Favorite thing: Birkenhead is the historic home of the first street tramway in Europe - established August 29 1860 and ran from Woodside to Birkenhead Park. These early trams were horse-drawn and was the brainchild of flamboyant American, George Francis Train, the real life character upon whom Jules Verne based his fictitious character Phileas Fogg in "Around the World in 80 days".
The electrified trams of 1901 eventually ceased to operate in 1937 as modern petrol engine buses took over.
Fondest memory: Trams seem to be back in vogue to ease traffic congestion in city centres and Its great to see trams back in Birkenhead, albeit for tourists on the heritage trail.
Trams used today are not the old ones but newly built in Hong Kong in 1992 with a U.K. chassis gauge specification, painted in original Birkenhead Livery and shipped to Wirral. The 1948 design pattern ensures the vehicles resemble the type common on the streets of Britain in the Forties and Fifties.
You can board a tram at Woodside Visitor Centre and take a ride around the Heritage Trail, stopping off at Shore Road Pumping Station, Pacific Road and Egerton Bridge.
Woodside Visitor's Centre - Ferry Terminal
Favorite thing: Woodside Visitor Centre is located in the historic booking hall for the Birkenhead Ferry.
Here you have a Tourist Information Centre, a restaurant with licensed bar. Gallery seating overlooks the River Mersey and the famous Liverpool skyline.
Favorite thing: Hamilton Square, one of the finest Georgian Squares in the UK was the dream of William Laird, the great shipbuilder. He wanted a fine square to be the centre of his Birkenhead, city of the future.
It was designed by the Edinburgh architect Gillespie Graham - no two sides are identical and a space was left for the former Town Hall which was opened in 1887.
Fondest memory: Walking in the small park here, a pleasant osasis of green with the fine buildings around the square. This commorative monumnet for Queen Victoria ytakes centre place. Such a bright day for Jan 1st 2003 too.
Favorite thing: The former town hall of Birkenhead is now the Wirral Museum. It is built of scottish granite and local sandstone and Its 200 foot clock tower is a major landmark visible from the waterfront on both sides of the River Mersey. Its Cambridge chimes have been heard around the town of Birkenhead since the clock was first started by young Elsie Laird, daughter of Mayor Williams Laird on November 27th 1886.
On display is a model of the Woodside area as it was on the day in July 1934 that King George V opened the Queensway Road Tunnel and various historical documents relating to the Wirral. Admission is free here too. 0151 666 4010 for details.
Fondest memory: The restored interior is a splendid example of Victorian architecture - including the stunning council chamber, anterooms and the mayors parlor. It also has the Assembly Rooms, containing a gallery and fully fitted theatre, cinema and concert hall.
Favorite thing: The docks have that down-at-heel appearance of by-gone industrialisation but much is being done to rejuvenate the area.
This is a typical landscape of the area.
Favorite thing: Here's one of the other bridges across the Birkenhead Docks.....of course I like this one for the reflection!
Favorite thing: There are 15 bridges in the Merseyside dock system like Egerton bridge (see more in the must see section on this bridge) - a Bascule seasaw bridge. This is more than any other port in Europe.
Favorite thing: On the quarter deck area there is also a replica of the 'Resurgam', the world's first powered submarine.
Favorite thing: Adjacent to the Visitor Centre is the QuarterDeck open-air performance area, surrounded by marine artefacts like these buoys.
Hamilton Square Houses
Favorite thing: The elegant houses around the square were constructed 1825-1844. Today most are offices, solictors and one or two are restaurants.
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