Visit Parkgate

The only coastal resort in Cheshire

History of Parkgate

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Where it all began....

Old postcards of Parkgate....

Parkgate Promenade

The Promenade building with the cast iron balcony was once know as the Assembly Room and was used, amongst other things, for public functions

Parkgate Marshes

Parkgate Marshes

Parkgate Promenade rails

Behind the sitters can be seen one of the wooden staircases with a hand rail that led down to the beach. There were several of these situated at intervals along the Promenade.

Parkgate Seaside

The stone blocks seen here are belived to have been at one time park of the old quay

Parkgate was an important port from the start of the eighteenth century, in particular as an embarkation point for Ireland. The River Dee, which served as a shipping lane to the Roman city of Deva (Chester), had silted up, in part by 383 AD, creating a need for a port further downstream. Quays were built, first at Burton and later near the small town of Neston but further silting required yet another re-siting slightly further downstream near the gate of Neston's hunting park. Hence the settlement of Parkgate was born.

During the years when the port existed, two distinguished guests stayed in the local hostelries. One was Lord Nelson's mistress, (Lady) Emma Hamilton, who was born in nearby Ness and who used to bathe at Parkgate, apparently as a cure for a skin complaint. The other was Handel who stayed in Parkgate before sailing to Dublin in April 1742 for the first performance of Messiah. He had finished Messiah in the summer of 1741 and at most he could only have added minor touches to the work in Parkgate.

SILTING OF THE RIVER DEE

As the Dee silted up even further, Parkgate became unusable as a port and was superseded by the Port of Liverpool, on the nearby River Mersey. Towards the end of the eighteenth century Parkgate was popular as a seaside resort with baths. But this diminished as the sands of the estuary were consumed with grass. With no beach and no direct access to the sea, Parkgate could manage only small subsistence from fishing and shrimps. The silting of the Dee has been accelerated by the deliberate introduction of the invasive colonizing grass Spartina anglica in Connah's Quay in 1928, resulting in the growth of extensive marshlands.

Mostyn House School, a striking black and white building sat next to The Ship Hotel, was opened in Parkgate in 1855. From 1862 until it closed in 2010, it was run by the Grenfell family, most recently as a co-educational day school. Sir Wilfred Grenfell (1865–1940), famous medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador, was born in Parkgate and was a pupil at the school.

THE INFLUENCE OF WORLD WAR II

During the Second World War two of Parkgate's houses which both contained cellars were converted into shelters and used for public protection from the bombs. Small lights were placed on the marsh to trick the German bombers into thinking settlements were below. After the war, Parkgate flourished as a highly desirable residential area. It became a conservation area in 1973. The Church of England church of St. Thomas, Mostyn Square, reopened for worship in May 2010. Built in 1843, it had been closed since it was declared unsafe in 1994.

PARKGATE TODAY

Still popular with tourists, it boasts bird watching, regionally famous homemade ice cream, sunsets and fresh local seafood, including shrimps and cockles. During seasonal high tides the water reaches the sea wall, and visitors arrive at the village to witness the unusual sight. Bird watchers also come at this time to watch the birds usually hidden in the grasses of the marshland. In addition, bird watchers will regularly visit such locations as the Old Baths site, to the North of the village, from which many interesting species may be seen; watching from a vehicle can be carried out here. Current sightings are recorded daily on a local website which covers the whole Dee Estuary.
The marshlands of Parkgate are currently managed by The RSPB as part of the Dee Estuary Nature Reserve , http://www.rspb.org.uk/deeestuary

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