New Brighton is a seaside resort on the Wirral Peninsula, three miles from Liverpool. Originally a watering place for the wealthy merchants of Liverpool, New Brighton hit the peak of its popularity in the first two decades of this century. The tower, built in 1897, was actually higher than Blackpool’s but had to be demolished after the First World War due to the neglect. New Brighton’s decline was accelerated in the 1960’s when most of the sand disappeared because of the tidal changes in the River Mersey. This was consolidated by the closure of the ferry service to Liverpool (1971) and the demolition of the pier (1978).
Despite this, some notable features remain: the Lido outdoor swimming pool, built in 1934, is one of the largest in Europe. There is also a fine promenade and ‘The Palace’ amusement park.
Today’s visitors to New Brighton are day-trippers from Liverpool and the Wirral. A hot summer day can still draw large crowds. Martin photographs document contemporary New Brighton: and urban seaside resort, run down, but very much alive.
“My parents are bird watchers so, growing up, I didn’t go to trashy seaside resorts,” Parr revealed, “we went more to look at Waders and Goldfinches. But then my wife got a job in Liverpool, and we bought a house about a mile and a half away from New Brighton. When I discovered it, I got very excited; I was attracted to its litter and energy and I knew then that I would do a project about it.”
(Photos: © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)