There were several ferry enterprises operating from different points along the Wirral coast that served to carry passengers, cargo and livestock in relatively small sailing vessels across the river to Liverpool. The fixed wooden jetties at places such as Seacombe, Woodside, Egremont, Tranmere, Monks Ferry, Eastham and here at Rock Ferry meant that the timings, length and comfort of the journey were very much dependent upon both the tides, weather and prevailing winds. Despite this, those areas that supported the ferry services prospered. However, residential expansion did not really occur in Rock Ferry until the middle of the 19th century when it grewfrom no more than four or five dwellings in 1835 to a population of several thousand. The catalyst for this growth had been the introduction of steam ferries in 1817 and the opening of the Royal Rock Hotel. Many fine residences sprung up, most notably the magnificent mansions and villas at Rock Park developed in accordance with Johnathon Bennison's 1837 plans. One famous resident of Rock Park was Nathaniel Hawthorn, the American author who served as his country's consul in Liverpool from 1853 to 1857.
Image details: Engraving by Wm Green from a drawing by WH watts