Unique Tourism Attraction
famous Mersey Ferries has a new addition to its fleet, a Second
World War German U-Boat. U-534 is housed in a special
berth at the Mersey Ferries’ Woodside Terminal as the centrepiece of
a unique tourist attraction – the U-Boat Story – which opened on
Tuesday, 10 February 2009.
The U-Boat, one of only four remaining in the world, was rescued
from an uncertain future by Merseytravel, which owns and operates
the ferries. She is now the centrepiece of a stunning
exhibition, both informative and educational, which is designed to
appeal to visitors of all ages.
U-534 was acquired by Merseytravel after her previous home, the
Historic Warships Museum in Birkenhead, went into voluntary
To move her to the new berth it was necessary to cut U-534 into four
sections. At Woodside each of these sections has now
been illuminated from the inside and glazed panels installed over
the end of each section. A specially built viewing platform
allows visitors to see inside as never before and alongside the
U-Boat is one of the three T11 Zaukonig advanced homing torpedoes
found on board. These were the most advanced torpedoes in the
world at the end of World War 11. An adjoining newly-built
exhibition centre contains artefacts from U-534 including an enigma
coding machine, interactive displays, filmed interviews with
survivors, a pictorial history of life on board and personal effects
of the crew including clothing, cigars and playing cards.
Councillor Mark Dowd, chair of Merseytravel, said:- “This is a
unique attraction which will enhance the Mersey Ferries’ popularity
as the Region’s most popular paid-for attraction.
With Spaceport at the Seacombe Terminal and a Beatles attraction
coming to the new Pier Head Terminal we will have a tourism triangle
that will make a day out on the Mersey Ferries even more memorable.”
Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel
added:- “We designed an attraction which reinforces the Mersey
Ferries links with the history of underwater warfare – and we have
further plans to extend this theme.
The Ferries themselves were awarded the prefix ‘Royal’ because of
the role their predecessors’ played in the raid on German U-Boat
pens at Zeebrugge during the First World War.”
The U-Boat Story is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.30am to 5.30pm
with last admission at 5pm.
Admission Prices:- Adults £5, children aged 5 – 15 £3, family
tickets (two adults, up to three children) £15, concessions £4.
A River Explorer ticket which includes the U-Boat Story is £9
adults,£5 for eligible children, £25 for a family ticket and £7
concessions. A River Explorer which takes in Spaceport
and the U-Boat Story costs £16 for adults, £10 for children 5 to 15,
£6.50 for children aged 3 to 4, £45 for a family ticket and £12
Brief History of U-Boat
U-534 was launched in February 1942 and for the first year and a
half of its life never appears in the records of the combat
flotillas. It is thought that during this period it was used
as a school boat, kept in the Baltic to train new crews and test new
In May 1944, U-534 was released for operational duty but it was not
sent on offensive patrols. It was assigned the duty of weather
reporting and required to avoid contact with the enemy to ensure
On May 5th, 1945 U-534 was sailing in the Kattegat, North-West of
Helsingor and although Admiral Dönitz had ordered all his U-boats to
surrender as from 08:00 May 5th, U534 refused to do so.
She was heading North towards Norway, without flying a flag of
surrender, when she was attacked by a Liberator aircraft from RAF 86
Squadron which dropped depth charges.
U-534 took heavy damage and began to sink by the stern.
Forty-nine of the 52 crew members survived including five who
escaped via the forward torpedo hatch as she lay on the sea bed.
The wreck was discovered over 40 years later and rumours began
circulating that, as U-534 had been the last U-boat to leave
Germany, she possibly had Nazi leaders or gold secretly hidden
A wealthy Danish publisher, Karsten Ree, decided to get involved
with U-534 and he mounted a project to raise the U-boat from the
ocean depths and in August 1993 U-534 surfaced once more.
Eight surviving U-534 crewmembers and four men from the Liberator G
for George were on hand to witness this spectacular recovery.
Thirteen torpedoes and 450 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition were
safely evacuated and blown up while three T11 Zaukonig homing
torpedoes were taken away and stabilized.
Careful inspection of U-534’s interior revealed uniforms, documents,
personal belongings, even wine; but no gold or any hint of secret
In May 1996 U-534 was moved to the Historic Warships Museum in
Birkenhead. Now she has a permanent home at the Woodside Ferry
COUNCIL CHIEFS ISSUE POTHOLE WARNING
authority directors responsible for a substantial part of Britain’s
road network where warned that potholes will be an inevitable
consequence of recent ice and snow and urged motorists to take
The warning comes from CSS, which represents the strategic directors
involved in crucial transport, waste management, environment,
planning, energy and economic development issues. Its members
are responsible for three-quarters of the road network and just
under half the population of England and Wales.
Matthew Lugg, chair of the CSS engineering committee said:-
“The harshest winter for nearly 20 years has had a devastating
effect on our road network with average night time road surface
temperatures remaining below freezing throughout January and
February. The repeated freezing and thawing with the abrasive
impact of grit has caused carriageways to split and potholes to
The problem in urban areas is exacerbated by the damage caused by
reinstatement of utility trenches. CSS Research identified
that the long term integrity of the road surface has been severely
affected by these works and advocated that utilities pay the full
cost of this damage.
Mr Lugg continued:- “Whilst it will take time to assess the
true extent of the damage, we do know that local highways teams will
have to prioritise the resources needed to make immediate repairs.
Local authority highways teams across the country are working to
ensure roads are kept safe. In the meantime, we are advising
our local authority members that the worst affected roads must take
priority, but some stretches will need more extensive resurfacing
and that will take time.”
The public are encouraged if they do come across a dangerous
pot-hole to report it as soon as possible to their local highway
Mr Lugg added:- “Recent weeks have been a challenging time for
local highways authorities and the end to the current spell of bad
weather does not mean that we can relax. I think the roads
teams have done exceptionally well and have played a crucial role in
keeping the nation moving. We have contingency plans but this
tests them to the limit.”
traditions ‘Roll’ into one
ON Pancake Day
on Tuesday, 24 February 2009, Chester city centre will host the
eighth annual Cheese Rolling Competition. However, this year, it
will be followed by a traditional Pancake Race, creating a
‘Flipping Fantastic’ day of activities … this isn’t as
cheesy as it sounds.
Leaders of the new Cheshire West and Chester Council will start the
events by passing a wheel of Cheshire cheese around the city Walls.
The race, where home team Cheshire is hoping to retain the
world-renowned cheese rolling title for a record sixth year running
against mature competition from Stilton, Made In Cheshire and
Cheshire Cheese Ladies Team, will start at 11am by The Cross, Bridge
Cheshire cheese is one of the region’s most famous exports and the
Taste Festival, which runs from 11 April 2009 to 13 April 2009 at
Chester Racecourse as part of the Chester Food and Drink Festival,
is celebrating this in its launch event - the ‘infamous’
Cheese Rolling Championship.
As cheese rolling lands on Shrove Tuesday, the Festival organisers
have added an extra event to the programme: Pancake Race Day will
see local businesses prove their pancake tossing skills while
negotiating an obstacle course to win a coveted golden frying pan.
Sue Harrison, Chair of Chester Festivals, said:- “I am
delighted that so many of our leading politicians and business heads
have agreed to take part in the unique event that is cheese rolling
in Chester. This ancient ritual of cheese rolling dates back to the
Romans and as the opening event for the Taste Festival it is
symbolic of a fresh attitude that shows everyone within the city and
county all working together. This year’s new addition of pancake
tossing adds to this important event and provides a full day of
activities in Chester. I am pleased that once again the wheel of
cheese will be blessed in Chester Cathedral before it is passed from
dignitary to dignitary on its journey around the Walls. This really
signals food and drink as one of Cheshire’s most important
The Chester Food & Drink Festival is taking place from April 4 to
April 18 and will include many activities and events such as the
very popular Cocktail Competition at Cruise nightclub, St. John
Street, Chester, where the city’s finest bartenders will reveal
their latest creations.
Also helping to bring the tastes and smells of the Festival to the
city centre, a series of theme nights, special family offers and
accommodation promotions in city centre restaurants and hotels will
all help to make Chester the focus of food and drink within the UK.
For more information about other events happening over the Chester
Food & Drink Festival, please visit:-