The hugely popular series of guided walks around Flaybrick Memorial Gardens in Birkenhead is to recommence on 9 April at 11:00am; visitors are asked to arrive at Flaybrick from 10:45. Further walks are set to take place on 14 May, 11 June, 9 July, 13 August and 24 September.
Walks are led by volunteers from the Friends of Flaybrick, a registered charity which was set up in 1993 with the support of the Birkenhead History Society.
The Friends work with Wirral Council and other organisations such as Historic England to help maintain the gardens and preserve them for the enjoyment and appreciation of the public and future generations.
Opened in 1864, Flaybrick, or Birkenhead Cemetery as it was known at the time, was the first public cemetery in Birkenhead. It was designed by renowned landscape architect Edward Kemp, and chapels and lodges were designed by architects Charles Lucy & Charles Littler.
The Memorial Gardens are the final resting place of many famous Birkonians and others with links to the area.
These include Mary Ann Mercer, who was both the first female mayor and the first socialist mayor of Birkenhead, Charles Thompson, who was founder of the town’s mission which is still very much active today, and William Jackson, a former railway entrepreneur and Liberal Member of Parliament who, alongside John Laird, is considered one of the most influential of all of Birkenhead’s founding fathers.
Flaybrick also contains the war graves of more than 200 Commonwealth service personnel of both world wars.
Announcing the programme of guided walks, Rob Dolphin, the charity’s chair and walks co-ordinator, said, “We are delighted to announce this year’s programme of guided walks.
“As well as the many well-known people buried at Flaybrick, there are thousands of others – every one of whom has their own story.
“Many local people will have ancestors buried in the gardens and may not even know it.
“Each walk follows a different route around the site so people can come back again and again and they’ll always see new things that they might not have seen before and hear new stories.
“The walks are great fun for anyone who wants to find out a bit about the history of Birkenhead and its people.”
Anybody who wants to take part in a guided walk is asked to meet at 10:45am at the chapels which are best accessed from the main driveway of the Memorial Gardens off Tollemache Road.
Walks last for approximately 90 minutes and cost £2 per person, with all proceeds going to the charity.
Suitable clothing and footwear should be worn dependent on the weather.
Parking is available in and around the site and the nearest bus stop is located outside Flaybrick at the top of Bidston Avenue.
There is a café and toilet facilities at nearby Tam O’Shanter’s Urban Farm which is just over Boundary Road at the back of the Flaybrick chapels.
The Friends of Flaybrick are always looking for more volunteers to get involved in things like cutting back overgrown areas, making new footpaths and generally supporting the work of Wirral Council’s on-site maintenance team. The group meets on Thursday and Saturday mornings from 10am.
If interested, you can just turn up and you will be made very welcome; all equipment and training will be provided at no cost to the volunteers.
Image: A guided walk taking place at Flaybrick Memorial Gardens