Archive for History

Women Unionists Egerton Park c.1929 – Eg Pk News (Spring 2018)

The women’s suffrage movement fought for the rights of all women over the age of 21 to vote on equal terms with men.  The more militant tactics of the suffragettes included shouting down speakers, hunger strikes, stone-throwing, window-smashing, and arson of unoccupied churches and country houses.   The fight for women’s votes was finally won in 1928 when the Conservative government of the time passed the Representation of the People Act.   This photo, lent to us by a new resident of the park, was taken just one year after women got the vote.   So did Egerton Park have its very own suffragists?   These women look far too respectable to chain themselves to railings!   We understand that this photo is of a charabanc outing and, if you look carefully, you can see the vehicle.   If anyone recognizes a relative in the photo or has any idea where in the park it might have been taken, we would love to hear about it.

Women's Unionist Photo - Colm 20-02-2018

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment »

Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From? – Eg Pk News (Spring 2018)

Historians believe that the Easter bunny originated from the ancient pagan goddess “Eostra”, who was symbolised by a hare.   Pagans celebrated Eostra during the springtime because the goddess symbolised fertility and the Easter egg was a symbol of new life.   This became closely related to rabbits, which were known for their bountiful reproduction!   Christianity eventually assimilated many of these pagan traditions into the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ at or around Easter.

In our spring newsletter 2017 we told you about the tradition of painting or colouring Easter eggs which began as early as the 13th century.   This tradition combined with the hare as a symbol of fertility to create the Easter bunny.   The Easter bunny first appeared in a German written text in the 15th century and was called Osterhase, the egg-laying hare.   Children celebrated Easter by making nests for the rabbit where it could deliver its coloured, chocolate eggs [who said children were stupid?].

German migrants took this tradition to the USA in the 1700s when they settled in Pennsylvania.   Eventually the egg-bringing Easter bunny expanded throughout the USA and back to Europe but, instead of just bringing eggs, the bunny also brought sweets and gifts.   Since around the 1870s this tradition has expanded to Easter egg hunts and Easter egg rolling competitions, even at the White House in Washington DC.

Closer to home the Wirral Egg Run took place on 18th March 2018.   This is an annual bikers’ charity event which takes place along the west coast of the Wirral, starting at New Brighton, through Wallasey, Moreton, Hoylake, West Kirby, Thurstaston, Heswall, Thornton Hough and Clatterbridge ending at Claremont Farm.   We know of at least one of our residents who regularly takes part in a motor cycle and side car.

Whether you take part in an Easter egg hunt or just enjoy some chocolate whilst relaxing at home, or engage in any other events, we wish you all a very happy Easter.   This spring, let’s all commit to making Egerton Park a safer and nicer place to live in 2018 and beyond.

Leave a comment »

The End of an Era: 77 Egerton Park – Eg Pk News (Christmas 2017)

Many of you will remember this magnificent Victorian Villa in its heyday.   Sadly you will also have watched its gradual deterioration to a point where it now appears past repair, the final nail in the coffin being the huge fire earlier this year which destroyed much of the roof.   The property has now been fenced off and it seems that its future can only be demolition.

A couple of our more mature residents moved to the park in 1968 – almost 50 years ago – and we have decided to include here some of their memories of life at number 77.

At that time there were few cars seen in the park and the road was pothole free!   The gardens of the house at 77 were beautifully kept with a vegetable plot at the back, where tomatoes were grown and apple trees produced a good harvest of fruit.   Hens, ducks, a pony and a rather noisy rooster also lived at the back of the house.

As far as our residents recall, the elderly owner lived alone but was joined by a woman who travelled from Ireland with 8 children to act as his housekeeper.   She moved into the downstairs rooms of the house and when the owner died she took in lodgers.   She had a reputation as an excellent baker – soda bread was a speciality – and homemaker, and tea and cakes would often be served in the veranda room.

Unusually the kitchen was on the first floor and the house had 2 staircases, one of which was made of beautifully carved wood.   The property also had its own boot room and a rotunda with a glass-leaded domed ceiling.   Sadly none of this remains.

Big parties took place every New Year, complete with a piper in a kilt who walked round the park piping in the new year.   Do we have any volunteers for this year?   Many park residents joined in the celebrations.   Every year a summer fair was held on the lawn with proceeds going to Tranmere Congregational church.

It all sounds a bit like Downton Abbey.   We will all be sorry to see this wonderful building disappear from the park for ever.

If any other residents have memories about the days gone by in the park and about this property in particular, we would love to hear about them and could include them in future newsletters.

Leave a comment »

Where Did Easter Eggs Originate? – Eg Pk News (Spring 2017)

Easter has a much older set of religious traditions than many of the Victorian Christmas traditions that we have come to know and love.   The custom of the Easter Egg as a gift can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia (now Iraq & Syria), and from there spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches.   Eggs, in general, were a traditional Christian symbol of fertility and rebirth but they came to symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus after his resurrection, hence their connection with Easter.   The oldest tradition was to use dyed and painted chicken eggs (often red to symbolise the “blood of Christ”).   In the 17th and 18th centuries the idea of the egg-shaped toy emerged and these were given to children at Easter often filled with sweets.   Not surprisingly the chocolatiers began to exploit this tradition and the first chocolate egg in the UK is attributed to JS Fry of Bristol in 1873, shortly followed by John Cadbury who made a “Plush” Easter Egg in 1875 which cost 3 shillings and sixpence.

The origin of the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg Hunts are more difficult to establish but one theory we heard was that an egg hunt is a simple way of proving to your children that they can indeed find anything they look for if they really want to!   Let’s hope we all find what we are looking for this Easter whether it is a huge Easter Egg, a relaxing time with family, better health, new flowers and growth in our waterlogged gardens, warmer weather or a smooth Brexit!   One reassuring thing is that a holiday that starts with a “Good Friday” is probably going to be a great weekend – let’s hope so.

Leave a comment »

Bedford Lawn Tennis Club – Eg Pk News (Christmas 2016)

Some time ago we were contacted by a member of the public asking if any residents could remember Bedford Lawn Tennis Club, which was previously situated in Egerton Park.   We included this request for information in our summer newsletter 2016 and we have had a response from a resident who does remember the courts.

Apparently, they used to occupy the site where numbers 38, 38A, 40, 40A and 40B now stand and were surrounded by a high metal fencing.   This was demolished when the houses were built in 1973.   Our resident believes that they were clay courts as he often discovers sections of the clay surface when he is digging.

We would be interested to hear from those residents who live in the above-mentioned houses and whether they have ever found the odd stray tennis ball!   We are going to have a look at some old plans of the park to see if the tennis courts are shown there.

Leave a comment »

Bedford Lawn Tennis Club – 11/08/2016

Some time ago we were contacted by a member of the public asking if any residents could remember Bedford Lawn Tennis Club which was situated in Egerton Park.   We included this request for information in our summer newsletter 2016 and we have since had a response from a resident who does remember the courts.

Apparently they used to occupy the site where numbers 38, 38A, 40, 40A and 40B now stand and were surrounded by a high metal fencing.   This was demolished when the houses were built in 1973.   Our resident believes that they were clay courts as he often discovers sections of the clay surface when he is digging.   We would be interested to hear from those residents who live in the above mentioned houses and whether they have ever found the odd stray tennis ball!

We are going to have a look at some old plans of the park to see if the tennis courts are shown there.

Leave a comment »

Two Remarkable People – Eg Pk News (Christmas 2015)

Whilst researching for this short history piece we came across two remarkable people from Wirral.   In this year of First World War remembrance we thought you might like to hear about them.   One represents courage, valour and survival; the other represents peace, equality for women, and justice.   For Christmas 2015 we can all learn lessons from their lives and struggles and hopefully we can replicate in some small way the human values that make Wirral and its people so special.

Corporal John Thomas Davies, known as Jack, was born on 29th September 1895 in Railway Street, Rock Ferry.   In the great surge of patriotism which followed the outbreak of World War I he was one of the first to volunteer for the newly-formed 11th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment and was deployed to France in 1915.   He was wounded twice during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and twice returned to active service.   By 1918, although still only 22 years old, Jack was an experienced and battle-hardened soldier when Germany launched a great spring offensive.   On 24th March his battalion were occupying positions near the village of Eppeville.   After heavy shelling the Germans advanced across the Somme and, within an hour, Jack and his comrades were surrounded and under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire.   When his company, outflanked on both sides, received orders to withdraw, Jack knew that the only line of escape for his comrades lay through a deep stream lined with barbed wire.   He mounted the parapet on top of the trenches, fully exposing himself, in order to get a more effective field of fire, and kept his Lewis gun in action to the last, halting the enemy advance and saving the lives of many of his comrades.   Army bosses assumed he had been killed and his parents were notified of his death in action.   He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, before information was received two months later that, he was in fact a prisoner of war.   He is therefore believed to be one of only two men ever to have been awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross while still alive.   Jack Davies returned to England after the war, where he married and lived with his family for the rest of his life.   He died aged 59 in 1955, and is buried in St Helens Cemetery.   His Victoria Cross is on display in the Imperial War Museum, London.

The Royden family has a long historical connection with Wirral since 1660, living at Frankby Hall and later at Hillbark (Royden Park).   Although the family came from humble beginnings (bricklayers), Thomas Royden founded a successful shipbuilding company in Liverpool in the 1700s and became wealthy.   His granddaughter, Dr Agnes Maude Royden, was born in the family’s Liverpool home at Holmefield House in Mossley Hill in 1876.   Known to all as Maude, she was educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Oxford University.   After working with families in the slums of Liverpool she became a lecturer in English Literature but this was a time of suffrage and Maude became increasingly involved in the Suffragette movement.   In 1909 she was elected to the executive committee of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and edited the Union’s newspaper, the “Common Cause”.   In 1915 she became the Vice-President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, campaigning heavily against the raging World War.   By now her fame was spreading and Maude became well known as a speaker on social and religious subjects.   In 1917 she became assistant preacher at the City Temple in London, the first woman to occupy this office.   In the 1920s she began the official campaign for the ordination of women priests when she founded the Society for the Ministry of Women.   She was the first woman to preach in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, but prior to that she had courted controversy yet again on her worldwide preaching tours, frequently being banned by the male local religious leaders.   In 1931, Maude became the first woman to become a Doctor of Divinity.   She continued to campaign tirelessly for pacifism during the troubled 1930s, but even Maude had to temporarily renounce it in 1939, believing Nazism to be a greater evil than war.   Maude died in 1956 leaving a legacy of philosophical and religious teachings and was an inspiration for many who were to follow in her footsteps.   While on a speaking tour in Australia in 1928 she was described as “England’s first woman preacher and England’s greatest woman”.

What an inspiration both Jack and Maude, opposite sides of the class system and war versus pacifist debate they were.   Should they be alive today the world would benefit enormously from their existence.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Leave a comment »