Thursday, 16 August 2012

Greasby, Wirral

Greasby is a large village on the Wirral Peninsula, England. The earliest known human settlement in Merseyside has been found at Greasby, dating from approximately 7000 BC. A rectangular floor of sandstone slabs and pebbles suggests regular use by the nomadic hunters of that period. Greasby was an Anglo Saxon settlement, as witnessed by the form of the name, Gravesberie, in the Domesday Book. Gravesberie derives from the Old English gräf and burh, recorded as meaning a "stronghold by a grove, trench, canal or wood". The name was Scandinavianised to Greasby, under the influence of Old Norse speakers in Wirral (gräf and býr, with býr meaning "settlement" or "farmstead").

After the Second World War the area expanded considerably, with significant residential development across previously agricultural land. This has resulted in Greasby becoming contiguous with the nearby settlements of Moreton, Upton and Woodchurch. Read more on Wikipedia

In the 1920's the main road to Birkenhead from Frankby went through Greasby. This is the route that the narrator takes in the short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour' from Caldy to Birkenhead;" There was a sea of mud round the farm yards. We splashed through little villages named Frankby and Greasby." and  "I noticed the pubs longingly. Greasby, the Coach and Horses. I was sorry to be leaving the pubs behind though I had never entered one." (Pg. 232). Lowry also refers to the village in his novel Ultramarine when Dana and Janet go for a walk on the Wirral; " It was in Greasby they saw a horse in the stable - 'dreaming and warm'.. "(Pg. 42). Lowry is possibly referring to Greasby Hall Farm seen below.

Lowry refers to village in In Ballast to the White Sea; Sigbjørn passes through the village on his way to Birkenhead to catch the train to Liverpool on his journey to Preston; "Soon they had turned the dangerous Frankby corner into the Greasby road, passed the village green and the village cross, and roared into the straight. At the corner, by the Coach and Horses, he slowed down." (Chapter X1).

Lowry also refers to the village in a letter to Carl Brown dated April 1926; "I walked to Greasby looking for the dog which had gone in the other direction - but I sang all the way." (Collected Letters Vol 1 Pg. 9).

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