The boom for Rock Ferry came in the early 19th century with the rise of the ferry and the establishment of the Royal Rock Hotel and bath house in 1836. Shortly after in 1910, the Olympian Pleasure Gardens were opened sited directly adjacent to the Royal Rock Hotel. These gardens were considered premiere for the time drawing in visitors from not only Liverpool but also further afield. The gardens hosted classical piano concerts and also slapstick comedy shows, with performers including Arthur Askey and Tommy Handley. At times the gardens held a prestige similar to the more famous Vauxhall Gardens in London. Shows were held in a large tent set amongst the trees and shrubs of land owned by Charles Boult. The gardens closed in the late 1920s after Mr Boult's death. In the 1950s the Royal Rock Hotel had also began to fall into decline, mainly because of the lack of visitors now due to the closure of the ferry service. By the 1980s the building was closed and prepared for demolition. Today all that remains are the scattered remains of some masonry hidden amongst undergrowth and foliage.
The remains of the Royal Rock Hotel
This map from 1840 shows the layout of the hotel and pier during its prime situated on the waste land between Bedford Road East and Rock Lane East today.
The records show that the building was owned by the Rock Ferry Company and covered 2 acres, 2 roads and 38 perches.
The Bath house on plot 5 opposite was also owned by the Rock Park Proprietors and occupied by Hughes Brown and Daniel Campbell covering 1 road and 12 perches.
The dockside on plot one was also owned by the Rock Ferry Company and consisted of building yard and pier covering 1 acre, 1 road and 15 perches.