Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘modern era’

I saw three (or more) ships…

Mersey Ferry Snowdrop turning into Pier Head, by Boilerbill via Wikipedia

Mersey Ferry Snowdrop turning into Pier Head, by Boilerbill via Wikipedia

I’m currently doing a little bit of research for the River Mersey page on Historic Liverpool, and have come across a quite anoraky, but truly amazing site about shipping. It’s called ShipAIS, and is run by “A group of ShipPlotter enthusiasts”. The site, like my own I suppose, is based around a map tracking all the shipping (or as much as possible) in UK waters, from Orkney to the coast of mainland Europe. The site built up from one man experimenting with motion detecting photography from his own window, and now includes the AIS information (identification and callsign info broadcast over the radiowaves). The ships are plotted on the map, including a couple of tracks (I noticed a track for the Mersey ferry Royal Iris when I was on the site today).

My recommendation for readers of this blog would be to look at the map of Liverpool Bay, then click on one of the ships you see in the port for a detailed view of that area. In many cases you get a small photo of the ship in question, and in all cases you get the name of the ship, its speed, type, tonnage and a couple of other details.

The site could do with a few more controls to zoom and pan round the map, but this is a fascinating insight into Liverpool’s current role as a port, and the national context in which it sits. I could quite happily while a way an hour or so each day just exploring the map, and the site as a whole clearly has Merseyside origins and a Mersey focus. Go and have a look!

World War II Grenades found in Kirkby

Police were called in and performed controlled explosions on the grenades after workmen discovered them during excavations at Roughwood Drive, Kirkby. The AW Bombs (manufactured by Albright and Wilson) were judged to unstable to move, and were originally designed to explode on impact.
The nature of Liverpool’s landscape influenced even this bit of history. The grenades were probably made at the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) located in Kirkby, on the site which later became the Kirkby Industrial Estate. A similar factory was sited in Speke, as well as other loations around the country. In the 1930s and 40s the outskirts of Liverpool were popular for this kind of development, as the flat landscape provided room for expansion, and the rapidly increasing population, of unemployed men and women relocated from the city centre slum clearances, provided the workforce needed by the factories. Also, the areas were judged to be relatively ‘safe’, a definition applied to an area across the north and west of the country from Bristol to Linlithgow in Scotland. The areas were also relatively far from centres of population, while maintaining good transport links (roads and trains).

UPDATE: This morning the Liverpool Echo reported that another two A.W. grenades have been found in the grounds of the same school.