a mile wide - needed for visiting scouts.   Thought had to be given not only to accommodation but also to the provision of meals and medical facilities. A hospital under canvas was set up and Cheshire Girl Guides helped the medical staff.   Shops were set up, a post office too and a bank for currency exchange.   Arrangements were made for the publishing of a camp newspaper, the Daily Arrowe, of which 55,000 copies sold daily.  The Times made regular reports on the event.  The general public was allowed in at certain times and was treated to displays of  handicrafts, bridge building, first aid and gymnastic skills.  The Prince of Wales, representing King George V spent a night there under canvas and the roar of welcome when he arrived was heard many miles away.

The United States contingent laid on a Sioux wardance for the Prince – ‘complete with warpaint and feathers’-  and presented Birkenhead with a totem pole.

Scouts from Finland

Almost continuous entertainment was provided as the youths sang their native songs and laid on plays for their fellow scouts.


Sudan on the march

The Bengalese contingent marching.

The event ended with a march past.

A French Scout

There was much talk of world peace among that great league of nations at Arrowe Park and at the end Lord Baden Powell, hatchet in hand, announced: "Here is the hatchet of war, of enmity, of bad feeling, which I now bury in Arrowe."   He then drove the hatchet into a barrel of arrows.    Ironically, ten years later,  many of those youngsters would be involved in fighting World War II.

Sunday, 18 April 2010