Wirral Council - Cammell Laird - The Peel Group - Wirral Partnership Homes

Main Associations in Wirral - Liverpool City Region


The Wirral Peninsula has been a hive of activity over the last couple of centuries. It grew from a collection of small villages to become a major tourist destination and one of the biggest manufacturers of large ships in the world.
When William Laird opened an Iron Works at Birkenhead Docks in 1824, he couldn't have envisaged the affect it would have on the town and its surrounding areas. Monks Ferry dry dock at Birkenhead in Wirral Over the next two centuries the population of the Wirral increased 32-fold, this is largely due to the influence that the docks had on the borough. As workers flocked to the port town in search for work on the busy industrialised zone, the rise of Cammell Laird as a global brand was nothing short of phenomenal.
William Laird's initial plan was to just build railway rolling stock, which they did very successfully for over 100 years. The business was taking huge orders for rolling stock by the early part of the 20th century, for the London Underground and across the world, in places like India. When his son John joined the business back in 1828, they turned most of their attention towards the more lucrative ship manufacturing trade.
The Liverpool Royal Institution educated John had an epiphany, realising that the techniques they used to make boilers could be applied to making ships. Within a year, they'd made their first ship, it was an iron barge. The business continued to grow from strength to strength, they were one of the first to use iron in the construction of ships, making major advances in propulsion and using groundbreaking techniques, such as bending iron plates and riveting them together.
In the early 1860s, through a cotton broker in Liverpool with ties to the Confederacy, they secured a secret agreement to build the controversial CSS Alabama for the Confederate States Navy. The ship left Birkenhead docks in 1862, after seven successful expeditionary raids, it was sank by the USS Kearsarge at the Battle of Cherbourg in 1864.
Before that time, the huge Cammell Laird yard was already building ships for the Royal Navy and later other countries worldwide. Throughout its existance, Cammell Laird have manufactured various types of ships for countries such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, India, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Netherlands and the United States of America.
By 1947, they'd built over 1,100 vessels at Birkenhead. With a whole host of different ships launching from the Cammell Laird slipways into the River Mersey. Twenty years later, they built their first Nuclear Submarine at the docks, the Royal Navy's Resolution-class ballistic missile submarine 'HMS Renown'.
The major contracts to build extraordinary vessels wasn't anything new to Birkenhead, over the years Cammell Laird have also built many Aircraft Carriers, Battleships, Banana Boats, Cable Ships, CAM Ships (Catapult Aircraft Merchant Ship), Canallers, Cargo Liners, Cruisers, Destroyers, Dry Cargo Ships, Ferries, Frigates, Ironclads (Steam-propelled Warships), LPG Carriers, Mail Ships, Mooring and Salvage Ships, Oil Rigs, Oil Tankers, Packet Steamers, Passenger Liners, Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships, Sloops (Specialized Convoy-defence Vessels), Submarines, Training Ships, Tugs and Turret Ships.
The name Cammell Laird has been synonymous with the Wirral since the days of William Laird, it is an internationally recognised brand that embodies a sign of excellence in manufacturing.
In the latter part of the 20th century, the whole of Birkenhead Docks succombed to huge changes. When the whole ship manufacturing industry was nationalised in 1977. The new Wirral Waters venture from the Peel Group in the Liverpool City Region The reprivatisation of the trade by the Margaret Thatcher's incumbent government in 1986, led to the business being handed to a Barrow-in-Furness company called Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (VSEL).
They down-scaled the Birkenhead side of the business, before ceasing production at the Cammell Laird site altogether.
A period of almost two decades of decline followed. In 2007, the Peel Holdings Group, owners of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and 50% owners of Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders, purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard site.
In 2008, the world renowned name of Cammell Laird returned to the town. By 2012, it was announced that complete shipbuilding was set to return to the yard. In October 2012, Cammell Laird began work on building two new vessels for the Scottish based ferry operator Western Ferries.
For the rest of the Birkenhead dock system, the Peel Holdings Group are building the largest regeneration project in the United Kingdom.
The £5 billion Wirral Waters project is set to transform the 120 hectares of semi-derelict docklands into a global hotspot for business, tourism and city living. The development is part of the wider Mersey Waters scheme totalling £10 billion in investment for the River Mersey. With Wirral Waters being a sister programme to the equally grandiose Liverpool Waters project.
The borough may have been shaped by big names like Cammell Laird in the past, but there's no doubt that one of the names for the future is the Peel Holdings Group. Once complete, the already awe inspiring River Mersey skyline will be a match for any city in the world.
Some of the other main associations with Wirral include; Wirral Metropolitan College, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wirral Radio Control Flying Society, Wirral Globe, Bromborough and Bebington News, Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club, Wirral Mencap, Claire House Children's Hospice, Wirral Art, Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society, The Mersey Forest and the Liverpool City Region LEP.


Wirral Borough Council - Liverpool City Region

Wirral Borough Council

Formed in 1974, Wirral Borough Council has had no overall control on four occasions, it has been a Conservative controlled council once and a Labour controlled council three times. In the 2012 council elections, Labour won control and have held it since.

Chronology Year
The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral was formed 1974
Partnered with four local authorities to form Merseyside 1974
Joined five other local authorities to form the Liverpool City Region 2009


Ship manufacturer giants Cammell Laird - Liverpool City Region

Cammell Laird

Cammell Laird was founded in 1828 and is based in Birkenhead. Initially building just railway stock, they extended their trade to ships. They quickly became a global name in ship manufacturing, building some of the biggest ships in the world.

Chronology Year
The Birkenhead Iron Works was opened by William Laird 1824
Established Cammell Laird for ship manufacturing with his son John 1828
Built the World's First Steel Ship called the 'Ma Roberts' 1858
Built the 'CSS Alabama' for the Confederate States of America 1862
Built its first Royal Navy Battleship called the 'HMS Royal Oak' 1892
Built its first Packet Steamer for the Isle of Man called the 'TSS Manx Maid' 1910
The 'HMS Caroline' holds the record for the fastest built significant warship 1914
Built the Royal Navy Cruiser called the 'HMS Birkenhead' 1915
Built the World's First All-welded Ship called the 'Fullagar' 1920
Built 20 trailer cars and 20 control trailer cars for the London Underground 1920
Built 160 passenger railway coaches bound for India 1927
Sold off the majority of their railway rolling stock business to Vickers 1929
Built their first Royal Navy 'HMS Ark Royal' aircraft carrier 1937
Built the Royal Navy Battleship called the 'HMS Prince of Wales' 1941
Largest Royal Navy Vessel the Audacious-class aircraft carrier 'HMS Ark Royal' 1950
Built its first Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine called the 'HMS Renown' 1967
All of the British shipbuilding industry was nationalised 1977
Built the Royal Navy Destroyer called the 'HMS Liverpool' 1980
Reprivatised to the Barrow-in-Furness-based company 'VSEL' 1986
VSEL announces the closure of the Birkenhead yard 1993
VSEL was forced to enter receivership after financial difficulties 2001
The Birkenhead shipyard was acquired by 'A&P Shiprepair Group' 2001
'Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders' bought the Birkenhead site 2005
Peel Holdings purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard site and surrounding land 2007
'NS&S' acquired the rights to the Cammell Laird name 2007
'NS&S' renamed itself 'Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited' 2008
The new Cammell Laird S&SL won a £28m Ministry of Defence contract 2008
Cammell Laird received a £44m order for flight decks off the Royal Navy 2010
Cammell Laird announces a complete return to shipbuilding for the yard 2012


The Peel Group - Wirral Waters in the Liverpool City Region

The Peel Group

The foundations for the Peel Group was established by John Whittaker, with a philosophy of recycling capital and long term investment, predominantly in the North West of England. The Peel Ports division is the second largest ports group in the United Kingdom.

Chronology Year
Established by John Whittaker 1971
Embarks on the creation of an airports group buying 76% of Liverpool Airport 1997
Acquire 100% of Liverpool Airport renaming it to 'Liverpool John Lennon Airport' 2000
Acquire the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company with the Port of Liverpool 2005
Announce a £50 billion investment strategy known as the Ocean Gateway 2008
Wirral Waters is granted planning permission 2012
Liverpool Waters is granted planning permission 2013


Magenta Living formerly Wirral Partnership Homes - Liverpool City Region

Magenta Living

Formerly called 'Wirral Partnership Homes', Magenta Living are the largest Registered Provider of affordable housing in the Wirral. They are a not-for-profit organisation responsible for approximately 12,200 social housing properties on the Wirral.

Chronology Year
Formed following the transfer of homes from Wirral Council 2005
Changed the name to Magenta Living from Wirral Partnership Homes 2013
Wins the 'People Development' award at the Wirral Business Awards 2013