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Bromborough Pool

It is hard to imagine now, but the docks at Bromborough was once the biggest privately owned dock in
the world. For over fifty years large ocean going vessels called at Bromborough to deliver raw materials
for the factories of the area including soap manufacturer Lever Brothers until the dock closed in 1986.  
Looking at the docks today you could hardly imagine shipping on this scale.  This is the story of
Bromborough Pool & docks.
The Bromborough Pool Docks
The Bromborough Docks
The Bromborough Docks
The Bromborough Pool Docks
Bromborough Pool, which faces Liverpool from the south bank of the Mersey, has played an important
part in the maritime history of the Wirral.  For centuries the pool was nothing more than a hazard and
the surrounding area thick with marshes and empty fields.  In the 19th century Liverpool was the port
of entry for all West African goods.  This began to make the opposite side of the river bank prime
resource and a valuable docking area.  Any docks that were built on the opposite side of the Mersey
within the Wirral peninsula, would also avoid paying Liverpool dock and harbour dues (taxes).  

In 1850 Price's was the world's largest manufacturer of candles. The company employed over 2000
people in its London and Liverpool factories and had an annual output of 25,000 tons of candle and
other products. The London factory at Battersea covered eleven acres which included a paraffin
distillery and buildings for candle, soap and lubricating oil manufacture.  Due to its immense size the
company quickly began to realise that they needed to expand.   The site in London did not have any
room for growth and the decision to look elsewhere was taken.  The palm oil imported by Price’s Patent
Candle Company had to be unloaded in Liverpool and then transferred by boat to London, before being
transported up the River Thames by barge from the London Docks to the company factories at Vauxhall
and Battersea for the actual manufacture of the candles. This was an expensive and time consuming
process which gave rise to the idea of building a factory at or near Liverpool.  After examining many
areas, Bromborough was chosen due to its ability to avoid certain taxes, the room for growth, the
position so close to Liverpool, and its depth which meant that ocean going vessels could also dock
there.  
And so in 1854 Prices
Patent Candle Company
bought 61 acres of land to
built a factory unit at
Bromborough Pool and a
small village for its work
force.  The company wanted
its workers to have good
housing and plenty of room
and also provided amenities
such as halls, shops and
sports facilities.  

The sod was to be cut by
the Rev. E. Dyer Green,
rector of Bromborough on
Saturday 3 August 1889.
The music was provided by
C.E.T.S. Bromborough Pool
Band.
The Bromborough Pool Band
The Bromborough Pool Band
The first houses to be built at the Price's Patent Candle Company were built in York Street.  Thirty two
houses were erected and the first resident was a "William Cutbill" who moved up from Price's London
works in January 1854.  Another street of sixteen houses called Manor Place was built in 1856, the name
was taken from the site of the old monks manor which it was built around.  At this time sections of Court
House Farm were also rented and used as a hostel for twenty local boys.   By 1858 there were seventy
six houses with a population of 460 people and the village was growing at a fast pace.  The building
lulled for a period due to financial restraints but in 1872 an additional fifteen extra houses were built.  A
small road was built in front of the old quarry that had been used for sandstone.  Six brand new houses
were built along this road.  Today it is known as South View.
The construction of Bromborough Pool Chapel
By 1878 there were over 100 houses but
more financial difficulties meant that
building work had to stop again.  In village
also suffered from a diphtheria outbreak
killing 7 people.  After tracing the source of
the outbreak it was linked to a near by field
which was being used by the Liverpool
Corporation to dump rubbish from
Liverpool.  Actions were quickly taken to
build a fever hospital in the village and the
dumping of refuge into the field was
stopped.   

The owners also took action in 1880 by
pumping out the water from the flooded
quarry.  Increasing numbers of people were
becoming trapped in the slurry and many
had drowned.  After the quarry was
pumped dry, bricks were added to the
gravel bed to stop it from sinking.  A third
phase of building took place many years
later in 1896.  The new phase of building
saw an additional 24 more houses added
to the area with additional improvements
from the predecessors.  The additions were
20 houses in South View and 4 in Manor
place.  This new phase of building also
added to the community by building a
chapel in 1889.
The construction of Bromborough Pool Chapel
At the turn of the 20th Century a further 8 houses were built into the area.  By this point the village had
Provident Society, the Horticultural Society, a Cricket Club, a local Band, a Football Club, a Child’s Club,
Sick & Funeral Society, Mother’s Union, Housing Society, Bowling Club and a  Dramatic Society.

In 1919 Price's was taken over by its neighbour and rivals Lever Brothers.  Three years after the
takeover Lever Brothers entered into an agreement with several other companies to create a new
jointly owned company, it was named "Candles Ltd"  This new company took over Price's and all its
subsidiary companies.  In 1936 Lever Brothers pulled out of Candles Ltd, taking the Bromborough works
and all the soap manufacturing rights with it.  Many of its employees chose to continue to live in the
Bromborough Pool village.  The Village is still standing strong today although there are many owners
now from privately owned dwellings to Riverside Housing Association.  
 A drawing of Prices Patent Candle Company and Bromborough Pool.
Left:
A drawing
of Prices
Patent
Candle
Company
and
Bromboro
ugh Pool.
Photograph of Prices Candle Company
Employees of Prices Candle Company
Employees of Prices Candle Company
Photograph of Prices Candle Company
In the 19th century a gunpowder store sat at the mouth of the Mersey at the site of Bromborough Pool. It
result of this a small village of around 12 houses was built around the area.  The houses were barley big
closure of the powder stores the village slowly disappeared.  

The area today is covered by McTays Boat Yard.  A road leading to this area was named Magazine Lane, it
can be seen as the white line on the picture in the related information section.  The red line shows the
area in which the powder stores were built.  Sadly the area today is a mass of industrial buildings and
dense over grown wild fields frequently used by fly tippers.  
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Related Information:
Click to enlarge
Magazine Village