New Ferry

New Ferry

Houses on The Esplanade, New Ferry
New Ferry
 New Ferry shown within Merseyside
Population 5,300 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceSJ337853
    London  176 mi (283 km)[2] SE
Metropolitan boroughMetropolitan Borough of Wirral
Metropolitan county Merseyside
RegionNorth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town WIRRAL
Postcode district CH62
Dialling code 0151
ISO 3166 code GB-WRL
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK ParliamentWirral South
List of places

Coordinates: 53°21′36″N 2°59′49″W / 53.360°N 2.997°W / 53.360; -2.997

New Ferry is an urban area located on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Situated to the east of Bebington, it is part of the Bromborough Ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and in the parliamentary constituency of Wirral South. The 2001 Census measured the town's population at 5,300.[1]


As with the neighbouring settlement of Rock Ferry to the north-west, a ferry service gave its name to the locality, with the first recorded mention of New Ferry in 1774.[3] Additionally, on 4 April 1865, a "South End" service was established between New Ferry and South Ferry Basin in the southern dock system of Liverpool, although this appeared to be relatively short-lived. From 1879, services to Liverpool Pier Head were usually augmented with Rock Ferry.[4] The ferry service was forced to close after a ship collided with New Ferry Pier in thick fog, in the early hours of 30 January 1922. Due to declining passenger numbers, improved local land-based public transport and a close proximity to the Rock Ferry service, it never reopened. The lease on the Ferry Rights officially expired on 22 September 1927, although no service had operated at New Ferry for over five years as a result of the collision.[5]

New Ferry was part of the Lower Bebington township, which became the Bebington-cum-Bromborough civil parish in 1922. Between 1894 and 1974 these parishes were administered as part of Bebington urban district.[6]

On 1 April 1974, local government reorganisation in England and Wales resulted in most of Wirral, including New Ferry, transfer from the county of Cheshire to Merseyside.

A more extensive history of New Ferry can be found on the website NewFerryOnline including a databank of hundreds of period photos dating back to the 1870s.


New Ferry is situated on the eastern side of the Wirral Peninsula, at the western side of the River Mersey. The area is approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) south-south-east of the Irish Sea at New Brighton and about 10 km (6.2 mi) east-north-east of the Dee Estuary at Heswall. The area is situated at an elevation of between 0–27 m (0–89 ft) above sea level.[7]


New Ferry is situated on the A41, the main road between Birkenhead and London prior to the introduction of motorways, and immediately adjacent to the village of Port Sunlight. At the centre of the town is the Toll Bar area, a name originating from when New Chester Road used to be a toll road. The re-routing of the A41 road onto the New Ferry By-pass, the first part from Bolton Road to Thorburn Road built in 1960, and extended from Thorburn Road to the Tranmere roundabout in 1976, has resulted in a decline in through-traffic in the town centre.

The nearest railway stations to New Ferry are Bebington and Port Sunlight, where trains operate to Chester, Ellesmere Port and Liverpool Central on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network.

Due to the location of New Ferry it is served by many bus services. Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseylink all operate through the town en route to destinations such as Chester and Liverpool.


The community led organisation, New Ferry Residents Association (NeFRA), has been actively seeking funding for a variety of projects since its inception in 1999. As well as successfully campaigning to get CCTV cameras around the shopping centre; the main car parks resurfaced; environmental improvements within Winstanley Road and Salisbury Drive; new pavings, railings and lighting in New Chester Road; and starting up the successful Wirral Farmers' Market in the Village Hall, the group has more recently carried out improvements to the Shorefields Nature Park where further improvements are also imminent. The group is also very active in discussions with waste operator Biffa and the Forestry Commission regarding turning the nearby former tip site at Bromborough Dock into a new park.


New Ferry has a small shopping precinct often referred to as "The Ferry". The area used to have a few chain stores. Kwik Save had two small premises in the town before moving to one new purpose-built site in 1992, which was then taken over by the Somerfield supermarket chain in 1998. Although the Kwik Save name was kept until 2006 before rebranding to Somerfield. And then the Co-operative Group acquired the Somerfield chain in 2009, which meant that the New Ferry store was rebranded again. There is also an Iceland store that moved into one of the old Kwik Save sites in 1992. The collapse of the Woolworths chain in 2008 saw the closure of its New Ferry branch, which reopened in September 2009 as a Heron Foods frozen food shop. The Ethel Austin clothing chain also had a large store in the precinct for many years, until the company was bought from the founding family in 2002. The store closed down in 2011, two years before the collapse and eventual demise of the company in 2013. The Co-operative store closed in May 2016, due to The Co-op Group sell-off of the larger Somerfield stores it acquired in 2009. This is due to the company deciding to concentrate on running smaller convenience stores, rather than running large supermarkets. This same store that was originally built in 1992, as a Kwik Save store, and contained shop floor units for concessions with other retailers now currently lies empty.

Numerous smaller retailers include: the Discount Carpet Centre, a 20-year-old family business; Buckleys newsagents, which has been in business under the same owner since the early 1980s. The Buckley family have also been prominent in New Ferry since the early 1800s, when they used to own and run most of the buildings dotted around. Buckleys newsagents was taken over in 2013, and is now a convenience store with an off-licence. For a small shopping centre it is unusual in having four butcher's shops: the oldest (the oldest on Wirral) is the much respected Edge's, with the same family trading in New Ferry since it opened in the 1850s.

The Wirral Farmers' Market, held in New Ferry's Village Hall (between Longfellow Drive & Grove Street) on the second Saturday of the month, has been voted Britain's Best Farmers' Market at the prestigious BBC Food & Farming Awards also received a UK National Regeneration Award from BURA for its work investing in the local community. The market is entirely volunteer run, its profits being used to fund local community groups and good causes.

New Ferry also had three major banks, National Westminster Bank, known more commonly now as, NatWest, which closed in 1993. HSBC, formerly Midland Bank which closed in the late 2000s, and Trustee Savings Bank, better known as TSB, which due to a merger with Lloyds Bank in 1995 became, Lloyds TSB, and has now, due to new banking regulations demerged, and was converted to a branch of Lloyds Bank rather than revert to a branch of TSB. It was announced in early 2016, that Lloyds Bank were closing their New Ferry branch in late July 2016. This means that the area will have no banks. The only ATM/Cash machine was located outside the Post Office branch on the nearby, New Chester Road. However, due to a campaign launched in the summer of 2016, by the small, independent businesses that line the main shopping thoroughfare. Two separate, independent ATM companies have provided two cash machines that do not charge any customers cash withdrawal fees.

Public houses and clubs

The area is home to several pubs including Shillings Bar, Alice's Place, The Cleveland Arms and the Wirral Hotel.

The John Masefield, a pub named in honour of a former poet laureate, who was briefly stationed on a training ship on the Mersey near New Ferry. Part of the JD Wetherspoon chain, the company received complaints due to the unfortunate resemblance of the Masefield portrait on the pub sign to Adolf Hitler.[8] As a result, it has received the nickname of "The Bünker" or "Adolf's". The company had said it would consider renaming the pub, but this has not happened to date.

New Ferry also has a number of Private Members Clubs: The Royal British Legion at Hesketh Hall on Boundary Road (now closed), The Ex Civil Defence Club in School Lane and The Bebington Liberal Club on Bebington Road.

One of New Ferry's links with its historic past as a tourist resort between the 1860s and 1920s was the Great Eastern Pub. The building dated from 1862 when Liverpool day-trippers began crossing the River Mersey by ferry to New Ferry Pier when it became known as "The Great Eastern Picnic Hotel". By coincidence, in 1888, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous ship the SS Great Eastern was broken up on the nearby shoreline, and many artefacts from the ship were auctioned off as it was being dismantled. The pub's owner bought a number of these including the ship's bar to install into the building, wood panelling for the walls, the ship's wheel and a beautiful stained glass window. Unfortunately, these were all removed by the last owners of the building in the mid 2000s, whilst the pub closed down in 2007. In November 2009 the site was sold to a housing developer, Worksharp Ecohomes Ltd of Southport, who, in February 2010, submitted a planning application to Wirral Borough Council to demolish the building, described as being "in a state of serious disrepair" and replace it with ten two-storey semi-detached houses. On 5 March 2010, the security screens were ripped off the doors and windows, the contents of the pub removed and the building left unsecured. Many members of the community had been concerned that the motive behind this was to accelerate the pub's derelict state and ensure its future demolition. This process began in June 2010, ahead of a site meeting by Wirral Council’s planning committee and despite an online petition by New Ferry Residents Association to save the building.[9] Over 400 people had signed the petition demanding that it be saved from the bulldozer and instead converted to housing. Worksharp EcoHomes obtained planning permission to replace the building with ten semi-detached homes, but conditions attached to that permission mean they must provide a permanent memorial to explain the significance of the area and its connection with the SS Great Eastern. Work finally began on building the replacement houses in March 2013.


Primary Schools in the New Ferry area include Grove Street Primary School, Church Drive School, Port Sunlight and St Johns RC Primary. The former site of New Ferry market has been turned into a Learning Centre, offering opportunities for young people and adults to further their qualifications.

Parks and open spaces

Facilities at New Ferry Park include a play area for children (refurbished and extended in January 2010) and football pitches, which are often used during local amateur Sunday league matches. In early 2012, the football clubs obtained £60,000 to refurbish the changing pavilion in the centre of the park.

Shorefields Nature Park on the banks of the River Mersey is a winter bird haven as it is designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.

New Ferry Butterfly Park

Out of a thin piece of land adjoining Bebington railway station and along the railway towards Birkenhead, local volunteers have, since 1993, created a wildlife haven, New Ferry Butterfly Park. Occupying an area of almost 5 hectares, the Park is designated as an Area of Special Biological Interest. Open to visitors on Summer Sundays, local volunteers provide tours and help to manage the site throughout the year.[10]

In December 2009 it was announced that the site's owners, Brock plc, want to sell the land - it is believed for development, even though the site is zoned as open space by the local authority. Brock have refused to sell the site to Cheshire Wildlife Trust or to Wirral Borough Council.[11] As a result of the 3,600 named petition by local residents and concerned persons across Europe, in January 2010 the Council agreed to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on Brock to force them to sell the land to them so that this much loved ecological resource can be saved for future generations.[12]

During 2010 artist in residence Carol Ramsay has created an art trail within the Butterfly Park that will be open to the public 12-4pm every Sunday during the summer months. The trail now contains work by many more artists. In 2012 an Empty Shop Project funded by Wirral Council allowed the Butterfly Park to move into the town centre for 6 months, with 6 artist residencies each encouraging community engagement. The shop was formally opened by Harriet Harman MP. The legacy of this project is that 2 more sculptures were added to the art trail, a fantastic interactive information board/artwork is in situ and a book has been published about it all.

New Ferry Butterfly Park was awarded official Green Flag status for 2013/14. On Sunday 4 May 2014 at 11am The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead will officially raise the flag and open the park for the summer season. There will be a Fete 11-4 that day with much for the local community to join in with.

Port Sunlight River Park

On the shore of the Rivery Mersey, between New Ferry and Bromborough, the former landfill site at Bromborough Dock was turned into a new £2.3 million community park. Now known as Port Sunlight River Park, it opened in summer 2014. The park now provides visitors with a number of distinct experiences including a freshwater lake which is rich in wildlife and other new habitats, a scenic waterfront, a perimeter walk, a link to Shorefields Nature Park, as well as paths to the summit which has fantastic views of the River Mersey estuary and city of Liverpool skyline.


New Ferry Wirral Hotel Football Club are a local amateur football club, who play their home matches at New Ferry Park on Sunday mornings.

The Olympic Taekwondo Centre is based in Bebington Youth Club, Cornwell Close. In 2008 the coach won Wirral Sports Council 'Coach of the Year' and the club took the Junior -73 kg male British National Champion title for the second year running.

New Ferry is the home of Bebington Youth Centre. In late 2012, Wirral Borough Council proposed to close the youth club (amongst many across the borough as the result of significant budgetary problems). However, the proposals were heavily opposed by the community who came together and signed a petition with over 1700 signatures to save the centre.[13] As a result of such loyal support, and the fact that the centre is one of the best attended in the borough, the Council dropped proposals for its closure in early 2013.


  1. 1 2 Wirral 2001 Census: New Ferry, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, retrieved 18 May 2007
  2. "Coordinate Distance Calculator". Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  3. Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd, p. 59, ISBN 0-86317-166-4
  4. Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd, pp. 60–61, ISBN 0-86317-166-4
  5. Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd, pp. 70–71, ISBN 0-86317-166-4
  6. Cheshire Parishes: Lower Bebington (including New Ferry), GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, retrieved 18 May 2007
  7. "SRTM & Ordnance Survey Elevation Data in PHP". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  8. Row brews over 'Hitler' pub sign, BBC News, 8 November 2007, retrieved 21 December 2007
  9. The Great Eastern pub in Wirral is demolished, Wirral News, 30 June 2010, retrieved 1 July 2010
  10. New Ferry Butterfly Park, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, retrieved 19 April 2010
  11. New Ferry Butterfly Park, a Valuable Nature Reserve, threatened with Closure, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, retrieved 19 April 2010
  12. New Ferry Butterfly Park, New Ferry Online, retrieved 19 April 2010
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