Marine Lake at New Brighton in Merseyside, England - January 2012
New Brighton is a seaside resort forming part of the town of Wallasey, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in the metropolitan county of Merseyside, England. It is located at the northeastern tip of the Wirral Peninsula, within the historic county boundaries of Cheshire, and has sandy beaches which line the Irish Sea. At the 2001 Census the population of the electoral ward of New Brighton stood at 14,450 (6,869 males, 7,581 females).
Up to the 19th century the area had a reputation for smuggling and wrecking, and secret underground cellars and tunnels are still rumoured to exist. It also had a strategic position at the entrance to the Mersey Estuary.
The Perch Rock battery was completed in 1829. It mounted 18 guns, mostly 32 pounders, with 3 6" guns installed in 1899. Originally cut off at high tide, coastal reclamation has since made it fully accessible.
In 1830, a Liverpool merchant, James Atherton, purchased much of the land at Rock Point, which enjoyed views out to sea and across the Mersey and had a good beach. His aim was to develop it as a desirable residential and watering place for the gentry, in a similar way to Brighton, one of the most elegant seaside resorts of that Regency period – hence "New Brighton". Substantial development began soon afterwards, and housing began to spread up the hillside overlooking the estuary - a former gunpowder magazine being closed down in 1851.
During the latter half of the 19th century, New Brighton developed as a very popular seaside resort serving Liverpool and the Lancashire industrial towns, and many of the large houses were converted to inexpensive hotels. A pier was opened in the 1860s, and the promenade from Seacombe to New Brighton was built in the 1890s. This served both as a recreational amenity in its own right, and to link up the developments along the estuary, and was later extended westwards towards Leasowe. The New Brighton Tower, the tallest in the country, was opened in 1900 but closed in 1919, largely due to lack of maintenance during the First World War. Dismantling of the tower was complete by 1921.
After the Second World War, the popularity of New Brighton as a seaside resort declined dramatically. However, the Tower Ballroom continued as a major venue, hosting numerous concerts in the 1950s and 1960s by local Liverpool groups such as the Beatles as well as other international stars. The Tower Ballroom continued in use until it was destroyed by a fire in 1969.
Ferries across the Mersey to New Brighton ceased in 1971, after which the ferry pier and landing stage were dismantled. By 1977, the promenade pier had suffered the same fate.
The area became the subject of Martin Parr's photographic book The Last Resort, which provoked local outrage.
New Brighton is part of the Wallasey parliamentary consituency and represented by Angela Eagle MP, of the Labour Party who retained her seat in the 2010 general election.
New Brighton is an electoral ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, which is itself a district of the metropolitan county of Merseyside. Elections for Wirral Council took place on 6 May 2010: Patricia GLASMAN (Labour) 3072 votes. Bill DUFFEY (Conservative) 2173. Julia CODLING (LD) 1166. Cynthia STONALL (Green Party) 342. Timothy PASS (UKIP) 222. (Electorate: 11,025 Turnout: 63.6% - Majority: 899)
Fort Perch Rock is a historically important site in the defence of the Port of Liverpool from the Napoleonic Wars to World War II. Apart from its defensive importance, it has also been a museum and venue for musical performances.
New Brighton Lighthouse was originally known as Perch Rock Lighthouse and construction began in 1827. Since 1 October 1973 it has not been in use as a lighthouse, having been superseded by modern navigational technology. These days the lighthouse is maintained by the Kingham family.[
The open air Bathing Pool opened in 1934 and was built to competition standards. South-facing, its walls were designed to act as a sun-trap and avoid seaborne winds. From 1949 to 1989 it was also home of the "Miss New Brighton" contest. It closed in 1990 following storm damage and demolished a short time later.
New Brighton has two recognisable churches dominating the skyline and viewable from the River Mersey. The Anglican church, St James Church, has a spire and is located on Victoria Road. St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church is at the top of Atherton Street.
New Brighton has a wide range of visitor attractions and facilities. These focus on the £60m Marine Point Leisure and Retail development completed in 2011. This includes The Light 8 Screen digital multiplex cinema, a Travelodge Hotel, a range of cafe bars and restaurants, a G Casino (due to open in May 2012), a Morrisons supermarket and a sailing school using the refurbished Matine Lake. Other attractions include the Riverside Bowl bowling alley, the Lazer (sic) Quest centre, the Art Deco New Palace Amusement Arcade (which includes a small fairground) and the Floral Pavilion Theatre which was rebuilt in 2008 as a first phase of the Town's regenration and accommodates a Conference Centre. Significnat investment has also been made in the public realm with particular highlightds being a model baoting lake and the Promenade. The four mile (6 km) long North Wirral Coastal Park is situated between New Brighton and Meols.
The Wirral Show, a free to enter annual event, was held on open ground off the King's Parade at New Brighton. In 2009 it was announced that after 33 years, The Wirral Show was to be axed.
There is a minor club scene in the town, with RJ's and the Playas' Lounge (a dual club) on the seafront, and the Tavern further inland.
The pop concert New Brighton Rock was held over two days: Monday 21 May, and Tuesday 22 May 1984 at the town's open air swimming pool and transmitted by Granada Television on Saturday 23 June 1984 on ITV. It featured many famous musical artists of the day, such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Gloria Gaynor, Madness, Nik Kershaw and Spandau Ballet. A strain was placed on local police resources due to an on-going commitment to the 1984-85 miners' strike. Nevertheless, the event was covered by Merseyside Police's Wirral Division.
A song about New Brighton called "New Brighton" was included on the 1992 album Song by Liverpool-based group It's Immaterial. In 1996, Wallasey Brit-pop band The Boo Radleys released the C'mon Kids album. Track 9 on the album was an atmospheric and nostalgic song called "New Brighton Promenade". New Brighton is briefly mentioned in the song "Radio America" by The Libertines and there is also a song entitled 'New Brighton' by Pete Doherty.
The Bandstand situated in Vale Park is a popular outdoor music venue, hosting a variety of acts, typically an Orchestra or Choir every Sunday. In more recent times the bandstand has hosted music to a much younger generation and popular throughout the summer. It has been an ideal platform for local bands wanting to gain recognition.
New Brighton Tower F.C. were an association football League club based in New Brighton that folded in 1901. Like Liverpool, Chelsea and Thames, New Brighton Tower were formed to play at an already-built stadium, the Tower Athletic Grounds, with a massive capacity of 80,000. The owners of the New Brighton Tower, a seaside attraction built to rival the Blackpool Tower, decided there was a need to provide winter entertainment, and had built a stadium adjacent to the tower. The football club was formed in 1896 to provide the entertainment, and joined the Lancashire League at the start of the 1897-98 season. After finishing as champions in their first season, the club were elected to the Second Division of the Football League when the League was expanded by four clubs. The team were very poorly supported, often averaging gates of 1,000.
The club signed a number of new players, including some who had played international football, and was reasonably successful, finishing 5th (out of 18) in its first season, and 4th in their third season. However, the cost of maintaining a professional football club became too high for the Tower's owners, and the club was disbanded in the summer of 1901, and replaced in the League by Doncaster Rovers.
In 1921, a new club was formed, New Brighton A.F.C., who would also play in the Football League from 1923 until 1951.
New Brighton is one of the smallest settlements ever to have a Football League club, although it was in close proximity to the much larger Liverpool.
New Brighton railway station is located on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. Support is growing for Merseytravel, the regional transport authority to re-instate the ferry to Liverpool.