Great bus journeys of the world: the 433 to New Brighton

New Brighton Baths

New Brighton Open Air Baths.

A hot, sunny day. Time to go to the seaside, I’d say. And when we were young and growing up in Liverpool the nearest seaside was New Brighton. So that’s where today’s bus journey will take us.

Beginning at the beginning of the route in Cook Street.

Beginning at the beginning of the route in Cook Street.

To make sure the front seat upstairs is baggsied, obviously.

And we're off!

And we’re off!

Along Scotland Road to the 'new' tunnel.

Along Scotland Road to the ‘new’ tunnel.

First time I will have been through this tunnel on a bus.

First time I will have been through this tunnel on a bus.

In we go.

In we go.

Buses can drive in the inside lane in this one, unlike the older tunnel.

Buses can drive in the inside lane in this one, unlike the older tunnel.

Out the other side, it's the Wirral, as expected.

Out the other side, it’s the Wirral, as expected.

Gorsey Road.

Gorsey Road.

be

A mirror image of what we’re on.

Another mirror image. Photographing both sides of the road at once.

Another mirror image. Photographing both sides of the road at once.

Looks like it might have been a cinema?

On Poulton Road. Looks like it might have been a cinema?

Coming into Liscard.

Coming into Liscard.

Liscard town centre.

Liscard town centre.

Nearly there now.

Nearly there now.

Down the hill is Liverpool Bay and New Brighton.

Down the hill is Liverpool Bay and New Brighton.

Time for a look round.

Time for a look round.

New Brighton was ‘invented’ in 1830 as a speculative development by Everton resident James Atherton as a desirable residential and watering place for the gentry of Liverpool. Intended to be Liverpool’s own Brighton it eventually developed into a mass market resort for people from Liverpool and the Lancashire mill towns.

Even gaining its own tower.

Even gaining its own tower.

From where this picture of the funfair and pier was taken.

From where this picture of the funfair and pier was taken.

The tower was taken down at the end of the Great War, having been poorly maintained. But the ballroom beneath it remained and the Beatles played there many times before it was eventually destroyed by fire in 1969.

When we were young we’d usually come to New Brighton by ferry, until they stopped in 1971. After which the landing stage and pier were dismantled and New Brighton entered a period of dramatic decline, recorded in ‘The Last Resort’ by photographer Martin Parr. People still enjoyed their chips but the place had seen better days!

New Brighton, 1980s by Martin Parr.

New Brighton, 1980s by Martin Parr.

In more recent days money has been spent on the place in various ways, so I’m here to see if things are looking up.

Where the bus terminates is a large new development.

Where the bus terminates is a large new development.

A Morrison’s supermarket, a casino, an Iceland, a Home & Bargain and several chain restaurants and coffee bars. I think it’s gross, of course.

But the car park's full so obviously lots of people like it.

But the car park’s full so obviously lots of people like it.

Still, is this any way to treat a seafront?

Still, is this any way to treat a seafront?

The whole new development turning its back on the view.

The whole new development turning its back on the view. Bleak.

And yes, I realise this frontage looking out into Liverpool Bay, is as much a sea defence as a promenade, but need it look as bleak as this back of a row of shops, a casino and a hotel?

The open air swimming pool featured at the top of the post is long gone now too, in case you were wondering.

But roughly were it was there's now this Marine Lake.

But roughly were it was there’s now this Marine Lake.

Overlooked by restaurants.

Overlooked by restaurants.

Some bits of the past are still here though.

The lighthouse.

The lighthouse.

The fort.

The fort.

And what remains of the funfair.

And what remains of the funfair.

Much loved by Sarah. She'd be in there on the penny falls if she were with me today.

Much loved by Sarah. She’d be in there on the penny falls if she were with me today.

But there have been some peculiar planning decisions made here in recent times. All that stuff on the front, obviously.

But also this. What's left of an interesting seaside resort street, facing acres of suburban housing.

But also this. What’s left of an interesting seaside resort street, facing a couple of acres of suburban housing.

Victoria Road, the main street. Not yet thriving again.

Victoria Road, the main street. Not yet thriving again.

Even the Heritage and Information Centre is up for sale.

Even the Heritage and Information Centre looked like it might be shut down.

By this time I’m hungry. Don’t want chips and also don’t want to eat in any of those restaurants in the new development. A couple of reasonable looking cafés are closed though, maybe because it’s Monday. So the best I can do in the end is buy some bread and cheese from the Co-Op and go back down to the front.

Which does have its compensations.

Which does have its compensations.

Because around this side of New Brighton and along this coast you can do something you can’t do anywhere else on earth. You can sit on a beach and have your lunch…

Looking at Liverpool.

Looking at Liverpool.

Home.

Home.

So close.

So close.

The 'Black Pearl' pirate ship is still here.

The ‘Black Pearl’ pirate ship is still here from last time we came. Public art, by the people, for the people.

Still inhabited by delighted junior pirates.

Still inhabited by delighted junior pirates.

Hours pass. I write, read and watch a few ships come and go.

Hours pass. I write, read and watch a few ships come and go.

Evening coming on, it's time to go home.

Evening coming on, it’s time to go home.

After a good and peaceful sunny day out.

Past the new place.

Past the new place.

And home on a slightly different bus, the 432.

And home on a slightly different bus, the 432.

Which follows a slightly different route.

As you can see.

As you can see.

Along Seaview Road.

To Seabank Road.

Then turning inland along Mount Pleasant and Seaview Roads.

And Oxton Road.

Looking downhill along Oxton Road.

Pieces of Liverpool frequently in view up here on the top deck.

Pieces of Liverpool frequently in view from up here on the top deck.

Past Birkenhead Docks.

Past Birkenhead Docks.

And before you know it we're back at the tunnel.

And before you know it we’re back at the tunnel.

And emerging into Liverpool.

Then emerging into Liverpool.

Along Dale Street in the evening sunshine.

Along Dale Street in the evening sunshine.

And turning back into Cook Street, journey's end.

And turning back into Cook Street from Castle Street, journey’s end.

Except then it's a short walk across town for the bus home.

Except then it’s a short walk across town for the bus home.

So, New Brighton? I don’t much like that new development on the front there, but it’s undoubtedly popular. Still, I worry that little of the income it’s generating from its filled car park and its suburban hinterlands seems to be staying in a town that still feels as if Martin Parr would recognise much of it from photographing it in its down-at-heel 1980s.

See all of the ‘Great bus journeys of the world’ here.

2 thoughts on “Great bus journeys of the world: the 433 to New Brighton

  1. lindsay53

    New Brighton has one of the best sea fronts around and it’s such a shame that those monstrosities have been built on the lovely sea front. It could have been much more quaint and interesting and still drawn the crowds. It just looks like any town, anywhere in the UK. Nothing to distinguish it from the rest. Looked like you had a lovely, sunny day though and at least lunch (of sorts) on the beach was a bonus!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      The bit with the restaurants by the Marina looks ok, and I’d guess the drawings of that sold it to the local politicians. But the bolt on supermarkets and bargain shops belong on a roundabout on the edge of town, if anywhere.

      Reply

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