New Brighton is a seaside resort located in the town of Wallasey in northwest England. New Brighton is situated on the very tip of the Wirral Peninsula right across the River Mersey from Liverpool. During the 19th century and first part of the 20th century, New Brighton was a bustling seaside resort where thousands flocked to spend their holidays. During World War II the US Army was stationed at New Brighton and a large motor pool known as Depot 0616 was kept at the Tower Athletic Grounds. The 347th Ordnance Depot Company was stationed at New Brighton from December 1943 until March 1944. After World War II, New Brighton's popularity as a seaside resort dropped dramatically with more affordable flights and the promise of better weather abroad for vacationers to enjoy.
New Brighton Tower and Ballroom
One of the major attractions of New Brighton during the first part of the 20th century was the New Brighton Tower and Ballroom. The 562 foot tall New Brighton Tower was a large steel structure similar to the Eifel Tower of Paris. Completed in 1900, the steel framework rose from the foundations of the Tower Ballroom itself. The tower was dismantled in 1921 due to lack of maintenance during the First World War, so wasn't present during the 347th Ordnance Depot Company's stay in New Brighton.
But the Tower Ballroom, one of the largest in the world, was going strong and continued to do so for many years to come. It featured a dance band stage and a large sprung floor that could accomodate over 1,000 dancing couples. In later years it was a popular venue for many famous bands including The Beatles. The Tower Ballroom was destroyed by a fire in 1969 and the site was cleared, bringing an end to this very historic part of New Brighton.
Fort Perch Rock and Lighthouse
Another landmark of the area was Fort Perch Rock, situated at the mouth of the Mersey River. Fort Perch Rock was a coastal defence battery that was completed in 1829. Built to protect the port of Liverpool, it had accommodations for 100 men and was armed with eighteen guns, including sixteen 32-pounders. During World War II the fort housed radar and search lights and operated as an observation post. To camouflage it from German aircraft, the surface of the fort was painted green with a gray path leading across it and an attempt was made to make it look like a tea garden from the air. Next to the fort is the 90 foot tall lighthouse that was completed in 1830.
The Promenade Pier was built to replace the earlier wooden pier and was completed in 1867. It was situated adjacent to the ferry pier and was 550 feet long and 70 feet wide. The pier featured a saloon, a bandstand, seating, bazaars and an observation deck. During World War II the floating stage of the pier was armed with torpedoes to protect the port. As the number of ferry passengers declined into the 1960s so did the popularity of the Promenade Pier and it was finally dismantled in 1978.