Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Dock-road, Birkenhead

A name given by local people to Corporation Road which runs parallel to Birkenhead Docks from Rendell Street to Beaufort Road. The dockside of the road still features a high wall while across the road there used to be a mixture of terraced housing for dockers, workshops and other industrial sites. Though most of the housing has since been demolished and many of the former dockside industries replaced.

Former Mersey Arms

Former Wheatsheaf Hotel
The road also featured many docklands pubs including the Wheatsheaf Hotel (corner of Pool Street), Dolphin Hotel  (corner of Cathcart Street) and Mersey Arms (corner of Neptune Street) which have now all closed. The road is crossed by Cathcart Street which led to the Blue Funnel Line berths where Lowry sailed to the Far East in 1927.

Lowry refers to the road in his short story 'Goya The Obscure'; "Yellow-toothed the piano, Bluthner, which stood in the corner of the saloon in the Dolphin Hotel, Birkenhead Dock-road." (Pg. 270). A journey along the road may have inspired a scene in Lowry's short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour'; "Drawing near the dockside the pubs came thick and fast, with sea-sounding names here: the Dolphin, the Blue Peter, the Right Whale." (Pg. 233). The last 2 pubs are fictional.

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