FLAYBRICK MEMORIAL GARDENS
A Review of our July talk - by Mary Champion
On Tuesday 18th July 2006 we heard an excellent talk from Simon Petris on the Flaybrick Memorial Gardens - a cemetery now closed.
By 1840 Birkenhead had virtually run out of burial space in its churchyards. The old ones were full, no new churches were being built and the population was rapidly growing. It was decided that a municipal cemetery should be built - but the original idea came to nought and it was May 1864 before the Cemetery was eventually opened. The site was Flaybrick Hill, overlooked by Bidston Hill. Edward Kemp, Curator of Birkenhead Park, was the design competition winner. Three chapels were built: one for Roman Catholics, one for the Church of England and one for Nonconformists. There was also a Registrar's Office and a Sexton's Lodge.
There are many interesting graves to be seen. For example the grave of a ship's fitter and an electrician lost in the Thetis, which sunk while on sea trials in 1939. Edith Jones, a clippie, killed in a tramcar accident in 1918. James Taylor Cochran, died 1916, who had built in 1879 the Resurgam, the world's first mechanically propelled submarine.
The last burials took place in 1975, and gradually the beautifully-landscaped site has been developed into a Memorial Garden. As well as the graves there are many trees, flowers, birds and other wildlife.
In October 1995 a Ranger was appointed for Flaybrick and his role is to manage the gardens for the benefit of visitors and wildlife. Self-guided trails and guided walks covering various subjects are also available. The gardens are open every day, and there are loos and a café nearby at the Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm, Boundary Road. The main gates to Flaybrick are on Tollemache Road. The Ranger's telephone number is 0151 653 9332.