Tranmere, Merseyside

Tranmere is a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively, it is also a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the County Borough of Birkenhead, within the geographical county of Cheshire. At the 2001 Census, the population of Tranmere was 11,668.[3]

Ferris Wheel in Victoria Park, Tranmere - DSC06903.JPG
Looking from Mersey Park to Agnes Road and towards Victoria Park
Tranmere is located in Merseyside
Location within Merseyside
Population15,879 (2011 Census[1]
OS grid referenceSJ300850
• London178 mi (286 km)[2] SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCH41
Dialling code0151
ISO 3166 codeGB-WRL
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
53°22′44″N 3°01′14″W / 53.3788°N 3.0205°W / 53.3788; -3.0205Coordinates: 53°22′44″N 3°01′14″W / 53.3788°N 3.0205°W / 53.3788; -3.0205


Its name was given by Norwegian Vikings who settled and colonised Wirral in the 10th century. Tranmere in Old Norse is Trani-melr, meaning "crane (bird) sandbank" or "sandbank with the cranes".[4]

Until the early 19th century, Tranmere was the second most populous settlement in Wirral, with a population of 353 in 1801, centred mainly in the area of what is now Church Road and the nearby hamlet of Hinderton.[5] By 1901, the number of residents had grown to 37,709.[6]

Tranmere Old Hall and its estate, was situated around what is now Church Road. It was a large, gabled building constructed around 1614.[7] According to the author Philip Sulley's The Hundred of Wirral (1889), in about 1860:

... [Tranmere Old Hall] was pulled down by an ignorant boor who became possessed of it by some mischance, to make way for shops and houses.

Tranmere was absorbed into the County Borough of Birkenhead in 1877 and became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in 1974, on creation of the county of Merseyside.

Ferry serviceEdit

Queen Elizabeth granted John Poole the lease of ferry rights at Tranmere in 1586. The Etna, the first steam-powered ferry on the River Mersey operated from Tranmere Pool to Liverpool on 17 April 1817.[8] The early part of the 19th Century were prosperous times for Tranmere's ferry service, but this was to change with the completion of Thomas Brassey's New Chester Road in 1833 and the opening of the Chester and Birkenhead Railway in 1840. Further blows to trade came with the commencement of a horse-drawn tramway in 1877 between New Ferry and Woodside Ferry and the opening of the Mersey Railway between Liverpool and nearby Green Lane railway station in 1886. By 1904, the ferry service had ceased and Tranmere Pool was enclosed as Cammell Laird Dock as part of an extension of the shipyard.[5]

Air raid shelterEdit

Tranmere contains one of the largest and most expensive World War II air raid shelters in the country.[9] The shelter consists of a series of tunnels stretching to a total length of 6,500 ft (2 km), and was designed to house up to 6,000 people; many of them workers at the strategically important Cammell Laird shipyard. However, by the time the tunnels were completed, they were no longer needed as the threat of invasion had diminished. The tunnels were later used by the Ministry of Food for storage, and were considered as a nuclear fallout shelter during the Cold War era. The tunnels were finally sealed off in 1989, amid growing health and safety concerns. The tunnels still exist and building work in 2008 uncovered a shaft, which allowed temporary exploration, before being sealed off again.


Tranmere is situated on the eastern side of the Wirral Peninsula, at the western side of the River Mersey. The area is approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) south-south-east of the Irish Sea at New Brighton and about 9.5 km (5.9 mi) east-north-east of the Dee Estuary at Thurstaston. Tranmere is at an elevation of between 0–54 m (0–177 ft) above sea level, with the highest point to the south of St Catherine's Hospital.[10]


Tranmere is made up of industrial buildings and Victorian terraced houses, although it has seen a significant amount of property development recently. The area is host to one of only 35 government neighbourhood pathfinders.[11]


Mersey Park Primary School serves the area.


St Catherine's Health Centre occupies a large site in Higher Tranmere. The original facility on the site was built as the Birkenhead Union Workhouse between 1861 and 1863 and designed by Thomas Leyland.[12][13] Around 2013, the Victorian hospital buildings were replaced with a modern medical facility and community centre.[14]

Green spacesEdit

Two urban parks are located in Tranmere. Mersey Park to the north and Victoria Park to the south. Victoria Park contains a Community Hall at the bottom of Albany Road, a cricket pitch and clubhouse. Victoria Park was originally the gardens of a large property called The Towers, built in the 1860s as a French-style chateau by Victor Poutz,[15][page needed] a French cotton merchant. At the top end stands the Tranmere Cross, which was put on the present site in 1937[16] and which once marked the entrance to Tranmere on Church Street. Meanwhile, Mersey Park currently hosts one of the many annual Bonfire Night municipal firework displays put on by Wirral Borough Council.


Tranmere is best known for its football club, Tranmere Rovers F.C., founded in 1884. Tranmere Rovers now plays at nearby Prenton Park, in Birkenhead itself, but has kept the Tranmere name.


Green Lane railway station is situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. Services operate northbound to Liverpool, via Birkenhead town centre and southbound to Chester and Ellesmere Port.

Notable peopleEdit

Mersey Park Primary School has several famous former pupils including Jason McAteer (footballer) and Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket in the BBC TV sitcom Keeping up Appearances). Paul O'Grady, famous for his alter-ego creation Lily Savage, was raised in the area.

Colin Haygarth, the Scottish gunmaker, was born in Tranmere. He lived in Milton Road until he was four years old, when his family moved to nearby Irby. He was The Queen Mother's gunmaker from 1965 until 2002, is the oldest living gunmaker in the UK and the last to have done "War Work". He made parts for Sten guns in the workshops of the gunmaker W.C. Carswell in Liverpool, and served in the Irby branch of the Home Guard.

Tranmere is also home to the UK's last remaining resident cinema organist, Dave Nicholas, who currently plays for the classic movie evenings at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Despite being called Birkenhead and Tranmere the ward covers Tranmere, which is a district of Birkenhead "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Coordinate Distance Calculator". Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  3. ^ 2001 Census: Tranmere, Office for National Statistics, retrieved 2 July 2007
  4. ^ Harding, Professor Stephen, Vikings In Wirral: Introduction, archived from the original on 21 July 2011, retrieved 16 January 2008
  5. ^ a b Maund, TB (1991), Mersey Ferries - Volume 1, Transport Publishing Co. Ltd., ISBN 0-86317-166-4
  6. ^ Cheshire Towns & Parishes: Tranmere, GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, retrieved 16 January 2008
  7. ^ Bidston, Carol E. (1985), Birkenhead... Of Yesteryear, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, p. 42, ISBN 0-904582-07-8
  8. ^ Port Cities: Ferries Across The Mersey,, archived from the original on 27 September 2007, retrieved 30 March 2007
  9. ^ "Tranmere Tunnels". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  10. ^ "SRTM & Ordnance Survey Elevation Data in PHP". Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  11. ^ Neighbourhood Management Pathfinders (Round 2), Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, archived from the original on 14 August 2007, retrieved 18 March 2008
  12. ^ Brocklebank, Ralph T (2003), Birkenhead - An Illustrated History, Breedon Books, ISBN 1-85983-350-0
  13. ^ Birkenhead, Cheshire: Church Road Workhouse,, archived from the original on 11 October 2007, retrieved 30 March 2007
  14. ^ Barnes, Geoff (16 January 2013). "St Catherine's Hospital ready for a new era". Wirral Globe. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  15. ^ Collard 2010
  16. ^ "Tranmere Cross, Birkenhead". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 4 November 2016.



External linksEdit