Joseph Mayer 

BACKGROUND OF JOSEPH MAYER AND HIS LEGACY

 

It is very important to bring attention to Joseph Mayer’s contribution to Britain’s National Heritage & Culture but more so the importance of his work in the Development of Bebington.

In brief Joseph Mayer was born in the year 1803 in Staffordshire, the sixth child of eleven children, he moved to Liverpool about 1822 at the age of 19. He became a Jeweller/Goldsmith, going onto becoming one of Liverpool’s most distinguished citizens.

Joseph Mayer gifted so much to the places important to him, Stoke on Trent he invested in education in the Community, Liverpool most of his collection of Artefacts, a founding member of The Lancashire & Cheshire History Society, in Bebington Mayer Hall museum, The Free Library, and Mayer Park, are but a few of his achievements.

He moved from Liverpool to Dacre Park, Rock Ferry about 1857 a fashionable escarpment at the time opposite Liverpool. However this was not his first involvement with the Wirral between the years of 1848-51 he was in the habit of walking out across the Wirral on Sunday afternoons to Meols. In 1860 he moved to Bebington close by to one of his Sisters Ann Boyle of the “Firs”, in a short time he establishing a substantial brick-built dwelling called Pennant House (named after Thomas Pennant 1726-98 the traveller and naturalist).

Joseph Mayer became heavily involved in the fast growing local community becoming its extraordinarily generous benefactor. Whilst the Williams brothers focused on building a new community in Bromborough Pool Village, as was the case of William Lever in 1896, Joseph Mayer worked in support of a local community already established in the Bebington area with its inherent problems and it is this very point that seems lost in peoples minds to day.

It was in 1878 that Joseph Mayer set up his Mayer Trust with funds from his estate as a means to continue his work in supporting the Community in Bebington after his death. It should be understood that the setting up of the Mayer Trust involved representation of the Council & St Andrews Church along with the Managers Friends of Joseph Mayer. In being part of the Management Board of the Trust they are bound by the terms of that trust, inaugurated under the terms/conditions of the late Joseph Mayer’s will & testament.

This group took full control on the death of Joseph Mayer in 1886 and had responsibility for Mayer Hall, The Free Library and Mayer Park. Their remit was to ensure the use of these assets for the sole use and benefit of the Bebington Community and that they be managed in a way that suited the demand for their use throughout their life, such was the broad and visionary outlook this great man had.

Pennant House was not part of this arrangement and was to be sold, however in 1901 Bebington Board had to vacate their offices in New Ferry as the lease had ended. They and the trust set about to persuaded the current owner of Pennant House to sell the property to the Board, the Mayer Trust at this time helped the Board with a £400 donation towards the cost of purchasing Pennant House. Around 1924 the Mayer Trust funds were running low and it approached the then Council of Bebington to take over the Joseph Mayer assets for Community use. This eventually took place in 1930.