Eastham was an important crossing point of the Mersey from the Middle Ages, a ferry service
operated across the river to Liverpool, an early ferry known locally as Job's ferry was run by monks
from the Abbey of St Werburgh in Chester. Several dozen coaches a day and both goods and
passengers would arrive each day at the pier by the late 1700's. In 1816 a paddle steamer service
was introduced replacing the sailboats but the service fell into decline as an important link with the
opening of the Chester to Birkenhead railway and the ferry terminal at Woodside.
|The above pictures show Eastham Ferry in its hey day.
At its peak thousands of visitors would flock to Wirral, many
via Eastham. The banks of the river were surrounded by
grass and benches for visitors to sit and take in the
landscape. The ferry could cross the river in 20 - 45
minutes and moored at Liverpool. The main ferry's that
operated at Eastham were The Ruby, The Pear and The
Sapphire. The latter was the last boat to sail from Eastham
Eastham also grew in importance when it became the
entrance port to the Manchester Ship Canal. The canal was
opened by Queen Victoria in 1894. A Jubilee Arch built to
celebrate 60 years of the Queen's reign was brought to the
entrance of the Pleasure Gardens in 1897.
Eastham was now in its heyday as a 'resort' Eastham Ferry
was known as the 'Richmond of the Mersey'. The area
around the hotel and ferry pier now form Eastham Country
The Carlett Park area of Eastham was
originally the house and grounds of
the Carlett Mansion House. The home
of Canon Torr (1851-1924) , who was
the Canon of Chester and Vicar of
Eastham, who lived in the Manor
House with his family until his death in
The Chapel at Carlett Park was built in
1884 as a family chapel, it is the only
remaining part of the original house
listed in the Diocese records as ‘The
Chapel of the Good Shepherd'. A listed
building, it was built originally for
family worship by Canon Torr.
(see picture below)
|The above pictures show Eastham Ferry Hotel, Gardens & Jubilee Arch.
In 1846 Thomas Stanley the owner of the ferry built the Eastham Ferry Hotel and Pleasure Gardens
to attract more visitors and halt the decline. The Hotel attracted visitors from far and wide. It was
here that ships captains spend there night whilst waiting for the tide and their turn to take the ship
into the canal. To the rear of the Hotel stood a large ballroom that held regular dances and visitors
could enjoy fine wine and a spot of tea on the balcony.
The elegant Victorian glass veranda on the front of the Hotel symbolised the grandeur of the era.
Unfortunately the veranda was removed during major refurbishment in the 1970's. A sandstone jetty
opposite the Hotel is the remains of the ferry landing stage built in 1878. The last regular service from
with paddle steamers ran from here in the 1920's. The brass plaque on the plinth was unveiled by
the Mayor at the opening of the Country Park in 1970. The small sandstone building close to the
jetty was once the ticket office where visitors could buy a ticket for the paddle steamers "Ruby",
"Pearl" and "Sapphire". In its heyday Eastham Ferry was known as the 'Richmond of the Mersey', but
its popularity declined during the 1920s and the last paddle steamer crossing took place in 1929.
In the centre stood Jubilee arch which was the entrance to the famous "Pleasure Gardens". The arch
was built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The arch contained huge
plaques commemorating battles which the British had won during her reign. The arch also showed
small cherubs holding scrolls and depicted statues of herself on both sides of the arch. The arch was
closed in 1930 when it was deemed by Wirral Council to be unsafe. After it was demolished the
Council had a change of heart and ironically reversed their decision stating that it was safe. As you
can imagine their was a great outcry.