Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Birkenhead Park Railway Station

Birkenhead Park railway station is situated in Birkenhead, Wirral, England. It lies on the Wirral Line 31⁄2 miles (5.6 km) west of Liverpool Lime Street on the Merseyrail network.

The station was opened on 2 January 1888, as a joint station between the Wirral Railway and the Mersey Railway. It replaced the Wirral Railway's original terminus at Wallasey Bridge Road (close to the present-day Birkenhead North station), becoming an interchange between their line to West Kirby and the Mersey Railway's new line to central Liverpool. On the same day, the Wirral Railway's new line to Wallasey Grove Road opened, which was extended to New Brighton later that year.

Lowry refers to the station in his short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour'; "At Birkenhead Park we left the car. I said goodbye to Featherstonbaugh, giving him one of the half-crowns that had already taken shape from my father's eyes that morning....We took the Mersey Underground Railway." (Pg. 233). The journey made by the narrator of the story may have been a familiar one to Lowry as he is on his way back to school probably using the same route as Lowry did - by car from Caldy, underground to Liverpool and main line train to the Leys School.

Lowry also makes another possible reference to the station in his novel Ultramarine when Dana recalls his time with Janet; "His whole being was drowning in memories, the smells of Bikenhead and of Liverpool were again heavily about him, there was a coarse glitter in the cinema fronts, children stared at him strangely from the porches of public-houses. Janet would be waiting for him a the Crosville bus stop, with her red mackintosh and her umbrella, while silver straws of rain gently pattered on the green roof..."Where shall we go? The Hippodrome or the Argyle? ..... I've heard there's a good show on at the Scala - (Pg. 27)

If Janet (Tess) was coming from her home in 26 Thirlemere Street in Liscard then she could have taken a Wallasey Corporation bus from Liscard across Birkenhead Docks to Park Station, which was the terminus of Crosville buses in 1927 in Birkenhead. This would have been logical if Hilliot (Lowry) travelled to meet her either using the steam train from West Kirby Station, which terminated at Park Station in the 20's before electrification in the 30's; or he travelled by Crosville bus 108 from West Kirby.

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