Woodchurch shown within Merseyside
|Population||8,400 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||Metropolitan Borough of Wirral|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||0151 6**|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Wirral West|
Woodchurch is an area of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, in England. Administratively, Woodchurch is within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, its parliamentary constituency is Wirral West, and its local council ward is Upton. At the 2001 Census, it had a population of 8,400 (3,840 males, 4,560 females). Woodchurch is dominated by a large housing development, known as the Woodchurch Estate. The district is served by several schools and has the major Arrowe Park Hospital just outside its boundary, which was built on 15 acres (61,000 m2) of the park itself and opened in 1982.
Woodchurch was originally a farming area and ancient village of the Wirral Hundred, known mainly for its parish church and the neighbouring Arrowe Park country estate. The area was purchased by Birkenhead Corporation in 1926, becoming part of Birkenhead civil parish. Construction of a new housing estate complete with shops, schools, industry and lesuire facilities began immediately after World War II. Of the old village, only the Church of England Holy Cross Church and its adjoining school remain.
The population was 52 in 1801, 96 in 1851 and 140 in 1901.
From 1968, the Champion Spark Plug Company operated an automotive components factory on Arrowe Brook Road, employing at one time over 1,000 people. It was closed in 2006 with production transferred to Italy.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the CO-OP operated a clothing factory and industrial laundry on Woodchurch Road and its water-tower and chimney were local landmarks. It is now the site of an Asda supermarket.
The housing estate itself is populated by mainly low income residents, with well above average levels of unemployment. During the late 1960s and 1970s, youths from Woodchurch were periodically involved in gang violence with youths from neighbouring estates. In the early 1980s, during a period of exceptionally high national unemployment, the area gained a reputation for drug and social problems (as did some neighbouring estates like those of Noctorum and Ford). In the late 1980s the estate was given a facelift, along with some of its neighbours. Today its social problems are largely a thing of the past, although unemployment levels are still above the UK national average.
Despite the low income catchment area, the local State Comprehensive, Woodchurch High School, has consistently attained a strong ranking in the Government's national league tables for secondary education. The other high school in the area, the Catholic St Benedicts, was closed in the early 2000s and was demolished in July 2009.
- Richard Adams, religious writer, raised in Woodchurch.
- Thomas Adams, religious writer, raised in Woodchurch.
- Richard Sherlock, clergyman, baptised at Woodhurch.
- Bryan Robin, English Anglican priest, incumbent in Woodchurch.
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