This week marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the classic musical film Ferry Cross the Mersey. There’s even a special screening this coming Thursday in Liverpool to celebrate the occasion.
The film told the story of the city and the Merseybeat phenomenon which swept the world and took popular music by storm, and featured the songs of Gerry and the Pacemakers, including the eponymous hit which gave the film its title.
The song’s title, Ferry Cross the Mersey, was a command, as the lyrics make clear. It wasn’t a prosaic description of the service which cross-crossed the river, but rather it demanded that the ferry reached its desired destination. But it has always been assumed that the destination in question was Liverpool, rather than the Wirral side. For those living on the other side of the river bank, maybe the song has a different meaning, commanding the ferry to cross to Birkenhead?
The proximity of Birkenhead to Liverpool has always fascinated me. On a crisp day, you feel you could stretch your arm over the Mersey and touch the Albert dock or Liver building. But turn away from the river and its a very different place from its more illustrious neighbour. Someone once described Birkenhead to me as “too close to Liverpool, too far from God.” I don’t know about that, but a short walk around the river’s edge gives you a flavour of what once was, and what might again be.
It’s probably a bit harsh (if relevant) to describe the difference between Birkenhead and Liverpool as the same as between Premier League and National League, but it’s a place which fascinates me and allows plenty of scope to make photographs. I’ll be adding to this small collection of recent images in the months to come. Watch these spaces…
All photographs © Colin McPherson, 2015 all rights reserved.