Moving on from Crosby, towards Liverpool, we stopped in the dock town of Bootle. I have wanted to visit here for sometime, as my Granddad came from here…
Status: Sefton District, Merseyside (Historically Lancashire), Town, England
Travel: Merseyrail (Southport – Bootle Stations via Blundellsands and Crosby), Merseyrail (Bootle Stations – Southport via Freshfield)
Eating & Sleeping: Greggs – Strand
Attractions: Town Hall, Old Museum Building, Merseyrail Stations, War Memorial, Edward VIII Statue, Strand Shopping Centre, Leeds & Liverpool Canal etc
As soon as left one of the two stations in the town (this one being Bootle Oriel Road) we could see the tower of the Town Hall only yards away. It’s a magnificent building that stretches for almost a block. A lot of functions used to be based here and one of the buildings has Library and Museum above the doorway, although these are no longer based here. Next to this is the old police station building, again not in use any more for this function.
The foundation stone was laid in 1880, on July 8th, commemorated by an inscription, by the then Mayor, John P McArthur. You will see this building from the train line, and it is visible even if you are just passing straight through.
The Clock Tower that is the crowning glory of the building is incredibly detailed, and can be seen from most places in the town.
From the Town Hall we walked the short distance down the road and round the corner to Bootle South Recreation Ground, which houses two structures of interest.
The first of these is the above War Memorial, erected in 1922, bearing the names of locals killed during World War I, and stands 24 feet tall. In 1948 the victims of World War II were added to the monument. Bronze statues stand on top, showing that the victims were not just soldiers, the familes back home suffered as well. In fact, during World War II, Bootle was the worst bombed borough in England and over 70% of all the houses in the town were destroyed or badly damaged.
Adjacent to the War Memorial stands a statue of King Edward VII (1841 – 1910, King of the United Kingdom & the British Dominions, and Emperor of India). Edward was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and became King after her death in 1901. He became popular for the strong ties he forged within the UK, and with other nations in Europe. His successor was George V (1865 – 1936).
Directly across the road from the park is Hugh Baird College, founded in 1891 and one of the largest education providers in the area, with over 7000 students.
We started heading towards a major shopping centre in the area, Bootle New Strand, and on the way we passed this interesting church building. We noticed that it isn’t a church any longer and has actually be converted into offices, and is now called Pinnacle House. We are unsure what it’s previous name was as I haven’t been able to find any information anywhere.
The next place of interest on our route to the shopping centre was the sleek, modern form of South Sefton Magistrates Court, which is one of the major centres for prosecution in the district, along with Southport Crown Court.
Moving on, and nearing the shopping centre, we got a glimpse of Christ Church, the local parish church, dating back to 1866. It is furnished in lovely red stone and stands out above the other buildings.
The last part of our walk took us over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which flows through from here into Liverpool city centre. It comes from Leeds as the name suggests, and after an extension in 1822 it runs 127 miles from Yorkshire to Merseyside, with a total of 91 locks. There are a few off shoots of the canal, including one that flows through the Lancashire village of Tarleton, where it meets the river Douglas which in turns runs into the river Ribble and out into the North Sea.
This was our ultimate destination to end our short stop in Bootle, the New Strand shopping centre. Opened in the 1960’s, it has 130 stores and although from the outside it looks quite small, when you enter you will find its a labyrinth stretching around 2 floors and there are a wealth of interesting and useful shops inside. Just outside the centre is Bootle New Strand railway station, on the Northern Line of the Merseyrail Network, between Southport and Liverpool, with trains going each way every 15 minutes.
So that was our trip to Bootle and its great to finally see where my granddad was from, and it seems very pleasant. Bootle’s large docks stretch into the distance and merge with those at Liverpool, and it is an important port.
The buildings have a nice architecture too them and there are a wealth of newer, modern buildings to complement this. Bootle has 2 train stations, Bootle Oriel Road and Bootle New Strand offering 15 minute connections to Liverpool and Southport, and Liverpool John Lennon Airport is accessible by bus link from Liverpool South Parkway which is also on the same train line.
Our final stop for the day, as we headed back towards Southport, was the town of Formby, which houses a National Trust Nature Reserve for Red Squirrels, and an impressive beach…