friends of birkenhead park
That which is good should be preserved
World Wars in the Park
During both World Wars of the 20th century, Birkenhead Park had a role.
The Park has shared in the sacrifices made by the Town in the World Wars, especially in 1939-45. In the First World War there were allotments on Plot 6 in Lower Park to help with food production. There was a concert in the Park to help with fund raising and the Cavalry used the pitch of the Rugby Ground to graze their horses. The Second World War was a much more terrifying affair, especially in the town itself. Both the Town and the Park were bombed. A spitfire crashed in Lower Park. Park Cricket Club were evicted from their clubhouse by the Army who wanted to use the facilities. There was a searchlight and a barrage balloon anchored near the present children’s playground, and 14.9 acres of allotments in Upper Park. Some of the Park railings were taken away for scrap metal. Wood was stolen for the basic necessity of heating homes. Many of the Park staff left for jobs more relevant to the war effort and the Park went into a decline that would take more than a decade to reverse. For some interesting accounts of the Park at War please click here... To read about the 1917 National Eisteddfod click here...
A spitfire crashed in the Park in 1942. What remained of it has been a mystery, but that has been resolved - the remains were dug up on 6th Oct 2007 in a grassy area of Lower Park near the Gothic Lodge and just a few yards from the Carriage Drive near the football pitch. A large excavator dug up a pit said to have been 15 ft deep and recovered the "Merlin" engine, some small oxygen tanks, the drive mechanism for the propeller and 6 large builders'-bags of twisted metal. There were no traces of rust on them (they were probably an aluminium alloy) and one piece was positively shiny as if chromium plated. The hole was then refilled and the soil compacted, with the turf replaced in excellent fashion. Most of the recovered materials are now on display in the museum at Fort Perch Rock. New Brighton. Visit the website here…