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St Oswald's church, Bidston 2018-2.jpg
St Oswald's Church
Grid reference: SJ284900
Location: 53°24’7"N, 3°4’41"W
Population: 15,216  (2011)
Post town: Prenton
Postcode: CH43
Dialling code: 0151
Local Government
Council: Wirral

Bidston is a village, an ancient parish and a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula of Cheshire. The area is a mixture of the well-preserved Bidston Village, Bidston Hill, a modern housing estate, and the Bidston Moss nature reserve, industrial estate and retail park.


The Sun Goddess rock carving on Bidston Hill

Bidston has been occupied since the Mesolithic era, evidenced by flints excavated during the 1990s.[1] Neolithic and Roman artefacts have also been discovered in the vicinity of the village.[1] The circular nature of the St Oswald's Church grounds indicate an early origin to the site.[1] Bidston Hill contains a number of ancient rock carvings, including that of a Sun Goddess, thought to have been carved by the Norse-Irish around AD 1000 .[2]

The ancient parish of Bidston comprises the townships of Bidston cum Ford, Moreton cum Lingham, Saughall Massie and Claughton cum Grange. Bidston Hall was originally held by the heirs of Hamon de Massey.[3] The hall eventually passed to the Stanley family, after being purchased by John Stanley of Lathom on 24 June 1397.[3]

The residential buildings in the village core date from between the 16th and 18th century. Typically, these are former farmhouses, farm buildings and cottages, constructed from local red sandstone. Many are Grade-II listed buildings.[4]

Early modern

The Liverpool to Holyhead semaphore telegraph was set up in 1826, on which Bidston had a signals station. This replaced a flag signalling station dating to 1763, and which itself was replaced in 1861 by an electrical telegraph. Along with the construction of Bidston Lighthouse in 1771, this facilitated shipping to the Port of Liverpool.[5] Bidston Observatory was added in 1866, further enabling shipping movements on the River Mersey.

In the 19th century, Bidston underwent industrial expansion. The greatest effect was possibly the drainage of Bidston Moss, during the construction of Birkenhead Docks.[1] By the end of the century, Bidston had also gained significant railway infrastructure with an engine shed and a railway junction where the Birkenhead to West Kirby, New Brighton and Wrexham lines met.[6]

20th century

A goods marshalling yard was added to the railway infrastructure by the early 20th century.[6] During World War I, Bidston had an army training camp.[1] Bidston Aerodrome opened temporarily in 1920, on the site of what is now the golf course.[7][8] Bidston Dock was opened in 1933,[9] remaining in use until the 1990s. During World War II, a German prisoner-of-war camp was temporarily established.[1] Although never used for its original purpose, Bidston Hill's air-raid shelter was built from December 1941, having 2,213 bunks and 793 seats.[10][11] The Gordon, a three-wheeled car, was produced in Bidston between 1954-1958.

The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory's Joseph Proudman building was opened in Bidston in 1975,[12] surviving until 2013.


The view north-west from the top of Bidston Hill, across Leasowe and Moreton. The white tower at the shore is Leasowe Lighthouse, with Liverpool Bay of the Irish Sea beyond.

Bidston is in the northern part of the Wirral Peninsula, just over a mile from the Irish Sea at Leasowe, approximately five miles east-north-east of the Dee Estuary at West Kirby and just over tow and a half miles west of the River Mersey at Seacombe. The village of Bidston is situated on the north-western side of Bidston Hill, with the centre of the village at an elevation of approximately 50 feet above sea level.[13]

The Birket passes between Bidston Village and Bidston Moss, before discharging into West Float and then into the River Mersey.



The major employers in Bidston are a 24-hour Tesco superstore and B&Q. The Tesco superstore and petrol station, built in the 1990s, occupy the site of the former Bidston steelworks and a disused railway marshalling yard. Meanwhile, B&Q operates within the Bidston Moss Retail Park, a 15-acre[14] development built in the 1980s, which includes branches of Halfords, Home Bargains, Carpetright and Pets at Home.[15] Marks & Spencer and Aldi each opened stores at the retail park in 2016.[16][17] Other businesses, which formerly occupied the retail park, included MFI.

Industrial estate

The Valley Road Industrial Estate includes the premises of Park Group PLC, a Christmas hamper and pre-paid gift card provider.[18]

Bidston Moss also has one of the main waste and recycling centres for Wirral.[19] Originally part of the same site, the former Bidston tip was in operation from the 1930s, closing around 1997,[20] and then landscaped as part of the Bidston Moss Nature Reserve.



Bidston Village Church of England Primary School is located in Ballantyne Drive, close to the centre of the village, and accommodates around 300 pupils.[21] Holy Cross Catholic Primary School is located on Gautby Road. The Observatory School, located on Bidston Village Road, is a community special school serving pupils aged 11–16.[22]


Holy Cross Church

St Oswald's Church is Bidston's Church of England parish church, and dates back to the 13th century. The current building has a 16th-century tower, with the rest of the church rebuilt in the mid to late-19th century. Holy Cross Church, the last designed by F. X. Velarde and built in 1959, is a Grade-II listed building located at the junction of Hoylake Road and Worcester Road.[23][24] This church is Bidston's local Catholic church but is now closed and boarded up. Bidston also has a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, located in School Lane.[25]


A play and community centre is situated on Gautby Road, and a model boating lake is opposite.[26][27]

Public houses

The only operational public house, within the vicinity of the village, is The Bidston on Hoylake Road.[28] Bidston has had a couple of public houses closer to the centre of the village. The Ring 'o Bells Inn closed in 1868, and is now a residential property.[29] The Corsair closed prior to 2009, and the site was approved for a residential construction in 2015.[30]

Parks, commons and other green spaces

Bidston Observatory on Bidston Hill

Bidston Hill comprises 100 acres of heathland and woodland maintained by Wirral Council as a nature reserve and public park. The land was purchased in stages from 1894 to 1908 by Birkenhead Corporation from local landowner Lord Vyner. It is the site of Bidston Windmill, built around 1800 and Bidston Observatory, owned by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Adjacent to Bidston Hill is Tam O'Shanter Cottage, which is believed to have been built about 300 years ago. Its name derives from a stone carving of the poem Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns, which adorns a wall on the site. In 1950, the building was recognised as having special historical interest for preservation. Despite two fires and threats of demolition in 1954 and 1975, the cottage was rebuilt and restored in the mid 1970s. Four acres around the cottage were developed as a city farm in 1986, known as the Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm.[31]

Opposite the cottage is Flaybrick Memorial Gardens, Birkenhead's first municipal cemetery.[32] The grounds encompass an arboretum and nature trails.

Bidston Moss was originally low-lying wetland marsh at the head of Wallasey Pool. In 1936 most of the land was given over to residential, commercial and industrial landfill. Since the cessation of waste disposal operations in 1995, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority and the charitable trust Groundwork Wirral have undertaken environmental restoration works to landscape the site. The former landfill sites are now part of a nature reserve, which has several sections surrounding Bidston Moss Retail Park and Junction 1 of the M53.[33]

Bidston Village has won title of Best Small Village several times at the Northwest In Bloom awards.[34]


Bidston Golf Club and 18-hole golf course,[35] opened in 1913,[36] is situated to the north of the village, on the opposite side of the M53 and railway station. The Wirral Tennis and Leisure Centre, operated by the local council and located on Valley Road, offers six indoor and two outdoor tennis courts, a sports hall, a fitness suite and five-a-side football pitches.[37]



The A554 Bidston Link Road at Bidston Moss, looking towards Junction 1 of the M53. The lane on the left leads to Bidston Golf Club. Bidston Moss Retail Park is on the opposite side of the road.

The village is nearest to the northern end of the B5151 road. The retail park is situated on the A554 and also adjacent to Junction 1 of the M53 motorway. The A553 Bidston bypass separates the village from the railway station, and the retail park, to the north. This dual carriageway allows quicker road travel between Birkenhead and Moreton. The former route, through the centre of the village, is now cut off at the western end by the M53.


The locality is served by Bidston railway station. Trains operate to Liverpool and West Kirby on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network and to Wrexham on the Borderlands Line. Birkenhead North railway station is also a short distance away from the locality.


National Cycle Route 56 passes through the centre of the village, along Bidston Village Road and School Lane. The route continues alongside the A554 and turns off before Bidston Moss Retail Park, travelling between the retail park and the nature reserve and then beneath the M53 motorway. This route goes from Chester to Liverpool via Leasowe and Seacombe and includes part of the Wirral Way, along its course.

Notable people

  • Lewis Collins, actor, born in Bidston
  • Elsie Kelly, actress, lives in Bidston
  • Harry B. Neilson, illustrator, lived at Meadowbank, 36 School Lane, Bidston[38]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Wirral Historic Settlement Study". Museum of Liverpool. pp. 8–10. 
  2. "Bidston Hill". Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Randall 1984, pp. 60–66
  4. "Bidston Village Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan". Wirral Council. pp. 12–26. 
  5. "Liverpool - Holyhead Semaphore Telegraph". History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Railways at Bidston". Disused Stations. 
  7. "Bidston Aerodrome". History of the Wirral Peninsula. 
  8. "Bidston Memories". Tam O'Shanter Times. Summer 2013. 
  9. Booth, Adrian (September 2000). Rea's of Birkenhead. 5. Irwell Press. 477. 
  10. "Bidston Hill, Wirral". Subterranea Britannica. 
  11. Hughes, Lorna (22 November 2015). "Step inside Tranmere's hidden WWII tunnels". Liverpool Echo. 
  12. "From Astronomy to Oceanography - A brief history of Bidston Observatory". National Oceanography Centre. p. 5. 
  13. "SRTM & Ordnance Survey Elevation Data in PHP". 
  14. "Design and Access Statement". 
  15. Murphy, Liam (24 September 2015). "Aldi reveal plans for new Wirral store". Liverpool Echo. 
  16. Hughes, Lorna (1 June 2016). "Step inside the new M&S food hall at Bidston Moss". Liverpool Echo. 
  17. Lally, Kate (21 April 2016). "Hundreds queue for Aldi store launch in Wirral". Liverpool Echo. 
  18. "Park Group increases its coverage of the retail sector". Wirral Chamber of Commerce. 21 October 2013. 
  19. "Household Waste Recycling Centres". Veolia. 
  20. Bell, Tony (7 March 1995). "Survival on the Wirral". Independent. 
  21. "Bidston Village CofE (Controlled) Primary School". Wirral Globe. 
  22. "The Observatory School". Wirral Globe. 
  23. "Birkenhead Holy Cross". Taking Stock. 
  24. "Church of the Holy Cross". Historic England. 
  25. "Bidston Village Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan". Wirral Council. p. 25. 
  26. "Gautby Road Play & Community Centre". Ofsted. 
  27. Barnes, Geoff (19 April 2011). "No steam ahead at Wirral boat lakes". Wirral Globe. 
  28. "Bidston". WhatPub. 
  29. "Bidston Village Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan". Wirral Council. p. 6. 
  30. Manning, Craig (18 September 2015). "Plans for flats on site of Bidston pub are approved". Wirral Globe. 
  31. "Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm". Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. 
  32. "Flaybrick Memorial Gardens: History". 
  33. "Site Context Plan - Bidston Moss". Newlands Project. 
  34. Manning, Craig (2 November 2015). "Bloomin' marvellous awards for Bidston village". Wirral Globe. 
  35. "Course Tour". Bidston Golf Club. 
  36. "About Us". Bidston Golf Club. 
  37. "Wirral Tennis and Leisure Centre". Wirral Council. 
  38. Christopher Proudlove, Life and times of a Comic Genius at, accessed 5 March 2019



Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bidston)