Birkenhead Proprietary School, later Birkenhead School, was founded in 1860, initially with 13
pupils, at Royden House, Park Road North, altering its name in 1871, when it moved to the
present Shrewsbury Road site. Fees of £14 -£18 half-yearly were about double the average for
middle-class schools. For girls there was Lingdale convent, a boarding and day convent of the
Faithful Companions of Jesus, with 63 pupils, apparently disappearing after 1861, probably
moving to Upton. There was The Uplands on the Oxton-Noctorum border, and West Highfield, a
Ladies boarding school from 1861-66. Birkenhead High School for girls was established in 1885
in the building previously occupied by the Oxton Local Board, 7 Village Road. It moved to its
present building, Belgrano in Devonshire Place, Claughton, in 1905. Another girls school was
Kensington House at Nos 59-63 Bidston Road, on the corner with Howbeck Road. It
accommodated borders in addition to day pupils and finally closed in 1937. Its sister school
Christchurch college operated for a short period from Normanston House in Christchurch Road
also only allowing girls for its pupils.
In 1853 a National Society School, affiliated to St Saviour’s,
was opened on a site given by the Earl of Shrewsbury on
Storeton Road, now occupied by Storeton Close. This
served the lower middle-class and working-class Church of
England children. In 1967 the school was moved to its
present position at the top of Holm Lane.
A second primary school functioned at what is now
numbered 75A Woodchurch Road, opposite the bottom of
Bennetts Hill, run by the British and Foreign Schools Society
which was in 'competition' with the National Society.
|Kensington House Girls School 1903
In all, there were twenty small, private seminaries active in Oxton between the 1840s and
1880s and a further ten in bordering Claughton. More recent establishments are Prenton
Preparatory School at Wirral Lodge, Mount Pleasant (1935), Highfield School, 76 Bidston Road,
and primary schools: Woodchurch Road (1901), St Joseph's, Woodchurch Road (1908) on its
present site since 1985, Townfield, Townfield Lane (1965), Hillside, Ridgeway Road (1967) and
St Peter's R.C., St Peter's Way (1968).
Christ Church and St. Michael
The parish church of Claughton, lies within Oxton ward and
the Conservation Area. Designed by William Jearrad, it was
erected at the expense of William Potter, a Liverpool
businessman, between 1844 and 1849 from red sandstone
taken from the adjacent quarry, straddling what is now
Bessborough Road. This initiative on Potter’s part was
speculative and the church was used briefly by an
evangelistic group before being offered to the Church of
England. It was not consecrated until 1854, due to legal
difficulties following Potter’s bancruptcy, and the death of
James Ball, from whom the land had been purchased and to
whom it had reverted. The site fell within the boundary of
St. Oswalds, Bidston until 1876, when the new parish of
Claughton was created from parts of four others.
Trinity Presbyterian Church
On Alton and Beresford Roads, lying within Oxton Ward boundary, started as a hall (now
attached to the church) built of Storeton stone at a cost of £2,000. It was opened for worship
in 1863. The building of the church itself began in 1865 and it was open for worship the
following year, serving the many Scottish businessmen of Wirral.
All Saints’ Church
Stood on Shrewsbury Road, was built as a chapel-of-ease to the parish church of St.Saviour
and became the leading church in the Anglo-Catholic Revival in Birkenhead. It was dedicated on
All Saints’ Day 1879. In 1910 the parish of All Saints was formed out of parts of Oxton and
Bidston parishes. In 1970 the church was deemed unsafe and was demolished in 1972, and
worship transferred to St. Bedes’ in Claughton Village.
Palm Grove Methodist Church
Methodist services had been held in an office at John Newburn’s wood yard, Newburn’s Lane,
but in 1871 the building of a new church was begun.
St. Saviour’s Church
The parish church of Oxton. Prior to 1851 Oxton township had been part of the parish of
Woodchurch, together with Arrowe, Barnston, Landican, Pensby, Prenton, Noctorum,
Thingwall., parts of Claughton and parts of Irby. Their parish church was far from easily
access for Oxton residents at some three miles distance and approachable by Holm Lame or
other field paths, often muddy and slippery. Hence their wish to have their own place of
worship, set in motion at a township meeting held at the Carnarvon Castle in 1844. That year
a barn was converted so that services could be held and in 1848 the Earl of Shrewsbury
conveyed a plot of land for the erection of the first Church of St. Saviour, which was duly
consecrated in 185l. Forty years later, in 1891 this building was pulled down and the present
replacement church was built and consecrated, the tower being completed the following year.
The first parish hall, “St. Saviour’s Institute”, was housed in Rose Mount, in the building
presently numbered 2b and now occupied by the businesses of Brymark and Coyles. In 1910 a
dedicated hall was erected in Storeton Road and enlarged in 1925. The south wing was
licensed for worship the following year as St. Thomas’ Chapel. The building was demolished in
2004 when a block of flats, Bishop’s Court, took its place. A presence in the Noctorum area of
St Saviour's parish was established in 1973 in what is now known as St. Andrew's Church in
Moorfields Avenue. Below shows the church in 1926 and 2007.
St Saviours 1926
St Saviours 2007
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Holy Name of Jesus
This Roman Catholic church was built of brick in 1899 by the architect Edmund Kirby in the
grounds of his house, Overdale, in Beresford Road.
First Church of Christ Scientist
This building, designed by Joseph Brattan, was purpose-built in 1874 to house the Oxton Local
Board . On the township’s incorporation into Birkenhead, the building became redundant and in
1886 it was purchased by The High School for Girls Ltd, and Birkenhead High School was
founded with one hundred girls, moving in 1905 to Belgrano in Devonshire Place. In 1925 the
building was bought by the first Church of Christ Scientist, but in 1975 so much structural
damaged had developed that the church sought permission for demolition. This was granted and
work had reached an advanced stage before it was realised that the building was listed.
An undenominational mission hall, built of corrugated iron, was opened in Newburn’s Lane
behind the Queen's Arms. This was replaced in 1929 by the present brick-built hall in Storeton
Road with money provided by Miss. Maitland Roy. The old hall became a garage and eyesore, but
a pair of houses have now replaced it.
There being no provision for a cemetery in Oxton, most residents in the middle of the nineteenth
century were still buried at Holy Cross, Woodchurch, a very few at St. Mary’s (Priory), or after
1862 at Flaybrick Cemetery in Claughton.