Birkenhead is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in Merseyside, England. It is on the Wirral Peninsula, along the West Bank of The River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool. At the 2001 Census, the town had a population of 83,729. Historically part of Cheshire, Birkenhead is perhaps best known as a centre for ship building, as a seaport and its related industries.
The name Birkenhead is possibly from the Old English bircen meaning birch tree, of which many once grew on the headland which jutted into the river at Woodside, however some believe the name to have grown from the River Birket which empties into the docklands.
The earliest records state that the Mersey ferry began operating from Birkenhead in 1150 when Benedictine monks under the leadership of Hamon de Mascy built a priory there. Distanced from the Industrial Revolution in Liverpool by the physical barrier of the River Mersey, Birkenhead retained its agricultural status until the advent of the steam ferry service in 1820.