The Three Stags public house, at the junction of the B5136 Church Road and B5137 Spital Road
|Population||4,190 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||176 mi (283 km) SE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-WRL|
Spital (locally //) is a suburban area of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, England. It is located mid-way on the Wirral Peninsula, and is mostly incorporated into the town of Bebington and the most westerly point of Spital forms the most northern edge of Bromborough.
Spital is primarily a residential suburb which has apartments, and close proximity to the motorway network. The area contains shops, two bars, a chip shop and a primary school.
Spital has a history spanning over 800 years. The first recorded dwelling in the area was a small chapel built sometime before AD 1183 with the name St. Thomas the Martyr. It is not known who built this chapel but was probably used by workers and owners of the Poulton Estate, founded in 1133 at nearby Poulton Lancelyn. In 1283, the brethren of Bebington were given licence to use the forested land where Spital stands today to be used as a hospital for lepers. This hospital was probably attached to the chapel already in the area, but there are no remains of this building today.
The word "spital" was a term given to a place or building (or "spital house") that acted as a hospital or colony for lepers. Therefore, it seems obvious that the name Spital derives from this; however it could also be argued that Spital's name derived from the term "hospitality" - this was due to the large proportion of people who worked as servants at the Poulton estate in Poulton Lancelyn. However many villages with the name "Spital" in their title can be put down to hospitals being in the area many years previously. Poulton cum Spital and Spital Old Hall were the original names for the village until part of this was formally dropped at the end of the 19th century.
The area became more popular during the 20th century after Spital Station on the Chester to Birkenhead railway was connected to the Mersey Railway line in 1891, and businessmen and workers could easily reach places of work, primarily in Liverpool. Spital was a particularly popular place to live with sea merchants and ships' captains due its proximity to the River Mersey and Irish Sea during the height of maritime activity in the area.
Spital was originally part of Cheshire when on 1 April 1974 it was absorbed into the new administrative county of Merseyside created through the reforms of the Local Government Act 1972. Spital has since grown and is now part of the larger town of Bebington which borders Birkenhead. After the ending of the workhouse system in 1930, Wirral Workhouse was renamed Clatterbridge (County) General Hospital and under the National Health Service became Clatterbridge Hospital. In 1958, it became a centre specialising in Oncology. The centre was built in to enlarge cancer care services from a cramped site on Myrtle Street in Liverpool - since then the site has been expanded and the hospital has been awarded 3 out of 3 stars in the NHS scoring system.
Spital is in the eastern part of the Wirral Peninsula, approximately 11.5 km (7.1 mi) south-south-east of the Irish Sea at New Brighton, 8 km (5 mi) east-north-east of the Dee Estuary at Gayton and about 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the River Mersey at Bromborough. The area is situated at an elevation of around 30 m (98 ft) above sea level.
Regular bus services, operated on behalf of Merseytravel, leave Spital cross-roads for various destinations around Merseyside.
Despite its small size, the area is served by Spital railway station on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, with frequent services to Liverpool, Chester and Ellesmere Port. The station is staffed from early in the morning through to 10 minutes before the last train at night and there is a free car park with space for over 40 vehicles.
- Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson spent his adolescent years living in Spital.
- Paul Heaton Singer/Songwriter from The Housemartins and The Beautiful South was born in Spital.
- Wirral 2001 Census: Spital, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, retrieved 18 July 2007
- "Coordinate Distance Calculator". boulter.com. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "SRTM & Ordnance Survey Elevation Data in PHP". Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- Cheshire Towns & Parishes: Poulton cum Spital, GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, retrieved 7 December 2007
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