is an area of the Wirral Peninsula
, in Merseyside
, which is sometimes considered a suburb of Birkenhead
. Administratively, Woodchurch is within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
and the parliamentary constituency of Wirral West
. At the 2001 Census
, it had a population of 8,400 (3,840 males, 4,560 females). Woodchurch is dominated by a large housing development, known as the Woodchurch Estate. The district is serviced by several schools and has the major Arrowe Park
Hospital just outside its boundary, which was built on 15 acres of the park itself in the early 1980s.
Woodchurch was originally a farming area and ancient village of the Wirral Hundred
, known mainly for its parish church and the neighbouring Arrowe Park country estate. The area was purchased by Birkenhead Corporation in 1933, becoming part of Birkenhead civil parish
. Construction of a new housing estate complete with shops, schools, industry and lesuire facilities began immediately after World War II
. Of the old village, only the Church of England Holy Cross Church
and its adjoining school remain.
The population was 52 in 1801, 96 in 1851 and 140 in 1901.
From 1968, the Champion Sparking Plug Company operated an automotive components factory on Arrowe Brook Road, employing at one time over 1,000 people. It was closed in 2006 with production transferred to Italy.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the CO-OP operated a clothes factory and industrial laundry on Woodchurch Road and its water-tower and chimney were local landmarks. It is now the site of an ASDA supermarket.
The housing estate itself is populated by mainly low income residents, with well above average levels of unemployment. In the early 1980s, during a period of exceptionally high national unemployment, the area gained a reputation for drug and social problems (although not as bad a reputation as some neighbouring estates like those of Noctorum
and Ford.) In the late 1980s, the estate was given a facelift, along with some of its neighbours. Today its social problems are largely a thing of the past, although unemployment levels are still above average.
Despite the low income catchment area, the local State Comprehensive, Woodchurch High School, has consistently attained a strong ranking in the Government's national league tables for secondary education. The other high school in the area, the Catholic St Benedicts, was closed in the early 2000s and is now a burnt-out shell.