Looking out across the River you can see Birkenhead from where the Mersey Ferries ply their trade back and forth. To the left of the ferry terminal you can see the steeple of Birkenhead Priory Chapel. This is the oldest building on Wirral and the first on this side of the peninsula. It was from Birkenhead Priory that the first Mersey Ferries came in 1125, Benedictine monks would row across the river to bring their goods to trade in the markets of Liverpool and take passengers across from Eastham to Liverpool. The journey could take up to three hours even in calm weather. In 1320 the monks were granted the first ferry rights by Edward III. The route was deemed so important that it was designated a royal highway, and to this day it still is, with a crown at the top of the posts of Woodside ferry.
I have been researching an Ancestor from Liverpool .He was born around 1823 in Liverpool Lancashire and he was a Pilot.
Liverpool River Pilots
The main port of the North West was Chester until silting of the Dee forced its closure and Liverpool took over. The River Mersey has evidence of silting too and ships coming in to the river have to be steered in by the River Pilot who boards the ships in the mouth of the river. River Pilots have worked on the Mersey since 1766 today there are 44 who guide ships up and down the river. Ships which attempt to navigate the river themselves often end up stranded, River Pilots have a detailed knowledge of where silt and sandbanks lie in the river, the largest silted area is known as Devils Bank. In addition to these hazards the bed of the river is strewn with wrecked ships, so much so that River Pilots have three different charts. An area of the Mersey is closed to ships anchoring because of debris from vessels destroyed in the Second World War.
The distinctive murky brown colour of the River Mersey is not due to pollution as many believe, instead it’s a result of the silt and sand that is kicked up by the fast current of the river. Although the Mersey was heavily polluted in the past, especially during its busiest times, it is much cleaner today and recently won an award for cleanliness.