Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Museums Service
Birkenhead Priory was founded in 1150 and is the oldest remaining building in Merseyside. It shares its site with the tower and spire of St Mary’s Church. The church dates back to 1821, and is one of Thomas Rickman’s ‘Cast Iron Churches’. The tower, which is open to the public, provides panoramic views over The Mersey, the Liverpool waterfront and Cammell Laird’s Shipyard.
As a Scheduled Monument site with Grade II to Grade I listed buildings, the site provides rich historical interest of significant local and national value. The buildings were in need of repair and maintenance following a lack of attention over recent years. The site also required basic improvements to its visitor facilities and access arrangements.
The first phase of work has included significant repairs to the stonework of the tower and spire, installation of a platform lift to improve access, a new interpretation of the site and reinstatement of on site car parking. The principal focus has been to improve the profile of this important historical site and to encourage an increased number of visitors.
In addition improved signage is proposed to enhance the visitor experience to the Birkenhead Priory and help people interpret the site remains. The success of this phase of works has led to further phases of work within the site.
Following the success of this phase a further phase of works to the North and West Ranges was undertaken.