Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Rock Ferry

Rock Ferry is an area of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Residential building did not really happen until the early part of the 19th century, the rise of the ferry and the railway, and the establishment of the Royal Rock Hotel and bath house in 1836. Between then and 1870, the area received an influx of luxurious housing including the villas of Rock Park with many other large houses around the Old Chester Road making Rock Ferry one of the most desirable addresses in the North West.

In the later part of the 19th century, Rock Ferry expanded due to the need to house the increasing population of workers, especially at Birkenhead's Cammell Laird shipyard. The decline of local industries in the 1950s took its toll with many of the splendid buildings were dilapidated and unrestored. The building of a by-pass cut the town off from the river with the destruction of Nathaniel Hawthorne's former home in Rock Park in the process. From a nadir in the late 1980's, the town began a subsequent regeneration which still continues.

Death of an Era: Last Hours of Hawthorne's House by Geoffrey Moore
Lowry refers to Rock Ferry in a number of texts including his short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour'; "All around us in the fog lay that extraordinary terrain of the Industrial Revolution and the first street cars, where Wilfred Owen was at school and Nathaniel Hawthorne was Consul..." (Pg. 235); Lowry refers to the Rock Ferry Station in his short story 'Through The Panama';" - a letter came on board causing me much anxiety: my brother reports my mother is seriously ill in England. this is the first time i shall have seen her, as I hope to, in 20 years. Last time I saw her was at Rock Ferry Station, Birkenhead (where Nathaniel Hawthorne was consul), when she saw me off on the London train." (Pgs. 100-101) and he refers to Rock Ferry in a letter to Derek Pethick dated 31st august 1950; "I was born... in New Brighton, near Birkenhead, not far from where Hawthorne had his Consulate in Rock Ferry.(Collected Letters Vol 2 Pg.277).

No comments:

Post a Comment