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Thread: Mother Redcaps

  1. #1
    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Default Mother Redcaps

    Mother Redcaps, wasn't she involved in smuggling? I've heard there are tunnels were the Inn once stood.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member SteH's Avatar
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    She was up to something, I read somewhere there were tunnels from there to a beach. There's some more info here

  3. #3
    Guest Walden's Avatar


    Smuggling according to this...


    According to a revealing customs report dated 1750...

    'Smuggling into the coasts around Liverpool generally from the Isleman (sic) small boats that never appear on the coast but fall in with the land just in the dusk of the evening, that by their observations they may run in the night time into the place intended for the discharge of their goods where persons are always ready to assist and convey them to a proper place of safety...'

    One such place of safety was undoubtedly a Wallasey pub called Mother Redcap's , which stood 'on the promenade between Egremont and New Brighton ferries'. At that time Wallasey was wild and desolate:

    Wirral up to the middle of the 18th century was a desperate region. The inhabitants were nearly all wreckers and smugglers they ostensibly carried on the trade or calling of fishermen, farm labourers or small farmers...Then for smuggling: fine times the runners used to have in my young days. Scarcely a house in North Wirral that could not provide a guest with a good stiff glass of brandy or Hollands Formby was a great place for smugglers.

    That part of Wallasey was separated from the rest of Wirral by a tidal pool, so the pub was more or less free of unwanted observers on the land side.

    Mother Redcap's was riddled with storage places, and was stoutly defended against attack: the door was five inches thick, and heavily reinforced, and the windows had shutters in a similar style. A customs officer who succeeded in entering the door could be precipitated into the cellar via a trapdoor on the threshold: forcing the door released a catch that opened the trapdoor.

    Opening the front door closed off the entrance to one of the rooms, so visitors unfamiliar with the layout of the pub would either walk upstairs, or into the north room, unaware of a second ground floor room to the south. Numerous other hiding places were concealed in a well and in the chimney breast.

    The proprietor of the Inn, Mother Redcap herself, was said to be 'a comely, fresh-coloured Cheshire-spoken woman...a great favourite with the sailor men'. The inn was popular not only with smugglers, but also with lonely revenue men, who, to avoid suspicion, were entertained with the same hospitality as any other customer. This sometimes caused difficulties:

    They were thus installed on one occasion when the smugglers were desirous of getting a cask of rum or some other merchandise away from one of the hiding places, but were prevented by the unwelcome presence of the officer. So it was arranged that one of the smugglers was to creep down to the shore from the Moor, and lie down in his clothes in the water, at the edge of the receding tide. The attention of the solitary officer at Mother Redcap's was called to the supposed body which had been washed ashore, and he made his way to it as quickly as possible. He had removed the watch, and was going through the pockets when the corpse came to life, sprang up, and laid out the surprised officer. By the time he had come to, the rum had been removed from Redcap's, and started its journey to the moss. No blame could be attached to the 'drowned man' who said he was walking along the shore, when he must have had a fit, for the next thing that he became aware of was that he was lying in the sand with his pockets being rifled.


  4. #4
    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    There's more information on Mother Redcap's on Mike Kemble's Wallasey site, and a poem, "Return To Mother Redcap's" by yours truly as well.

    I have to say that the story of the tunnels that allegedly ran to the Red Noses near New Brighton, i.e., for several miles, seems farfetched.

    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

  5. #5
    Guest PhilipG's Avatar


    The idea of such long tunnels is far-fetched for a number of reasons.
    Mother Redcaps was built on the shore, so why a tunnel from one shore to another?
    The Red Noses was the favourite place for the wreckers, and a tunnel from there to Mother Redcaps would have been equivalent to building the Mersey Tunnel.
    There were caves in the Red Noses, which probably became 'tunnels' through retelling the legends.
    The original Mother Redcap's predated the building of New Brighton which only started in the 1830s (Named after Brighton on the south coast).
    So why have it so far away from the 'action'?
    When the Palace Amusements were being built in the 1930s one author says there were tunnels "leading in the direction of Mother Redcaps", but it's significant that in the accounts so far put in this thread, there is no mention of tunnels coming from Mother Redcaps.

    This picture is from "Yesterday's Wirral" No 4, by Ian Boumphrey.
    Published in 1986 before the nursing home was built on the site.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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