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Report - - The Andrew Gibson Memorial Home for Seaman’s Widows, Wallasey - January 2017 | Residential Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Andrew Gibson Memorial Home for Seaman’s Widows, Wallasey - January 2017


WildBoyz

Is this the future?
28DL Full Member
History

“If nothing is done, Andrew Gibson House will continue to deteriorate and the character building which is an important part of the area’s history will be lost for future generations” (an unspecified report).


The Andrew Gibson Memorial Home for Seaman’s Widows is a former Edwardian mansion located by the River Mersey, along Seabank Road, Wallasey. The building, which was a gift from a wealthy philanthropic cotton merchant, was constructed in 1906 to provide a sanctuary for the widows of elderly sailors and those who were lost at sea. Conflicting sources suggest that the building cost somewhere between £25,000-£125,000 to build (which is a considerable amount in today’s economic climate), and thereafter it was constantly maintained over the years thanks to the collective contributions of individual Union members. For this reason, the mansion stands as a unique and important symbol for part of Britain’s welfare history. Even the grounds themselves, which would comprise large landscaped gardens and a waterfront view, were specifically selected for the wellbeing and benefit of the widows who would be residing in the mansion. The Gibson family, and a number of other wealthy merchants based in Wallasey, also financed the construction a number of additional houses adjacent to Mariners Park, to provide homes for retired seafarers.

The building has remained abandoned for a considerable number of years, to the extent that even the locals cannot remember when it was last in use. Nevertheless, at some point in its history the widows were forced to vacate the premises. One report suggests that the mansion was redeveloped in 1982, when it was converted into twenty-four flats for general residential use. Another report suggests that the property finally closed in 2002 due to its deteriorating condition. Since 1982, though, the original purpose of the building was largely forgotten by many; the fact that the sanctuary in its initial form never had a sign outside to inform people of its purpose may have something to do with this. This, of course, was to protect the widows who lived there, and to offer them complete privacy.

After attempting to sell the property for over ten years, the current owners (the seafarers union, Nautilus) applied to the local authorities to seek approval to demolish the building. In an effort to save it, however, thousands of local residents launched a petition to prevent the demolition work from going ahead. During this time an emergency application was also sent to English Heritage to give it listed building status. In the end, the application was rejected, while the request for demolition submitted by Nautilus was approved. As things stand presently, the plans to demolish Gibson House have been stalled once again because a last minute solution to transform the site into residential apartments was considered and accepted by the council. There is every chance, then, that the building might not have seen its last days just yet.

Our Version of Events

New Year was over, and all but one of WildBoyz had headed home.So, walking solo around the streets of Wallasey, ourlast comrade went in search of something to explore. It didn’t take long before two explores popped up, though, and conveniently there were both positioned along the same road. The first was this one, Gibson House. The second was Manor Church Centre; a mixed English Perpendicular, Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival style church. At the time, Gibson House barely looked worth the effort of venturing inside because, for a start, if we were to measure the percentage of glass that still in situ it would amount to around 0%. Still, there was something about the mansion that made it stand out from its other neighbouring buildings; a strong sense that beneath the years of decay and neglect there was something quite significant about it.

Getting onto the site wasn’t particularly difficult, despite the palisade fence around the back and someone’s attempt to coat everything else in anti-climb paint. From there it was then simply a case of choosing a window to climb through. Half expecting to find a crowd of junkies injecting heroin inside, our solo group representative got the tripod out ready. The first few glimpses of the interior confirmed the original assessment: the place was well and truly fucked. Surprisingly, there was a nice piece of carpet still covering most of the floor, but as for everything else it was peeling, crumbling, cracked and broken. A more thorough search through the building revealed very little else, until the basement was discovered.

Down amongst the foundations of the building, the scene was a lot different. Here the walls were painted white, giving the whole floor a clinical sort of look. A bit more wandering around the Jigsaw styled labyrinth revealed a few other interesting bits and bobs too, such as a couple of washing machines, an entrance to some chambers not dissimilar to those beneath Sheffield Courthouse, access to the lift shaft and an old service hatch and ramp. It was a great improvement to what the upstairs floors had had to offer.

All in all, then, it’s likely that this site isn’t going to win any awards for being the best explore of the year. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked that The Andrew Gibson Memorial Home for Seaman’s is actually quite an historic building. Why is isn’t listed is beyond us. With any luck, though, this report might help to bring it to people’s attention and that, in turn, might prompt them to pull a finger out to start saving what’s left of it. It’s a sad sight to behold when a building, which began life as a result of an act of charity, is left to crumble because the charitable acts of Gibson have, for the most part, ceased to exist in the type of world we have created for ourselves.

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Dave563

Some things are best left untouched!
28DL Full Member
Great report as always! Some brilliant pictures... Looks very spooky! Lol
 

The Kwan

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nice photies mate, this place is due to be renovated in a joint venture between Numast and the council I believe, the locals give this a wide berth after some fuckwits robbed the pipework in the attics which flooded the place and saturated the whole building with asbestos, the bizzies stopped training their dogs there too because of the asbestos.
It is a lovely building mind.
 

The Wombat

Mr Wombat
28DL Full Member
Top set of photos here
It may still be worth a wander round
I think Mr Punk maybe interested in this report
 

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
28DL Full Member
Nice photies mate, this place is due to be renovated in a joint venture between Numast and the council I believe, the locals give this a wide berth after some fuckwits robbed the pipework in the attics which flooded the place and saturated the whole building with asbestos, the bizzies stopped training their dogs there too because of the asbestos.
It is a lovely building mind.
That's good to hear about the renovations. That's a much cheerier end to the history :thumb I did notice the lack of roof while wandering around like, and that all the key damaged seemed to be a result of water getting through. Fortunately, all the windows are gone, so it was quite well ventilated... Or so I hope :)

Top set of photos here
It may still be worth a wander round
I think Mr Punk maybe interested in this report
Is Mr Punk over that way these days? Not spoken to him in a while.
 

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
28DL Full Member
Really good write up and fantastic pictures! I am baffled that this place is still lying derelict after all this time!

I must say though, it's nice watching the fun rise over Liverpool from the upper windows after you've had a skinful!!!
Cheers :thumb Haha, one of those nice balcony things/large window ledges would have worked a treat, overlooking the Mersey.
 

albino-jay

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Good to see inside here tried to get in a few years ago

Was out with the mrs and saw this parked up jibbed a fence literally one leg over and a copper pulls up. Terrible timing on my part.

Nice pics dude
 

The Stig

Urbex = Nosey Bastard
28DL Full Member
Cracking stuff fella :thumb
 

Degenatron

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Excellent report. I actually remember visiting a freind of my mums who used to live here when I was a kid. One of those Anites who isnt really your antie types. I used to love the view of the river from her apartment at the back. Ive never got round to exploring it since its been abandoned. Probably won't either.
 

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