‘Save Our Slipway’, Rock Ferry historic maritime restoration project

Rock Ferry Slipway, a Grade 2 listed structure on the banks of the River Mersey at Birkenhead, is of special interest because it is considered to be the oldest surviving structure to be built into the Mersey in 1820 by Thomas Morecroft, a ferry owner and operator.

It was developed to improve facilities on the Rock Ferry to Liverpool ferry service and in later times, it was used by cadets to board HMS Conway which was moored at Rock Ferry and to enable wealthy residents living in the Rock Park estate to live in Wirral and work in Liverpool.

Nowadays it is a vital facility not only for the Royal Mersey Yacht Club and Tranmere Sailing Club who have been using the Slipway for over 100 years, but also local fishermen and other members of the community who want to get out onto the water and enjoy not only activities on the Mersey but unfettered access to the Irish sea and beyond.

It is a surprising fact that this Slipway is the only location on the North West coast between Holyhead in Anglesey and Port Patrick in Scotland which gives 24/7 access to the Mersey and the Irish sea.

Following the approval by Wirral Council of the Mersey Coastal Park strategy to create a river front linear park between Eastham Country Park in the south and Rock Ferry in the north, members of Royal Mersey Yacht Club set up Rock Ferry Waterfront Trust with the objective: “To preserve, enhance and support the regeneration of the historic Rock Ferry Waterfront”.

As well as the restoration of the historic Slipway, it is intended that the Rock Ferry Waterfront regeneration project will eventually encompass the waterfront esplanade, a car park on the vacant Royal Rock Hotel site, a maritime hub with a water sports centre, boatyard and marina, a residential block of apartments on the frontage of the Esplanade and finally, a new direct access off the A41 bypass.

Cliff Renshaw, Chairman of the Trust, said he is delighted that the Trust has acquired the Slipway as part of the wider Rock Ferry Waterfront regeneration and that the Trust is now seeking grants and sponsors to undertake the work before it deteriorates further.

He hopes that as well as receiving grants from national organisations, they will also receive support and donations from local businesses and other companies with maritime and commercial links to Rock Ferry.

Rock Ferry has an amazing history which is included on the Trust website:- www.rockferrywaterfront.org

The slipway at Rock Ferry
Photographs showing some of the deterioration of the slipway

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