Copyright 2014 Hidden Wirral
Hidden Wirral Myths and Legends Team were invited to view the hidden tunnels beneath the Ship Hotel on Victoria Road in New Brighton. Historian Tony Franks-Buckley brings you his journey that begins from a hidden wooden latch in the floorboards of the bar area.
The Ship Hotel is situated at the Bottom end of Victoria Road near the Pier and was in an ideal location for the day trippers, Fisherman and locals. When opened in 1870 the pub was originally called The Commercial Hotel and Mr. Henry W. Hiley was the first proprietor. In 1956 the Brewery decided to rename the pub as the Ship Hotel and has remained so to this day.
When the Chelsea Nightclub was open up until the mid 2000s, A chain of pubs on Victoria Road would become a popular Pub Crawl finishing at the Chelsea Nightclub. You could Start at - The Perch Rock, Commercial, Railway Hotel and then move on to Peggy's (Peggy Gadflies incorrectly named after a one legged diver) then you would move onto the Ship Hotel, followed by Mother Redcaps and finally onto the Chelsea. New Brighton's Clubscene has now all but dissapeared with the final nightclub Evo's above the New Brighton Palace Recently closing its doors.
The Ship has remained in place and is still open to the public, we have now started our New Brighton History tour from this location as we love the friendly atmosphere the pub offers and is in an ideal location situated near to the promenade.
The majority of the old pubs and hotels in New Brighton contain underground tunnels, some even connect up with others. The reason for this was bootlegging and the movement of contaband and goods. It is a well known fact that Wallasey was the home to the Wreckers and Pirates of the North West of England, and a tradition that has gone on for centuries is moving ale and goods freely away from the eyes of the public and authorities. just further up the road is the famous tunnels beneath the New Brighton Hotel which even had a Shire Horse running the ale backwards and forwards within the tunnels. We ventured down inside the tunnels beneath the Ship Hotel to see if there was any connection to the other pubs on the road or even somewhere further.