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Sixties Day Out: Across The Mersey To New Brighton

Updated on May 1, 2015

A Day In New Brighton: Ferry Across The Mersey

I was a child of Sixties Liverpool, in a family with little money. We didn't have holidays but we did get days out - and our favourite was to go across the Mersey to New Brighton, funfair, beach and gorgeous-smelling street food (or hamburgers, as we called it then).

Up early, butties made -- sandwiches that is -- cheese, jam or fish paste. Orange squash in odd bottles, bottles of Dandelion and Burdock lemonade if Dad had had overtime recently. An apple or two and a promise of something more exciting "when we get there".

On the bus, sometimes pick up Grandma along the way -- BOOOOO -- and into town, (Skelhorne Street Bus Station in the centre of Liverpool, that is), Walk to the Pier Head and there it is -- The Mersey Ferry Terminal.


Image: New Brighton Lighthouse at low tide By Lukasz Lukomski (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you been to Liverpool?

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Ferry Across The Mersey

Yes, the one Gerry Marsden sang about

Liverpool was a working port in those days -- and it was long before containers were heard of. Huge liners docked here, the Royal Iris and the Royal Daffodil went back and forth to the Isle Of Man (wherever that was to this little urchin). The boat we'd come for though was the one that mattered to me. The Mersey Ferry! It probably looks ancient to you now but for me it was every ocean-going ship I'd ever read about, it was smells of tar and brine, it was seagulls mewing, it was winds like I'd felt nowhere else, it was a playground for the imagination that couldn't be bettered.

Stow Grandma, Mum and sisters in the covered area -- brother and me up on top deck. "Don't fall overboard, you two." "No, Mum". Not for want of trying anyway: those railings were begging to be climbed. Even the wobbly gangplank at either end of the voyage was scary and exciting.

Gerry Marsden's Classic Song - Ferry 'cross the Mersey

Ferry 'cross the Mersey - Classic Sixties pop

British Invasion: Gerry & The Pacemakers - It's Gonna Be All Right, 1963-1965
British Invasion: Gerry & The Pacemakers - It's Gonna Be All Right, 1963-1965

Lovely DVD with 17 songs: Gerry and the Pacemakers were the Liverpool band for a while, setting chart records that lasted years. Very much like the Beatles, they were working class Liverpool lads, with musical roots in the Skiffle era, and they produced some classic songs, from I LIke It to Ferry and the lovely Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying. Lack of ambition kept them from developing - mind you, Gerry today is short and fat and never stops smiling - he still sings his songs and audiences still love him.

 

New Brighton Fairground

And amusement arcades - hooraaayyy!

And on to Part Two of the day: the funfair. Now, all you younger viewers, you'll be thinking Alton Towers or Disney here -- you'd be surprised and perhaps horrified if you saw a Sixties funfair. To me though it was fantastic. Again the smells: diesel and candyfloss and more hamburgers (we weren't spoiled for choice in those days) and the ultimate -- deep-fried doughnuts, hot and greasy and sticky with enough sugar to give an elephant diabetes.

The rides -- garish and loud and bright and strange. The monster ride -- the Rollercoaster (yes, that's its proper name). No space-age theme, just a very rickety wooden structure that looked like a good wind would move it a few miles down the coast to Birkenhead. Health And Safety people would condemn it on the spot these days -- to a small boy it was the ultimate experience -- it was supposed to sway like that, the cars were supposed to clank and shudder and feel as though they were falling apart.

Okay then, Grandma's flagging - find a bench or sit on the beach and have a couple of butties and a swig of warm orange. Eat quickly cos the amusement arcade awaits -- beg a couple of shillings from Mum, race over to the arcade and change them (at a booth, no machines in those days) into pennies -- old pennies. On to the waterfall -- knowing you'd never win but you still had to try. The crane to win a tatty little toy -- never, ever seen anyone win on this!

Gambling habit well instilled, back to the matriarchs. If Grandma can last a bit longer, buckets and spades out and sandcastles to build. Then a spit and hankie wipedown (yuk) and back to the ferry. Knackered, grubby, happy.

merseyside maritime museum by albert dock
merseyside maritime museum by albert dock

Visiting Liverpool

Some websites that will help

VisitLiverpool.com: Everything from accommodation to food to theatres -- excellent site, well maintained

What's On LIverpool: Similar to VisitLiverpool, also well maintained

TrainLine: Train journey info throughout UK: best site for good prices and booking

Mersey Travel: Local bus and train info, including details of travel passes

LIverpool Museums: Museums plus major art galleries - the Walker Art Gallery is one of the most underpublicised gems of the nation

Liverpool Confidential:LIverpool Confidential - rough and ready local site, great restaurant reviews

If You Want A Cathedral - We've got one to spare

Liverpool has two cathedrals (see below). In the famous line "we've got one to spare" you'll often hear a few scallies (naughty people) singing "two".

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral exterior
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral exterior

The Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedral

The Anglican Cathedral is a beautiful edifice fashioned in the local red sandstone. Gothic in style, designed by Sir Giles Scott, it was built in the 20th Century yet commands the heights as though it was centuries older. Inside is even more majestic - have a look at the cathedral website for some wonderful pictures and details for visitors. (The cathedral does casual and guided tours.)

Image copyright Diocese of Liverpool, used with permission.

Liverpool Catholic Cathedral
Liverpool Catholic Cathedral

The Catholic Cathedral

Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ The KIng

Walk along Hope Street from the Anglican Cathedral and you'll come to a hugely different building - the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ The KIng (the Catholic Cathedral for short). Another 20th Century building, this is radical in design and implementation material - concrete. It continues to arouse very mixed feelings, it's locally known as the Mersey Funnel, yet it has won the affection of many. The vast open space inside and its unique layout form a perfect area for worshippers, bathed in the light shining through the huge stained glass lantern window.within the tower.

Image copyright Archdiocese of Liverpool, used with permission.

The Grimy Sixties - Liverpool has definitely changed!

Dr. Zhivago
Dr. Zhivago

What Else Happened In 1966?

My tenth birthday was a major event.

In other parts of the world:

  • Ronald Reagan became governor of California and Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India
  • England won the World Cup
  • Luna 9 and Surveyor 1 landed on the moon
  • USA put health warnings on cigarette packets
  • First episode of Star Trek
  • Dr. Zhivago released
  • Pampers introduce the disposable diaper

ribble bus
ribble bus

What Bus Did We Get?

Actually been asked this! The L85, Ribble. Red double decker -- they all were for Ribble. Corpie buses didn't come out Crosby/Thornton way.

(Corpie = Corporation, from calling the then local government authority the Corporation). Their buses were green and cream and looked manky compared witt Ribble's red.

New Brighton Beach
New Brighton Beach

Photo Credits

Childhood Excursions: Your Memories - Your comments and memories please

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    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 2 years ago from Midwest

      Enjoyed reading your page!

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 2 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      I've got that tune in my head now. great trip down memory lane with this trip across the Mersey

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      I remember Ferry 'Cross the Mersey from my youth very well. I can imagine what fun you and your family had during those trips. Thanks for the vicarious memories.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 3 years ago from New York

      Like you, my family didn't have a lot of money for vacations. We would often just hop in the car and go for a drive, no destination in mind. It was always such an adventure. Your trips on the ferry sound like so much fun.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 3 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      now I have that tune stuck in my head - ah those were the days.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 3 years ago

      OMG! That was a good year for me as I was coming into my awakening as a young gal. Loved the song.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 3 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Diesel, fairyfloss and deep-fried doughnuts are smells from my childhood too. But that '56, not '66 and a long way away from LIverpool

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 4 years ago

      My parents didn't have much money, but every Sunday we'd take a drive somewhere and picnic... Huntington Beach if it was warm, Mt.Baldy for a good hike or to visit snow, and the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens (since my father was friends with the head groundskeeper we got to get in free).

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I had no idea that 'Ferry 'cross the Mersey" was about an actual ferry and place. I remember the song well. What fun reading about your memories of the Mersey and your 'days out' at New Brighton beach and funfair. My 'similar' memories are of "Roseland", an amusement park on Canandaigua Lake - one of the Fingerlakes in New York State. As a 10 and 12 year old we could ride our bikes down the hill (3 miles - but nothing to a kid on a bike!) to the lake and for 10 cents we could buy an ice cream cone AND ride the Merry-Go-Round! The neatest part of Roseland is it lasted until MY children were old enough to experience it (though the prices of rides {and food} had greatly increased), but it was a joy to share my happy childhood memories with my own kids! :)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this article - I knew the Mersey existed of course but nothing more. Well done.

    • profile image

      poutine 4 years ago

      Listening to "Ferry 'cross the Mersey ". Good song.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 5 years ago

      Been to New Brighton a few times, although must go again soon as it's all done up new now! I was a southern girl in my childhood so it involved Clacton beaches or lots of trips out to lovely places in Suffolk or Norfolk. One favourite was going to Bressingham steam museum once a year to ride the steam trains and steam carousel!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

      Memories of childhood take me to Baja Mexico where my grandparents had a trailer on the beach. We would play all day, scrunch into that small place, and fight with each other (3 of us) to see who got to sleep in the bathtub!

      BTW...absolutely loved your story of your trips, but felt sorry for granma :)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Interesting. Reminds me of our sometime Sunday afternoon daytrip on the Staten Island ferry in New York. Per person it was 5 cents and I believe it was $5.00 to take the car. There was nothing special in Staten Island, we would just drive around. It was the trip that mattered and the hot chestnuts we'd get from vendors on the dock.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Although I have never been to the place, this lens took me back to the time. I cannot remember any vacations in the mid-sixties either, but around this time my parents decided to buy a large canvas tent. I remember a series of nightmarish camping trips. I had no regrets when they decided to give up that hobby!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      What a long time ago it was when I first heard that song and I always wanted to take that ferry! Here I am, almost 50 years later, and I still haven't made it to Liverpool - much less tell the ferry to take me across the Mersey

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      I had to read it through twice so as not to miss a moment of your memories. I really enjoyed the ferry ride, as well as the tune from the past, and had such fun at the New Brighton Fairground. And now I, too, am knackered! But it's a jolly good tired, thank you! Blessings and a bit o' sunshine!

    • Joyce Mann profile image

      Joyce T. Mann 5 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

      I've always loved reading about Liverpool ever since the Beatles first came to the states. Regarding 1966, I well remember the cigarette warnings and the release of Dr. Zhivago which remains my all-time favorite movie.

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 5 years ago

      I am a Stokie, so our days out were to Prestatyn or Rhyl, but I've also spent enough time in Liverpool to get a good dose of nostalgia here. Super lens, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

      Neat lens Paul--thanks so much for sharing it with me.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I enjoyed tagging along with you on this outing. Some of my best memories of trips with my folks (especially those my dad and I took, just the two of us) were more just days out and not far from home.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 5 years ago

      Sounds like a fun childhood experience :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Yes, remembering times gone by myself after reading your lens, and missing them. My aunt and I spending summers together (we're the same age, more like sisters)..swimming, the fair, the corner store for candy, a walk to great grandma's house, boys, lol..oh those were the days. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Remembered those days when we had to make do...it was more fun and life was simpler, too.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading about your childhood a bit. It sounds like you have some wonderful memories.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Thanks for sharing. Reminded me of similar childhood excursions with my family here "across the pond."

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Really love reading about your childhood memories.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      "we don't care what your name is boy, we'll never send you away," I envy that you were born in England....wish I'd have been too, because I've always loved it. I love this lens even if it DOES contain content, haha!! Blessed!

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 5 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Living at the other end of the country, days out to towns on the South Coast were always an adventure. Have only visited Liverpool once though, several years ago, when Everton played Woking in the Cup!

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      I've been to many places in England, but never to Liverpool. I should give it a try! :) By the way, is there a cathedral in Liverpool? I am sure there is, but it's always best to double check. I ask because my family has the tradition of having lunch at the main cathedral in every town we visit.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I sure enjoyed reading your travel memories. We didn't go very far when I was growing up but I always loved going to the nearby mountain to Oconee State Park.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 5 years ago from Vancouver

      It is always a pleasure to read personal experiences included in a lens. Well done.

    • LNAngel profile image

      Lauren 5 years ago from Florida

      Love the memories!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Wonderful childhood memories, including the smells. Though your memories took place on the other side of an ocean from mine, still, they reminded me of things I did as a child, like riding the Block Island Ferry. I live a couple thousand miles away from my oceanside home now, but I still remember the mixed smells of boat fuel and seafood fresh from those same fishing boats. Thanks for making me nostalgic!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I enjoyed your childhood memories very much! Well told.

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 6 years ago

      I never made it to Liverpool, but we went to Swansea every month and London every weekend- I miss ALL of it (in the US now)-even the smell of the busses. There were also regular outings to Stonehenge. The swig of warm orange sounds familiar! The fairground does look like lots of fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I also grew up in Liverpool in the 60s and I remember going to New Brighton. I'm taking my American family there in a month or so - it'll be interesting to see their reaction!

    • profile image

      capecodartandnature 6 years ago

      I love this lens! I grew up around the same time but on the other side of the pond. Have always been fascinated by England and we made our first trip there this past fall--didn't quite make it to Liverpool, though--on our next trip! We did similar sorts of things on this side of the Atlantic, and yes, I sure do remember that song!

    • itsmuzza2011 profile image

      itsmuzza2011 6 years ago

      Superb lens , i take my children over the water on the ferry so the dont forget the Scouse history, and to have a good time on New Brighton beach...

    • profile image

      grannysage 6 years ago

      Wow, you were right where history was being made. I love the song Ferry Cross the Mersey. Now I shall think of you when I hear it. I suppose the Beatles were next door neighbors too? What a lovely look at a part of the world that most of us have only heard about.

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 6 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      All I can say is :)

      Blessed with an even bigger :)

    • profile image

      moonlitta 6 years ago

      Dropped by to see how you're doing- and came upon another great lens:)

    • Paul Ward profile image
      Author

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @TillyMint LM: We were told if we chased our sisters with a crab we'd never get another trip to New Brighton!

      Thanks for dropping in and good to hear from you :)

    • TillyMint LM profile image

      TillyMint LM 6 years ago

      I grew up in Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, just a ferry ride from Liverpool. I remember getting the number 10 bus to New Brighton and spending most of the day on the sand looking for crabs and shrimps. You could catch massive crabs then and I used to chase the boys with them. I remember the picnics on the sand and the warm orange juice (were we at the same picnic?) I remember walking out a bit too far in the sand and getting cut off by the tide but luckily we got back to dry land, none the worse for the experience. Love this lens. Love going back to Liverpool, but sadly New Brighton is a shadow of its former self.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      I remember wanting to learn everything about Liverpool during the mid 1960's. Why? I fell in love with the Beatles, of course. Lensrolling to my "Take a Fashion Trip Back to the 60's" lens here on Squidoo. Your wonderful memories will fit in nicely there.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      This is a great lens. It is so interesting and fun to read about memorable childhood experiences like this. Adding mySquidAngel blessing to the others you've received.

    • charle lm profile image

      charle lm 6 years ago

      that sounds like an interesting trip, would love to get the chance to visit Liverpool someday.

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 6 years ago

      What fun! :)

      ~ Blessed by a Squid Angel >*

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Great lens, it seems like many of your experiences were the same as in many a kids childhood. Thanks for the memories.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great childhood memories, as I have of living in Bournemouth. Lensrolled to my Bournemouth lens. I write an article several months ago on Gerry Marsden on Associated Content too, great music.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great memories. Blessed by a squid angel.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 6 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Never been to England, looks great though.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I have never been there, it looks fabulous! Childhood memories can be amazing thing to remember:)

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 6 years ago

      I was in Brighton once. Nice place.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I went there once and had a great time. Missed out on the ferry though. Next time. This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      What a nice memory! We had a park visit or two, but never a ferry ride! Enjoyed your story very much! angel blessings...

    • profile image

      DickeyDido 6 years ago

      That song was played here in the USA but I never knew what it meant, thanks. Great lens.

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 6 years ago

      Our days outwere to stratford and if we could afford a holiday, down to Brean we'd go. I remember the 'something better when you get there' lol! You're lens made me smile, I like your style of describing things. Played the video to accompany the reading! You should put this into the quest at the moment of childhood memories, was funny!

    • stuhaynes lm profile image

      stuhaynes lm 6 years ago

      When I saw this lens, I thought of Brighton, 1966 mods and rockers! I was wrong of course. I didn't realise there was a 'New' one. Very good lens, a thumbs up, and yes, I can smell the diesel and the candyfloss....

    • Nimblepins profile image

      Nimblepins 6 years ago

      "Fe-rry. Across the Mer-sey" Oh yes! I know it!

    • Paul Ward profile image
      Author

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Butties are sandwiches: in those days made from sliced white bread (it was that or Hovis brown). Sometimes we got bread and scrape - bread with margarine put on then scraped off to leave a very thin coating. My father used to eat bread and dripping -- rendered fat from cooking beef or pork. Can you feel the arteries crackling?

    • nebby profile image

      nebby 6 years ago from USA

      Always one of my favorite songs. It's nice to get some insight of what it was like to ferry cross the Mersey ;)

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. You really made the time and day of your piece unforgettable. Congratulations on one of the best lenses that I have ever read.

    • scrapperkare profile image

      scrapperkare 6 years ago

      nice lens!

    • aerome profile image

      aerome 6 years ago

      Cool lens :-)

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      Well done, enjoyed my visit :)

    • Geekgurl profile image

      Kimberly Hiller 6 years ago from Chicago

      Nice lens and detail. What is a "butties"?