WIRRAL HERITAGE OPEN DAY WEEK – by Fr. Hubert Strowbridge

An Inexpensive Day Out


This is an unusual one, as it is aimed at only those who can go between 5th September to the 13th September.  This is because it is Wirral Heritage Open Day Week when certain places, which are not normally open, will be open; and admission will be free for certain places which are open to the public; but which have an admission charge.  There are quite a number of places in this category for that week, but I have chosen a few – and generally those which have a religious significance.  Also I’ll presume you know how to get to the Wirral – but please remember (at the time of writing anyhow) not to change trains at Moorfields, but to change at Central. 


The first one I have chosen is Birkenhead Priory – open to the public Wednesday to Friday, 1 pm to 5 pm, and on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September, 10 am to 5 pm.  Guided tours will be available at 2 pm Wednesday BirkenheadPrioryto Friday, and at 12 noon AND  2 pm both week-ends.  Since the Ferry was started by the Benedictine Monks in the 14th Century it would be appropriate to travel by ferry from the Pier Head (free for those with a Bus Pass) and then just walk to the Priory.


The second one I have chosen is “the Dome of Home” as Saints Peter and Paul and St. Philomena’s Church in Atherton Street, New Brighton, is now called.  There will be guided tours on Saturdays 5th and 12th and Wednesday 9th, 2 pm to 5 pm, and Sundays 6th and 13th, 3 pm to 5 pm.  There is disabled access and refreshments will be available on these occasions. 


The third one is Mayer Hall and Park which is in the Village at Lower Bebington.  This was a gift from Joseph Mayer to the people of Bebington.  The Hall, Park and the old Free Library are a reminder of this Victorian philanthropist.  There is disabled access and refreshments will be available.


Fourthly, Bridge Cottage in Port Sunlight (Park Road).  This will be the first opportunity for anyone to visit Bridge Cottage – the largest house in Port

Port Sunlight

Port Sunlight

Sunlight and once the home of William Hesketh Lever, founder of the village.  It will also be a rare chance to meet a range of local artists and craftspeople who will be there during that week.  There is disabled access and refreshments will be available. 


Fifthly, St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Highfield Road, Rock Ferry.  Designed by E W Pugin in the early Gothic style.  The principal stone is Storeton faced with Welsh Pierrepoint of a bluish tint.  There is an outstanding Rose Window.  It is within 100 yards of Rock Ferry Station.  There is a ramp at the access from Ruskin Avenue.  Tea/coffee, biscuits and cake will be available.


Finally, St. Oswald’s Church in Bidston Village Road, Bidston, will be open 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesday 8th September, only.  Tradition has it that there has been a place of worship here from the 8th century – though the existing Church was built in 1856.  Beautiful stained glass windows – one crafted by William Morris to a Burne-Jones design.  Also a hand-crafted mosaic Reredos of the “Last Supper” by Salviati – an Italian artist.  Disabled access and refreshments will be available.

Wirral Peninsula – Heritage Open Days

Timetable of Open Day Events


Please let us have your feedback if you enjoyed this article and went on any of the Open Days, by contacting us at the Parish Office.