Ferry across the Mersey

A couple of weeks ago I had an enjoyable day trip to Liverpool, including a rather bumpy ride (it was a very windy day) across the Mersey on the ferry MV Royal Daffodil.  I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised by this sort of thing, but you can track the Royal Daffodil’s current location at http://www.shipais.com/showship.php?mmsi=235024006 – it’s just approaching Liverpool Pier Head as I’m typing this.  Of course making this sort of information available to the public isn’t technically very difficult; it’s simply a matter of connecting up information that’s already held in various databases to a web server.

http://www.mersey-gateway.org/server.php?show=ConNarrative.31&chapterId=152 has some background about the ferries’ history, and also, on other pages at the same site, the origins of the road and rail tunnels under the Mersey.  And it’s a long history.  The monks of Birkenhead had a licence to operate ferries from the twelfth century until the dissolution of the monasteries.  We returned from Birkenhead to Liverpool by train.  According to http://www.mersey-gateway.org/server.php?show=ConNarrative.14 the rail tunnel was opened as long ago as 1886, and originally steam operated: it was converted to an electric railway at the start of the 20th century, when passengers were returning to the ferries, put off by the unpleasant atmosphere in the tunnels, and the train company had gone bankrupt.

As in many places, understanding the transport links helps you to understand Liverpool’s history and geography



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