Historic Warships 2003
Were based at the Birkenhead cum Wallasey Docks off the River Mersey in the NW of England.
Right off, this is NOT
their official web site.
These are my personal impressions from my visit there on the 16th of September 2003.
Arriving, parking was free, which is always a boon these days. There is only a small gate into the premises with an open/closed sign on it, which leads into the small shop cum ticket desk portacabin. There was no sign giving the opening hours or indicating what was open, or the charges.
Entering I found that the charges were quite reasonable, considering the cost of keeping old hulls both in the water and keeping them afloat there, so off we went into the exhibition.
Once into the grounds I found that the
steps up to the U boat were closed off. Returning to the Cash desk I then spied
a small sign on the side of the till saying that the U boat and Light Ship were
only open on (I think) two days a week. Obviously not today!!
The sign then noted that there was an extra charge to enter the U boat, which was considerably more than that for the whole of the rest of the exhibition. This had me, quite frankly, inwardly seething. In all likelihood I would have deferred my visit if the signage was up to standard. The girl in the shop seemed quite indifferent, which only made matters worse. I did not pursue the point, but she was quite off hand when asked about it.
The Bronington was disappointing, No access to the engine room and the wheelhouse was closed off. Possibly because there was work going on in the wheelhouse, but it did rather look permanent.
The access to the Onyx and Plymouth were excellent, with little closed to the public. A Guide/Warden was within the entrance to the Onyx (at the forward torpedo room) and he was very good and accommodating. There was a video presentation within the Hanger of the Plymouth.
There is a small, but quite acceptable cafe in the Plymouth, using one of the messes. This, however, seemed not to be signposted, at least not well. I was quite surprised when I came across it and my wife, who had become separated from me, I later found had left the premises in search of fodder.
Otherwise, the place and boats were kept in a clean condition, with acceptable usual conveniences etc.
However, with the poor signage at the entrance, for the Cafe and general reception to the place, it had a feeling of being rather amateurish and, quite frankly, I left with a bad taste in my mouth, even though the tours of the Plymouth and Onyx were so good. These tours had been let down by the rest of the set up.
(as always the pictures are the clickable links)
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Contact is welcome from all Keith J. (Boiler Bill) Chesworth