In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Birkenhead like this:
Birkenhead, mun. and parl. bor. and seaport town, Cheshire, opposite Liverpool, on the left hank of the Mersey, 13 miles NNW. of Chester, and 194 miles from London by rail, 3849 ac., pop. 84,006; 2 Banks, 2 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. It is of modern growth, its prosperity being due to its large docks, and has wide and regular streets, with many fine buildings, and an extensive public park. It possesses a free public library, and a theological college (St Aidan's) for the training of students as clergymen for foreign missions. ...
The water supply is derived from abundant springs within the bor. itself, the water being forced, by pumping, into reservoirs built on the heights of the town. Its chief industries are shipbuilding and machinery mfr. Communication with Liverpool is kept up by fine large steamboats plying from each side of the River every 10 minutes, and has been further improved by the Mersey Tunnel Ry. (The shipping statistics are included in those of the port of Liverpool.) Birkenhead was made a parl. bor. in 1861, and a mun. bor. in 1877. It returns 1 member to Parliament.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Birkenhead has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Wirral. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Birkenhead and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Birkenhead, in Wirral and Cheshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 24th February 2017
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