The term "Chelsea Village" is one hardly recognised today, yet it is not many years back that there existed a compact village such as is seen in the reproduction above, where now stands the stately brick houses.
Chelsea Village 1912
Many a story could be told by the old timers of the good old times especially on Saturday nights, that the "Village" witnessed. It is still claimed by those who know, that there never were more enjoyable dances than those held in the single men's barracks where the bunks were gracefully hidden by sheets borrowed from the more fortunate married men. Fun ran riot and everyone had a glorious time. No "Charleston" or "Tango" but the good old fashioned dances every time. It is true that there was sometimes a scrap or two with the resultant blackened eye, but what matters, everybody got all the fun out of life possible in those days. What better music could anyone desire than that supplied by Jack Taylor on his accordion? Surely none. On each side of the road stretched a row of quaint cottages practically all alike. This was sometimes a little difficult for a newcomer to distinguish one from the other, and it is said that sometimes a man has been known to have made a mistake in his own home.
Later a picket fence ran the full length of the village on either side. In late years these cottages were sold for removal and several of them are to be seen in various parts of Birkenhead today. A General Store and Bakery was established by Mr. Gee, the store continuing till the village was dismantled, being then run by Mr. Jerry McCarthy. A single men's barracks was provided and the cook house kept by Mrs. Copeland and later by Mrs. Poole, was a place of note and of considerable consequence. Just inside the present gates there stood a small Anglican Church, known as St. Peter's. This was erected under the supervision of the late Mr. W. F.Hammond, the money being collected locally. The building was removed later to Birkdale and is still doing service in that district. (It has since been moved again, and now stands in Tramway Road, Beach Haven.) A reading room was established, but owing to lack of support was not a success. For some years a private school was conducted, among the teachers being Mrs. J. Clow.
- Birkenhead Gazette, 1927
We have pleasure in being able to present our readers with a picture of the Old Chelsea Village, which has been made possible through the courtesy of Miss Hammond.