About Parkgate > Parkgate Heritage Trail > Middle Slip
The Middle Slip and The Old Watch House
Bags of cockles
The Middle Slip is where the Parkgate fishermen used to land their catches at high tide.
Here a sizeable catch appears to consist of cockles, which have been bagged up and will be conveyed by the waiting ponies to Parkgate station for onward transport to markets in Lancashire and elsewhere.
Tricky sailing off a lee shore!
In this picture the 2 men in the rowing boat (punt) are helping manoeuvre the sailing boat (nobby) away from the slipway; meanwhile a few children and their dog look on.
The tide is roughly at the height of the present marsh.
Who's landing their boats?
This little building overlooking the Middle Slipway dates from about 1720. It was used by the coastguard service as a Watch House until 1799, when it was taken over by the HM Customs to keep an eye on local shipping and, in particular, any smuggling.
After the demise of the shipping traffic it became a private house. It is now much altered from its original form, but remains very much a feature of the Parkgate waterfront.
This location is probably the most photographed historical area in Parkgate, as the fishing activities undertaken here provided inspiration and subjects for generations of photographers and artists over the years.
By the 1940s the fishing methods were much the same, except that the ponies and carts have been replaced by a lorry.
In this photograph you can see the shell-fish catch has been bagged up and is almost ready to be loaded for its onward journey. While most of the men are able to enjoy a bit of relaxation, three of them are still working, using a riddle to separate the catch from the waste.
Where the men in the foreground are standing, the Parkgate Society has installed a Hilbre class boat as a flower garden, to remind people of Parkgate's seafaring heritage.