|Western Approaches Museum|
The Western Approaches is a rectangular area of the Atlantic Ocean lying on the western coast of the UK and during WWII the area was controlled by Combined Operations. Western Approaches Command HQ started life in Plymouth but was moved in 1941 to Derby House in Liverpool. The complex - was known locally as the "Citadel" or "Fortress", due to the extensive reinforced-concrete protection given to the basement, which was to become the Operations Room. It was designed to be bomb proof and gas proof, with a 7-foot thick roof and 3-foot thick walls, and 100 rooms covering an area of 50,000 square feet. The bunker played a big part of the winning of the Battle of the Atlantic, its role being to ensure the successful delivery of supplies and equipment into wartime Britain from the sea. Throughout the years of WWII, Liverpool was Britain's main convoy port, the vital lifeline was maintained with the United States and Canada, it was crucial both for Britain's survival and the ultimate Allied victory – during this time over 1,000 convoys arrived in the Mersey, on average 3 or 4 per week. Many warships and Merchant ships were repaired and built on Merseyside, and thousands of Liverpool people were involved. The first German bombs landed on Merseyside on 9 August 1940 at Prenton, Birkenhead. In the following sixteen months, German bombs killed 2716 people in Liverpool, 442 people in Birkenhead, 409 people in Bootle and 332 people in Wallasey.
From The Western Approaches Museum we walked to the Pier Head, had lunch and then went on the Mersey ferry, The Royal Daffodil. As a child I used to cross the Mersey on the ferry from Birkenhead (where my grandparents lived) to Liverpool but nowadays it is only a pleasure cruise. We went down the Mersey to the present Port of Liverpool then across towards New Brighton and on to Wallasey and Birkenhead. The view of the Liverpool waterfront from the ferry was stunning with the magnificent Three Graces dominating the view. As we approached Liverpool again it started to rain which was perfect timing!
|The polar bear in Circo|
Victoria and I took ourselves off for a shopping expedition while the others went for a cuppa and a rest. I still have to find a wedding outfit for Robert’s wedding in 7 week’s time - I really can’t decide what sort of outfit I want which doesn’t help. We tried Debenhams and John Lewis and then gave up – there is always tomorrow!
In the evening we went to Circo in Albert Dock for a drink. The bar is a fascinating place with the strangest décor – the polar bear in the photo is just one of the weird and wonderful objects! On Fridays and Saturdays they have a FreakShow which according to their website is like a raucous freight-train – I wish I could have seen it! Dinner was in Pizza Express by the hotel and under the Echo Wheel of Liverpool. We had a great dinner and then we all returned to our respective abodes.