Oglet
New and old - geograph.org.uk - 940425.jpg

View along Oglet Lane.
Oglet is located in Merseyside
Oglet
Oglet
Location within Merseyside
OS grid referenceSJ43768169
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLIVERPOOL
Postcode districtL24
Dialling code0151
PoliceMerseyside
FireMerseyside
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Merseyside
53°19′47″N 2°50′42″W / 53.329594°N 2.8450443°W / 53.329594; -2.8450443Coordinates: 53°19′47″N 2°50′42″W / 53.329594°N 2.8450443°W / 53.329594; -2.8450443

Oglet is a small area of Liverpool, England, and the city's most southernly point.[1] The area is entirely rural and virtually unpopulated, save for a couple of farms.[2] For most of its known history, Oglet was classed as a hamlet in the township of Speke.[3] Nowadays however, "Oglet" or "The Oglet" is typically used in reference to the entire area of land (which includes the remainder of said hamlet) located sandwiched between Liverpool John Lennon Airport in Speke to the north and the River Mersey in all other directions, except for a short land border with Hale to its east.[2]

It has been described as "Liverpool's last piece of countryside";[4][5] it is situated on low-lying, flat, mostly arable land featuring field ponds, hedge rows and tree belts, falling sharply to densely vegetated cliffs at the shoreline.[2][6] Oglet is noted for supporting diverse habitats home to locally rare wildlife, flora, bats, and particularly birds, be it farmland birds, or wading birds which use its saltmarshes for roosting and feeding.[2][4][7] Officially, it is designated as an "Undeveloped Coastal Zone" and part of the city's green belt by Liverpool City Council.[5]

Etymology

Oglet is believed to come from the Old English "ac" (oak) and "hlot" (share/portion), or possibly "lece" (watercourse),[6] and hence is often interpreted as a variant of "oak by the water".[8] It emerged from numerous variations in early documents including Ogelot, Oggelot, Ogelote, Oglot, Ogloth, Okelot and Hogolete.[3][9]

History

An aerial view of Oglet (land to the left of Liverpool Airport runway).
An aerial view of Oglet (land to the left of Liverpool Airport runway).

The earliest known human activity at Oglet is in prehistoric times, possibly Mesolithic and Bronze Age, based upon flint artefacts found in the area.[6] Furthermore, a Roman coin (a Denarius of Septimius Severus) and a brooch are amongst other pre-medieval archaeological discoveries.[6][9] However, its history does not intensify until the Late Middle Ages.

Based on the etymology of Oglet, it's believed that the area was oak woodland late into the Anglo-Saxon period.[2] Unlike neighbouring Speke, Oglet is not mentioned in the Doomesday Book; it first appears by name in written records of the late 1200s.[2][6][10] It is thought to be a case of a shrunken medieval village.[2][8] An abundance of archaeological finds, particularly pottery, as well as evidence of medieval strip fields in the wider proximity of the hamlet, suggests that it was originally a larger settlement during the later Middle Ages that shrunk during the post-medieval period,[6] ending up concentrated on just a single no through road, Oglet Lane.[8] Records from the 14th century through to the 16th century chronicle areas of Oglet being regularly transferred between different local aristocrats of the time, frequently involving the Norris, Molyneux and Ireland families;[3][11] in 1334, they came together in making Oglet/Speke's eastern boundary official, going by a medieval feature known as the "Ditch of Spek".[6][10][11] Many years of agricultural developments have destroyed any evidence of earthworks from those times, however.[2][6]

Oglet's woodland sections had been partly cleared by the mid 1600s; between 1710 and 1719 it underwent a more intensive period of felling to make way for more areas of farming.[10] By the late 18th century, Oglet had been all but cleared of its woodland.[6] By this time, the hamlet consisted of mostly enclosed pasture fields (many in use since medieval times) and ~10 properties fronting Oglet Lane.[2][6] The entire township was minute at the start of the 19th century; a mere 37 properties comprised Speke and Oglet in 1811.[12] During this century, the only holdings to survive until the modern day, Yew Tree Farm and Oglet Farm, were established,[2] but Oglet continued to shrink overall; the amount of fields and buildings present in the hamlet had halved by the close of the 1800s.[6]

Aside from agriculture, fishing, especially shrimping, was another key industry in Oglet's past.[8][12] After the closure of the Dungeon Salt Refinery in the 1840s, fishermen took up permanent residence in the cottages that the refinery workers made vacant.[13] However by the latter half of the 19th century, fishermen at Oglet were a dying breed.[14] Regardless, shrimp remained plentiful,[14][15] and thus the industry endured on into the early 20th century;[16] it was a common sight to see shrimpers hauling baskets of fish to local markets, such as Garston and Hale.[12][17]

Both Speke and Oglet remained small settlements at the turn of the century; the population of the entire township was just 381 in the 1901 Census.[3] In 1932, the township was absorbed by the City of Liverpool.[9] Inner-city slum clearance was a priority for the City Council; in 1937, a massive housing project commenced at Speke, vastly expanding it to a town-sized settlement by its completion in the late 1950s.[9] Its architect, Sir Lancelot Keay, purposely avoided including Oglet and the rest of the township's south in the project to ensure some of its historical and geographical character was preserved.[12]

By this time, the pollution of the Mersey had made it uninhabitable for aquatic life,[18] and shrimping at Oglet was described as long over.[17][19] But with thousands now living just a mile away, the beach at Oglet's shoreline (Oglet Shore, or locally, Oggy Shore), became popular with many locals during the 1950s; as children, future Beatles members and Speke residents, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, frequently played down on the shore and in Oglet's fields.[20][21][22][23]

From 1964–66, a new runway for Liverpool Airport was built on a strip of land directly south of the new Speke estate and north of Oglet.[2][24] Since its completion, Oglet has been almost completely cut off from Speke,[12] as the runway spans nearly the entire length between the western and eastern shorelines of Oglet's "peninsula". Adding to its isolation, the historic no through road to and from Speke, Oglet Lane, was bisected during this process.[12] A new but circuitous accessway to the hamlet was established via joining Dungeon Lane on the eastern edge of Oglet with the long-time dead end of Oglet Lane;[6][25] a 17th century cottage situated at the then dead end, "Poverty Nook", was demolished by the Council, leaving just the two current farms left in the area.[25] A new effluent relief system along Oglet Lane was also installed;[26] by 1970, Oglet Shore had become seriously polluted by untreated sewage outfalls and flytipping and thus was no longer a local hotspot.[27][28] It would take over 30 years for the beach to make a significant recovery, thanks to the efforts of volunteers and improved environmental regulations.[27]

Oglet's 21st century history has been defined by its inclusion in proposals to expand Liverpool Airport which, as adjudged by critics, would effectively see it wiped off the map.[4][5] In 2002, a new control tower for the airport was constructed in the centre of The Oglet.[2] In 2007, a new expansion masterplan proposed concreting the vast majority of Oglet, transforming it into an airport facility dubbed the "Oglet World Cargo Centre".[2] This plan was superseded in 2017 which dropped the cargo centre concept but maintained the desire to remove green belt status from The Oglet and develop most of its land for new hangars, maintenance services, cargo facilities and warehouses by 2050.[29] The plans were met by fierce backlash from local residents, threatened by the loss of treasured countryside and who rebut the justifications for expansion.[4][5][30] In 2019, Dungeon Lane, used as the accessway to Oglet since the late 1960s, was mostly destroyed as part of the creation of a runway end safety area adhering to new CAA regulations.[4][23] A new route to Oglet's farms was created via Hale;[23] more devious than the last, now involving crossing county borders, this has detached Oglet further still from civilisation.

Dungeon

The former territory of "Dungeon" (later, "Hale Cliff") is often mentioned in the same context as Oglet[2][6] (despite actually being in Hale).[13] Now an extinct homestead-sized industrial site, it once straddled where the border between Oglet and Hale meets the Mersey and was served by a single no through road from Speke, Dungeon Lane.[6] Likely originating from the Old English Dunge or Denge, meaning land of, or next to, the marsh,[13] it's known that the site featured a wharf and was being used for salt refining by the late 17th century, whilst salthouses and warehouses were funded for construction in 1733.[2][13]

The salt refinery at Dungeon continued to operate until the 1840s,[13] by which point the homestead also featured a mill[2] and a handful of cottages for its workers on Dungeon Lane.[13] By the 1890s, the refinery site had been repurposed as a stone works, but this was ultimately short-lived. Before the century was out, the wharf was commandeered as a ship-breakers yard, but this too was short-lived, owing to the silting up of the Mersey, and it closed in 1912. By 1925, the buildings had been demolished, save for the cottages.[13] The lack of development since compared to other former salt refinery sites of that era has led to suggestions the place may be of national importance.[13] By ~1990, the old cottages fronting Dungeon Lane were dilapidated and finally knocked down.[13][25]

Landmarks

Yew Tree Farmhouse.
Airport radar tower.

Government

In Liverpool City Council elections, Oglet is part of Speke-Garston ward and is represented by councillors Tom Cardwell, Doreen Knight and Mary Rasmussen (all Labour Party; as of 2021).[33]

Oglet is part of the Garston and Halewood constituency and is represented in the House of Commons by Maria Eagle (Labour Party; as of 2021).[34] Eagle visited Oglet Shore in 2018 in her capacity as an MP and endorsed the local campaign to protect its green belt status.[35]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Liverpool Historic Landscape Characterisation Project" (PDF). Museum of Liverpool. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Airport Master Plan to 2030" (PDF). Liverpool John Lennon Airport. November 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Farrer, William; Brownbill, J (1907). "Townships: Speke". Victoria County History. 3: 131–140. Archived from the original on 28 September 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Liverpool's Last Remaining Countryside: Destroyed For Airport Expansion". Nerve Magazine. 26 June 2020. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Brown, Faye (2 February 2019). "Stunning images of secret Speke beauty spot show why thousands are fighting to save it". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Carver, Sophie (12 February 2019). "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Master Plan - Archaeological Appraisal" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Oglet Bay and the Speke Garston Nature Reserve". Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "Liverpool Historic Settlement Study" (PDF). Museum of Liverpool. December 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 August 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d "History of Speke: the coming to and leaving of Liverpool • Historic Liverpool". Historic Liverpool. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Nicholson, Susan (1983). "Farming on a south Lancashire estate 1066-1795: evidence from Speke Hall" (PDF). Merseyside Archaeological Society Journal. 63. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  11. ^ a b Humby, J. H. (1939). "A Calendar of the Norris Deeds (Lancashire) 12th to 15th century" (PDF). Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. 93. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 January 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Whale, Derek (1985). Lost Villages of Liverpool Part 2 (2nd ed.). Prescot, England: T. Stephenson & Sons Ltd. pp. 22, 26. ISBN 0901314250.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Royden, Mike (1992). "Salt and the Rise of Liverpool - The Dungeon". roydenhistory.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  14. ^ a b The Other Whale. Subscription required Paywall. Liverpool Echo. Archived at the British Newspaper Archive. 3 September 1942. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  15. ^ Miller, Nick (2009). The Lancashire Nobby: Shrimpers, Shankers, Prawners and Trawl Boats. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-1445624211.
  16. ^ Ships go... but the fish will be back. Subscription required Paywall. Liverpool Echo. Archived at the British Newspaper Archive. 26 April 1973. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  17. ^ a b Visitors to Garston. Subscription required Paywall. Runcorn Weekly News. Archived at the British Newspaper Archive. 11 October 1946. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  18. ^ Jones, P.D. (July 2007). "The Mersey Estuary – Back from the Dead? Solving a 150‐Year Old Problem" (PDF). Water and Environment Journal. 14 (2): 124–130. doi:10.1111/j.1747-6593.2000.tb00238.x. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  19. ^ This is Merseyside - No.25 Oglet Shore, Speke. Subscription required Paywall. Liverpool Evening Express. Archived at the British Newspaper Archive. 30 October 1944. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  20. ^ a b c "The Oglet Project". Mersey Estuary Conservation Group. Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  21. ^ Halton Council (17 April 2015). "The Oglet - All it needs is love (and a little help from its friends!)". Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  22. ^ "New lease of life for childhood haunt of Beatles duo". Liverpool Echo. 30 July 2014. Archived from the original on 10 February 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  23. ^ a b c Brown, Faye (5 July 2016). "Memories 'shattered' as road to historic beach loved by Paul McCartney closed permanently". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 14 October 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  24. ^ "LJLA celebrate runway's 50th Anniversary". Liverpool John Lennon Airport. May 2016. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  25. ^ a b c "Speke Village". All Saints Church, Speke, Liverpool. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  26. ^ Near Airport. Subscription required Paywall. Liverpool Echo. Archived at the British Newspaper Archive. 22 November 1963. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  27. ^ a b Jack Byrne (9 May 2020). "Above us only sky". Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  28. ^ The once golden sands. Subscription required Paywall. Liverpool Echo. Archived at the British Newspaper Archive. 13 August 1970. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  29. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Master Plan to 2050" (PDF). Liverpool John Lennon Airport. June 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  30. ^ Brown, Faye (12 July 2018). "Fears airport expansion could demolish beautiful beach loved by Paul McCartney". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 13 April 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  31. ^ Brown, Faye (23 May 2018). "Amazing pictures show World War 2 artefacts revealed after Mersey mud bank washed away". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 23 May 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  32. ^ "Yew Tree Farmhouse". Historic England. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  33. ^ "Your Councillors by Ward". Liverpool City Council. Archived from the original on 23 February 2021. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Members of Parliament (MP)". Liverpool City Council. Archived from the original on 25 October 2021. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  35. ^ "Save Oglet Shore!". Maria Eagle MP. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2022.