The manor of Bebbington was sold in 1736 by authority of an act of parliament by Charles
Cholomondely of Vale Royal. The two main purchasers of the lands were the White family and the
Orred family. In 1810 Mr White obtained an act for improving the passage between Liverpool and
Cheshire at the manor of Rock Ferry and for levying certain tolls on vessels using the it.
A document form the time states:
"This sets forth that Mr White claims to be seised in fee simple and possessed of the manor, or reputed
manor, of Higher Bebbington, and also of the lands, ferry, passage, tolls, now commonly called and known
by the name of the Royal Rock Ferry; which he has greatly improved, and intends to still further improve
by making or extending a pier, slipway, or quay into the river Mersey so that persons, horses, cattle, carts
and carriages may be safely conveyed at all states of tide and particularly at low water, which at present
cannot be done at this or any other ferry on the river".
Interestingly other documentation from the time shows that Mr White also proposed to built a similar
ferry opposite on the adjoining banks of Toxteth in Liverpool. Sadly Mr whites plans never came into
fruition and his estate was dispute until it eventually came into the hands of Thomas Moorecroft of
Liverpool who purchased the manor in 1820. He created a pier and small dockside allowing a ferry
service to travel across the river Mersey just as Mr White had intended to do.
In 1836 the Royal Rock Ferry company was created which took over service of the ferry. The
company purchased much of the surrounding land and set about creating a wonderful design. A
large hotel was built known as the Royal Rock Hotel, which included large pleasure gardens, bathing
pools and shops. The ferry service did not seem to take off as well as it should have and share
values plummeted as investors began to panic. The service was rescued for a while by
Mr T.W Thompson of Eastham who rented it for a while overseeing most of its operational success,
In 1886 his lease expired and the Royal Rock Ferry company took control once again. Within a year
the company once again was in trouble and the ferry service was abandoned leaving the area
without river access due to the Tranmere ferry having been destroyed in a storm some time earlier.
A more secure ferry terminal was constructed and the service carried on until being discontinued on
the 30th June 1939. Although the ferry landing stage was removed in 1957 and the terminal building
demolished, the pier now forms part of Tranmere Oil Terminal which has been heavily modified. In
addition to this loss the Royal Rock Hotel fell into disrepair and was demolished in the late 20th
century leaving only a stone slipway originally used by the ferry service as a reminder of the past.
|Past & Present Picture 01
|Past & Present Picture 02