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Things to See Round Liverpool

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To-day the estuary of the River Mersey is, no doubt, Liverpool's chief attraction. The chain of docks, extending for about six miles, proffers many phases of educative interest. A long link dividing the chain into almost equal parts is the Landing Stage, from which passengers and goods are conveyed across the estuary to Birkenhead and other places on the Wirral coast. Frequently an ocean liner may be seen at anchor in midstream or moored to its berth.

Overlooking the Landing Stage is the Royal Liver Building. Close by that stands the Cunard Building. And where Liverpool's first dock was made in 1710, there stand to-day the premises of the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board. These introduce Liverpool's fine commercial buildings and many magnificent public institutes.

In Water Street, near the Royal Liver Building, is the Town Hall, which was erected in 1754. Turning to the right, so as to journey through Castle Street, a few minutes' walk will take the visitor to the monument of Queen Victoria. Here, too, is the site of the castle which William Ferrers, Earl of Lincoln, built in the year 1232. After guarding the town and the river through four hundred years, this fortress was destroyed in the seventeenth century, and utterly demolished in 1721. S. George's Church was then erected, but after nearly two hundred years of service it gave place to this excellent monument of beloved Queen Victoria.

Lord Street leads thence to Church Street, and whilst strolling through Parker Street or Ranelagh Street, which lead from Church Street to Lime Street, one gets an introduction to Liverpool's great emporia. A few minutes' walk to the left along Lime Street brings into view the magnificent St. George's Hall, where courts, assizes, organ recitals, and public meetings are held.

On the north side of St. George's Hall is William Brown Street, which is lined with noble buildings of Grecian style of architecture, and was named in honour of Sir William Brown, Baronet, who defrayed the cost of the erection of Liverpool's excellent public library. The museum contains much that merits contemplation. In the Egyptian section and in the natural history section time passes unnoticed.

The reference library is named the Picton Reading Room, and this marks the Corporation's gratitude for the labours of Sir James A. Picton, who guided the progress of the libraries through a period of forty years. An annexe to this building contains the Hugh Frederick Hornby Library, which houses some rare first editions and many books beautifully printed and exquisitely bound. The Walker Art Gallery, next door, which was opened in 1877, is a glorious monument to the munificence of Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, Bart.

Passing the Wellington Column, one may next proceed along London Road to Seymour Street, which, to the right, leads through Clarence Street and Russell Street into Rodney Street, at No. 62 of which the Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone was born, December 29, 1809. The route continues forward to St. James's Mount, whereon a part of the new cathedral (p. 538) has been erected. Returning towards the Pier Head, one way is down Duke Street, which contains the birthplace of Mrs. Hemans, who was born on September 25, 1793, and whose poems were commended by Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth.

A popular excursion from Liverpool is to Southport. The route, starting from New Quay, goes along Bath Street, Waterloo Road, and Regent Road; or via King Edward Street, which branches to the right from New Quay and leads to Great Howard Street and thence along Derby Road. These two routes unite at Seaforth Sands station and proceed along Crosby Road South to Great Crosby. Turning to the right, just beyond the church, the way is via Thornton and through the beautiful woods of Ince Blundell, to Formby and Freshfield. Here is an opportunity to study the Lancashire coastline.

Formby was once an old seaport, but so completely was it overwhelmed by drifting sands that the position of the port is to-day untraceable. Here the long line of sand dunes is still in pristine formation, making a strikingly rugged scene.

Continuing our journey, Formby Hall, which is about five hundred years old, is passed on the way to Ainsdale, off the coast of which two villages were submerged in the fourteenth century. The Lost Farm, mentioned in Roby's Tradition, became totally buried in sand about ninety years ago. Through Birkdale the tourist goes into Southport, a modern seaside resort with many attractions, not forgetting the beautiful Hesketh Park, which was opened in 1868.

Scarisbrick Road leads from the residential area to pleasant rural scenes. When approaching Scarisbrick Hall it is well to remember that Martin Mere, which legend associates with Sir Lancelot, lay to the left of the road, and in Liverpool Museum is one of the old canoes that were discovered when the mere was drained. On the right-hand side of the road that runs through Halsall, Downholland and Maghull back to Liverpool were once swampy mosslands that have been drained and transformed into a rich agricultural district. On the way through Aintree the road runs close by the famous racecourse, and eventually terminates at Old Haymarket, on the west side of St. George's Hall, completing a most interesting tour of about forty miles.

Our next tour round Liverpool takes us to Ormskirk. William Brown Street, on the north side of St. George's Hall, leads to Islington, and begins a westward route, via Brunswick Road, along which tramcars run to West Derby. In the vicinity of this terminus a castle was built in the eleventh century. Croxteth Park has from the fifteenth century been owned by the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton. There is a public footpath across to Knowsley. About two miles nearer Aintree there are cross roads. Turning to the right the road runs via Kirkby, through pastoral country, to Ormskirk, which is renowned for its large potato market. That is excellent testimony to the success of the reclamation of peat mosses into good agricultural land, producing excellent crops of oats as well as potatoes.

Ormskirk church contains a little Norman architecture. Its tower may date back to the sixteenth century, and its spire may have been added later in order to appropriate some of the bells obtained from Burscough priory after the dissolution of monasteries. Two walls situated in a meadow about one and three-quarter miles along the Parbold road from Ormskirk are the remnants of Burscough priory, which was founded by Robert Fitz-Siward for Augustinian canons early in the twelfth century and dedicated to S. Nicholas. Robert was lord of Lathom, and to the site of that historic house we now proceed.

About the end of the fourteenth century both Lathom and Knowsley were conveyed by marriage to the Stanley family, the Earls of Derby. It was Lathom that the Countess of Derby so valiantly defended in the Civil War. It remained in the possession of the Stanley family until the beginning of the eighteenth century, passing by marriage to the Earl of Ashburnham.

From Lathom to Knowsley is a distance of about eight miles. The route is via Rainford. Knowsley Hall, the present seat of Lord Derby, stands in a vast park, one of the largest in Lancashire, which is famous for its sylvan beauty. There is a public path from the Ormskirk lodge to the Blue Bell lodge at the old market town of Prescot.

Leaving Prescot, there is a direct road past Knotty Ash station and forward until through Kensington and London Road we once more reach St. George's Hall, having covered a total distance of about thirty-six miles.

On the Liverpool to Frodsham tour the suggested outward route goes along London Road, bears to the right at the divergence in taking Pembroke Place, which ends at another divergence. Turning there to the right, Smithdown Lane is followed to Smithdown Road, which leads to Menlove Avenue, a new road that runs to Wool-ton. On the right-hand side of Menlove Avenue, just beyond a tram station and opposite the entrance to Calderstones Park, is a group of six stones encircled by railings. This enclosure was made and planted in 1845. Some of the stones bear the ancient cup and ring markings. They are known as the Druids' Cross as well as the Calderstones, and have evidently been brought from a prehistoric burial mound. Cinerary urns and flint implements have been discovered in that vicinity. Woolton, a well-timbered residential village, is situated on a hillock that commands a pleasant view of the green undulations rolling across the plain.

From Woolton the roadways lead to Hunts Cross, two miles from which the ancient Speke Hall is situated on the banks of the Mersey. The road across to Halebank strikes to the left at the cross roads beyond Hunts Cross station. From Ditton Junction station the route proceeds through the industrial town of Widnes, where the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal are crossed by a transporter bridge that was opened in 1905.

Through Runcorn we journey via Halton, where stand the ruins of a once important castle of the De Lacy family in close proximity to the site of the Norton priory. Another important site on this peninsula is Rock Savage at Clifton, of which but a mere fragment remains. Frodsham and Helsby are noted for their cliffs of the New Red Sandstone, from which excellent views can be enjoyed.

On Woodhouse Hill and also on Helsby Hill the pilgrim may see, in addition to beautiful scenery, the sites of ancient British camps. Mickle Trafford is the first point from which lanes run towards Birkenhead, and they conduct the tourist through charming rural villages seldom visited by tourists. Stoke, Little Stanney, Whitby are passed on the way to East-ham, where the main road is entered that runs via Brom-borough, Port Sunlight and Rock Ferry to Woodside ferry at Birkenhead. The distance of this toiir is about forty miles.

The excursion from Seacombe to Burton Point will yield many pleasant experiences. A ferry connects Liverpool to Seacombe, whence a tour of the Wirral coast can be undertaken. Borough Road, Poulton Road and Breck Road lead to Wallasey, a village with a church that was founded in the Saxon era. A straight road runs thence to Leasowe, where a castle was erected at the close of the sixteenth century, and where, it is said, the first lighthouse placed on the English coast stood on land that is now submerged. To-day the once famous castle provides railwaymen with a convalescent home.

The Moreton lane turns to the left, and at its junction with the highway from Birkenhead a right turn is made to enter the road which, after traversing Moreton, now a modern village, goes on to Meols, which appears to have been named as an area of barren sandhills and where there is now a comparatively new esplanade.

Hoylake, the next town, is a modern health resort, and retains the name of the Hoyle Lake, which silted up about a hundred years ago, after the huge Hoyle Bank was cut through by a water current that formed a new channel for the river Dee. This closed Hoylake's career as a port. Outcrops of the New Red Sandstone form an interesting corner, from which at low tide it is easy to see that Hilbre Island was once connected to the mainland. When the tide is at its lowest ebb visitors to West Kirby make a pilgrimage to this site of the ancient shrine of S. Hildeburgh. West Kirby church is believed to have been founded by missionaries who came over from Ireland in the days of S. Patrick. Behind it stands Grange Hill, from which, it is claimed, Snowdon can be seen on clear days. That indicates what glorious views can be enjoyed. From the northern side of this hill there is a panoramic view of the verdant and interesting Wirral peninsula.

Through Caldy the road goes to Thurstaston, where on a heathery hillock a large rock is regarded as the stone dedicated to Thor which has given the village its name. Beyond Heswall a right turn, near the railway, is necessary to visit Parkgate, a derelict port on the Dee which for about three centuries was the principal port for traffic to Ireland. From Park-gate and from Hoylake in 1690 troops embarked for the Battle of the Boyne. Below Neston is the beautiful village of Burton, with which tradition associates Mary who went to call the cattle home across the Sands o' Dee. "Of all the Deeside villages," says a writer on Cheshire, "Burton is perhaps the most attractive, with its white thatched cottages and its warm sandstone bed-rock footway along the single street." The church, which was rebuilt early in the eighteenth century, contains some very interesting memorials.

Inland and westwards from Burton rural lanes lead through peaceful villages via Willaston, Raby and Thornton Hough. Past the manor house, where Lord Leverhulme resided, a left turn is followed by a turn to the right, and again to the right along lanes running via Barnston, Arrowe Park and Woodchurch to Upton. Here at Upton are relics of the ancient Overchurch, which stood about a mile nearer Moreton The most important of these relics is the Biddan Stone, which bears a runic inscription that was translated by Mr. G. F. Browne of Cambridge in 1889 to "The people erected a memorial. Pray for Aethelmund." From Upton one goes to Birkenhead and the Woodside ferry, and at Liverpool terminate a series of interesting, educative tours. The total distance of this last tour is about forty miles.

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