Seven Wirral listed buildings right on your doorstep

There are around 2,000 listed buildings in the Wirral. Some are large Grade I buildings, churches and municipal halls, mansions and memorials, while others are less imposing Grade II private houses preserved for their architectural merit.

If you live in the Wirral, here are seven interesting buildings you won’t have to travel far to see.

1. Port Sunlight War Memorial

The Port Sunlight War Memorial is not a large structure, but is an important part of the history of the Wirral.

The memorial comprises a granite rustic cross, bronze statues and reliefs. It was constructed by the soap factory owner William Lever to commemorate his workers who were killed in the First World War. The Lever factory employed over 4,000 during World War I and 513 of them were killed during it.

Lever commissioned William Gascombe John to design the memorial, which was built by the Manchester firm of William Kirkpatrick.

The memorial is situated in the centre of Port Sunlight village and features a cross on a plinth. Eleven bronze figures on the plinth include three soldiers, a nurse and children. Architectural historian Nicholas Pesvener described the memorial as “genuinely moving” without being overly sentimental.

2. Brimstage Hall

Brimstage Hall in the village of Brimstage was built within a fortified area protected by a moat and high embankment. There are no records of exactly when it was built, but historians date it between 1175 and 1350.

The first recorded occupants were Sir Hugh Hulse and his wife Marjorie. They added a chapel in 1398, which has many carvings, one of which includes a cat. Local legend says that this is a Cheshire Cat and inspired the character that appears in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. Some architectural historians believe that the chapel was built before Sir Hugh arrived at the hall.

In 1439, the hall was occupied by Sir William Troutbeck, who died during the War of the Roses.

In 1957, a group of archaeologists from Cambridge University discovered a well under the floor of the old hall that contained human bones. This have never been identified.

The courtyard next to the hall now houses a number of shops, a restaurant and a brewery.

3. Bidston Windmill

Bidston Windmill, situated near Birkenhead and at one of the highest points above sea level on the peninsular, dates from the late 16th Century. In 1791, a gale caused the sails to spin so fast that the friction led to a fire and the mill was destroyed.

A new mill was constructed in 1800 built from brick, and it ground corn to flour for 75 years. Its location was excellent for catching the wind, but it was difficult to gain access by horse and cart.

The top of the mill rotates 360° in order to catch the wind if it changes direction. The mill has two doors; one is blocked by the sails, leaving the other one clear.

In 1894, long after the windmill had ceased to be a working mill, it was restored. It is now administered by the Friends of Bidston Windmill and used as an educational centre. If you would like to see it, it’s open to members of the public on the first Saturday of every month from April until September.

4. Thornton Manor Gatehouse

Thornton Manor Gatehouse in an impressive Tudor-style building that forms the top and the sides of the large entrance to Thornton Manor. Thornton Manor was built in the middle of the 19th Century, but the Gatehouse was not added until 1910. It is a two-story structure, the ground floor level of which is a sandstone construction with a timber-framed first floor. The building was designed by James Lomax Simpson.

The Gatehouse is now used as a luxury bed and breakfast accommodation.

5. Hill Bark

Hill Bark is a large country house in Frankby, and is a fine example of half-timbered Victorian architecture.

Built in 1891, it was designed by architect firm George Enoch Grayson and Edward A. L. Ould . It was originally built at Bidston Hill, but it 1921, it was sold to Sir Ernest Royden who dismantled the whole structure and moved it to the present site at Frankby, where it was completely rebuilt.

It is constructed with half-timbered framing built on a stone base in the shape of a letter U. Inside there is a large hall that contains a Jacobean fireplace that dates from 1527, which is said to have come from the house of Sir Walter Raleigh. The hall is presently being used as a hotel.

6. 1 and 3 Hollybank Road

Not all listed buildings are large halls or monuments; many are modestly sized houses that are protected because of their architectural importance.

Numbers 1 and 3 Hollybank Road are a pair of Birkenhead houses built somewhere between 1840 and 1850. It is not definite who the architect of the house is, but it is believed to be Walter Scott. The two-storey houses are built on the Stucco style with a Welsh slate roof, and feature 12-pane sash windows and stressed entablature to the ground floor windows. The houses are part of the Clifton Park Estate designed by Walter Scott in the 1840s.

7. Church of St. Andrews

The Church of St Andrews at Bebington is regarded by some architectural historians as the finest church in the Wirral.

The original church was built in the 11th Century. Some of the original stones were incorporated when the church was rebuilt between 1300 and 1350. Extensive remodelling was carried out in the 16th Century by adding a three-bay chancel and widening the south aisle.

In 1800, the church tower was rebuilt after it was hit by lightning. In 1847, the Norman style north arcade was added and in recent times the church has been modernised.

The Wirral is a rich source of architectural history. The listing status system makes sure that all buildings that have significant architectural interest will be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

Posted by Mark
September 21, 2017

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