New Brighton became a popular daytripping destination in Victorian times, when visitors from Liverpool used to cross the Mersey by ferry, landing at a pier in the resort. The pier has since been demolished, as has the New Brighton Tower, built in 1898 and at 621 feet the tallest structure in Britain at that time. During the resort's peak period of popularity in the early 1900s it had a ballroom and an outdoor swimming pool as well as a host of other attractions. The ballroom, named The Tower Ballroom, was still going strong during the height of the Merseybeat era, hosting concerts by groups including the Beatles. Sadly, a lot of the attractions from the resort's early days went the way of the pier and the tower, but now there is a redevelopment plan underway resulting in a new pavilion, the Floral Pavilion, and the Marine Point leisure and retail complex. However, one remaining relic of earlier times is the striking art deco building housing the New Palace amusement arcade, which along with the Adventureland attraction provides plenty of fun for the kids. There are golf courses with sea views in neighbouring Wallasey and Leasowe.
A causeway from the mainland leads out to Fort Perch Rock, with a battery of 18 guns built in the 1820s during the Napoleonic Wars to fend off the French. The fort occupies what at that time was a strategic position, facing onto the main entrance for shipping approaching the Mersey. Its position and purpose earned it the nickname the "Little Gibraltar of the Mersey". Now the fort is open to visitors and houses a museum with maritime and aviation displays including aircraft wreckage dating from World War II.
In the 1980s a book of photographs by the photographer Martin Parr called The Last Resort featured New Brighton as its subject. The book became a classic of documentary photography and put Parr firmly on the map as a leading photographer. The book, which featured the working classes holidaying in what was at the time a depressing and decaying resort, divided opinion among those who viewed it, with some finding its images disturbing, while others saw a more affectionate and humorous side to them.
For a list of events in the Wirral see here.
Map of the area.
|Fort Perch Rock. Photo by Rept0n1x, via Wikimedia Commons.|