Welcome to the Burton & Neston History Society

The Society started as the Burton and District Local History Society on 21 April 1975 at Burton Manor College. It grew out of a local history course there led by Paul Booth from Liverpool University. Paul Booth became our President in 1999.  The Society meets monthly for talks from October to May and outings or history walks are organised during the summer months.   We have an active Research Group where members pursue their own research interests but also collaborate for projects such as exhibitions and publications.  New members are always welcome - come along to a meeting and see if you would like to join.

What we do

Our prime purpose is to study and research local history, and our research work has resulted in a number of books, smaller publications and exhibitions.  Burton in Wirral published in 1984 and Neston 1840-1940 in 1996 are now out of print, but are available in Neston Library.  Our most recent book Neston Stone Age to Steam Age was published in December 2014 and is for sale in local outlets and on Ebay.

Two Neston men who died following army service in WW1 – can you help?

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records, and honours, 832 000 men from the UK who served in the military and supporting services and who lost their lives in, or as a consequence of, the First World War. 

Neston local historian Ian Norris, in his recently-produced 10-volume work HomeTown Heroes : The stories of the Casualties of War of Neston & Burton, 1914 – 1921, researched and recorded the stories of 170 local men who served their country and died at this time. Ian discovered two local men who are not recorded by the CWGC and now hopes, with the information that he can provide, to get them formally acknowledged. However, although Ian has considerable data on these two men (although no photograph of either) he would like to contact any relatives who may be able to supply additional supportive material for submission to the CWGC. So who were these men?

The first man, Second Lieutenant William George Ross BUTCHER served with the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and died, aged 25, at a sanatorium in Bournemouth of pulmonary tuberculosis on 24 May 1921. Although this was well after the Armistice the date still falls within the time-scale recognised by the CWGC. Interestingly, William is commemorated on the plaque in the United Reformed Church on Parkgate Road although, by 1911, most of the Butcher family had moved from Hinderton Road to a house called Memel on Poll Hill Road in Heswall.

The second man, Private Joseph SMITH (Service No. W/1138) joined the 13th Battalion Cheshire Regiment (unofficially known as the Wirral Battalion) and moved with his unit to France in September 1915. Joseph’s life in the army was dogged by illness and he moved, with a series of conditions, through a number of hospitals and medical centres before the army repatriated him in January 1916. Having spent some time in a hospital in Northamptonshire Joseph was released in May 1916 and returned to the family home at Sunset Cottages, Ness. Considered as being no longer physically fit for war service Joseph was formally discharged from the army in June 1916 and he died at home in Ness on 11 June 1918. As with William Butcher, Joseph Smith died of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Anyone with any knowledge of, or links to, these men can contact Ian by email at:  hometownheroesneston@gmail.com  and this same contact can be used to request details of the CD and USB FlashDrive version of HomeTown Heroes – a very few copies are still available for purchase. 

Photo right: The WW1 memorial plaque in the Parkgate & Neston United Reformed Church, Parkgate Road.
The only man commemorated here who is not recognised as a casualty by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is William G.R. Butcher, the last name on the list. Can you help to gain his acknowledgement?

Burton & Neston History Society  Exhibition, ‘Great War - Neston Remembers’ 

Volunteer researchers from the Society have uncovered a wealth of information, photographs and maps bringing to life stories of local people and everyday life in Neston, Parkgate and Burton during the Great War. These include details of the local hospitals for wounded troops and the existence of a small scale munitions factory sited in the garden of Leighton Court. An incident in an atmosphere of raised tension resulted in a near riot on 'The Green', all caused by a misunderstanding and resulting in a man having to be rescued by the police. 

The exhibition coincides with the completion and publication of several intensive years of research by Society member Ian Norris who has researched the war records and family histories of the period for each of the 170 men of Burton and Neston who died in War service or shortly after from injuries sustained in battle.  Ian was interviewed on October 24th at the library by BBC Radio Merseyside. 

Ian's research runs to ten printed volumes and is available in Neston library for anyone to read. It will be of particular interest to local families who lost relatives in the War and anyone interested in local history. 

This exhibition has now completed its run at Neston library but can be viewed here by clicking on the images below:
https://sites.google.com/site/burtonnestonhistory/home/Great%20War%20Exhib.%20(vertical%20panels).jpg   (vertical panels)    https://sites.google.com/site/burtonnestonhistory/home/Great%20War%20Exhib.%20(horizontal%20panels).jpg(horizontal panels)

A Short History of Neston & Surrounding Villages - new printed booklet now available

A new illustrated Short History of Neston & Surrounding Villages has just been published by the Society in printed form and is available in local outlets.  The 31 page A5 booklet, contains a brief history of Neston, Parkgate, Little Neston, Willaston, Ness, Thornton Hough, Ledsham , Capenhurst and Raby and is illustrated with many colour photographs. The new booklet is based on the Villages Heritage Guide (pdf still available below) but with much revision of the text and many new photographs. 

The booklet can be purchased at the following local outlets for £3: 
Paisley Grey (formerly My Gift Place), High Street, Neston - opposite The Neston Centre
Gordale Garden Centre, Village News, Little Neston and on ebay
The booklet can also be purchased at our monthly meetings (further details of our meetings are at the bottom of this page).

A brief thirty page illustrated guide to the history of Neston, Parkgate, Little Neston, Burton and Willaston.  The guide gives a good overview of the history and places of interest in this part of Wirral. it can be downloaded in pdf form the articles page at the link below 

BNHS to have closer involvement with NestonPast website

If you are interested in the history of Neston and surrounding area you are probably already aware of the website Neston Past http://www.nestonpast.com/   It contains an interesting, thoroughly well researched and varied collection of articles contributed by a number authors, together with maps and historic photos. Do pay it a visit if you have not already done so!

The Nestonpast website was set up by Susan Chambers in November 2015, and subsequently was jointly managed by Susan Chambers and Stella Young. As of 1st July 2018 the site is being jointly managed and supported by the Burton and Neston History Society and Stella Young.
It continues as a site to share memories and research about Neston and Parkgate and now also provides information about the Burton and Neston History Society and its activities, but its main focus remains the articles. If you have any research or memories you would like to contribute to NestonPast please email info@nestonpast.com


  • Past Bulletins added Our past bulletins contain many interesting and well researched articles reflecting members varied interests since the late 1970's. So that these can find a new and wider audience, they ...
    Posted 12 Oct 2018, 02:43 by Burton & Neston History Society
  • Wirral History & Heritage Fair - March 9th 2019 On Saturday 9th March 2019 the Wirral History & Heritage Fair will once again take over the fine Victorian interior of Birkenhead Town Hall.  Last year over 60 local organisations took ...
    Posted 11 Feb 2019, 02:08 by Burton & Neston History Society
  • Thursday 14th March 2019 - Meeting and Talk Priscilla Pointon - an eighteenth century poet in ChesterAnn Marie Curtis will be talking about Priscilla Pointon, a remarkable Georgian woman who, despite going blind at the age of 13 ...
    Posted 15 Feb 2019, 02:24 by Burton & Neston History Society
  • 'Neston Stone Age to Steam Age' - 2nd print run for sale Our most recent book Neston, Stone Age to Steam Age has sold out of its first print run, but a new print run has just been delivered in good time ...
    Posted 12 Dec 2017, 07:03 by Burton & Neston History Society
Showing posts 1 - 4 of 4. View more »


Meeting or eventWhereDateTime
David Hearn on Jesse Hartley – Liverpool dock engineer Gladstone Village Hall, Burton 11 April 2019 Meeting starts at 8pm 
AGM followed by talk on Burton Road, Neston by Ed Hilditch Gladstone Village Hall, Burton 9 May 2019 Meeting starts at 8pm 
Showing 2 items from page News & Events sorted by edit time. View more »

For other local events of interest, please see the events calendar: https://sites.google.com/site/burtonnestonhistory/events/calendar

Dee Estuary from Leighton Road, Parkgate

Thursday 11th April 2019 - Meeting and Talk 
David Hearn will be talking about Jesse Hartley, Liverpool Dock Engineer Jesse Hartley became the first full-time professional dock engineer in the world. He built and rebuilt the entire Liverpool dock system, including Albert Dock, with revolutionary designs that still stand today. This talk surveys this titanic figure of Liverpool’s history. David Hearn is a local history writer, a member of Liverpool History Society and public speaker. We meet at Gladstone Village Hall, Burton, talks start at 8pm and doors open at 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome, free on the first occasion.
The hall has a small car park so please car share if you can. Overspill car parking space is available adjacent to the cricket field (beyond the main car park), but this is unlit.