Over The Water

Recollection Of A Rare Summer Childhood Trip To Moreton

Written by C. Cowderoy in 1989

We often hear stories from Wallasey people about the splendours of the old ‘Ham and Egg Parade’, the Red Noses and acres of sand on New Brighton Beach, and about the thousands of trippers who came here by ferry-boat to enjoy them, so I thought you might be interested to hear about my earliest recollection of Wallasey.

I was six years old when my grandmother (Nini) decided to take a holiday. She booked a bungalow and took with her all her grandchildren, her teenage son and daughter, and the children of several friends. This large party boarded a tram-car at Old Swan and, carrying all the impedimenta of a seaside holiday, we rattled off to the Pier Head. We crossed the river by ferry and then took a bus to our exciting holiday destination which was – Moreton!

The bungalow smelt of dampness and there was an old gramophone with one record, called, appropriately enough ‘River, Stay Away From My Door’. The furniture was large, ugly and musty and there was an ancient cooker which was a miracle of efficiency. On arrival Nini would put the leg of lamb, which she had brought with her, into the oven and twenty-four hours later it

would be ready for Sunday lunch. Outside each bungalow was a small patch of land overgrown with grass and weeds and surrounded by a drainage ditch. The sanitary arrangements consisted of what is now known as ‘Chemical Toilet’, but as I remember it there must have been a great shortage of chemicals!Sunday brought lots of visitors. Relatives and friends arrived on cycles and motor-bikes, and Nini cooked and served meals all day long. The boys collected cockles, which Nini cooked in a white enamel bucket and served for supper.

We children spent the long summer days digging in the sand, bathing and walking along the breakwater to visit the lighthouse and were so tired at night that we didn’t mind sleeping four to a bed.

Whenever we had a penny to spare, we ran round the corner to the small playground. My favourite stall was one where I pulled a string attached to a prize. I collected an assortment of rings, brooches, books and pencils, but the star prize always eluded me. It was a monkey, whose arms and legs were on springs and he danced furiously when jerked! On the way home I went into the fairground for one last try and, wonder of wonders, I won the coveted monkey. Many years later I found out that Nini had bought it and arranged with the stallholder for me to “win” it.

All these things combined to make this an unforgettable holiday and you can perhaps understand how the name ‘Moreton’ to a small child could hold as much magic as, say the Costa Brava or the Bahamas might do today.