History of Wallasey Churches

Poulton-cum-Seacombe



St. Luke's Church

Before the building of St. Luke's Church the nearest church for local parishioners was St. Hilary's but in 1882 a temporary iron building was erected in Limekiln Lane and services were conducted by the Revd. Wilfred Stanton. By 1899 the small building was not large enough to hold an ever growing congregation so they decided to build a proper church. Mr R.C. de Grey Vyner generously donated a site at the junction of Mill Lane and Breck Lane and plans were supplied by the architects Mr Harry May and Mr Lindsay Grant. It was realised from the start that nothing approaching the full cost could be raised at short notice and as there was no building fund, the whole amount would have to be met by subscription and bazaars. After the gift of the site, the McInnes family living at Heath Bank offered financial assistance.

Interior of first portion

The new church was planned to cover an area of 1,700 square yards, and the design was based on Early English style with interior columns of Runcorn stone. The original scheme was for a church to accommodate 400 to 500 people but it soon became clear that this would not be sufficient for the needs of the developing parish but the lack of funds meant no work could be done to enlarge the consecration. It was finally decided to build the Nave section only, and to extend to the full plan as funds became available.

Interior of completed church

The foundation stone was laid on 21st October 1899 by Miss McInnes, the principal benefactor. The ceremony was attended by a large number of people and the Bishop of Chester conducted the service. The first portion of the church was completed and consecrated on 1st November 1900 and the Revd. R.D Hughes became the first vicar. The font inside the church is the old Norman font from St. Hilary's Church. Poulton was made a separate parish in 1906.

During the First World War, many young men of the parish lost their lives, but their memory has been perpetuated in the splendid Memorial Hall which was completed in 1928.

Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall
War damage, 1941

During the Second World War the church was hit by a bomb during an air raid in 1941 which caused damage to the Steeple and roof. It was not until 1951 that all repairs were made.

Due to the raising costs of maintenance and falling attendances a suggestion was made joining with Marlowe Road United Reform Church but the idea failed due to both churches being in separate parishes. A decision was made that the church would close and meetings would be held at Park Primary School, Love Lane. The last service was held on Sunday, 11th December 2011.


Seacombe Primitive Methodist Church

The early history of Primitive Methodism in Wallasey is obscure. Primitive Methodists would have appeared to have reached Wallasey by Birkenhead and Liverpool

In 1837, a 17 year old convert of Poulton, William Hughes, and some of his companions began to hold prayer meeting in the neighbourhood. When these proved successful they looked for a place for regular services and built a chapel in 1838. it is more then likely that the 'chapel' was probably just a room in peoples homes as was the practice in any early worship setup. Early in the 20th Century, buildings were leased for a Primitive Methodist Chapel. The building belonged to the Salvation Army and stood in Brighton Street. The building consisted of a chapel and a school. The rent was £60 per annum. Later the premises became the offices of the Wallasey and Wirral Chronicles, and when the premises were demolished in 1957, a motor showroom was built on the site.

After World War One it was decided to open a new chapel. A site was obtained in Poulton Road, Seacombe, on the corner of Northbrook Road. The stone laying ceremony was held on 21st May, 1927, and was laid by Charles Wass Esq, J.P., who was to become Vice President of Primitive Methodist Church in 1930. The church opened for worship on 4th April, 1928, with the dedication service started by Revd. J.H Saxton of Middlesborough.

In the Second World War the Primitive Methodist Church was destroyed by a bomb during the March 1941 air-raids. The church was then demolished in 1944.


Poulton Wesleyan Church

Before Oxton Road Methodist Church was built local worshippers met in a room over a shop near the corner of Poulton Road and Oxton Road, opposite Gorsey Lane.

A site for a building was found on some waste land on the site of the present hall. The foundation stone was laid on 25th September, 1905 and originally the new building was called "Poulton Wesleyan Methodist Mission Hall" and it opened for service on 1st November, 1905.

Poulton Wesleyan ChurchAfter the First World War, the attendance had risen and it was decided to build a church as the hall was now inadequate. With accommodation for about 400 worshippers the new church opened on 3rd November, 1928 with the Superintendent Minister of the Wallasey Wesleyan Circuit, Revd. G.H Bainbridge, conducting the service. The old hall was still useful for Sunday School and other activities for the young people. Architects of the new church were R.E Shennan FRIBA of North John Street, Liverpool and was built in a modern version of Byzantine. The outside walls were faced with multi-coloured narrow bricks, set in mortar, and selected common Ravenhead Bricks, with capitals, string courses, architraves and panels of stone. The inside walls of the Church itself were faced with red pressed brick, also with stone dwellings and a shallow vault in the fibrous plaster.

New extensions were built and opened in 1961 but in the 1970s the Church found it financially difficult to keep going. Rewiring was urgently required as well as other refurbishments. Heating the church was a major issue too. It was not until 1989 that a decision was taken and the Hall was adapted for worship. The stage was adapted form a sanctuary with communion table, lectern and organ. A roller shutter closed the area off when the activities were other than divine worship. The Hall was refurbished with new chairs that could easily be stacked away and new carpets were laid.

With fallen numbers a decision was taken that the Church had to close. The final Methodist service was held on 29th November, 1994. The old church was transferred into the Oasis Day Nursery.

Oakdale Mission ChurchOakdale Mission Church, Oakdale Road, was opened in October 1881.It began when Mr Frank Johnson hired two cottages to hold up to 210 people. Initially the Church was under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of England, the parent church being Egremont Presbyterian Church. In October 1891 the first building was opened by the Rt. Hon. Samuel Smith, MP.

About 600 people attended the Sunday School, with 28 staff and church membership increased as 150 ladies enjoyed the weekly woman's bible meeting. Mrs Frances Leftwich started a Men's Bible Class where she taught 100 men each week. Mrs Leftwich also set up evening classes at the Mission which eventually led to 41 classes also with up to 1,000 students in 33 different subjects.

Besides the spiritual ministry, physical help was given to the unemployed, orphans and neglected children and rescue work was done by young women. For 32 years the work was led by Miss Emma Ayres. In 1908 Egremont Presbyterian Church took over full responsibility after the founder had died in 1902. Work began to finance a new building and on 19th September, 1906, Alderman T. Raffles Bully, JP., opened the new Oakdale Mission.

The Mission continued on until 1943 when it was closed and subsequently sold. In 1953 the Liverpool City Missionary was placed in charge of Oakdale. Today the building still survives and is being used as the 'Oakdale Nursery' which opened in July 1998.

This mission was formerly a Welsh Chapel and stood on the corner of Lucerne Road on Oakdale Road. It was sold to the Wesleyans in 1898; services started in 1899. Before it was bought a handful of Wesleyan Methodists worshipped in Sefton Cottages. Most of the worshippers lived nearby; they could quite easily have gone to Brighton Street Church. The mission was a two-storey building; the "Upper" Hall" was used for services and seated 75 to 100 worshippers. An interesting feature was the very large proportion of young people among the worshippers: 96 out of 139 recorded on one occasion.

It was an area where wages were relatively low, and it enjoyed Home Mission grants of £5-£15 a year. Collections however, were very low, and the trustees could not afford to keep the premises in good order. During World War Two German bombs damaged the building and it was later closed for good in 1944. It was recorded that "it served no further use". Most of the members transferred to the Brighton Street Church.

 


The foundation stone of the red brick Congregational Church in Liscard Road was laid in 1892 and was opened for public worship in February 1906 by Mr W.H Lever (later Lord Leverhulme).

At one point the church had a Lady Missionary as their minister, Miss Platt. The last minister was the Revd. Sidney Bowen. During his ministry the organ was often played by a 14-year old boy.

Seacombe Congregational Church, 1907 Seacombe Congregational Church, c1950 Seacombe Congregational Church, c1960
1907
1950
c1960

Church attendances fell away and it was decided to hold services in the adjoining hall. The church building closed down and it was not long after that the buildings were demolished in 1964., the congregation joining other churches in the neighbourhood. The petrol station now occupies the site. It is worthy to note, due to the colour of the brick work, the Congregational Church, the Welsh Presbyterian Church and the Seacombe URC were known as the 'Red, White and Blue Churches'.

Welsh Presbyterian Church wallaseyThe first meetings were held in a newly erected building that was situated on Chapel Street, Seacombe in 1838. As numbers increased a former Wesleyan Chapel in Victoria Road (now Borough Road) was purchased and served the congregation until the need for a still larger chapel was required so land was bought in Liscard Road. The stone was laid on Saturday, 3rd July 1876 by Mr. David Davies, M.P., Llandiniam. The plan of the building was cruciform and consisted of a nave 66 ft by 32 ft 6 in, a transept 22 ft 6 in by 15 feet, and a vestry 14 ft 10 in by 11 ft 6 in. The style of the architecture was Gothic of the early English period. The open pews were made of pitch pine with framed bench ends. The nave could seat 270, with the transepts used for schoolrooms. When the partitions were removed additional accommodation was afforded for a further 120 sittings.

The main gable fronting Liscard Road was flanked by a tower and spire, which rised in four stages to a height of 90 feet from the ground to the top of the vane. On the north-east side of the gable there was a small turret which rose up to 40 feet to the top of the finial. The roof was covered with blue Bangor slate.

The architect was Mr R.G Thomas of Menai Bridge and the stone was Penmon Granite from Anglesey which gave the church a white stone appearance. The schoolroom and caretakers house were added in 1895 and an exceptionally fine pipe organ was installed in 1916.

The founder and first elder was Mr Robert Owen, who came from Flintshire to work at a copper works that existed at that time somewhere near the Wallasey Pool. The first Minister of the church was Revd. Richard Lumley, a Cardiganshire man noted for his oddities and sharp repartee, who served from 1866 to 1884. Lumley Road is named after him.

By 1964, with dwindling membership, it was decided to unite the Church with the Rake Lane Chapel, and renamed as Wallasey Welsh Presbyterian Church. The old church was demolished in 1966 and Seacombe Library was built on the site and opened in July 1969.


The Seacombe Presbyterian Mission were founded in December 1862 and first met in a disused Wesleyan Chapel at the junction of Wheatland Lane with Birkenhead Road. Two Scotsman were its chief founders or leaders - Francis Johnston and Samuel Smith. Within a few months education facilities was established at the Chapel. The building was used until the new Mission House in Church Road, Seacombe was opened on 20th July, 1869. The total cost was £2,496, with the main hall being used as a schoolroom on weekdays, and as a church on Sundays.

Francis Johnston
Samuel Smith

By 1876 Church Road Mission House, for the purposes of Day School work, was becoming inadequate, and in the latter half of 1878 an extension building, known as the Western Hall was opened, erected on land purchased immediately behind the Mission. The cost of £958 (excepting the price of the land) was met by the Egremont Thanksgiving Fund, to which Seacombe Mission members had contributed, a fund inaugurated to mark the formation if the Presbyterian Church of England by the union of the Presbyterian Church in England with the Congregations of the Union Presbyterian Church in England. Accommodation was now provided for over 200 infants.

Church membership began to show a rapid increase and some four years later, the Mission House was proved too small. A new site was then found for the building of a new church. Standing on the corner of Brougham Road and Liscard Road stood 'Brougham House'. This 2,150 square yard site was purchased by the Seacombe Presbyterian Church for £1,550 in August, 1906. As their were insufficient funds to build the church, money raising events were held, including bazaars, concerts and sales of work. Also 134 yards of the land were sold to the Council. In 1909 a bazaar guide was produced which gave the membership as 204 and Sunday scholars 411.

Opening Ceremony, 1911

On 29th July, 1911 the foundation stone was laid and the new church of Gothic design was dedicated on 25th September, 1912. The Mission House in Church Road was closed and eventually sold to Wallasey Printers. The building being later demolished to make way for a superstore. A new hall was built to the right of the church which opened on 23rd January. 1926. The church, which still stands today, survived the Second World War with minor damage.

In 1860 the Seacombe Mission was separated from the parish of Liscard. Canon Sherwood ministered to about thirty members in an upper room of the Presbytery at the corner of Chapel Street. The Revd. Theopolis Degen became the first resident priest towards the end of 1860.

The Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Sea and St. Joseph Church in Wheatland Lane was built between 1888/89 on land purchased in 1875.. The foundation-stone of the first building was laid on 5th August, 1888. The church opened on 28th July, 1889, when the Bishop of Newport, Dr Hedley and Revd Bernard Vaughan, preached the first sermons.

The Grade II listed building was designed by Edmund Kirby. Details of the design are as follows :- stone with slate roof. Single vessel nave and chancel, aisles, chapels and baptistry. 5-bay nave has lancets with splayed reveals, paired to clerestory; south aisle has paired lancets, the central pair divided by weathered buttress, and end single lancets, end buttresses; north aisle has 2 gabled transeptal bays forming confessionals with rose windows. West front has flanking gabled buttresses. Entrance has 2 segmental-headed doors with sexfoil in tympanum with foliage; flanking windows and parapet with trefoil-headed arches. Giant arch has 6 gabled lancets with weathering and rose window above. Gabled north porch with north entrance and south canted baptistry with trefoil-headed windows. Chancel has canted end with 3-light window and 2 lancets to north and south. North chapel has 2-light north window. South chapel has 2-light south window with rose window in west gable. Tall gabled buttress to north of chancel. Interior: 5-bay arcades on round piers; waggon roof. Canted timber west gallery over porch. Octagonal stone pulpit on clustered shafts has cusped arches and marble shafts. Chancel arch has flanking canopied statues. Marble panelling to chancel and marble altar, reredos with aedicule. Timber parclose screens in arches to chapels. Good stained glass to chancel.

St Paul's Church was built in 1846-7 to the designs of John Hay, partner in the 'Hays of Liverpool' architectural firm with William and James Hay, and president of the Liverpool Architectural & Archaeological Society 1854-6. It was consecrated on the 12th October 1847. The nave was 88½ by 33½ and the chancel is 22 ft by 16 ft. The west end is surmounted by a tower and spire 120 feet high and was completed in 1849. St. Paul's had seating for 500 in number on open benches. The roof was open framed timber, stained and varnished. The west gable has a large mullioned and traceried window. At the north-western extremity of the chancel was the pulpit, and a lantern, which was also designed by Hay, stood on the opposite side.

The first incumbent of St. Paul's was Revd. Edward Roberts. B.A., who served the parish until 1864. The church was extended in 1859 through the addition of a South aisle (the 1st edition OS map published in 1876 depicts the South aisle already in situ by this time), and again in 1891 when a North aisle and Lady Chapel, and a West gallery/choir balcony were added. Most of the stained glass within the building dates to 1890-92. In the late 1940s/1950s, following bomb damage incurred during World War II, most of the chancel was rebuilt including the East window, which had been completely destroyed. The benches on the choir balcony were removed in the mid 20th Century, and the area is now used for storage. The pews in the church are replacements from St. Peter's Church, Birkenhead and were installed in the 20th Century. The organ was produced by Henry Willis & Sons and was installed in 1920. The carved stone font also dates to the 1920s. Electric lighting was introduced in 1906, as were the marble altar steps.

As the area of Seacombe began to be developed in the mid-late 19th Century from its origins as an agricultural hamlet, St. Paul's Church was one of the first buildings to be constructed, and it acted as a focal point around which the town grew and developed. The church was built to serve both the local agricultural community and wealthy parishioners who made their living in Liverpool, but who lived in large houses in the Seacombe area. The church was sited on a raised plateau above the River Mersey in order to dominate the view from the ferry buildings below, and the view from Liverpool itself across the river.

A parish school was constructed nearby to the church in the c.1860s, which ceased use in 1933. During the 1920s-mid 20th Century the area of Seacombe suffered from great deprivation and poverty, as the original wealthy inhabitants and families moved away. As a result the church suffered from years of neglect due to a lack of funding. This eventually led to the removal of the top 20ft of the spire in the mid 1920s, as the fabric had become unsafe. The modern late 20th Century replacement crown was made at the Cammell Lairds shipyard in Birkenhead.



Seacombe Presbyterian Church was located at the south corner of Belle Vue Road and was opened in 1865 and was demolished prior to 1960. The site is now a supermarket.

The chapel was built by the United Methodist Free Church c.1884 in St. Paul's Road. The chapel closed in 1935 and was sold in 1939.

The Seacombe Bethel Methodist Church was situated on Wheatland Lane, corner of Woodview Avenue and was founded in 1892 by the 'Seamen And Boatmen Friends Society'. The aim of the society was to promote the social moral and religious welfare of the seamen, especially flatmen, fishermen and canalmen. The society was established in 1846 and had its premises at the Flatmen's Bethel, Mann Island, Liverpool. Thomas Stevenson was the first incumbent of the Mission and by 1900 was replaced by Rev. S. Ventham. By the 1950's the Mission was demolished.