View of Parkgate promenade (The Prom) looking North. The grassy area is part of the now silted River Dee.


Oh gawd, those long English addresses: Parkgate, Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, England. 

Parkgate is entrenched in my psyche forever. I am sure other migrants would feel the same about the place they were born in, and lived during their childhood years. I am Australian, yet English at the same time. I was born in Parkgate in 1952. These pics were taken in 1991 on my first trip back. I have only recently unearthed them (originally analogue SLR). But Parkgate changes little over time, due to its Heritage listing with the UK’s National Trust.

Parkgate was once the port between England and Ireland, until the River Dee became too silted to take the tall ships. Nearby Liverpool (home of The Beatles) then took over that role. People like the composer Handel, and Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver’s Travels regularly visited Ireland via Parkgate. Lord Nelson’s mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton also had a cottage there. The cottage still has “Nelson” spelt out in black cobblestones on the pavement in front of it.


Parkgate looking South

For me, the first ten years of my life were magic, living in Parkgate: Riding my bicycle to the next town, Neston. Getting ‘lost’ in the woods and fields behind Parkgate. Exploring “The Black Path” and the babbling brook at the end of it. And catching red-necked sticklebacks in the brook just for the sake of it. Or walking as far as I could across the salt marsh of the River Dee, to fly my box kite. Innocent times, when I would leave the cottage (“Hill View” – right on the esplanade, called The Prom), and disappear most of the day, playing as kids do. No worry of ‘stranger danger’ then – even though the risks were maybe the same. But no-one worried. We were allowed to be kids, and take risks in those days. I didn’t see a lot of my Dad. He was always busy in his boat. He was a shrimp fisherman by trade (see earlier post on this). Good memories, because I have probably forgotten the bad.


Station Road, leading into The Prom of Parkgate. That is Wales across the River Dee. Only a narrow channel of water now separates Wales from England, due to silting over the past 500 years.


View from the lane of my birth (“Mealor’s Weint), across the River Dee. Across the swamp-grass river are the Welsh hills. The Dee is part of the border between Wales and England.


“Mealor’s Cottages” – I was born in the upstairs bedroom in the end cottage Number 5.

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