Vanished villages from Wirral’s past that no longer exist

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It is not surprising that over its long history, the Wirral peninsula has seen many habitations disappear over time.

This can be for a variety of reasons – population shifts, changes in the environment, or just simply being re-named.

Even the administrative location of Wirral has changed over time. It used to be classed as part of Cheshire, so much so that older references to the peninsula still refer to it as "Wirral, Cheshire."

And certainly the central and western half of Wirral overlooking the Dee estuary feel far closer to the leafy rural surroundings of Cheshire than they do to Merseyside, which the whole peninsula is now classified as part of.

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The only remnant which survives of its earlier, historic designation is the "CH" postcode.

Last May we took a look back at some of the old place names that have disappeared for good.

Magazine Village

This former village in Wallasey gets its name from the time when it was used to store gunpowder from the sailing ships entering the Mersey for their stay in the Port of Liverpool.

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All ships were required to unload the powder and have it kept at the Magazines until it was time to sail again.

The explosive material was placed in detached chambers and covered with earth, with a strong wall built to enclose the whole area.

The Promenade 1978-79

But despite these measures, a massive explosion took place in January 1864, when the ship the Lottie Sleigh – laden with 11 tons of gunpowder – blew up.

Miraculously there were no deaths, but the explosion caused extensive damage to Birkenhead and even shattered windows across Liverpool.

As the area became more built-up during the 19th century, concern over the presence of such large quantities of gunpowder near residential areas increased, and the store was transferred to floating hulks anchored lower down the river.

The Magazine, Wallasey

The only reminder of the village now is the name of the local pub, The Magazine. It was built in 1759 for the sailors who had time to spare while they waited for powder to be loaded on to their boats, and is still going strong today.

Dawpool

In the 18th century, Dawpool would have been a thriving harbour lying between Caldy and Thurstaston.

Its prominence dates from the time when it was still possible to navigate the Dee estuary before it silted up.

Parkgate was the chief port and the principal terminal for the packet ships travelling back and forth to Dublin.

They also stopped at Dawpool, carrying passengers, newspapers, and thousands of pounds worth of cargo.

Plenty of walkers but no cars at Parkgate, Wirral in the early 1900s

But this important trade went into decline as the Dee estuary became impassable for shipping, and as Liverpool rose to prominence.

Today the name of Dawpool is still retained in a number of schools in the Thurstaston area.

It also gave its name to Dawpool House, the former residence of the White Star Line shipping owner, Thomas Henry Ismay. The country house itself was demolished in 1927.

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Hoose

The small fishing village of Hoose had its own parish until it was abolished in the late 19th century, becoming incorporated into a new parish known until 1974 as Hoylake cum West Kirby.

Hoose itself nestled in the sandhills between what was formerly known as Little Meols to the west, and Great Meols to the east.

The name Hoylake was adopted to refer to the village which had formerly been known as Hoose.

Hadlow

Today the name is chiefly remembered for the Grade II listed former Hadlow Road railway station, in Willaston.

The historic Grade II listed Hadlow Road Station in Willaston

This was on the single track Hooton to West Kirby branch of the Birkenhead Railway, which opened a branch line from Hooton to Parkgate on October 1, 1866.

It closed to passengers in 1956 with the track continuing to be used for freight transport until 1962. The line was lifted two years later and the route went on to become the Wirral Way footpath.

The historic Grade II listed Hadlow Road Station in Willaston in its heyday

The station is preserved with a 1950s look and is one of two visitor centres on the Wirral Way.

Overchurch

The site of a demolished church is the only reminder of the old village of Overchurch.

When the original parish church at Overchurch was pulled down in 1813, a 9th century runestone was discovered in the ruins.

The Overchurch Runic Stone is arguably the most important artefact from Wirral's past, and is now kept at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester.

The village of Upton was in the parish of Overchurch, and it is still remembered in the present-day junior school of that name.

Ford

This is perhaps the most recent 'lost village' in Wirral, and still remembered by many.

Originally a collection of cottages beside the ford over the Fender river, the hamlet was swallowed up by the giant Ford estate in the 1960s.

The estate was built to house people moving from the North End of Birkenhead and with the aim of providing a better standard of living.

The Beechwood estate in Wirral

With its high-rise tower blocks, it was typical of council estate planning at the time.

In a similar move to Liverpool's rebranding of the old Cantril Farm estate as Stockbridge Village, the authorities in Wirral decided to re-name the Ford estate as Beechwood, as it is known today.

The name of Ford was lost for ever, except from people's memories.

Viking Wirral

Wirral's Viking heritage is everywhere you look in place names such as Thurstaston, Meols, Thingwall and West Kirby.

But there are also names which have long since disappeared – such as Eskeby (in Bidston), Warmby (in Heswall), and Stromby (Thurstaston).

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