Incredible photographs of the lost New Brighton Pier were unearthed in a loft during a house clearance.

Sean Martin, 60, who owns Liberty Antiques in New Brighton was asked to clear the house before it is due to go on sale.

While rummaging through dusty old boxes in the loft of the home on Ellen Park Road on Sunday, Sean stumbled across a box of old photos.

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Taking a closer look and reading the inscriptions on the back of the photos, they were of the old New Brighton Pier that was demolished in the late 1970s.

The first wooden ferry pier at New Brighton was was opened in 1834, but was too short to be used by the ferries at low tide.

It was replaced by a new pier which - a 600 foot iron structure designed by Eugenius Birch - which opened in September 1867.

The new pier included a saloon, a central observation tower for viewing shipping on the Mersey, refreshment rooms, shelters and an orchestra.

After it was bought in 1928 by Wallasey Corporation for £13,000 (valued today at over £800,000) and they spent £31,354 (nearly £2m in today's value) replacing rather than repairing all the buildings, including the pavilion.

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During WWII the pier was used in the war effort to protect the Mersey and entry into Liverpool. There are even some accounts of the pier being fitted with torpedo tubes.

The pier was closed in 1965 but was later leased to a subsidiary of Fortes who re-opened it in June 1968. However, although an estimated £200,000 was spent on improvements, the pier was closed for good in November 1972.

Looking out over the pier which closed in 1972
Looking out over the pier which closed in 1972

Ferries across the Mersey to New Brighton had ceased a year earlier, after which the ferry pier and landing stage were dismantled.

The pier became unsafe and permission for demolition was granted by the Environment Secretary in 1977. Work took place later that year.

The photographs Sean discovered in the loft are dated between 1976 and 1978 and are a bleak record of the abandoned pier falling into complete disrepair and finally demolition.

Sean told the ECHO that the nature of his job often means he unearths fascinating items.

Photos of New Brighton pier dated between 1976 and 1978
Photos of New Brighton pier dated between 1976 and 1978

"It's a disease, if you love rooting you'll love this job."

Children playing in the remains of the crumbling pier
Children playing in the remains of the crumbling pier

Recognising the photographs as an important record of New Brighton's history, Sean said he will be looking to give them away to galleries or heritage centres who have enquired about displaying them.

Photo of old New Brighton pier taken on a sunny day
Photo of old New Brighton pier taken on a sunny day

Sean added: "I'll make a few enlarged copies for myself. There have been several local people asking for them and I've told a local lady she can have them to make some copies made.

The pier during its demolition which began in 1977
The pier during its demolition which began in 1977

"There's also a couple of galleries in New Brighton and heritage centres looking to display them.

"That's what will happen in the end because I don't want money for them but I'd like them kept so people can see them."

Sean Martin with his wife and celebrity antiques dealer Mark Stacey
Sean Martin with his wife and celebrity antiques dealer Mark Stacey

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