Seacombe Ferry Terminal’s Hidden History

Published on

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Seacombe Ferry Terminal has welcomed lots of busy commuters on their daily journeys for hundreds of years. The first mention of Seacombe’s ferry service was in 1515, and I bet you didn’t realise that Mersey Ferries and Seacombe lead the world with technological advancements in the 1940s! 

Let’s check out some of Seacombe’s hidden history and celebrate the backstory of our Grade II listed gem.

Parry’s Hotel for Weary Travellers


In the 1800s Thomas Parry ran a hotel called Parry’s Seacombe Hotel next to the original ferry terminal (pictured). The hotel was popular with visitors and had an American bowling alley and summer house.

Another hotel was built on the site in the 1870s, the Seacombe Ferry Hotel, which had all the mod cons a passenger could want when it opened- with lifts to all floors, hot and cold running water and electric fires! The hotel stood on the site until it was demolished in 1978.

Parry's Seacombe Hotel

Fog Defeating Radar

In 1947 the first shore-based radar system was installed at Seacombe Ferry Terminal. This ground breaking system helped the ferries to navigate the River Mersey in fog and it was the first time in the world that radar had been used to guide ferries.

Before radar was installed a large bell was used to guide the ferry in the fog. The original bell which the crew used for many years still hangs at Seacombe Ferry Terminal and is attached to the roof of the landing stage-opposite to the passengers’ waiting room.

Looking to the Future

Seacombe Ferry Terminal will temporarily close to allow essential maintenance work to take place to the bridges and landing stage. The last services from Seacombe terminal will set sail on Friday 18 December 2020.

All ferry services from Monday 4 January 2021 will sail from Pier Head Liverpool and call at Woodside Ferry Terminal, whilst Seacombe is closed. Our regular daily services will continue, find out more about our sailing times and prices here.

The maintenance works will see the linkspan bridges, which are over 130 years old, replaced and the landing stage undergo a major refurbishment, including upgrading the mooring bollards and installing new powered gangways. The pontoon will be removed from the water to carry out these works.


Seacombe Ferry Terminal

This important work will allow the ferries to keep sailing for many years to come, and with the redevelopment of the Spaceport site at Seacombe to make way for the exciting opening of Eureka! Mersey, a science and discovery centre for young people, in 2022- the future of this historic terminal is looking bright.