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Thread: Burbo Bank - the Brick Beach

  1. #16
    angus angus's Avatar
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    Nice one Ged and wsteve55. It's funny how many people now in their 50's like me have vivid memories of the old Fort. It was a great place to play. During and immediately after the war POW's were housed there. When I visited East Berlin (DDR Communist) in the late 70's I actualy met a guy who'd been incarcerated there. I've some more photos somewhere of the inside of the fort, I must see if I can locate and post them.
    Cheers guys


  2. #17
    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angus View Post
    Nice one Ged and wsteve55. It's funny how many people now in their 50's like me have vivid memories of the old Fort. It was a great place to play. During and immediately after the war POW's were housed there. When I visited East Berlin (DDR Communist) in the late 70's I actualy met a guy who'd been incarcerated there. I've some more photos somewhere of the inside of the fort, I must see if I can locate and post them.
    Cheers guys
    Hi Angus,hope you can find them,as there doesn't seem to be much info' about the fort,and it's activities!(Never knew about the P.O.W.'s !)
    Steve.

  3. #18
    angus angus's Avatar
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    Nice one Steve. Here is the info and photos which came from Andrew Lee-Hart, Local History Unit of Crosby Library.
    Fort Crosby: building began 1906. It had a cinema, church, hospital & football pitch. Prisoners left the camp by 1950. The TA used it until 1954. The base was closed in 1957 and blown up in 1967.Fort Crosby was headquarters for the Lancashire and Cheshire Heavy Brigade of the Artillery, as well as for the Mersey and Barrow defences. After the 1st World War it was used as a training centre; there was a regular Major in command and about 40 gunners to man it. They also looked after the defences of Walney Island off Barrow-in-Furness. The original compliment of guns were two 6inch Mark VII guns, the same as installed at Perch Rock. The Fort was never in action during the 2nd World War but examined shipping coming into the area. However the battery grew to include a well dispersed system of searchlights, barracks & anti-aircraft guns. After the war Fort Crosby was used to house German POW's; it had a cinema which showed German & English films, and proved to be popular with local residents. Every Christmas the German POW's would put on a concert at the Industrial School.**** I cannot download the photos of the interior of the Fort...I'll try again later.

    Cheers

  4. #19
    angus angus's Avatar
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    Default Fort Crosby. Interior

    Right here they are....I hope !
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  5. #20
    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    Brill Angus. Just shows what pics are out there waiting to be unearthed.
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

  6. #21
    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Great pic's Angus,always wondered what it looked like,in use!

  7. #22
    angus angus's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys. I remember as a 8 year old running up the stairs you can see in the first photo onto the top of the wall and "defending" it agaist my mates attacking from the dunes. It was surprisingly high and potentially very dangerous for small kids to play on, I remember thinking I could jump onto one dunes but thankfully reconsidered. So I'm not surprised they demolished it. You may remember that they built a massive fence around the whole structure which was blown down in places from the blast of the demolition charges, and the two pill boxs immediately in front of the gates were blown onto their sides.
    In one of the gun (spotters) emplacements there was a map of the estuary drawn on the wall with various reference points and ranges.
    I had a short correspondance some time ago with the guy who looked after the fort in the final years leading to it's decommisioning. He lived in Formby and had offered to give me all the history etc of the Fort in exchange for a few pints. I had intended to check him out next time I came up to Liverpool for a visit but life intervened and I never got round to it and I've lost his details now.
    You may also remember that there was a road leading to the fort that was accessed along the Hightown bends.

  8. #23
    Member Ron Ham's Avatar
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    Default Fort Crosby

    Thanks for those pics & interesting info Angus . Ron

  9. #24
    Senior Member Samsette's Avatar
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    Nothing to do with Fort Crosby, but as a 14 year old "second man" on a dump truck I was engaged in trucking the remains of sandbagged fire watch (ARP) huts off the roofs of a number of buildings around the city. We took it to the destroyed branch of Huskinson Dock, where it joined the rubble removed from bombed sites.

  10. #25
    member Trampshipman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirob View Post
    From the beginning of the last century, the mouth of the River Alt began to migrate along the foreshore towards Liverpool. This had the effect of lowering the beach, allowing waves to reach and erode the sand dunes, gardens and large houses along Burbo Bank Road. In fact Burbo Bank Road North itself disappeared at one point.
    In 1936, the Alt was diverted out to sea by a breakwater between Hightown and Hall Road. Due to the lowered beach, erosion continued and Blitz rubble and Bootle Tinworks waste was tipped to provide a barrier. Later demolition rubble followed, until the construction of a promenade over part of it. The shore level has now risen enough for erosion to become accretion. Planting of Marram grass on the dunes north of Hall Road has stabilised that section.
    Fort Crosby was located in the dunes, in line with an acess crossing the railway, half way between Hall Road and Hightown. In the 1960's, Rainfords extracted sand from that area, but I don't know if they demolished it. It consisted of a long concrete structure, buried at it's seaward side, with barracks and other buildings in the hollow behind it.

    The pictures are by the late R. K. Gresswell, who studied this coastline.

    Great photo`s. I actually remember the last two from my boyhood and have vivid memories of the sea washing around those houses. The last photo though if my memory serves me correctly is of a gun emplacement which was actually on the headland at FRESHFIELD. We used to play in and on it until of course it toppled down the sandhill. I well remember playing around the abandoned and desolate Fort Crosby as a lad too. It was indeed aback the sand dunes in the hightown/Hall road area, which makes me wonder why it was referred to as Fort Crosby ? I do not remember whether it was eventually actually demolished or whether it just gradually disintergrated and became buried in the dunes. I do know however that sand was being taken from the area long before the 60`s. Rainfords wagons
    used to load it from the dunes where mechanical shovels were used. The drivers then had to haul it to a railway siding which adjoined Formby Station at that time [by Eccles railway crossing which does still exist]. the drivers themselves then had to transfer the sand themselves by hand into railway wagons just using large hand shovels. They soon all started carrying extra shovels because we as kids would offer to help with the shovelling in return for a ride in the cab to the beach and back again when they were loaded up again.
    We often spent all day just shovelling and riding back and forth in the wagons. It was backbreaking work but worth it for the rides. [or so we thought as kids]. Those drivers were all `made up` with us, though of course health and safety would soon put an end to that sort of thing these days. Anyway like I said,that was way before the 60`s, it would have in fact been from around 1942/43 and on, and even then the wisdom of the practise was being questioned, as to why so much sand was being taken from the area when everyone was fully aware that Formby was already below sea level anyway and all that sand was actually our protection.

    Regards,
    Ken.

  11. #26

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    Hi my first post and I couldn't help but reply to this one.

    As has been rightly stated the Alt mouth used to drain in to the Mersey at this point up until about 1935. The grass you see behind the car park is reclaimed land that houses used to occupy until the where washed away. I am not that old but I used to work for the EA and that river was part of my responsibility.

    However I am 44 and have clear memories of large trucks in and out of the tip. Generally old buildings and site clearances from bomb damage was laid there to redirect the mouth of the Alt and to allow the sand dunes to repopulate the area. I used to go there and get silver cross pram wheels to make go carts with. Up until the middle 70s the 'asparagus' and other anti landing paraphernalia where still there from the war. The gun posts and look out where part of my playground.

    You've brought back some memories. Thanks

  12. #27
    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Welcome to Yo,Dune!

  13. #28
    Senior Member John Doh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpoo22 View Post
    We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon wandering north from Crosby Coastguard station, an area I've coined the 'Brick Beach'. The coastline here consists entirely of rubble: bricks, plinths, granite pillars, doorsteps etc.
    I can only imagine that this area served as a dumping ground after the Blitz, with the secondary purpose of slowing coastal erosion. Can anyone confirm this? I've been unable to find anything concrete (ha!) on the web, and would love to read any first-hand accounts or anecdotes. I'm moved by the sight of so much human endeavour, laid waste by warfare and now pounded by the sea back into sand.
    You're absolutely correct, Tpoo - the rubble from the blitz on Bootle was dumped on the Sefton coast. Tom Fairclough had an exhibition on this last May in the Met Quarter, I think it was. I found his photographic blog, based on photos of this d├ębris accompanied by the statements of eyewitnesses, an extraordinarily powerful emotional experience. It is still accessible here: http://bootlecollateral.blogspot.com/

    P.S. Only just noticed that the Thread goes back to 2008, but am leaving the link as it does confirm the Blitz connection, which was still being debated quite recently, with dumping at several different periods of time and place and for different reasons apparently being confused ; I also think the blog is brilliant and deserves to be seen by as many people as possible...
    Last edited by John Doh; 10-16-2010 at 01:23 AM. Reason: Further comment

  14. #29
    Newbie Ian Burns's Avatar
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    Only just discovered this forum and already found some fascinating stuff. I thought I'd start by adding my two penn'orth to this thread.

    I was brought up down by the shore (never 'the beach'!) in the 60's, and remember that period quite well.

    We used to call what the OP describes as the 'brick beach' the 'coast erosion' or often just the 'coastie'. It extended from Mariners Road to the River Alt near Hightown. The grown ups told us that the rubble that formed the coastie was the remains of the big houses along Burbo Bank Road that had collapsed in the big storm of 1928. When I first was aware of it, this formed a kind of makeshift promenade which I think was tarmaced on a stretch going south from Hall Road, but certainly not as far as Mariners Road. This stretch was also protected from the sea by huge caissons of rubble wrapped in chicken wire. The rest of it was (and still is at the Hightown end) just rubble with a rough unmade top.

    At the time of the building of the Seaforth Dock and the Marina, the coastie became part of a real promenade with a parabolic storm-resistant concrete facing, as we can see today.

    I didn't know that some of the rubble had come from clearances in Liverpool until I read this thread. Certainly we used to wonder that a few tumbled-down houses could have made so much rubble, but I never saw lorries carrying this rubble and can only imagine that this shifting was all finished by the 60's. I do remember the diggers filling the lorries with sand from the dunes along the front between Mariners Road and the gardens.

    I also remember Fort Crosby and the dragon's teeth. The first time we explored as far as Fort Crosby as boys, there was a naked man standing on top of one of the blockhouses, cool as you like, with his arms behind his head, just enjoying the sun! This gave us such a fright we ran off and didn't come back for a year or two. But at this time the only buildings were concrete - there was nothing like you can see in Angus's pictures upthread.

    On our expeditions we used to get refreshment from the water fountain at the northern junction of Burbo Bank Road and The Serpentine. The grown ups told us that this fountain was built for the benefit of the 'cockle mollies' who lived in the sand dunes that predated the coastie. I have always been fascinated by the idea of these people, but have not been able to dig up anything about them on the internet. Does anyone here have any memories?

  15. #30

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    Great link and the "Collateral' link /exhibition/ photos are well worth looking at. Very atmospheric and personal

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