"BIRKENHEAD, a chapelry in the parish of BIDSTONE, lower division of the hundred of WIRRALL, county palatine of CHESTER, 9¼ miles (N. N. E.) from Great Neston, containing 200 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Chester, endowed with £1000 private benefaction, £800 royal bounty, and £1200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of F. R. Price, Esq. A priory for sixteen Benedictine monks was founded here, about 1150, in honour of St. Mary and St. James, by Hamon de Massey, third baron of Dunham-Massey, which, according to Leland, was subordinate to the abbey of St. Werburgh, at Chester; but from the power exercised by the monks, Bishop Tanner considers it to have been an independent priory: the revenue, at the dissolution, was £102. 16. 10. The ruins, part of which has been fitted up for a chapel, stand on a peninsular rock of red freestone, formed by the æstuary of the Mersey, on the east, and a small creek on the west, opposite to Liverpool." [From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England  (1831) ©Mel Lockie]

  • Birkenhead was a township and chapelry in Bidston ancient parish, Wirral hundred (SJ 3289), which became a civil parish in 1866.
  • Since 1974 it has been an unparished area in the county of Merseyside.
  • It includes the hamlets of Egerton Park, Grange and Woodside.
  • The population was 110 in 1801, 24285 in 1851, 110912 in 1901, 142501 in 1951, and 103206 in 2001.


  • Flaybrick Cemetery, Tollemache Road. Opened in 1864.
  • Birkenhead Cemetery, Chapel Lane. Opened 1900.


There are more than 30 churches identified in this place. Please click here for a complete list.

Civil Registration

  • Wirral (1837-61)
  • Birkenhead (1861-1998)
  • Wirral (1998+)

Court Records

  • Wirral (1828-77)
  • Birkenhead (Borough) (1877-1974)
  • Wirral (1974+)

Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Birkenhead which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"BIRKENHEAD, a parish, parliamentary borough, seaport, and market town, in the lower division of the hundred of Wirrall, in the county palatine of Chester, 13 miles to the N.W. of Chester, and 203 miles from London by road, or 193 miles by railway. It is situated on the west bank and near the mouth of the river Mersey, opposite to Liverpool, of which port it is a dependency. Although a chapelry, in the parish of Bidston, for civil purposes, it forms a separate ecclesiastical parish. It is connected with Chester and Manchester by the Liverpool, Birkenhead, and Chester, and the Manchester, Warrington, and Chester railways. The former passes under the town through a tunnel 500 yards long to the passenger terminus at Monk's Ferry, on the edge of the Mersey. There is also a branch from the old station in Grangelane to the new goods depôts in Cathcart-street and Morpeth Dock. The town took its origin from the Benedictine order founded here by Hamon de Massey, in the reign of Henry II. which was, according to some authorities, a cell to the abbey of St. Werburgh, Chester, according to others an independent priory. It was valued at the Dissolution at £91. The building was held by the royalists during the Civil War, till 1644, when it was taken by the parliament. Birkenhead remained a very small and unimportant place till a very recent period. Its growth has been rapid and extraordinary. In 1818 it was a village, containing a population of about 50 souls; in 1841, the number of inhabitants had risen to above 8,000; and in the next 10 years it had increased nearly threefold, amounting in 1851 to above 24,285, and has since gone on increasing in the like ratio. While the origin of the town was ecclesiastical, its modern importance is wholly commercial, and is due chiefly to the great docks which have been formed.


Historical Geography

  • 1898 March 31 — Gained the whole of Claughton with Grange (pop. 3920 in 1901) , part of Lower Bebington (pop. 0 in 1901), the whole of Oxton (pop. 4579 in 1901), the whole of Rock Ferry (pop. 2971 in 1901), and the whole of Tranmere (pop. 37709 in 1901)
  • 1928 April 1 — Gained part of Bidston cum Ford (443 acres, pop. 423 in 1921),
  • 1933 April 1 — Gained part of Arrowe (491 acres, pop. 71 in 1931), part of Bidston cum Ford (575 acres, pop. 506 in 1931), the whole of Landican (626 acres, pop. 66 in 1931), the whole of Noctorum (330 acres, pop. 473 in 1931), the whole of Prenton (640 acres, pop. 2032 in 1931), the whole of Thingwall (377 acres, pop. 652 in 1931), part of Upton by Birkenhead (856 acres, pop. 2547 in 1931), and the whole of Woodchurch (339 acres, pop. 113 in 1931)

You can see the administrative areas in which Birkenhead has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SJ320891 (Lat/Lon: 53.394385, -3.023386), Birkenhead which are provided by:


Politics & Government

  • Wirral Rural Sanitary District (1875-77)
  • Birkenhead Urban Sanitary District (1877-94)
  • Birkenhead Municipal Borough (1877-89)
  • Birkenhead County Borough (1889-1974)
  • Wirral Metropolitan Borough [Merseyside] (1974+)

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Wirral (1836-61)
  • Birkenhead (1861-1930)

Voting Registers

  • South Cheshire (1832-59)
  • Birkenhead (1859-1918)
  • Birkenhead East (partly, 1918-48) *
  • Birkenhead West (partly, 1918-48) *
  • Birkenhead (1948-74)

* The areas added to Birkenhead in 1928 and 1933 remained in the Wirral division until 1948.