Colin McPherson

Photographer and Visual Artist

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

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.

 

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey

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9 Responses to “Ferry Cross the Mersey”

  1. Ozzy Canine

    Look forward to it Colin. I’ve always wondered which way that ferry was going. Also the Zutons (as covered by Amy Winehouse) in Valerie “Sometimes I go out and I gaze across the water” – so presumably the protaganistvos gazing Wirral – wards

    Reply
  2. Colin McPherson

    Good spot Graeme, maybe we can tease out multiple Wirral references from the great rock ‘n’ roll canons produced by Merseyside’s finest musicians? But including Half Man Half Biscuit will not be allowed! Cheers.

    Reply
  3. Kevin Heller

    “It took a tattooed boy from Birkenhead, to really, really open her mind.” – The Smiths; even the Mancs want a piece of the action…

    Reply
  4. Colin McPherson

    Another poptastic view of Wirral from local crooner Andy McCluskey of OMD as told by Wikipedia:

    Andy McCluskey of the 1980s electronic music band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) is from Meols. OMD had a track called Red Frame/White Light which referred to the public telephone box between the church and the Railway Inn on Greenwood Road, Meols. Hidden within the lyrics was the telephone number of the telephone box (632-3003). It is claimed that fans would call that telephone number from all over the world.

    Reply
  5. Matt Evans

    That’s a quality one. I can just imagine irate locals telling OMD fans where to go when they phoned up asking for Andy McCluskey! Can’t top that one, thought I’ve been racking my brain. I did however, remember a video that was partially shot on the Wirral . The single “Reward” by the excellent Teardrop Explodes was filmed in parts of Birkenhead/Wallasey docks, and I remember my jaw almost hitting the floor whilst watching top of the pops when they crossed the “Penny” bridge over Wallasey docks. (Wallasey dock is now drained, so the bridge doesn’t exist any more)

    Reply
    • Simon Wallace

      Remember going on football tour every Easter in the 70s and staying at the Birkenhead YM before playing the local youth league teams. Can remember for some reason climbing out onto the roof of the YM to pass the time. Think it was a slow Sunday.

      Reply

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