It’s been a busy but very rewarding July

It’s been a busy period at Flaybrick as apart from our normal volunteer activities, we recently undertook three walks in a single week.

Firstly we had the fourth of our monthly walks on 14th July which was attended by 39 visitors who yet again toured the site in glorious sunshine. During the walk and amongst the dozen or so stops, our audience heard about a member of the Laird family, the man who was Birkenhead’s Medical Officer of Health for 28 years and Sir William Jackson, one of Birkenhead’s greatest benefactors.

There was again of course the usual opportunity at the end of the walk for people to look around the chapels and to talk to our members; a further bonus for visitors was the chance to hear a couple of poems from our resident bard, Terry.

On Monday 16th July we welcomed a small group of members of the Wirral Local History Group who went on our short walk covering the Non Conformist and C of E sections. As we walked around, visitors heard about Lord Evans of Claughton, Edward Kemp, the man who designed Flaybrick Memorial Gardens and Isabel Hunt who was lost when the Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland in 1915. Although this is a shorter walk, there were still twelve stops on the tour and the opportunity to see inside the partly restored chapels.

Then on Friday 20th July we welcomed 19 members of the Formby U3A and although we saw some rain earlier on, we managed to get around Flaybrick without any trouble. A good number of the visitors had never heard of Flaybrick and those who had were unaware of its importance as a site of such significance locally. The group had an excellent morning with us and were very generous in sending an email after the event thanking our members for the interesting and varied talk they had enjoyed. It was nice that the group organiser took the time and trouble to thank us for our efforts.

The fifth event in our monthly guided walk programme will take place on Saturday 11th August; please check our website nearer to the day for confirmation of the details.

by Rob Dolphin

Rob leading U3A group on guided walk

Private guided walk on 28th June 2018

Private tour group at FlaybrickOn 28th June in blazing sunshine yet again, we welcomed members of the Leverhulme Pensioners Association for a guided walk around our parched acres.

Thirty one members of the group attended and few had any awareness of the importance of Flaybrick in the history of Wirral prior to the day. We were able to tell them about the beginnings of Flaybrick and talk about a dozen or so of the people resting here at the site including one of the architects who designed the chapels and also one of the founding fathers of Tranmere Rovers.

The Friends would like to thank the group for their interest and in particular for the generous donation over and above the standard £2 fee we ask for. For a small charity such as ours, kindness on this scale is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to all the unsung heroes

We are always delighted when people walking around Flaybrick stop and talk to our volunteer group members about what we do and what our plans are for the future. On gloriously hot days such as we’ve been experiencing recently, it’s also a good excuse to have a break and get our breath back!

We are, too, always delighted at the kindness and support shown to us and a couple of recent examples demonstrate this so well:

On Sunday 10th June, local community organiser Rob led a group of eight volunteers round Flaybrick Memorial Gardens to undertake a litter pick. This was an entirely voluntary act of the part of the group for which they sought no thanks or attention; their kindness only came to light because our own Rob, who is looking after the guided walks programme for this year, happened to be on site at the time planning the July walk.

The Friends of Flaybrick are grateful to Rob and his merry men and of course to any other group which may wish to come along to give us a hand to keep the site in good condition.

Similarly on 30th June a dog walker stopped to chat as we were working to create the paths around the chapels and seeing that the chapels were open, asked if he could have a look around them. After about ten minutes he emerged and had been amazed at what he had seen. Before leaving to continue his walk around, he very kindly gave us £20 for our charity and thanked us for all that we are trying to do to keep Flaybrick looking good.

The support we receive from the people of Wirral is greatly appreciated.

Stunning Weather Continues for Third Walk

Once again we were blessed with beautiful weather for our third walk of the 2018 programme. Amongst the stops on this slightly shorter walk around the gardens, the 35 visitors heard about the young North End boy who came across an unexploded bomb with devastating consequences, Birkenhead’s first ever Labour Party MP and the Birkenhead born Bishop of Shrewsbury.

The walk finished with a stop at the grave of the man who, more than any other individual saved Bidston Hill for the people of Wirral to enjoy forever as a public open space.

As always, the Friends were in the Chapels to show visitors round and to look at the display of old photographs from our archives.

By Rob Dolphin

Visitors enjoying third guided walk

 

Conservation Management Plan – Have Your Say

As part of the consultation process we invite you to check out the plan which will dictate the way that Flaybrick is managed and also, to some degree, the future direction of the site. The executive committee has already made a line by line check of the document and submitted it’s response but your input is welcome.

The plan can be viewed at the following link https://www.wirral.gov.uk/leisure-parks-and-events/parks-and-open-spaces/flaybrick-memorial-gardens

All comments to johnjakeman@wirral.gov.uk by the 15th July.

Flowering Tree - Flaybrick Memorial Gardens

Great Turnout for Second Guided Walk

Great turn out for 2nd Guided walk

Despite the counter attraction of the Royal wedding, we were joined by 33 visitors on the second of this year’s monthly guided walks on 19th May. We were blessed with glorious sunshine as we made our way around the site and ended the walk with another chance to look around the partly restored chapels.

We look forward to seeing you on our next walk on 9th June.

By Rob Dolphin

Mary Mercer Blue Plaque Unveiled

Friends of Flaybrick at unveiling of Mary Mercer Plaque

The Friends of Flaybrick attended the official unveiling of a blue plaque at 103 Norman Street Birkenhead, to commemorate the life of Mary Ann Mercer (1883 – 1945), Birkenhead’s first female Mayor, 1924 – 1925.

Mary Ann Mercer, who is buried in Flaybrick Memorial Gardens, was a working class socialist and a life long pioneer of women’s rights.

During the presentation, Terry Briscoe, local poet and Friend of Flaybrick, recited a poem he’d written especially for the occasion.

Mary Mercer

by Terry Briscoe

Birkenhead’s first female Mayor, lived in Norman Street,
Mary Ann Mercer is her name, and her we would love to meet.
She was elected in 1919, a Labour councillor till 1945
A pioneer for women’s rights, and many kids she kept alive.
She’s buried in Flaybrick cemetery, and is mentioned in the tour
No doubt she was invited in, by god, when she knocked at Heavens door.
So Thank you, Mary Ann Mercer, Birkenhead’s first female mayor
We’ve gathered here for, the revealing of this plaque
It’s a moment we want to share!

Mary Ann Mercer - Blue Plaque

 

Inauspicious start for Queens Commonwealth Canopy Sapling

Thanks to all for turning out on Saturday, for yet another visit by our patron, unfortunately as he was an hour early, a lot of us missed the actual ceremony. This was the planting of a beech tree to commemorate our taking part in the Queens Commonwealth Canopy project. Big thank you to Luke and the council staff for finding a place for the tree and digging the hole and also to Jon for back filling it over night to prevent accidents. All we have to do now is to work out how it will survive as it is only 2ft high!

By John Moffat

Queens Commomwealth Canopy project Beech Sapling at Flaybrick

Big Thanks to our Regular Volunteers

Over the past few weeks, in preparation for our first walk of the year, our regular volunteers have removed several tons of accumulated earth from the paths around the chapel, all by hand! Whatever the weather our volunteers turn out every Thursday and Saturday morning to help keep Flaybrick looking as magnificent as it does.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be adding a lot more information about the work our volunteers do, why we do it, and how you can join us. However, if you can’t wait to get involved then all you have to do is turn up at the Tollemache Road entrance just before 10am on any Thursday or Saturday morning and help us make Flaybrick Memorial Gardens even better.

Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
Volunteers Clearing paths around Chapel
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First Walk Great Success

On 14th April, The Friends of Flaybrick held our first guided walk of 2018. Despite poor weather for most of the week, a fairly dry spell meant that although soft in parts, the ground wasn’t too bad for those who came along. We’d started the day with a welcome visit from the group’s patron, Birkenhead MP Frank Field, who enjoyed looking around the chapels and chatting to the volunteers about work we’ve been doing and what is planned for the year.

The sun started to break through as we were ready to go and as we started off at 11.00 am there were a total of 45 visitors who initially received a welcome from Daphne before joining Rob, Jayne and Chris D. to hear about a dozen or so of the people resting in Flaybrick Memorial Gardens. There were a fair number of volunteers working in and around the chapels and near the Founders’ Aisle so it also gave the visitors an opportunity to see what we get up to in close quarters.

The skies cleared as we moved around the site and we were eventually blessed with a beautiful morning which ended with the first chance this year to look around the partly restored chapels and to have a closer look at some of the old photographs which were on display.

Our next guided walk is scheduled for Saturday 19th May and further details can be found on our Guided Walks page. Any group wishing to arrange a private guided walk can do so by emailing walks@flaybrick.org.

By Rob Dolphin

Rob leading first guided walk of 2018