Friends of Irby Library

Some History connected with IRBY LIBRARY

The original village library was housed were Irby fish & chip shop is now located.

Irby Village 1950

As seen in this image from 1950, pictured in Yesterday's West Wirral Part One by Ian Boumphrey.

"The car on the left has just left Mill Hill Road and is seen being driven into Thingwall Road, Irby. K Matthews' Elm Tree Stores is to the left and beyond the next two-storied cottage is the former single-storied Post Office whose thatched roof was replaced with a tin one [due to shortage of building materials after the Second World War] and became Dr Barnes' Surgery. Constantine grocers shop is the nearest row of shops then Jones' chemist shop, Birkenhead Co-op branch and the Post Office at the far end. The Prince of Wales Inn had been demolished with the site eventually becoming the car park. The first building on the right, with a car parked outside, was the library until the present one was opened in 1964." 1

In 1949 Charles R Croft, and Mary Croft lived in the house above the old library 2

Jones Chemist bottle

It's amazing what you can find on eBay, this is an old bottle that held Glycerine from Jones Chemist in Irby village I tracked it down and bought it from a seller in Scotland!

I digress, back to the history of the current library.

Up until 1967, there was a sandstone farmhouse where the present day library sits. Beazley's book published in 1924 describes the farmhouse as "a small stone house" with mullioned windows". The library site was known as Manor Farm which dated back to the 1600's, the farm belonged to the Glegg estate. "On the wall of the barn was a date stone with the letters G I B 1773, which stood for John Glegg and his wife Betty, daughter of John Baskervyle. "Kelly's Directory" for 1935 lists John Griffiths as the tenant farmer of Manor and Irby Hall Farms. The Manor Farm House was converted into two dwellings. They were the homes of William Bennett and Albert Ewbank who worked for John Griffiths. The outbuildings and shippons to Manor Farm were used until they became unsafe and were demolished in the late 1940's by Bill Langley". 3

Irby Village Manor Farm
Manor Farm seen on the left at the top of Thingwall Road, Irby, was by the 1960's owned by the council. "It was condemned as the building was in a dangerous condition. However the Wirral Society and other local bodies had the order withdrawn in 1962. Despite this and due to lack of repairs to the damaged building, this delightful Elizabethan farmhouse was demolished in 1967. 1

Whilst the site was being cleared council worker Garry Cowin was driving his tractor when the ground gave way and his back wheel went down an ancient well. It was found to be very deep and was capped. The library was later built on the site and the slab outside the door is covering the well. 2

Irby Village Manor Farm
The row of shops to the right included a branch of Irwin's, grocery stores. 1 (Tesco bought Irwin's in 1960) the old Irwin's store is now the home of the Irby Dance Studio.

This article was produced by referencing the following texts that are available to loan and buy from Irby Library.



Irby Libray current building 2010

1> Yesterday's West Wirral Part One by Ian Boumphrey.

2> Wirral Bits & Bobs by Greg Dawson

3> Old Irby by D.M Young

If you have images, stories or historical documents of Irby village or the library site and would like them to be included on this page, please let us know.