St Mary's Tower
The tower that remained was just a landmark, showing from land and river the location of Birkenhead Priory. In the early 1990’s Wirral Council took over the tower from the Church Commissioners and refurbished it, allowing access to the public for the first time and opening up the best view of the River Mersey from a high vantage point in Wirral. The original clock mechanism was also replaced, having been stored by the museums in Liverpool, and one survivor of the bells was reinstalled, bearing the name of Andrew Knox, the first Vicar of Birkenhead.
In 1999 the tower was dedicated as a memorial to those who died on the submarine Thetis which sank 60 years previously on sea trials in Liverpool Bay off the North Wales coast. The names of the 99 men who died are recorded as you move up and down the 101 steps to reach the parapet and the unparalleled views of the river, Liverpool and Birkenhead but, most particularly, the shipyard of Cammell Laird so many ships of importance to the country’s history, including Thetis, were built.